Replacing a Shower Stall
Cheap Bathroom Makeover
First Aid for the Bathroom
Replacing a Shower Bottom
COPYRIGHT 1999 G.G. ALONZY
We had a slab leak under our water heater and under our shower stall. During the repair, the plumber accidentally jack-hammered through the base of our shower, destroying the pan and several tiles. The wall behind the tiles, which I think is plaster, also appears to be damaged. We expect the shower will need to be completely replaced, one way or another. Would it be possible to install one of those "multi-part" shower enclosures more easily than to rip off the tiles and rebuild it from the damaged plaster walls (ugh) up. What do you think, and what suggestions do you have for basic steps?
LR from Palm Springs, CA
Installing a prefabricated enclosure is much less work and, for the do-it-yourselfer, is a much more goof-proof solution to your problem. You probably will have to completely remove the old enclosure, but look at it as a stress reliever... whack away!! Depending on the prefab enclosure you choose, you may need to attach it directly to the wall studs and install water-resistant drywall around the top edge only. (PS... this is a great place to install tile when the project is done. It will last longer than any paint or wallpaper.)
There are repair options that don't require you to completely remove your existing enclosure... if you are up for the work and the mess. The existing pan can be replaced with a custom-sized fiberglass base, eliminating the need for you to learn to work with "mud"... tile installer jargon for setting tile in a base of mortar. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most difficult), I would rate mud work as a 9 for a do-it-yourself project. And not because a novice can't make a leak-free installation. The aesthetics of the job are the problem... an untrained hand will have a difficult time making a smoothly tapered and properly leveled shower base. Uneven tile alignment and poor leveling can not only cause puddling and excessive mildew growth but also... well... plain unsightly!
Installing a shower pan requires you to remove the doors (if any) and to also remove the bottom few rows of tile and wallboard, as well as any tiles over "rotten" wallboard. Replace the bottommost wallboard with either tile board or water-resistant drywall... your choice. Though water-resistant "green" drywall is not generally used anymore for new enclosures, it is acceptable for repairs.
for tools and supplies for your home improvement project Shop at AceHardware.com
The original tiles that you removed can be cleaned and reused if you want, or you can get creative and find a tile (of a few tiles) that you can use to create a pattern along the bottom of the walls that looks planned. A good decorator-oriented tile store will help you with the size and color selection... just bring a piece of the old tile with you to start the ball rolling!
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here naturalhandyman.com/aitikia. For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links naturalhandyman.com. If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page naturalhandyman.com/friends.
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at naturalhandyman.com/contest. Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Take the Next Step
Also in Home
- Creating an outdoor kitchen
- Eliminating bed bugs
- Managing home projects
- Saving on water one drop at a time
- Cheaper summer cooling
- Inexpensive landscaping ideas
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- How spring cleaning can save you money
- 4 secrets to budgeting for a home purchase
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?