Cultured marble became popular back in the 1960s when it was used for kitchen and bathroom sinks and for countertops, bathtubs, shower walls and floors. You can still see it being used today in new-home construction, but it is possible to replace a cultured marble shower if desired. It is not real marble; it is actually man-made from engineered stone and covered by a setting gel. Shower walls and pans that are made from these materials can be renovated with a moderate amount of effort.
Removing the Old Cultured Marble
Turn off your bathroom's water source before starting and wear safety goggles and safety gloves. You can also wear a respirator to protect yourself from inhalation of dangerous particles.
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With a screwdriver, remove the bath spout and showerhead. Place them and their screws in a safe place where they won't get lost. Then, use a utility knife to cut and peel away the caulk surrounding the cultured marble. You can now slide a pry bar behind the cultured marble pieces to remove them.
Give the wall time to dry completely and then smoothly spread drywall mud over it (including any holes) with a putty knife. This mud will also need time to dry. Afterward, you can gently sand the walls with sandpaper.
Installing a New Shower Wall
Shower walls come in a variety of materials, sizes and colors, so measure your shower area before ordering. Once you have your new shower wall, use a saw to trim it down to fit. Keeping the panels facedown, apply construction adhesive to the back sides. Have a friend help you adhere the panels to the walls, ensuring that they are straight.
These panels should take at least 24 hours to dry. Then, you can apply caulk around their edges. Allow this to dry thoroughly before using your newly refinished shower.
Installing New Cultured Marble
If you prefer the look of cultured marble, you can install a new cultured marble shower wall (perhaps if your old one was damaged or needed an update). After you have removed the old wall with the pry bar, you will have to remove the existing drywall and install a backerboard.
Cultured marble shower walls are usually sold in sheets, so you will need to create a template. Place them on the wall where you'd like them, mark their edges and cut out pieces, leaving 1/8-inch gaps in every corner. Using a diamond saw blade, trim the pieces as needed, making allowances for the showerhead and valve.
Work carefully to ensure that the pieces fit together by marking everything with a pencil. Once you are satisfied, apply a layer of construction adhesive or silicone adhesive and carefully press each piece onto the wall. Brace the pieces onto the walls with long pieces of wood and allow 24 hours for them to set. Caulk the edges when finished and allow one more day for it to completely dry.