How to Install a Shower Surround Over Existing Tiles

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Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • Sandpaper

  • Pry bar

  • Tile adhesive

  • Tape measure

  • Hacksaw

  • 4-foot level

  • Belt sander

  • Caulk gun

  • Cardboard

  • Utility knife

  • Jigsaw

  • 1-inch bit

  • Silicone caulk

Cover your shower tiles with a tub surround.

Tiles generally last for a long time; however, if they have not been properly maintained, they will begin to crack and grow mold, requiring their removal and replacement. Installing a tub surround over old shower tiles is one of the fastest ways to brighten up a bathroom. Purchase a tub surround kit, compatible with your existing tub, from your local home improvement store. These kits are not only easy to install, but they also look nice and seal the area behind them from water.

Step 1

Remove the faucet handle, face plate, spout and shower head. Typically, screws secure each of these items in place. Back out the screws with a Phillips head screwdriver and remove the items from the shower wall. Lay a drop cloth in the tub to protect its surface while you work.

Step 2

Scratch the tile with sandpaper to rough up the surface. This gives the tub surround sealant a stronger hold. As you sand the tiles, you may notice some loose ones. Remove them with a pry bar. Spread tile adhesive on the backside of any loose tiles then put them back into place.

Step 3

Measure the tub's height, from the baseboard molding's top edge to the tub's top edge. Transfer this measurement to the supplied apron-trim piece and cut it to length with a hacksaw. Measure the tub's width, transfer this measurement to another supplied apron-trim piece and cut it with the hacksaw. Peel off the apron-trim pieces' paper backing and stick one to the wall next to the tub and the other over the tub on the tile.

Step 4

Hold a 4-foot level over the vertical apron-trim piece next to the tub. Adjust the level so it is plumb. Draw a pencil line on the wall, using the level as a straightedge.

Step 5

Install the shower surround's back panel first. Lift it up to the wall, line up its outer edge with the pencil line you made in Step 4 and position it so it is plumb. File some of the panel's bottom edge off with a belt sander, if necessary, so it fits plumb on the wall and there are no large gaps between the panel's bottom edge and the tub's top edge.

Step 6

Flip the panel over. Insert the supplied sealant tube into a caulk gun. Apply a bead of sealant onto the panel, keeping it about 1 inch in from the foam tape around the perimeter. Peel the paper backing off of the foam tape on the back of the panel and position the panel over the tile. Rub your hand across the panel, up and down, to press it firmly against the tile.

Step 7

Test-fit the shower's side panel and sand away part of the bottom edge if necessary. Measure the length of the wall and divide by two. Place a mark on the tiles at this location. Measure the length of the panel and divide by two. Place a mark on the panel at this location. Repeat Step 6 and fit the panel in place on the tiles, lining up the two center marks.

Step 8

Cut a piece of cardboard to the same size as the front panel -- this is where all of the fixtures will originate. Measure the placement of each fixture on the wall and transfer these measurements to the cardboard. Use a utility knife to cut out each hole. Hold the cardboard template up to the tile shower wall to check that your measurements match up.

Step 9

Set the cardboard template onto the front panel. Trace the circular cutouts onto the panel. Cut out the tracings with a jigsaw and 1-inch bit. Double-check that the cutouts match the fixture placements.

Step 10

Apply beads of the supplied sealant to the back of the panel and around each cutout. Press the panel onto the tiles.

Step 11

Reinstall the face plate, faucet, spout and shower head back into place. Run a bead of silicone caulk along the corner and bottom seams where the panels meet each other and where the panels meet the tub's top edge. Smooth the caulk with a damp finger.


Elizabeth Knoll

Elizabeth Knoll has been writing full-time since 2008. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Her work appears on various websites. Knoll received a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Moraine Park Technical College.