How to Install a New Shower in a Bathroom


During a bathroom remodel, the bathroom is often gutted to the point where it is stripped down to the bare walls, removing the fixtures like the toilet, sink and shower. Installing a new shower in the bathroom is a challenging project, but one that you can complete with the proper tools and knowledge. When building the new shower, taking steps to make the shower waterproof is important.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • Jigsaw
  • Safety goggles
  • 2-by-10 board
  • 2-by-4 boards
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Roofing felt
  • Utility knife
  • Mesh
  • Staple gun
  • Shower drain assembly
  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Tape measure
  • Shower liner
  • Roofing nails
  • Marker
  • Sealant
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Shower pan
  • Level
  • Shims
  • Drill
  • Galvanized screws
  • PVC trap
  • PVC cement
  • Rubber compression gasket
  • Wooden block
  • Rubber mallet
  • Screen (for drain hole)
  • Sheetrock
  • Straightedge
  • Fiberglass seam tape
  • Tile
  • Thinset mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile spacers
  • Tile cutter
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Damp sponge
  • Grout sealer

Installing the Shower Pan

  • Place a sheet of 3/4-inch thick plywood on the floor where you are installing the shower. Cut a hole for the drain pipe.

  • Nail a 2-by-10 board to the studs at the bottom of each wall except where the door will go. Nail three 2-by-4 boards to the bottom of the side where you are installing the door.

  • Cover the plywood with roofing felt and mesh. Staple them to the plywood, then cut a hole through them to provide access for the drain hole.

  • Attach the bottom flange of the drain assembly to the drain hole.

  • Mix a batch of mortar, following the instructions on the packaging.

  • Apply the mortar to the bottom of the stall, using more along the edges to make it easier to slope.

  • Smooth the surface of the concrete by dragging a 2-by-4 board across it. Slope it down towards the drain hole. Ideally, you want the concrete around the perimeter of the stall to be about 1 1/2 inches higher than in the center of the stall. Allow the concrete to set for about 4 days.

  • Measure the base of the stall. Add 6 inches to the length and width, then cut the shower liner to fit the measurements.

  • Place the liner over the concrete at the bottom of the stall. Center it in the stall, then fold the excess material in the corners over and nail it to the frame with roofing nails.

  • Nail the liner to the studs around the base of the shower. Use one roofing nail near the outer edge of the liner, and take care not to stretch or tear the liner.

  • Cut small holes into the liner over the bolts for the drain assembly and slide the liner over the bolts.

  • Cut a circle in the liner over the drain hole.

  • Apply sealant to the bottom of the liner near the drain hole and the top of the plastic plate for the drain. Place the plate over the hole and tighten the bolts.

  • Fold the excess liner around the edge of the shower over the framing. Staple it to the framing.

  • Vacuum the liner to remove debris.

  • Put the shower pan into the stall. Check it for level, and add shims if needed. Drill holes through the shower pan and into the studs, and attach the shower pan to the studs with galvanized screws.

  • Dry-fit the new polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, trap to the drain pipe to make sure they fit, then glue them together with PVC cement.

  • Slide a rubber compression gasket over the drain pipe. Put a wooden block on top of the drain pipe, then tap it down with a rubber mallet until it's flush with the drain pan.

  • Install the screen to the drain hole.

Building the Walls

  • Measure and cut sheets of cement backerboard to fit inside the stall.

  • Place the sheets against the frame of the stall and attach them by driving masonry screws through the backerboard and into the studs. Drive the first screws into the center of the boards' edge, then add more screws every 6 inches, working towards the top and bottom edges of the backerboard.

  • Cover the joints where the sheets meet with fiberglass seam tape.

  • Place a tile against the wall along the bottom edge, and mark the top of it on the backerboard. Do this every few feet, and draw a line across the marks.

  • Mix a batch of thinset mortar, following the instructions on the packaging.

  • Place the thinset along the bottom edge of the wall, creating ridges in the mortar with the notched edge of the trowel.

  • Press tiles into the thinset with tile spacers in between them. Allow the tiles to set in the mortar for the time specified on the packaging.

  • Continue installing tiles in the rest of the shower, using the same technique. If needed, cut the tiles with a tile cutter to fit. Allow the tile to set.

  • Apply grout to the tiles by sliding the grout float diagonally over the tiles. Make several passes to completely fill the gaps with grout. Remove the tile spacers with needle-nose pliers as you work, and allow the grout to set for the time specified on the packaging.

  • Wipe the tiles off with a damp sponge to remove grout from the surface. Rinse the sponge frequently.

  • Seal the joints between the tiles with grout sealer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear safety goggles when sawing the wood and cutting the tiles.

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