Building a walk-in shower starts with removing the original shower. Next, you need to check the screed and pour new screed if necessary. Prepare the floor with a slight slope to ensure good drainage.
You can find showers in all types and sizes — a classic bathtub with a plastic shower enclosure, a shower cubicle, or a walk-in shower. The walk-in shower or “la douche à l’italienne” has been on the rise in recent years and is gaining popularity worldwide. Clearly, there is a good reason for this. Not only are they spacious, but they also do not take up much space, look good, are very accessible, and easy to clean.
Additionally, a walk-in shower looks more modern than, for example, a classic bathtub with a shower enclosure. The openness and the thoroughly thought-out design ensure that this type of shower always matches the rest of the house’s structure and theme. No doors, no steps, or no bath to step into means that you also have extra space to take a shower. Follow the seven steps below to build a walk-in shower in your bathroom.
Step 1: Demolish the existing shower
Before you can start installing the walk-in shower, you must first, of course, demolish and remove the existing shower and tiles. After turning off the water supply and disconnecting the water fixtures, all it takes is a stone chisel, hammer, crowbar, and a fair amount of force in your arms to loosen the original tiles and shower base.
Step 2: Placing the drainage system
Preparing the pipes and drainage is not a difficult task in this case. We will assume that the pipes for the shower and the drain pipes will remain in the same place as with the previous construction. The biggest difference here is the choice between a walk-in shower with a shower base or a walk-in shower with tiles. If you choose a shower with a base, carefully measure the position of the drain of your shower base to match it. In our case, we will opt for a walk-in shower with tiles.
Step 3: Mixing screed
If the existing screed is still in good condition, you can build it. If this is not the case, then you must replace the screed with a new layer. Before you start applying the screed, it is crucial that the surface is dust-free and the pipes are well covered. Mix 1/4 cement and 3/4 sand and then add water until it forms a good knit. The amount of water depends on the sand. When the screed is ready, you can pour the slurry on the area where you will place the shower.
Step 4: Casting screed
When casting screed, you must make sure to pour it only where it is needed. Therefore, use a wooden frame or some beams to ensure that the screed does not end up in the wrong places. When installing a walk-in shower with tiles, the tiles must lead to the drain from all directions, so use a spirit level to make sure the surface is slightly sloping. Water will always remain on a flat surface. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure the surface has a slope.
Step 5: Placing tiles
Cut the tiles to size with a tile cutter and place them on the screed. Start in the corner and then work your way to the ends. Spread a thin layer of tile adhesive with a glue spreader and place joint crosses to ensure that the joints are the same width throughout. Now, you can lay the new floor tiles. Make sure that the slope is steep enough for the water to run down to the shower drain. A slope of 2 centimeters per meter is the minimum. Keep space free to easily place the shower drain on the floor at the end.
Step 6: Grouting tiles
Leave to dry for 24 hours and then spread the grout into the joints. Clean the tiles with a wet sponge. Make sure that you do not spread the grout out of the joints again. The last bit of grout is best removed when it is almost, but not completely hardened. Clean the sponge regularly with water to avoid dirtying the tiles over and over again. Once you have grouted all the tiles, seal the corners and edges with a caulking gun for a sturdy water barrier.
Step 7: Install the tap and shower channel
Now, all that’s left is to place the tap, shower knob, and shower drain. Read our article titled “Installing a mixer tap” to learn how to install the shower tap. The shower channel can easily be connected to the drain. As for the tiles finishing, you can finish the corners and edges with a caulking gun so that no water runs down outside of the shower drain.