11 Steps to Install a DIY Walk In Shower | How to Build a Walk In Shower

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Updating your existing shower to a DIY walk in shower? Or thinking of building a shower yourself? Re modelling your bathroom from scratch? Not sure how to install a shower? Look no further! Installing a new shower is part of remodeling and redesigning your bathroom and you can pick up more tips and trips in our guide to beautiful bathroom ideas. 

A DIY walk in shower can make your bathroom look larger and more modern. With a few steps, you may even be able to complete your DIY shower update yourself. Let's take a look at how you can add your own DIY walk in shower.

What Is a Walk-In Shower?

It can be helpful to first begin with the basics and identify what a DIY shower is. A DIY walk in shower is a separate unit from a bathtub. It usually has a glass door and a raised threshold to prevent water from escaping the bathroom. DIY walk in showers make bathrooms look more spacious, modern, and can be a practical addition. 

Step-By-Step on How to Build a Walk in Shower

You have decided that you want a walk-in DIY shower. Do you hire a professional or go it alone? How to install a walk in shower from scratch? If you think you have the skills, then this step-by-step DIY shower guide can help you install your walk-in shower. DIY projects such as these can be a lot of fun, but it is crucial to choose the right shower dimensions before you make any permanent changes.

Build a walk-in DIY shower with the following steps:

Step 1- Demolition and Measuring

Looking for adding shower to bathtub? we got you covered for that as well!  It is best to install the new DIY walk in shower in the same space where your bathtub or shower is. This usually means that you can keep the same plumbing, keeping the project affordable.

To begin installing your DIY shower, turn off the water and disconnect the fixtures. Then, begin pulling the drywall and tile out, and remove the bathtub if you have one. Take out the wall panels and shower door. You will also need to remove any screws, fixtures, and some drywall around the bathtub. Once you have cleared the space and gotten rid of the bathtub, you are ready to begin the walk in shower installation.

Before buying materials or a kit for the shower installation, take your bathroom's measurements. This includes determining the spacing and placement of each item. Decide if you will install the DIY shower with the existing pipes and drain, or if you will need to upgrade it to fit the new bathroom space.

If you always wanted to move around things like the showerhead location or fixtures, this is the time to do it. New bathroom accessories and remodeling walk in shower can make a big difference to your bathroom restyling.

The easiest way to upgrade your shower to a DIY shower is to install new fixtures over existing ones. While it is possible to install new fixtures in different locations, like on the ceiling, this may require professional service for when you are building a walk in shower.

Step 2- Choose the Right DIY Walk in Shower Kit

A walk in shower installation kit can provide you with the tools and materials you need and make things a lot simpler when you are building a walk in shower. Regardless of which shower installation kit you choose, you will need a showerhead, shower arm, hand-held shower, and faucets. Other items you need for building a walk in shower include a shower pan or tray, a shower curb, sealants or screws, a shower drain, and waterproofing materials.

Optional items for installing a walk in shower may include built-in soap dishes or shower walls. It is also possible to buy the materials separately. Additionally, if you are changing out the shower fixtures or remodeling walk in shower, you will want to get these ahead of time. You will find walk in shower installation much easier if you have everything you need right there.

You can even install a walk-in shower with no doors.

Step 3- Gather Your Tools

It can also be helpful to gather the tools you need ahead of time. The installation of the walk in shower will require you to cut, drill, glue, and dry. Decide ahead of time which tools you need before beginning the building a walk in shower.

Just a few items you may need include:

  • Utility knife
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Circular saw
  • Hole cutter
  • Power drill
  • Chalk line
  • Caulk and caulking gun
  • Screws
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Palette knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Sand mix
  • Thin-set mortar

You may also need cement board and tile, depending on if your DIY walk in shower includes an updated shower wall.

Credits: https://conictools.en.made-in-china.com/

Step 4- Install the Shower Floor

A lot of shower trays come pre-cut, so you can find one that fits your current drain hole or you can cut a hole in the floor yourself.

For shower head height, read our article by the experts.

If you choose to cut your own drain hole, you will need an Orientated Strand Board for your DIY shower. Be sure to measure and identify where the drain hole is so the new hole is in the right position. Then, drop the shower tray into the shower floor. Make sure the board lies flat before screwing plywood on top to form the base.

Then, add primer and sealant to the drain hole and push the drain into place to successfully install your DIY walk in shower.

Finally, tighten the nuts and apply pressure for a few seconds.

Step 5- Clean the Area

The next step in your walk in shower installation is cleaning the area. If any primer or sealant leaked from the floor, wipe it up. Leaving dried drops of primer or sealant on the bathroom floor can lead to the new walk in shower tray being uneven.

Then, sweep up any dust or debris near the drain cover of your walk in shower floor. A palette knife may also be useful for removing any excess materials. Place some heavy items on the floor and let them dry for at least one hour.

Step 6- Install the Shower Walls

The 6th step in how to make a walk in shower includes installing the shower walls. If you're using a DIY shower kit for installing a walk in shower, it will likely come with divets in the shower tray where you can place the walls. Depending on the shower DIY kit, you may or may not have to drill the walls into the right position. You may also have to install them on the wall studs. If you're installing new drywall, then you will need to screw them into the wall studs of your DIY walk in shower.

Before installing each wall, it can be helpful to measure and cut a hole for each DIY shower fixture. Plan for any accessories like a shower dish or your showerhead. Be sure to also measure for plumbing and accurately line up each of the holes in your DIY walk in shower.

Learn more about building a shower curb on our blog!

Step 7- Install the Shower Curb

Decide if you want a shower curb and how tall you want it off the floor. This is the small lip that separates the bathroom floor from the walk in shower. It prevents water from leaking into the bathroom.

Curbless designs for installing or remodeling walk in shower can be a little more difficult to put in place. However, they can give the space a more open and modern overall feel. If you prefer a curbless design for your DIY shower, you can raise or lower the shower pan to be even with the shower floor. You will also have to account for a drainage slope.

When installing a walk in shower, if you opt for a shower curb then you will need to choose a curb that meets your wall length dimensions. Use chalk to measure the line and adhere it to the shower floor with thin-set glue. Remove any excess thin-set sealant from the curb and check how easy it is to get in and out of the area. 

Shower pan
Credits: https://terrylove.com/

Step 8- Waterproof the Room

Step 8 for how to build a shower, you must begin waterproofing the room. Regardless of what type of walls you choose, you want them to be waterproof. Before adding tile to your DIY walk in shower, use a paintbrush to apply liquid waterproofing to the cement board.

You might also use waterproof tape on the corners to make the whole area waterproof in the DIY shower. Let it dry for a minimum of one hour.

Step 9- Add Fixtures

Next in line on how to build a walk in shower is adding fixtures! Add the shower fixtures to the existing plumbing and screw them tightly. You can install the same items or get rid of them and update them to create a new bathroom look when installing a DIY shower. Once installed, test that they work and that the water flows right in your walk in shower.

Step 10- Install the Tiles

Tiling comes in all different types and designs, allowing you to create a room look that you enjoy. It is also crucial for the aesthetic and design of your walk in shower installation.

Choose a tile design that matches the floor and overall design of the room as well as the DIY shower. Be sure to buy a thin set that is made for the size of tile you choose. You will need to measure and cut the tile to fit the area around the DIY walk in shower accessories. This includes the shower head and controls.

To achieve a seamless design for your DIY walk in shower, match the tiles to the other fixtures in the room like the sink or faucet. You may also install tile to a certain point in the DIY  shower, or from the floor to the ceiling.

Apply a thin-set to adhere the tile to the wall of your walk in shower. Then carefully place the tiles to create your intended design. If any thin-set seeps out of the tile, wipe it off with a wet cloth.

Step 11- Install the Glass Enclosure

Step 11 includes installing glass enclosure for your shower installation process. A glass piece completes the DIY walk in shower enclosure. It prevents water from leaking out on the floor and gives the bathroom a fresh and modern feel. Finally, turn the water supply back on and test the features, including the DIY shower head and drain, checking that everything is installed correctly. If there are any leaks in the drain or showerhead, you may be able to add more thin-set to secure them.

Credits: http://www.crl-arch.com

Shower Kits for DIY Walk in Shower: Are They Useful for Shower Installation?

If you are curious on how to install a shower, specifically a DIY walk in shower, then using a walk in shower kit may be extremely useful. 

Shower kits come with most of the materials you need to install a DIY walk in shower. Consider a few pros and cons of using a shower kit when building a walk in shower.

Here are a few pros of using a DIY shower kit:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Good for people that want easy access to the materials they need
  • Clear instructions

Here are a few cons of a DIY shower kit to consider:

  • Less control over design
  • Must choose a kit that fits your current walk in shower dimensions
  • Messier
  • It may not include all materials

Considerations Before Replacing Your Tub by Building a Walk in Shower

Before removing your bathtub and replacing it with a DIY walk in shower, it is a good idea to consider if it is right for you.

There are many pros to a DIY shower including a more modern feel and in some cases, a higher return on investment. Of course, there are also some considerations. If you have young children in the household, a bathtub may be more useful. You also want to account for resale value. Having at least one bathtub in the house is important to buyers.

But, if you have other shower systems in the household with a bathtub, then you might turn your unused bathtub into a DIY walk in shower.

How much does it cost for a walk in shower installation?

A lot goes into a walk in shower installation. If you choose to hire a professional, the project will cost more than if you do it yourself. In addition, DIY showers are fun projects and you can get the entire family to help out!

Other factors, such as the existing shower attached to a bathtub, will also affect the cost of installing a walk in shower. Building a walk in shower can range in price from $2,500- $15,000. The cost of the walk in shower installation kit can also make a difference in price, as well as other bathroom materials you might need.

Is building a walk in shower hard?

The level of difficulty of building a walk in shower will vary, depending on your comfort level and the current setup of your bathroom. Some DIY shower systems are easier to install, especially if you don't have to replace the shower tray or remove a bathtub.

With a little planning and a DIY shower kit, you can install your own shower. Changing out a few wall panels and removing the bathtub can give you the modern bathroom you desire. With a little more experience, you can even install new features or get your shower head and handheld to work at the same time for a luxury experience. 

Is it different to build a walk in shower from scratch rather than remodeling it?

Yes! To build a walk in shower from scratch requires proper new measurements, materials, etc. Whereas, remodeling walk in shower is essentially working with your existing materials without starting the measurement projects from scratch. Find out more about DIY and remodeling ideas in our guide to things to consider for the perfect bathroom layout plan.

Bottom Line: Installing a Walk In Shower Yourself 

Even though it can be difficult, installing a walk-in shower can be extremely rewarding. You can quickly construct your own beautiful and practical walk-in shower with the appropriate materials and installation knowledge. Installing the shower pan, adding tile, installing the shower fittings, adding waterproofing, caulking the joints, cleaning, and testing the shower for optimum performance and leak prevention are all steps in the process. You may design the ideal shower for your house using a DIY walk-in shower kit. If you're still unsure, talking to a pro might be a wonderful method to make sure your shower is fitted correctly and according to your exact requirements. You may build a practical and fashionable walk-in shower in your own home with the appropriate procedures and a little bit of patience.

FAQs about How to Install a Walk In Shower for DIYers

What materials do I need to build a DIY walk in shower?

You're going to need a shower pan, tile for the walls, a drain assembly & fittings, shower valve and trim kit, shower arm and head, and a waterproofing membrane.

How difficult is it to install a DIY walk in shower? 

Your design's complexity and level of expertise will determine how difficult the installation will be. Generally speaking, building a walk-in shower might be a difficult DIY project, but it is doable with the correct equipment, patience, and understanding.

What type of waterproofing is necessary for a walk in shower?

Any sort of shower installation requires the use of a waterproofing membrane. The membrane will aid in preventing water from penetrating the shower's walls and floors.

How do I determine the layout of my walk in shower?

The style of your shower and the size of your bathroom will both affect how it is laid out. Measure the available area before planning your layout if you're adding a shower to an existing bathroom.

What type of shower valve and trim kit should I use for my walk in shower?

Depending on the type of plumbing in your home and the kind of shower you're installing, you should utilize a certain shower valve and trim kit. For optimum performance and to avoid leaks, use the proper valve and trim set.

What type of maintenance do I need to do to my walk in shower?

You should routinely inspect your walk-in shower for any symptoms of water damage, such as mold and mildew, as well as any loose tiles or grout, to keep it in good working order. A soft cloth and a moderate detergent should also be used to clean the shower at least once a month.

How do I ensure my walk in shower is up to code?

You should check your area's building codes to be sure your walk-in shower complies with them. Additionally, to ensure that the installation complies with all necessary safety regulations, you should speak with a certified specialist.

What tools do I need to install a walk in shower?

Depending on how difficult the project is, you'll need different tools to build a walk-in shower, but in general you'll need a level, a hammer and chisel, a drill and bits, a wrench, a caulk gun, a putty knife, and other standard hand tools

Is it possible to build a walk in shower from scratch?

Yes, it's definitely possible to create a walk-in shower from scratch. Before trying such a project, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of both construction and plumbing.

What safety precautions should I take when installing a DIY walk in shower? 

For safety precautions when installing a DIY walk-in shower you should always put on safety glasses, work gloves, and other protective gear when building a walk-in shower. Before starting any project, you should also make sure the location is well-ventilated and switch off any water sources.

Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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