How Do I Install Swanstone Showers?

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Installing Swanstone
Installing Swanstone (Image: Photo of chrome metal shower image by semisatch from Fotolia.com)

Swanstone is a brand name solid surfacing material used in shower stalls and bathrooms, along with other areas of the house that require a tough waterproof surface. Swanstone, manufactured from polymers, is impervious to chemicals, heat and other damage. Swanstone is an environmentally friendly option because it is made to last longer than other synthetic solid surfacing materials and has no detrimental effect on ground or water supply.

Things You'll Need

  • Paintbrush
  • Water sealant
  • Kraft paper
  • Utility knife
  • Masking tape
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Tape measure
  • Hole saw
  • Carbide saw blades
  • Wood shims
  • Caulking gun
  • Silicone
  • Circular saw
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Rag
  • 2 by 4's
  • Swanstone caulk

Turn off the main water supply.

Prepare the wall; remove existing tile, wallpaper or paint, hammer in popped nails, sand high spots and fill in depressions with joint compound. If the existing wall is drywall, remove the drywall and replace with cement board, which is resistant to water, mold and mildew damage.

Remove all plumbing fixtures including faucets, handles, shower-heads and escutcheons.

Paint a coat of water sealant onto the cement board.

Place heavyweight kraft paper over the any walls with plumbing fixtures to create a template. Secure the paper in place with masking tape and cut out fixtures, faucets and handle locations.

Remove the template and place it over the back, non-finished side, of the Swanstone; tape in place and trace the cutouts on the back of the Swanstone with a pencil.

Cut the faucet openings with a hole saw equipped with a carbide blade. Wear a dust mask and eye protection when cutting to avoid inhalation of the tiny bits of polymers and eye injury.

Place the Swanstone against the wall to test for fit; within 1/8-inch of an exact fit is necessary. If the Swanstone is larger than the wall, trim it to size with a circular saw equipped with a carbide blade. If the Swanstone is greater than 1/8-inch too small, but not greater by more than 1/4-inch, place wood shims under the corner or edges of the Swanstone to raise or lower it in the appropriate direction. If the Swanstone is too small by greater than 1/4-inch, shim the Swanstone so the gap is along the top edge of the shower stall which is then covered later.

Wipe the non-finished side of the Swanstone with de-natured alcohol.

Load a caulking gun with a tube of silicone.

Apply dime-sized dots of silicone every 6-inches over the entire back of the Swanstone.

Place the Swanstone up against the wall and press in place firmly. Move your hands over the whole wall to press each part to the cement board and ensure good adhesion.

Place a towel or rag over the ends of 2 by 4 pieces of wood and wedge the 2 by 4 up against the wall and to the floor in 3 to 4 areas to act as a brace while pressing the Swanstone firmly to the wall.

Place silicone dots onto the back of Swanstone pre-made moldings and press into place at the top of the shower wall to cover gaps.

Leave the braces in place for 24-hours to allow the silicone to dry completely.

Remove the braces.

Load a caulking gun with a matching color Swanstone caulking and seal all seams and corners.

Allow the caulking to dry for 24-hours before use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work in a well ventilated room.
  • Practice cutting Swanstone on a scrap piece.

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References

  • The Swan Corp
  • "Grandpa's 5001 Handyman Secrets"; Dr. Myles H. Bader; 2006
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