When you install a shower base in your bathroom, you want to be sure that the shower base floor is even, the drain connects to the wastewater pipes correctly, and that the entire shower will be waterproof to prevent mold growth. Pay attention to these 7 tips for installing a shower base to create a functional, effective shower for your home.
Make Sure the Subfloor Is Even and Level
Install your shower base on a level subfloor. The shower base itself is sloped toward the drain hole to allow the water to exit down the drain smoothly and quickly. If the subfloor is tilted by even as little as an inch, the shower base drain will not work properly and your bathroom could be flooded.
Install Your Shower Base with the Proper Tools and Fasteners
Use only the screws, bolts, and nuts from your shower base installation kit to attach it to the subfloor and the stud beam blocks. Changing to different fasteners will prevent a correct fit of the shower base flange and the drainpipe assembly, so your shower will not function correctly. The walls and floor of the bathroom could suffer damage from leaks and spillage.
Attach the Shower Base Flange to the Shower Walls
Place vertical blocks between the wall studs, cut to the height of the shower base flange. Attach the flange to these blocks and make sure it is level at the top. Slip narrow plastic or plywood shims between the metal flange and the wood blocks to ensure a snug, flush fit.
Make Precise Joins for the Drain Pipe Assembly
Use the drain fitting tool supplied with the shower base kit to thread the drain pipe to the drain hole precisely. Fit all washers tightly against the drain pipe nut before attaching the drain pipe assembly.
Cover the Shower Walls With Cement Board Before Tiling
Cement board is a non-permeable solid surface that when placed under tiles in a wet area such as a shower, virtually eliminates water leakage through the tile. It is heavy to install, so have helpers handy to carry and support the board as you affix it to the wall studs with specially designed cement board screws. Insert the screws to just below the surface of the cement board to allow for level tiling.
Tile the Shower Walls From the Floor Up
Laying tile on the walls from the floor upward will minimize the gap between the cement board wall and the shower flange top. You will fill this gap with silicone caulking later.
Caulking and Grouting
Take great care with caulking and grouting to create a smooth, easily cleanable surface inside the shower. Match the color of the silicone caulk to the tile grout to make the shower walls and floor appear to be a seamless unit. Apply the caulk with a high-quality caulking gun to do the job as neatly as you can. Use a slender putty knife to grade the caulked surface to an even thickness.
With attention to these details, you will build a durable, functional shower that you will enjoy using for many years.