Build and Tile a Shower Stall
LESLIE: Amy in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
AMY: Yes, I wanted to find out – my husband and I have one of the ugly, one-piece shower inserts in our bathroom …
AMY: … and I wanted to find out could we do something more creative if we took that out, using the studs of the wall to try to make something unique; you know, so we can add like a little seat in there and make it like tile and do it ourselves.
TOM: Oh, absolutely. I mean it’s a big job. If you take that out the next thing you’re going to want to do is put in a shower pan and you would probably still use a fiberglass shower pan for that; although you could, you know, construct one out of wood, line it with fiberglass and cover it with tile.
LESLIE: But you can easily blend tile with the fiberglass shower pan. It’s still going to look nice.
TOM: Absolutely. But certainly you could build your own shower stall. You would do that simply by covering the studs with an underlayment material that’s designed to have tile installed on top of that.
LESLIE: Like a cement backer board?
TOM: Yeah, like a cement backer board, for example. Or you could do it the old-fashioned way where they actually did concrete on the walls; they called it mud walls. But certainly you could do that and then adhere the tile right to the walls.
AMY: And that’s something your average homeowner could do?
TOM: No. (laughs) I don’t think so.
LESLIE: I think so.
TOM: That’s a big job.
TOM: You know, if you’re real handy with tile and you don’t mind doing the demolition, sure you could do it but let’s look at the steps. First of all you have to disassemble the plumbing and get the old system out. You’ve got to disassemble the walls; get it all roughed out and ready to take the new shower pan. Put the new shower pan in. You’ve got to run the plumbing up the wall so it comes out where you need it. Then you have to put the cement backer board on everything. Then you have to tile it all. So I mean there’s a lot of steps involved. Now if you’re a pretty good do-it-yourselfer you could do it yourself but there’s a lot of jobs.
LESLIE: Or you could have a pro get it to the point where it’s ready for tile and if that helps you with costs at all, tiling is a fun project that’s manageable by the average homeowner and if you want to feel like you’re doing something, go for it.
AMY: Great. Well, if the tile’s not perfect that’s OK; it’s my fault, then.
TOM: That’s right. You can only blame yourself. (Tom and Amy chuckle)
LESLIE: You’ll do a great job.
TOM: Amy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.