Tag Archives: replacing a shower stall

(Door) size matters

Skill level skill3

Forget Masters and Johnson or Dr. Ruth. Where size really matters is shower doors.

With the basin for our new shower glued down just as nice as you please (see “Basin or Mason“), we turned our attention to walls and doors. The walls were going to be covered with 1” glass tiles.

12" x 12" sheet of glass tiles for the shower
12″ x 12″ sheet of glass tiles for the shower

My ever-loving wife, “Jenny Mae” (not her real name), wanted frameless glass doors because they look the best, which they do. It turns out you can get them either “exact fit” or with side pieces that can adjust an inch or so wider or narrower. The side pieces kind of clutter up the clean look so we opted for the exact fit.

Measure twice (OK, about 10 times) and order once

Frameless DreamLine shower door
That’s a fine looking shower door right there, I don’t care who you are, that’s a fine looking shower door.

The pressure was on this Math major to measure the door opening precisely. The rough opening was 60″. The tiles are glued on sheets of 1/2″ thick Hardibacker, which is like cement backer board but a whole lot lighter and easier to work with. Two sides make it 1″. Subtract that from 60″ and we should order doors 59″ wide. Done.  

The fur starts to fly

The next step is to get the walls ready for the tile. But before you screw the 1/2″ backer board to the studs, the instructions said to put 1/4″ furring strips on the studs to keep the backer board inside the little walls of the shower pan. For those of you animal rights activists, furring strips are strips of wood not whatever else you might be thinking.  Continue reading (Door) size matters

Basin or mason

Skill level skill3

After defeating the fiberglass dragon (see “Ripping out a fiberglass shower“), it was time to select a shower basin for the new glass tile shower. Showers tend to spray water everywhere and the shower basin has to collect all of that water running down the walls and funnel it into the drain.

Masons get paid to play with mud

The old-school way to do a shower floor is to “mud” it, which means you get a big pile of mortar and shape it with a trowel so that the water will run downhill from any direction into the drain. Let’s just say it requires some skills that we don’t possess (and aren’t interested in acquiring).

Order a basin to go

Back in Manhattan “The Little Apple,” Kansas, my ever-loving wife, “Penelope” (not her real name), and I had built a master bedroom suite with a marble tile shower.  We found a place where we could order a cultured marble shower basin and I described the dimensions to the salesman over the phone because it was a couple of years B.E. (Before Email). It came in a big, heavy crate.

Cultured marble shower basin
Cultured marble shower basin

It fit perfectly and worked well but it was pretty expensive. Did I mention it was really heavy?

This time around we were looking for something lighter and less expensive. That’s in addition to it being water-tight, except of course for that big hole in the middle for the drain. Continue reading Basin or mason

Ripping out a fiberglass shower

Skill level skill2

My name is Gary and I’m a fix-aholic. I can’t stop fixing things. My motto is “Make everything better.” My ever-loving wife, “Trudy” (not her real name), also has a motto: “Find things for Gary to make better.”

Our master bathroom had one of those prefab fiberglass shower stalls that Trudy thought could be made better.

The curved walls and molded-in seat made it pretty cramped.showerstall

Trudy said if you hit your elbows on the walls when you are washing your hair the shower is too small.

So we decided to replace the fiberglass shower stall in our master bathroom with tiled walls and glass doors. While we were at it, we could make the shower itself a little larger because the stall wasn’t as big as the space it was in. In other words, there was room to grow the shower without moving any of the walls in the bathroom.

So I disassembled the shower doors from the stall by unscrewing the sometimes stubborn screws. When you take things like this apart you see just how full of gunk and grime they are. I’ll spare you the details.

That turned out to be the only easy part of taking the old shower out. Continue reading Ripping out a fiberglass shower