How To Build A Walk In Shower

The process of learning how to build a walk-in shower involves careful planning and an extremely large bathroom. Planning is the most important part of this home remodeling improvement. Walk-in showers require additional foundation support due to the extra wall covering and the firm support needed for the flooring. Walk-in showers have advantages for young children and seniors due to the easy access into the shower area.

You'll need to follow a few basic steps and round up a few basic supplies, including the following:

  • tape measure
  • graph paper
  • tile or water-proof fiberglass surround
  • plumbing materials
  • handset and shower fixture
  • green board
  • wall board
  • wood framing and support boards
  • grout and caulking
  • drain finishing kit
  • sewer pipe


  1. Determine if a walk-in is possible in the existing bathroom. This doesn't mean that you'll need to abandon your dreams for a walk-in shower, but building a walk in shower just might include converting an adjacent closet or linen closet into part of the bath to add extra space. Measure your space to see what you have and how much room you'll need. 
  2. Rough out your bathroom plan. Use the graph paper to lay out a shower. Make sure you allow at least a space four feet in depth and eight feet wide for the space. If you don't use a door and simply want to walk into the water without making the bathroom a mess, add an extra foot on the width. If you don't have this kind of space in the bath, this is where a linen closet or closet adjacent to the bath comes in handy. You'll need to make sure you have the measurements for this extra space prior to moving onto the next step. 
  3. Get your building permits. Cities and counties usually require a building permit for this type of work. Get one. You'll need it if you ever decide to sell your house. 
  4. Shop for your supplies. Buy tile, wall boards, fasteners, fixtures and plumbing supplies. Shop for the shower flooring since this may offer some options. An enamel or ceramic floor pan may save time compared to a tile floor, if this is workable for your shower dimensions. The pans come only in set sizes and may not be a match. 
  5. Mess with your plumbing. The idea is to do the least work on the plumbing and still have the shower work. Examine your present pipes and hope for a match. If one is not possible, take out your supplies and get moving. This step may require renting specific tools including wrenches and welding tools. 
  6. Demo the bath. Take out any extraneous bathroom equipment or walls. The dream walk-in allows installation of the shower without moving anything. Rent a dumpster, if a demo procedure is needed. 
  7. Mess with your plumbing again. This time the sewer is the focus. Make sure your pipes line up with the sewer pipe. This may require moving the sewer or adding additional sewer pipe to meet the distance. Sewer pipe must match with local building codes. Don't substitute cheaper or smaller pipe. 
  8. Put up the wall and green board. Put up any wood supports where walls were added and then screw in your drywall. Use moisture-resistant green board for inside the shower. 
  9. Prep the flooring. Set the tub base or tile in place. Make sure both have some sort of slip resistance. 
  10. Put up the tile or fiberglass enclosure. Add your tile or the enclosure. Make sure you let your sealer dry. 
  11. Add your fixtures. Put up the shower head and the single-handle, easily repairable water adjustment. If you're into flash add some matching towel bars with a drill and special screws. 
  12. Grout the puppy. Add grout to the fiberglass or the tile. 
  13. Seal the grout. Wait for the grout to dry and add a couple coats of sealer. Allow dry time in between each coat. 
  14. Paint the ceiling or trim. If you did the shower up in style, you may have a tiled ceiling in your walk-in shower. If not, lay on a waterproof sealer and then paint over the base.
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