How To Build Custom Showers

shower stall with tile and stone walls
  • 20-40 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 1,000-50,000
What You'll Need
Framing materials
Plumbing supplies
Waterproof tile
Faucets and shower head
What You'll Need
Framing materials
Plumbing supplies
Waterproof tile
Faucets and shower head

Bathroom upgrades are great remodeling investments, particularly installing custom showers. Today the design and features available for showers in term of fixtures, doors, tiling and special features such as steam showers, multiple shower heads and jet sprays are almost endless.

Creating a bathing environment that is comfortable and efficient can be accomplished with a little bit of know-how, some tools and materials, plus it can help you add a personal accent or create a theme.

Step 1 - Create Your Design

You’re not limited to building a traditional square shower enclosure. Consider such customizable options such as walk-in without a door, a shower room instead of a stall and even a completely sealed shower that doubles as a sauna. Websites and shelter magazines are great resources for stirring the imagination.

Step 2 - Draw a Layout

Tape the floor indicating where to install shower walls. Make sure you have enough room for the design considered. If not, take correct and accurate measurements of the space available to draw a better detailed diagram calculating all lengths and heights. Always check your local plumbing codes to make sure your materials and installation meet the necessary codes. Consult with a professional plumber if you are adding or reorienting any of the water sources.

Step 3 - Frame the Walls; Install Plumbing and Electric

Construct your shower walls using traditional procedures including placing studs at 16-inch intervals. Make sure to create reinforced foot rails and head rails if your shower walls do not reach the ceiling. Before finishing the walls with drywall, sheetrock or other cover, install all necessary plumbing and electrical wiring. Allow enough room beneath the shower floor to accommodate drainage piping and a drain trap.

Step 4 - Prep for Accessories

Your customized shower may include extra features like overhead lighting, multiple shower heads and even placement of radio and, yes, waterproofed television. Custom water delivery systems can also be installed that produce massaging-like streams of water emitted from jet sprays installed throughout the shower space.

Step 5 - Form the Base

When using concrete, trowel a shower base with a gentle slope leading from all walls toward the shower drain opening. If you’ve purchase a shower enclosure kit, a preformed base should be one of its components.

Step 6 - Tiling

Apply a thin layer of mortar over the waterproof sheetrock hung for wall covering. Once dried, apply a sealing coat before laying tile in whatever pattern you have chosen. If you have the budget, get creative by using natural stone or slate instead of tile. Be sure to follow proper procedures for applying grout to make sure any tile or stone is aid correctly so nothing leaks.

Step 7 - Finish the Floor

Finish your bathroom floor with natural material that provides some traction when the surface is wet.

Step 8 - Add Final Touches

Once the floor and walls are completed, attach all faucet, hand bars, shower heads, shelves and benches plus any other accessories to complete the project. Inspect all attachments making sure all connections are tight and all shower components function properly.

Other Custom Shower Considerations


If there is anyone in your household who would benefit from the use of safety equipment, consider creating custom showers with a range of fixtures and fittings that aid those less able to use the shower. Consider grab rails and larger shower door handles which are easy to screw into place.

Replace standard faucet and shower dials with large levers that are easier to operate. A folding seat can be fixed to the wall to enable it to be used when necessary. Don’t forget other accessories such as non-slip pads for the base of the shower pan and/or bath tub to reduce the potential for accidents.


Installing nozzles along with the relevant fixtures will allow you to extend the use of custom showers so that you can also effectively create a steam room. This will give your bathroom more versatility and enable you to use the same room for different purposes by installing separate controls. Making use of a steam generator can also help to reduce the cost of heating water for your bathroom.

Wet Room

The best custom showers often come from creating a wet room. This will negate the need for many fixtures and reduce the amount of decorative aspects required as all the surfaces will need to be tiled and you can do away with glass partitions, a shower pan or bath tub. The simplicity will also reduce the amount of plumbing and pipes required.


If you are making use of color to create custom showers, ensure that you maintain the theme throughout to get the full effect. Tiles are available in a variety of different color which should make it easy to find the one you desire. Use accessories that match the color theme to enhance the look further. This method can also be used when it comes to the material used for the fixtures so gold faucets will go with a gold shower head.


The variety of bathroom fixtures and fittings on the market means that you can obtain the various items needed in the same shape. For example, if you choose a square shower head, ensure that the faucets are also angular rather than rounded. Additional design aspects can be created by fitting mosaic tiles to match the shape theme as well as using a shower curtain or glass partition comprising the shape.


After deciding on a particular style, stay true to it by using fixtures and accessories to match the style. For example, if you are creating a shower as part of a bathroom with a modern theme, avoid the use of old-fashioned fixtures and fittings. If you use a particular style in the rest of your bathroom, customize your shower by continuing this style. Install fixtures, such as hooks and shelves, that make the bathing process more convenient and enjoyable.