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How to Install a Shower Surround and Floor Tile in a Bathroom

A bathroom gets a striking soft contemporary makeover with a shower surround installation and new floor tiles.

More in Bathroom

outdated bathroom renovated in contemporary style

Step 1: Install the Base

The homeowners chose a shower system with a built-in body, and that has five major components involved in putting it together. The installation is similar to other systems. The first step is to install the shower base that comes with the glass enclosure system.

Step 2: Drill the Holes

The water supply flows in the pipes inside the base. Water from the base flows up to the four body jets built into the doorposts. Using a hammer drill with a quarter inch masonry bit, drill holes for the glass support brackets in the wall, then tap in the plastic anchors.

tap in plastic anchors

Step 3: Attach the Flex Hose

While someone holds the doorpost, attach the flex hose in the shower post to the fitting in the shower base using a wrench (Image 1) -- being careful not to over tighten. Temporarily stand the post in place, using the cam locking system at the base to lock it into the fitting.

To handle it safely, attach a heavy-duty suction cup (Image 2) to the first glass panel and use it to lift the panel into place.

Note: Heavy-duty suction cups can hold up to 600 pounds and can be rented from your local rental center.

Step 4: Install the Glass Panel

Carefully slide the glass panel into the channel in the doorpost which is lined with a silicone glazing strip. Once the glass is in position, gently turn the door post until you hear the cam at the base lock into place.

Place small nylon shims under the glass to hold it temporarily in place.

Repeat the entire process for the glass panel on the other side.

installing glass panel

Step 5: Attach the Rod

With hex-head bolts and a wrench, attach a curved rod to the top of both posts, spanning the door opening. Attach a short tie rod to each post on top of the glass panel in the same way, but don't anchor it to the wall quite yet.

attach short tie rod to top of each post

Step 6: Attach the Wall Brackets

Use a level to check for plumb on the post, then make a mark on the wall where the bracket will attach.

Drill holes on the mark, and screw the bracket into the hole. Slide the bracket cover down.

Attach the wall brackets to the glass panel to hold it in place.

Step 7: Install the Door

The door hinges are in two pieces. After removing the hinge cover plate, center the hole in the door on the bushing in the hinge. Replace the cover plate and tighten the assembly with a hex bolt. There is room to adjust the tilt of the door if it doesn't close properly.

Note: The glass for shower doors is normally made of tempered safety glass. You have to work very hard to crack it under normal circumstances, but if it does crack, it breaks into tiny pieces that will not hurt you.

Step 8: Prepare for Laying the Tile by Testing the Layout

Next comes the flooring. Usually when tiling floors, you have to put down a cement board and a thinset. The homeowners chose a tile floor that is already attached to a high density fiber board backer. It has two tiles on the board and that makes installation faster, and it has a tongue and groove tiling system that you just snap together.

To smooth out the sub-floor, apply skim coat, let it dry and then sand or scrape smooth.

Start by testing the layout on the first section of the room.

Step 9: Roll Out the Underlayment

Before laying the tile, roll out a foam underlayment, silver side down. It acts as a moisture and radiant barrier, keeping the sub-floor dry and the tile warm.

Use cellophane tape to attach the underlayment to the sub-floor and to hold the pieces together. The foam also helps cushion the tiles.

Step 10: Apply the Tiles

Measure, mark and cut the tiles to fit the room.

Stagger the tiles as you go so the edges will lock together more effectively. The tiles can slide around, which makes life easier. The job goes pretty fast.

Step 11: Apply the Grout

The grout came with the tile flooring and it is in a pressurized can. Squeeze the grout out of the pressurized can into the tile joints (Image 1). A little excess in the joints is OK.

Hold the float at a 45-degree angle and smooth it over the grout (Image 2). Spread any excess into any open spaces in the joints.

Squeeze the water out of the sponge, then use the soft side to wipe excess grout off the tiles before it dries. It is difficult to get the grout off once it dries, so try to get it all off with the wet sponge.

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Resources

  • Custom shower system (model: Round Corner Custom Shower 44 x 44/color: Cement/ base: Biscuit); shower door (Satin Nickel) from Oben USA Inc.

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