DIY Walk-in Shower: How To Build Your Own In 5 Simple Steps

A DIY walk-in shower can be a great way to update your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Not only can it add value to your home, but it can also provide a spa-like experience in the comfort of your own bathroom.

Building a walk-in shower from scratch may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and materials, it can be a manageable DIY project.

From demolition to waterproofing to tiling, there are several steps involved in building a walk-in shower.

However, with the right guidance and a little bit of patience, you can create a beautiful and functional walk-in shower that meets your specific needs and style preferences.

Preparation Steps For A DIY Walk In Shower

Before you start building your walk-in shower, there are a few preparation steps you need to take to ensure the process goes smoothly.

In this section, we’ll go over the tools you’ll need and how to prepare the area for construction.

Gathering Tools

To build a walk-in shower, you’ll need a few specialized tools.

Here’s a list of the essential tools you’ll need:

ToolPurpose
Circular sawTo cut the shower pan and wall panels
JigsawTo cut curves and angles in the shower pan and wall panels
DrillTo make holes for plumbing and fixtures
LevelTo ensure everything is straight and level
TrowelTo spread mortar and grout
Notched trowelTo create ridges in the mortar for better adhesion
Rubber floatTo smooth out the grout

In addition to these tools, you’ll also need safety equipment like gloves and eye protection.

Preparing The Area

Before you start building your walk-in shower, you’ll need to prepare the area.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Remove any existing fixtures and fittings, including the old shower and tub.
  2. Check the subfloor for any damage or rot. Replace any damaged areas.
  3. Install the shower drain according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Install the shower pan according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Apply a waterproof membrane to the walls and floor of the shower area.
  6. Install the shower walls according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Install the shower fixtures, including the showerhead and faucets.
  8. Apply grout and sealant to the shower walls and floor.

By following these preparation steps, you’ll be well on your way to building a beautiful and functional walk-in shower.

Building The Shower Base

If you’re building a DIY walk-in shower, creating a solid shower base is crucial.

Here are the steps to follow:

Creating A Foundation

First, you need to create a solid foundation for your shower base. This can be done using plywood or cement backer board. Make sure that the foundation is level and smooth.

Installing The Drain

Next, you need to install the drain. The drain should be installed in the center of the shower base.

Make sure that the drain is level and that it is properly connected to the plumbing.

Applying The Waterproof Membrane

Once the foundation and drain are in place, you need to apply a waterproof membrane to the shower base.

This will prevent water from seeping through the base and causing damage to the subfloor.

There are several options for waterproof membranes, including liquid membranes and sheet membranes.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the membrane and make sure that it is properly sealed around the drain.

With the foundation, drain, and waterproof membrane in place, your shower base is ready for the next step in building your DIY walk-in shower.

Installing The Shower Walls

When it comes to installing the shower walls, there are a few important steps to follow to ensure a successful DIY project.

In this section, we will cover two sub-sections: Setting up the Backer Board and Applying Tiles.

Setting Up The Backer Board

Before you can install the shower walls, you need to set up the backer board.

This is the material that will provide a solid surface for the tiles to adhere to.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Measure the area where you will be installing the backer board and cut the backer board to size using a circular saw or jigsaw.
  2. Apply a layer of thin-set mortar to the area where the backer board will be installed.
  3. Place the backer board onto the thin-set mortar and secure it in place with backer board screws.
  4. Repeat the process until the entire area is covered with backer board.

Applying Tiles

Once the backer board is in place, you can begin applying tiles to the shower walls.

Here’s how:

  1. Measure the area where you will be installing the tiles and cut the tiles to size using a tile cutter or wet saw.
  2. Apply a layer of thin-set mortar to a small section of the backer board using a notched trowel.
  3. Press the tiles into the thin-set mortar, making sure they are level and evenly spaced.
  4. Continue applying tiles in small sections, using tile spacers to ensure even spacing between tiles.
  5. Allow the thin-set mortar to dry completely before grouting the tiles.

By following these steps, you can successfully install the shower walls for your DIY walk-in shower project.

Remember to take your time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any materials you use.

Final Touches

After completing the installation of your DIY walk-in shower, the final touches can make all the difference in achieving a professional-looking finish.

In this section, we will cover two important sub-sections: Installing Shower Fixtures and Sealing and Grouting.

Installing Shower Fixtures

Installing shower fixtures is an essential part of completing your DIY walk-in shower.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Begin by installing the showerhead, shower arm, and hand-held showerhead according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Install the faucets and handles, ensuring that they are properly aligned and secured.
  3. Attach any additional accessories, such as soap dishes or corner beads, if your shower kit includes them.
  4. Test the water flow and ensure that there are no leaks.

Sealing And Grouting

Sealing and grouting are important steps in ensuring that your walk-in shower is waterproof and protected against moisture damage.

Follow these steps:

  1. Apply a silicone sealant around the edges of the shower pan, where it meets the walls and floor.
  2. Apply a grout sealer to the grout lines to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  3. Apply grout to the joints between the tiles, using a grout float to spread it evenly.
  4. Wipe off any excess grout with a damp sponge, and allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Apply a final coat of sealant to the entire shower surface, including the tiles, to protect against water damage.

By following these steps, you can achieve a professional-looking finish for your DIY walk-in shower.

Key Takeaways

If you’re planning to build a DIY walk-in shower, there are a few key takeaways that you should keep in mind to ensure that your project is successful.

First, consider the construction costs.

Building a walk-in shower requires gutting walls to access plumbing pipes, applying waterproof poly sheeting to the walls and floor, rebuilding walls using moisture-resistant drywall or backer board, installing drains, and pouring mortar to create shower pans.

Make sure you have a budget in mind before you begin.

Second, choose the right shower kit. You’ll need two separate kits – a shower kit and a shower tray.

The shower kit should include a shower head, a shower arm, a hand-held showerhead, and faucets.

Some kits may also include accessories like soap dishes, corner beads, and shower walls.

Third, determine the size of your walk-in shower.

The ADA suggests a minimum size of 36 inches by 36 inches for a walk-in shower, which features a bench attached to one wall for sitting.

Even if you eschew the bench, 36 inches by 36 inches is a good starting point.

Fourth, consider the design of your walk-in shower.

There are many sleek and accessible designs to choose from, including those that save space in a small wet room or make a spacious primary bathroom feel more updated and luxurious.

A walk-in shower can replace a bathtub if space is at a premium, or be installed in tandem with a soaking tub in a larger bathroom.

Finally, make sure you have the necessary tools and skills to complete the project.

Building a DIY walk-in shower requires a certain level of expertise, so if you’re not comfortable with plumbing, carpentry, or tiling, it may be best to hire a professional.

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Author at Huliq.

Written By James Huliq