When an old unit is outdated with dark styling and unsightly build up, it's time you found out how to replace a shower. The method (and DIY possibility) depends on what type of product you choose and what you want the shower and finished bathroom to look like.
Two things make this decision for you. First, the existing conditions are the framework to build on. Second, what you want and expect out of the new shower will help you determine which style and type is best for this project.
Tips for Choosing a Shower Replacement
Is There Decent Access Into the Bathroom?
Prefabricated shower stalls are handy to install and often have envious features like built in seating. The problem is that you need plenty of clearance to actually get these products into the bathroom. With narrow doorways or second floor bathroom renos, you may need to look at 3- or 5-piece stalls or another shower design entirely.
What Is the Condition of the Bathtub?
You might be tired of the look your traditional tub/shower combination delivers. Maybe a new shower lining is all the bathroom needs for a fresh, clean look. An economical and DIY-friendly alternative to tile, prefabricated tub surrounds are generally made from acrylic or polystyrene.
Be sure to buy a style that overlaps, allowing you a little leeway when cutting the panels to fit. Also, you might want to use caulking in the joints even if the manufacturer states it isn't necessary. This is simply to make sure the moisture doesn't seep into the walls behind, causing potential problems with mold and mildew.
Do You Really Want to Opt for Glass Doors?
Although they are extremely popular and an excellent choice to keep tighter spaces bright, glass doors on your shower can be difficult to keep clean. The soap scum and build up that occurs with every use (and sometimes just from sitting there) requires a lot of attention. Think before you decide and come up with a game plan for tackling this essential maintenance should you choose to install glass. A squeegee hung in the shower is a nice idea, designed to remove the water before soap scum, etc. has a chance to set in.
Tricks for Replacement Shower Installation
Inspect the Framing After Removal
Check to see if moisture has damaged the framing behind, underneath and around your old bathtub. Don't be afraid to add additional support or replace what is necessary.
Make Sure All Walls Are Rated for Moisture
Your new shower stall may be slightly shorter than your old model, leaving a gap at the top of the walls that needs your attention. Install cement board on any exposed wall around the tub, protecting your home from mold and mildew. If the walls behind your old tub and shower have deteriorated for whatever reason, use cement board for repairs or replacements.
Use a Strong Adhesive and Proper Safety Precautions
Whether working with an acrylic liner, installing tile or simply using a prefabricated stall, you'll need to firmly stick down or attach the product. Buy strong, plumbing adhesive and follow the instructions well, using all of the necessary safety equipment.
With these tips and tricks your drab old bathroom will be easily turned into a fresh, well appointed spot to enjoy the ideal shower. Call a plumber when in doubt. But with a little confidence you can try your hand a DIY shower install and find out just how simple they can be.