How to Build a Shower Enclosure

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Things You'll Need

  • PVC shower pan liner

  • 2x4s

  • Screws

  • Backerboard and screws

  • Cement and trowel

  • Adjustable drain assembly

  • Tile thinset

  • 2 60-pound Bags concrete

  • Tile- floor and wall

  • Grout

  • Sponge

  • Silicone adhesive caulk


Take your time and do it right. Measure twice and cut once.

Build a Shower Enclosure

Remodeling in the bathroom always tends to be a challenge as it is a room we need to use several times a day and it is usually a big inconvenience to have the bathroom torn apart. However, it becomes a necessity and must be faced. Building a shower enclosure is a way to free up some space in a bathroom where there was a bathtub. Building a shower enclosure is not impossible as long as you can follow instructions and are somewhat handy with woodworking.

Step 1

Measure out the floor space of how big of a shower you would like to have. It is nice to have at least two walls to work against, but not necessary. Screw 2x4s laying flat into the floor where your wall or walls will be. Make sure you do not position the plumbing wall over a support beam or you will have trouble drilling holes for the pipes later. Screw studs into place framing out the wall from floor to ceiling.

Step 2

In the front threshold of the shower, lay three 2x4s flat on top of each other and screw down. Around the base of the shower area box in the other three walls between the studs with lumber so you have an enclosure ready for waterproofing.

Step 3

Lay down the PVC liner or CPE liner--whatever you choose, making sure you have enough to come up at least six inches on each side. Staple the backside to the wall just along the upper edge. Follow the directions on the liner packaging for detailed instructions.

Step 4

Mark the drain assembly bolts and cut small openings to allow them to pass through the membrane. Screw the top of the drain assembly back on and cut the membrane drain opening, making sure to caulk with the silicone around the top of the bottom drain assembly. Continue folding and securing the membrane around the other walls, being very careful not to puncture it.

Step 5

Place pea sized gravel around the drain assembly to keep the weep holes open and then lay the concrete. You will need about 1/4 inch of slope for every foot of space toward the drain and the concrete should be at least 3/4 inch thick for strength. Take the time to make sure every side is sloped toward the drain without getting it into the threads or weep holes. Smooth as much as possible. Cover the top of the drain with duct tape to keep debris from dropping into the drain. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 6

Apply backer board to the walls, making sure not to puncture the membrane in the watertight area and leaving at least an inch of space up from the floor. Apply at least 72 inches high or to the ceiling. Drill holes where your plumbing pipes will come into the area. Do the necessary plumbing.

Step 7

Starting with the floor, apply thinset and lay the tile. Make sure you have the plumbing pipes coming into the shower area before you tile. Follow detailed instructions for laying tile.

Heide Braley

Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.