How to Build a Shower Stall from Scratch

Today homeowners choose to add shower stalls as an alternative to a bathtub. Of course, the popular unit fits well small spaces thus save money, area, and time. Plumbing skills are however needed to have a successful installation. Thankfully, most of the kits come with the manufacturer’s instructions to be followed and one can seek professional help if need be. Whether overhauling your bathroom or preparing for an addition to the home, there are vital steps to be followed. This article provides the necessary information to build a shower stall.

Requirements to Build a Shower Stall

  • Finishing trims
  • Cement adhesive
  • Wall tiles
  • Tile spacers
  • Flathead nails
  • Cement backboard
  • Grout
  • Joint tape
  • Sealer
  • Bath caulking gun
  • Wood screw
  • Chalk line
  • Hole saw
  • Grout float
  • Tile cutter
  • Taping and Utility knife
  • Square
  • Sponge
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Marker
  • Mixer
  • Paintbrush
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Chop saw
  • T-square
  • Bucket
  • Trowel
  1. Before Installation Accurately Measure

how to build a shower

The shower cubicle and framing need to be straight for the stall to properly fit. Check every corner to ensure the studs are leveled and aligned. This is the right time to make any necessary changes. For installation in old houses, confirm if the subfloor is also plumb.

If you must create another layer on the current one does not hesitate to achieve the best results. Mark where to place the drain hole and leave the work area completely clean. Determining the best location gives access to cold and hot water pipes. Before proceeding, be accurate enough with the measurements. This helps in deciding the design and size of the stall to be purchased. Failure to take on the dimensions leads to a mismatch or the unit may not pass through the entrance.

From there a quick internet search or visit to a plumbing or home upgrading store reveals the different types available in the market. Of course, there is a wide range of options so be keen on the included features to suit your needs. That said, the variations and differences between models impact the process of installation.

Take time and choose what you want ensuring the style works perfectly with the existing space. The unit must have high-quality accessories that are easy to install.

  1. Consult Instructions or Plumber

Thankfully, most stall units come with instructions. It works best if you consider consulting the manual before doing anything. Read the guidelines that accompany your shower kit or unit. Well, some manufacturers provide little information, but most include detailed instructions. You could find an explanation of the way the shower should be fitted in place. Even the ones that are not clarifying the process directly calls for you to follow the suggested and required basics for installation.

That way, you determine what is exactly recommended by the manufacturer. Nothing directs that the project cannot be a do it yourself process. If this is what you will be doing, ensure you are well prepared. It pays more if you consult or even hire a professional plumber. The more equipped you are with skills and tools, the better the entire process will be. This step is important because understanding what should be undertaken ensures that you get the best shower stall results.

  1. Prepare the working Area

After identifying the intended shower stall building area, clear and get the site ready. It is highly recommended to take out the floor coverings used in the bathroom and then have the unit directly installed on the floor base. During this time, identify a suitable position for putting the drain hole. Take the measurements of the select shower pan to decide the location and then cut a fitting hole on the floor.

In case the plumbing will be coming via a wall and not the basement area where the pipes are showing, be sure to tear some precise parts of the wall. Clearly, preparing the area should be among the first steps. Include the necessary flooring material and do whatever should get done before building the new shower stall. Doing everything ahead of time helps greatly.

  1. Start the Installation

With the base being in the right condition and level, all you need is to fasten the unit to the enclosing using non-corroding wooden screws. Following the design and style of the purchased stall, begin working from one end first. Snap the pieces tightly to the base of the floor, and then fasten it to the existing enclosing. The other parts will snap onto it, and it should be secured through screwing from the uncovered extensions.

If need be then constructing a frame that will support the entire stall. Keep in mind some kits call for you to build a construction to keep the shower pan in place or even balance the entire assembled unit. Often the units need to be fixed into place thus it is worthwhile to make the structures to enable you to work without worries. Some manufacturers recommend that you complete the frame structure after putting in place the shower stall. So read the guidelines carefully.

There are shower kits that are coupled with a specific frame to be used for holding up the stall on the sides. Yet again, go carefully through the manual that the unit came with before installing. That way, you will determine the right way to fit the shower stall into the bathroom.

Then install the shower pan by placing it on the concrete or subfloor above the drain hole using the right shower adhesive. Set up the first section using the glue on every edge and corner from the side which is not shiny. Measure the center of the mixing valve to direct you in piercing shower fixture holes. After sliding the unit in position, it is attached using screws.

  1. Install the Plumbing System

A shower stall that has a base needs the drain to be installed before setting the base. This is done by fastening the unit to the outlet hole to enable you to fix it rightly. Then fasten the valves to the enclosing using screws and channel to both hot and cold pipes. Connect this water pipe to the showerhead and screw the adapter to its framing. Always measure the showerhead and valve heights ensuring it matches any holes cut earlier in the stall.

When doing this ensure the main water system in the house is turned off. Use the old-style plumbing procedures and run hot and cold-water pipes to match with the unit’s holes. Attach the properly wound showerhead extension with a pipe wrench and seal tape. Connect the faucet handles and turn on the water supply to check for any leakages.

Secure and connect the drain line to the drain kit. This part must be properly sealed using putty and then tightly put in place to avoid future leakage. While this process sounds quite simple, the step is usually forgotten, particularly by novice installers.

Mount all the other shower panels to get a place to insert the fixtures in a similar way as the first piece got installed. Keeping in mind that the base plates will be accommodating the glass attachment, use the tape to bring all together as you drill and attach everything in place.

  1. Finishing Up the Stall

When the unit is already in place, it is good to seal the exposed extensions and the sections of the wall not covered by the stall. One common way homeowners handle this is by screwing the fiber cement sheet on the rivets and then cover it using a vinyl piece. Remember the whole enclosure is not entirely watertight. So, caulk around the joints and edges between pieces using silicone-based caulk.

The shower trims consist of the handles and arms. Both need a drop of caulk to fully seal the parts to the attachment. Place rubber pipes to guarantee that the whole enclosure becomes watertight. Finish the top part by the addition of upper plates on the new shower stall. Any other exposed framing should be covered to have a waterproof drywall. This is close to the end of the project, so consider applying the desired paint and texture.

Bring in your shower fixtures like the showerhead, control knobs, curtain and shower door. This should be done immediately all the adhesives and caulking used to get completely set up. Prevent future leaks on the showerhead using plumber’s tape. Ensure that there no drips before you start using the freshly built shower stall. Otherwise, moisture will penetrate the frame and damage walls and the shower flooring.

Always use moisture-resistant drywalls on the bath walls all round. This prevents mold and further water destruction. It is easy to identify if it is water-resistant by checking it has any color change.


Building both new and replacement shower stall from scratch is a laborious task. The unit is large, huge and heavy, particularly if working on it alone. However, with the right planning and tools, the process is usually less challenging for any homeowner.