Custom Shower Bases - Part 3 of 3

Return to Step by Step Listings

Choosing a custom shower base gives you a myriad of options for the shape and size of your shower.

 

Difficulty Level:
Time to Complete:
Estimated Cost:
Continue to Step 1

Overview

Building a custom-tiled shower base lets you choose the shape and size of your shower rather than having its dimensions dictated by available products. Building the base is quite simple, though it does require time and some knowledge of basic masonry techniques because the base is formed primarily using mortar. What you get for your time and trouble can be spectacular.
Before designing a shower base, contact your local building department regarding code restrictions and to secure the necessary permits. Most codes require water controls to be accessible from outside the shower and describe acceptable door positions and operation. Requirements like these influence the size and position of the base.
Choosing the tile before finalizing the design lets you size the base to require mostly or only full tiles. Consider using small tile and gradate the color from top to bottom or in a sweep across the walls. Or, use trim tile and listellos on the walls to create an interesting focal point.
Whatever tile you choose, remember to seal the grout in your new shower and to maintain it carefully over the years. Water-resistant grout protects the structure of the shower and prolongs its useful life.

What You'll Need

Tools:

Tape measure
Circular saw
Hammer
Utility knife
Stapler
2-ft. level
Mortar mixing box
Trowel
Wood float
Felt-tip marker
Ratchet wrench
Expandable stopper
Drill
Tin snips
Torpedo level
Tools & materials for installing tile
2 x 4 and 2 x 10 framing lumber
Thinset mortar
16d galvanized common nails
15# building paper
3-piece shower drain
PVC primer & cement
Galvanized finish nails
Galvanized metal lath
Thick-bed floor mortar
Latex mortar additive
CPE waterproof membrane & preformed dam corners
CPE membrane solvent glue
CPE membrane sealant
Cementboard & materials
Utility knife
Straightedge

Materials:

Tape measure
Circular saw
Hammer
Utility knife
Stapler
2-ft. level
Mortar mixing box
Trowel
Wood float
Felt-tip marker
Ratchet wrench
Expandable stopper
Drill
Tin snips
Torpedo level
Tools & materials for installing tile
2 x 4 and 2 x 10 framing lumber
Thinset mortar
16d galvanized common nails
15# building paper
3-piece shower drain
PVC primer & cement
Galvanized finish nails
Galvanized metal lath
Thick-bed floor mortar
Latex mortar additive
CPE waterproof membrane & preformed dam corners
CPE membrane solvent glue
CPE membrane sealant
Cementboard & materials
Utility knife
Straightedge

 

Step 1

How to Build a Custom-tiled Shower Base

Install the tile. At the curb, cut the tiles for the inside to protrude 1 x 2" above the unfinished top of the curb, and the tiles for the outside to protrude 5 x 8" above the top, establishing a 1 x 8" slope so water drains back into the shower. Use a level to check the tops of the tiles for level as you work.


Step 2

How to Build a Custom-tiled Shower Base

Mix enough mortar to cover the unfinished top of the curb, then pack it in place between the tiles, using a trowel. Screed off the excess mortar flush with the tops of the side tiles. Allow the mortar to cure, then install bullnose cap tile. Install the wall tile, then grout, clean, and seal all the tile. After the grout has cured fully, run a bead of silicone caulk around all inside corners to create control joints.


Step 3

Design Suggestions

Textured surfaces improve the safety of tile floors, especially in wet areas such as this open shower. The shower area is designated effectively by a simple shift in color and size.


Step 4

Design Suggestions

The raised curb on this open shower keeps most of the water headed toward the drain. But no matter, the entire bathroom is tiled, so stray droplets are no problem.


Step 5

Design Suggestions

Mosaic tile, with its mesh backing and small shapes, often works well on curved walls such as the one that forms this shower. The rectangular shape of the individual mosaic tiles complements the shape of the post at the corner of the shower.


 
 

Comments

Before you can comment, please Sign Up or Log In

© Copyright 2014, BLACK+DECKER Inc. All rights reserved. "BLACK & DECKER","BLACK+DECKER", and the BLACK & DECKER and BLACK+DECKER logos and product names are either registered trade marks or trade marks of "The Black & Decker Corporation"

Forgot Password?

x