Installing a Sterling shower base requires some advanced skills in carpentry and plumbing. This one-piece shower floor unit installs in the showering area flush against the wall framing and sub floor. It is designed to drain water from the shower and is angled to funnel water towards a single drain hole.
In order to drain properly, the shower base has to rest on a level surface, so preparation and leveling of the subfloor are essential precursors to the actual installation of the shower base. If the floor is stable and level, the shower base needs no other support than the nails holding it to the studs, but if the floor is not level, it's best to set the base in a mortar bed, just as you would a bathtub.
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How to Install a Sterling Shower Base
Step 1: Remove the Existing Shower
Remove the existing shower walls, then remove the drywall off the sides of the walls by cutting it into sections with a drywall saw and prying off the sections. Strip the entire shower area down to the framing. You don't have to be particularly careful about this, but you do have to be careful when cutting through the drywall not to poke your drywall saw too deeply, or you could pierce one of the plumbing pipes behind the wall. Clean the entire area with a push broom and remove all waste.
Step 2: Install the Shower Drain in the Base
Install the shower base drain assembly by inserting the top half of the drain into the drain hole so the threaded end points through the bottom of the base. Slide the gaskets around the bottom of the drain and thread the lower half of the drain onto the unit. Tighten the two halves to secure the drain, using tongue-and-groove pliers.
Step 3: Level the Shower Base
Cut a hole in the subfloor for the drain and dry fit the Sterling shower base into the installation area. If the area is not a plywood floor, install the supplied mounting pad in the showering area first. Press the shower base up against the framing walls. Check every side of the shower base with a level. Place shims under the shower base wherever the base is not level. It's best to use plastic shims, because wooden ones will rot if they get wet.
Step 4: Lay a Mortar Bed (Optional)
Remove the shower base and install a mortar bed, if necessary. If the base is not level and cannot be leveled using shims, mortar is recommended. Mix mortar in a 5-gallon bucket. Install a dam inside the drain hole. Spread mortar over the installation area with a trowel.
Step 5: Nail the Base to the Wall Studs
Remove the drain dam and place the shower base into the installation area. Press the base into position with the sides flush to the framing walls. Level the base with a carpenter's level. Once level, nail roofer's nails to the studs directly on top of the shower base lip to hold the base. Mount the shower base fasteners to the stud framing to secure the shower base in place.
Step 6: Install Cement Board on the Walls
Install the cement board on the framing walls with drywall screws and a power screwdriver, overlapping the shower base lip. Seal the seams between the shower base and cement board with silicone sealant.