How to Frame a Shower Stall
LESLIE: Rick in Delaware is on the line with a bathroom question. How can we help you with that project?
RICK: Yeah. I want to tear out my fiberglass shower and I’d like to rebuild it with this stone tile. And they say, from everything I’m reading, that the backer board is really important for the flooring of the tile.
RICK: But of course, I want to go up the wall with it about 6 or 7 feet. And so, I want to know how to frame out the walls. I mean I guess I need the backer board. Do I need plywood in back of that and where does the drywall come into play as far as where the tile – and at the top of the wall and the …?
TOM: Well, are you gutting this? We’re starting from scratch here, Rick?
RICK: Yeah, yeah. Pretty much.
TOM: OK. So when you frame in the walls, you apply that backer board right to the studs; you don’t have to put it over drywall. And then the drywall can start around that. So the area that’s going to be tiled is essentially covered with backer board first and then the tile is attached to that.
RICK: OK. Very good.
Now, is it possible to just spackle that backer board and make it look like drywall? Just paint over it for the top on it?
TOM: No, no. Why would you want – no. Why would you want to do that? No, you put backer board where the stone goes and you put drywall where the wall surface is.
RICK: Oh, OK. It just seems like at the top of the stone, there would be – where the drywall would start, it would stick out over the stone; it wouldn’t be a seamless …
TOM: No. You’re going to have a drywall – you’re going to have a stone edge and the drywall is going to be up to that. And you’ll probably cut the stone so it’s a fairly square line that the drywall would be attached to. And you’ll tape it right to that line, so to speak.
RICK: Oh, OK. So there – it’s like a flush meeting.
RICK: Gotcha, gotcha. OK.
One other quick question. On the drain, where I’ve got to slope things, how would I build up the tile so it slopes down towards the drain?
TOM: There’s a couple of ways to do that but one way to do it is with a mortar base. You form it with a mortar base so that the mortar’s thicker on the outside edge and then sort of leans down to the tile. You could also use a premade shower pan.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And tile over that.
TOM: And that might be the best thing to do because then everything sort of attaches, plumbing-wise, right to that shower pan. And you start your tile walls from the bottom up.
RICK: Ah, I like that. I like that.
TOM: Saves you a step, my friend.
RICK: Yeah. Very good. Well, hey, I appreciate it very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.