Things you should know when Building your own Shower

Building your own shower might be one of those things on your list to ask a professional to do. Granted, building a shower stall is very different from putting up say, a shelf. It requires a certain amount of knowledge and skill without which things could easily go awry. Shower rooms are places that are almost constantly wet. And as you know, “wet” causes mold, rot, attracts wood-eating critters, and will eventually spell the end for your lovely shower room – that is if you don’t ensure things are done properly.

I’m just gonna come out and say it – the first time I tackled my own shower stall I failed miserably. It is my hope that my less than fortunate experience will help others who are thinking of tackling a similar project. Before starting the building phase, you need to decide what you’re going to buy or have professionals do, and what Small shower cubicleyou’re going to build yourself. It is very important that you are realistic with this decision.

Examples of what you could consider doing yourself include:

  • Planning and constructing the bone-frame and substrate of your shower stall.
  • Tiling and grouting the floor and walls. You may or may not have the confidence to take this on, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Make sure you add a sealer to the grout!
  • Ceiling. You can use something as simple as a sheet of water-proof formica for the ceiling. Simply glue or caulk it up on to the ceiling substrate.

Examples of what you should probably buy and/or have a professional do:

  • Coating of the substrate with FRP (fibre-reinforced plastic) or similar secondary water-proofing prior to tiling. This is something that requires some expertise as well as access to specialized products. The tiles and grout are initially water-proof, but over time, cracks will develop through which water will seep and begin rotting the substrate. A secondary coating of FRP will ensure that no moisture gets to the substrate.
  • The connection of the water-mains – both hot and cold – to the shower stall. This is an area where you don’t want to take chances. Unless you have professional experience, I wouldn’t recommend you to do this yourself. The last thing you want is a premature leak due to shoddy plumbing.
  • Buy your own shower door. This is subject to personal preference, but it is my opinion that shower doors are almost without exception worth your money – as opposed to you trying to make it yourself. Not only does the door need to be water-proof, but the door frame does too. Purchasing a ready-made aluminum-framed shower door will eliminate this difficult and tedious job.

When planning the shower stall, make sure you take into consideration the various outlets, fans, ledges, etc. A simple shower room can be as simple as a square stall with no ledges or windows, but if you want to “get fancy” in any way, it’s going to take some thinking-ahead. Most people like a ledge or two whBoneframe of own Showerere they can place shampoos and rinses, maybe a window, a mirror, etc. Anything to do with the geometry of the substrate needs to be planned well ahead of time.

If you are following my advice and purchasing your shower door, you’re going to have to measure the dimensions of the door frame and build your room in accordance. Remember that shower doors generally open inward, unless the room directly outside of the door is itself water-proof. Outward opening doors will drip water mercilessly on the entire area inside its “swing-path”, causing all kinds of damage over time if not water-proof.

Inward opening doors will need sufficient space to swing open while still allowing the user to exit comfortably. Make sure your room has access to the outside for exhaust. This is especially important if you don’t have a window. This goes without saying that you’ll need to pick out your exhaust fan ahead of time to make sure your framework is built accordingly. Your exhaust fan also needs to be made for showers, and not for kitchens – there’s a difference.

The other two fixtures needed are the lighting and plumbing. The light should be water-proof. This will be recognizable by the rubber gasket around the screw-lid. Plumbing should be measured to exit the wall at precise locations to fit the faucets and hardware you have prepared. Remember that after the tiles are on, you won’t be able to move things around. This all needs to be done to fit to begin with.

Other Tips:

  • All hardware – lights, faucets, doors, fans, etc – should be bought and on hand before commencing the construction phase. This ensures that things will be built to fit the specific hardware.
  • Make sure you ground all electrical outlets and switches near the shower. Obviously you won’t have any inside the shower stall, but you might have one or two directly outside. Water is a dangerous conductor, and care should be taken to ground any nearby outlets.
  • Adding a pilot lamp connected to the fan is a good idea. Nowadays, we have switch-timers that turn off after a certain period of time, but if you don’t have one, an alternative is a pilot lamp. If it’s on, it will indicate that the fan is running and can serve as a reminder to turn it off after sufficient time has passed. Or, vice-versa, if someone has just come out but the pilot lamp is off, you can then turn it on.

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