Over time, the appearance of your shower can become dingy and worn, due to wear and tear from constant use and changing styles. This can be addressed by giving your shower a makeover by replacing the tile and fixtures. Doing this project yourself can save you thousands of dollars in contractor's costs, and can give you the satisfaction of knowing that you completed the project yourself.
- Electric grinder
- Safety goggles
- Notched trowel
- Tile spacers
- Tile cutter
- Grout float
- Needle-nose pliers
- Damp sponge
- Grout sealer
- Silicone caulk
Removing the Tile and Fixtures
Turn off the water supply valve to the shower on the main water line that feeds it. Turn the faucet on to drain the pipes.
Cover the shower pan with a tarp to protect it while you work in the shower, and to prevent debris from falling down the drain.
Remove the fixtures. The shower head can usually be removed by twisting it counterclockwise until it separates from the pipe. Removing the faucet handles depends on the style and manufacturer, but usually it involves removing the screws that fasten the handles and inner components to the pipes. Use pliers or handle-pullers to remove the handles, if needed.
Cut through the grout between the tiles with an electric grinder. This makes it easier to remove the tiles from the walls. Wear safety goggles when using the grinder.
Pry the tiles off of the walls with a hammer and chisel, starting at the top of the stall and working toward the bottom. Scrape away any remaining mortar to clean the walls as much as possible.
Inspect the cement board on the walls for cracks or other signs of damage, and replace any damaged panels you find.
Installing the New Tiles and Fixtures
Hold a tile against the top of the drain pan and mark the top of it onto the wall. Repeat this step every 12 inches along every wall. Connect the marks by drawing a line across the walls with a level.
Mix a batch of mortar, following the manufacturer's instructions.
Spread a thin layer of mortar onto the wall along the bottom edge, creating ridges in the mortar with a notched trowel.
Begin placing the tiles onto the wall, pressing them firmly into the mortar. Place tile spacers between the tiles as you lay them. Cut the tiles with a tile cutter to fit, if needed. Allow the first row of tiles on each wall to set in the mortar for the time specified on the packaging.
Install tiles onto the rest of the walls, using the same technique you used for laying the first row. Allow the mortar to set for the time specified on the packaging.
Spread grout onto the tiles with a grout float, starting in the bottom corner of the first wall. Spread the grout diagonally over the tiles and make several passes to ensure that the joints are completely filled. Remove the tile spacers with needle-nose pliers as you come across them. Allow the grout to set for the time specified by the manufacturer.
Clean the hazy film from the surface of the tiles by wiping them off with a damp sponge. Rinse the sponge frequently as you do this.
Apply grout sealer to the joints to seal them.
Install the new shower fixtures, following the manufacturer's instructions for the model you purchased.
Apply silicone caulk around the fixtures and the joint between the tiles and shower pan.
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