How do I install a fiberglass shower enclosure?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 29, 2012 ~ No Comments

I already have the shower walls up, but am not sure if they're even right. Don't you have to leave room for Sheetrock? I need help bad!

David G. - Shalimar, FL

Jeffrey Anderson

David, since you mention that you already have the walls up, I'm assuming that you have a four piece shower enclosure. The first step is to set the shower pan in place and ensure the existing drain location matches the new shower. If it doesn't, you may have to do a little plumbing work prior to installing the new enclosure. In fact, it may be a good idea to hire a plumbing contractor if you have this situation.

However, if the drain lines up, you can make the connection and secure the pan to the surrounding framing members. This is done by nailing or screwing through the flange on the sides and rear of the pan. Most manufacturers recommend using fasteners that resist damage from moisture. Prior to securing the pan and connecting the drain, check to make sure it's level and doesn't rock. You may need to use wood shims and some construction adhesive for minor adjustments.

The fiberglass shower enclosure walls fit tight up against the framing members that form the niche where the unit will sit. The wall panels butt up against each other at the sides - the connection method varies by manufacturer. Each panel is secured to the framing members at the top using the same type of fasteners that were used to hold the pan in place.

I like to put horizontal blocking between the vertical framing members where the top flanges of the fiberglass wall panels are located. It isn't necessary for fastening the panels securely, but it provides a little extra support for the wall board that will be installed later.

The wall panel where the shower diverter will be located may need to be cut out with a hole saw to allow the hook-up. This again is a task where it might be a good idea to hire a plumbing contractor. If you aren't familiar with using a hole saw, the fiberglass could be damaged. An incorrect connection could also result in a leak.

The wall board installed above the fiberglass wall panels should fit down over the flange at the top of each section. Depending on the style of the enclosure, you may need to use a vinyl stop bead to cover the exposed edge of the wall board.

Do not use regular sheetrock above the shower as the moisture could damage it very quickly. A sheetrock or cement board specifically designed for wet areas is recommended. If my directions for the enclosure installation vary at all from those included by the manufacturer, follow those of the manufacturer to avoid invalidating the warranty.

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