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how to remodel a bathroom shower

How to Remodel a Bathroom Shower: The Ultimate Guide

Are you dreaming of a bathroom shower that not only meets your functional needs but also adds a touch of style and elegance to your space? 

Remodeling a bathroom shower involves a careful balance of functionality, aesthetics, and practicality. Whether you’re looking to replace worn-out fixtures, upgrade to a larger shower space, or simply refresh the overall look, this guide will provide you with the information you need to get started. 

We’ll discuss key considerations, budgeting, hiring professionals versus DIY, and everything.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of the process involved in remodeling a bathroom shower. So, grab your notepad and let’s dive in!

Assessing Your Current Shower

This step will help you identify what aspects need improvement and guide you in planning for the remodeling process effectively. Here’s how to assess your current shower and determine the changes you want to make.

Assessing Current Shower

Evaluate the Condition and Functionality

Take a close look at your existing shower to assess its condition and functionality. Consider the following aspects:

Shower Enclosure: Examine the condition of the shower walls, doors, and frames. Look for any signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or mold.

Shower Base or Pan: Check the shower base or pan for any cracks, stains, or signs of deterioration. Ensure it provides proper drainage.

Plumbing: Assess the plumbing system that supplies water to the shower. Look for any leaks, low water pressure, or issues with temperature control.

Fixtures and Accessories: Evaluate the condition of shower fixtures such as faucets, showerheads, handles, and drains. Determine if they are outdated, worn-out, or not meeting your needs.

Space and Layout: Consider the size and layout of your current shower. Determine if it provides enough room for comfortable use and if it aligns with your preferences.

Planning and Design

Once you have assessed your current shower, it’s time to dive into the exciting phase of planning and designing your remodeled bathroom shower. This stage allows you to define your goals, gather inspiration, and create a well-thought-out plan. Here’s how to approach the planning and design process for your bathroom shower remodel.

Shower remodel Planning and Design

Define Your Goals and Objectives

Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve with your remodeled shower. Consider the following:

Functionality: Determine the specific functionalities you want your shower to have. Do you need additional storage space, seating, or enhanced water pressure?

Style and Aesthetics: Consider the overall style and atmosphere you want to create. Are you looking for a sleek and modern shower or a cozy and rustic feel?

Budget: Set a realistic budget for your remodel. This will help guide your decision-making process when selecting materials and fixtures.

Create a Detailed Plan

Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, it’s time to create a detailed plan for your remodeled shower. Consider the following aspects:

Layout and Space Optimization: Determine if any changes to the shower layout are necessary to maximize space utilization and functionality.

Materials Selection: Research and choose suitable materials for the shower walls, floors, and fixtures. Consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal.

Fixture Selection: Explore different options for showerheads, faucets, handles, and drains. Choose fixtures that align with your style preferences and provide the desired functionality.

Lighting: Plan for appropriate lighting fixtures that enhance the ambiance of your shower space. Consider both task lighting for functionality and mood lighting for a relaxing atmosphere.

Storage Solutions: Assess your storage needs and incorporate appropriate storage solutions within or near the shower area. This could include recessed niches, built-in shelves, or vanity cabinets.

Budgeting and Cost Estimation

Before diving into your bathroom shower remodel, it’s essential to establish a budget and have a clear understanding of the potential costs involved. Here’s how to approach budgeting and cost estimation for your bathroom shower remodel.

Determine Your Budget

Start by determining how much you are willing to invest in your bathroom shower remodel. Consider your financial situation and prioritize your spending based on what matters most to you. Keep in mind that a bathroom shower remodel can range from a modest update to a more extensive renovation, so establishing a budget will help guide your decisions.

Research and Gather Cost Estimates

Conduct thorough research to gather cost estimates for materials, fixtures, and professional services. Consider the following aspects:

Materials: Research the costs of various shower materials such as tiles, stone, glass, or acrylic. Take into account the quantity needed, quality, and any additional materials required for installation.

Fixtures and Accessories: Explore different options for showerheads, faucets, handles, and drains. Compare prices and consider the quality, style, and functionality of each fixture.

Professional Services: If you plan to hire professionals for aspects like plumbing, electrical work, or tiling, obtain quotes from reputable contractors. Ensure the estimates include labor costs, permits, and any potential additional expenses.

Miscellaneous Costs: Consider other expenses such as demolition, disposal of debris, tools or equipment rental, and potential unforeseen expenses that may arise during the remodel.

Hiring Professionals vs. DIY

When it comes to remodeling your bathroom shower, you have the option to either hire professionals or take on the project as a do-it-yourself (DIY) endeavor. Both approaches have their advantages and considerations. Let’s explore the pros and cons of hiring professionals versus DIY to help you make an informed decision.

Hiring Professionals

Hiring professionals for your bathroom shower remodel can offer several benefits:

Shower Remodeling Professionals

Expertise and Experience: Professionals bring knowledge and expertise to the table. They have experience in handling similar projects and can provide valuable insights, ensuring high-quality workmanship and efficient execution.

Time Savings: Remodeling a bathroom shower requires careful planning, coordination, and execution. By hiring professionals, you can save time and effort, as they will handle the entire process, from design and material selection to construction and installation.

Access to Networks and Resources: Professionals have established networks and access to quality materials, fixtures, and resources. They can guide you in selecting the right products and materials within your budget and ensure a smooth procurement process.

Warranty and Guarantees: Reputable professionals often provide warranties and guarantees on their work. This offers peace of mind, knowing that any issues or concerns that may arise post-installation will be addressed by the experts.

However, hiring professionals also comes with some considerations:

Cost: Hiring professionals for your bathroom shower remodel can be more expensive than a DIY approach. You’ll need to allocate a portion of your budget for their services, including labor costs and potential markups on materials.

Scheduling and Availability: Professionals may have other projects or commitments, which can impact their availability. It’s essential to discuss timelines and ensure they can accommodate your project within your desired timeframe.

DIY Approach

Taking on a bathroom shower remodel as a DIY project can offer certain advantages:

Cost Savings: DIY allows you to save money on labor costs, as you’ll be handling the work yourself. You have more control over the budget and can allocate funds to materials and fixtures of your choice.

Flexibility and Control: With a DIY approach, you have full control over the design, materials, and execution of your bathroom shower remodel. You can work at your own pace and make adjustments as you see fit.

Learning Opportunity: Embarking on a DIY project provides an opportunity to learn new skills and gain hands-on experience. It can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to showcase your creativity and craftsmanship.

However, there are factors to consider when opting for a DIY approach:

Skill Level and Time Commitment: Assess your skill level and available time before deciding to go the DIY route. Bathroom shower remodels require expertise in areas such as plumbing, tiling, and electrical work. If you lack experience, extensive research, learning, and practice may be necessary.

Potential Errors and Delays: DIY projects can be prone to mistakes, especially if you’re new to remodeling. Errors may lead to additional costs and delays, as you may need to correct or redo work that doesn’t meet the desired standards.

Safety Considerations: Working with plumbing and electrical components can pose safety risks. Ensure you have the necessary knowledge and take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and your home.

In order to create a stunning shower stall that exudes elegance and durability, considering a tile remodel is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for detailed guidance on how to embark on this transformative journey, you’ll find my previous blog post on How to Remodel a Shower Stall with Tile to be an invaluable resource.

Demolition and Preparation

This stage sets the foundation for a successful remodel and ensures a smooth transition from your old shower to the new design. Here’s how to approach the demolition and preparation phase for your bathroom shower remodel.

Demolition and Preparation

Gather the Necessary Tools and Supplies

To effectively demolish your old shower and prepare for the remodel, gather the following tools and supplies:

Safety Gear: Prioritize your safety by wearing protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a dust mask.

Tools: Common tools required for demolition include a hammer, pry bar, reciprocating saw, utility knife, screwdriver, and a crowbar. Additionally, have a container or trash bags for debris removal.

Drop Cloths or Tarps: Protect the surrounding area by placing drop cloths or tarps on the floor and over any fixtures or furniture you want to safeguard.

Shut Off the Water and Disconnect Utilities

Before starting the demolition, ensure you shut off the water supply to your bathroom. Locate the main water valve and turn it off. It’s also essential to disconnect any utilities, such as electricity, to ensure safety during the process.

Remove Fixtures and Accessories

Begin by removing any fixtures and accessories from your existing shower. This includes items such as showerheads, faucets, handles, soap dishes, shelves, and shower doors. Use appropriate tools to disconnect and remove them carefully.

Demolish the Existing Shower

Now it’s time to demolish the existing shower. Follow these steps:

  • Start by removing any tile or wall coverings. Use a hammer, pry bar, or reciprocating saw to carefully break and remove the tiles or other materials.
  • Next, remove the shower pan or base. Depending on the type of shower you have, this may involve unscrewing or cutting the base to remove it.
  • If necessary, remove any drywall, backer board, or cement board from the shower walls. Use caution to avoid damaging the surrounding walls or other structures.
  • Dispose of the debris properly. Place it in a designated container or trash bags for easy removal.

Prepare the Substrate and Framing

With the old shower removed, assess the substrate and framing to ensure they are in good condition. Make any necessary repairs, such as replacing damaged or rotting wood, reinforcing the framing, or addressing any plumbing or electrical issues.

Clean and Prep the Area

Thoroughly clean the space once the demolition is complete. Remove any remaining debris, dust, or residue from the walls, floor, and surrounding areas. This will provide a clean canvas for the installation of your new shower.

Measure and Plan for Installation

Take accurate measurements of the shower area, including the walls and floor. Use these measurements to plan the installation of your new shower components, such as the shower pan, walls, and fixtures. Create a detailed layout and mark any necessary cutouts or adjustments.

Choosing Materials and Fixtures

The choices you make will impact the functionality, aesthetics, and durability of your new shower. Here’s a guide to help you choose the best materials and fixtures for your bathroom shower remodel.

Choosing Materials and Fixtures

Shower Walls and Floors

The materials you choose for the shower walls and floors should be durable, water-resistant, and visually appealing. Consider the following options:

Tiles: Tiles are a popular choice for shower walls and floors due to their durability and versatility. Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tiles are commonly used. Ensure the tiles have a low water absorption rate and are suitable for wet environments.

Glass: Glass panels can create a sleek and modern look for your shower enclosure. They allow light to pass through, making the space feel more open. Tempered or safety glass is recommended for its strength and resistance to shattering.

Acrylic or Fiberglass: These materials are cost-effective and relatively easy to install. They are available in various designs and colors, offering flexibility in achieving your desired aesthetic. However, they may be less durable compared to tiles or glass.

Shower Fixtures

The fixtures you choose will greatly impact your showering experience. Consider the following options:

Showerheads: Choose a showerhead that provides the desired water flow and spray pattern. Options include traditional fixed showerheads, handheld showerheads, rain showerheads, or combination systems. Look for water-saving features to conserve water and reduce utility bills.

Faucets and Controls: Select faucets and controls that match the overall style of your bathroom. Opt for high-quality fixtures with durable finishes that resist corrosion and tarnishing. Consider features like thermostatic or pressure-balancing valves for safety and comfort.

Shower Drains: While often overlooked, the shower drain plays an essential role in proper drainage and preventing clogs. Choose a drain that complements your shower design and provides efficient water flow. Consider options with removable covers for easy cleaning.

Accessories and Storage

Enhance the functionality and organization of your shower by incorporating suitable accessories and storage solutions. Consider the following:

Shower Shelves or Niches: Install shelves or niches within your shower area to conveniently store toiletries and bathing essentials.

Grab Bars: Ensure safety in your shower by installing sturdy grab bars, especially if accessibility is a concern. Choose bars that blend seamlessly with your shower design.

Towel Bars and Hooks: Add towel bars or hooks near your shower area for easy access to towels and robes.

Installation and Construction

Once you have planned, prepared, and chosen the materials and fixtures for your bathroom shower remodel, it’s time to move on to the installation and construction phase. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Shower Installation and Construction

Start with the Shower Base or Pan

If you’re installing a new shower base or pan, start by positioning it correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure it is level and properly supported. Use mortar or a suitable adhesive to secure the base in place, following the recommended curing time before proceeding.

Install the Shower Walls

Depending on your chosen materials (such as tiles, glass panels, or acrylic panels), follow the appropriate installation method. Apply adhesive or mortar to the walls, carefully align the materials, and secure them in place. Pay attention to proper spacing, use tile spacers if necessary, and ensure the walls are plumb and level.

Plumbing and Electrical Connections

If you made changes to the plumbing or electrical systems during the demolition phase, now is the time to connect the new fixtures and make the necessary connections. This includes attaching the showerhead, faucets, valves, and any electrical components such as lighting or ventilation fans. If you’re not experienced with plumbing or electrical work, consult professionals to ensure proper installation and safety.

Waterproofing and Sealing

Waterproofing is a crucial step in ensuring a durable and leak-free shower. Apply a waterproofing membrane or sealant to the shower walls, floors, and joints, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Pay close attention to areas prone to moisture, such as corners, seams, and transitions. Allow adequate drying or curing time before proceeding.

Grouting and Caulking

If you’re using tiles for your shower walls or floors, apply grout to the tile joints once the waterproofing is complete. Choose a grout color that complements your design and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and application. After grouting, allow the grout to cure before applying a waterproof silicone caulk to the corners, edges, and joints to prevent water penetration.

Finishing Touches

Complete the installation by adding the finishing touches that enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your shower. This may include installing accessories such as shelves, towel bars, or grab bars. Ensure they are securely attached and aligned with your design plan.

Final Inspection

Once the installation is complete, conduct a thorough inspection of the shower and its components. Check for any visible issues, such as loose fixtures, gaps in the grout or caulk, or improper drainage. Make any necessary adjustments or corrections before moving forward.

Finishing Touches and Finalization

As you near the completion of your bathroom shower remodel, it’s time to focus on the finishing touches and finalization. Follow these steps to bring your project to a satisfying conclusion.

completion of bathroom shower remodel

Install Shower Fixtures and Accessories

Complete the installation of any remaining shower fixtures and accessories. This includes attaching the showerhead, faucets, controls, and other hardware. Place shelves, hooks, or towel bars in convenient locations to accommodate your needs. Ensure that all fixtures are secure and aligned properly.

Install Shower Enclosure or Door

If you have opted for a shower enclosure or door, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation. Take precise measurements, ensuring a proper fit and alignment. Pay attention to sealing and waterproofing details to prevent leaks.

Test and Adjust

Before fully utilizing your new shower, perform a series of tests to ensure everything is functioning correctly. Turn on the water and check for any leaks, drips, or water pressure issues. Adjust the temperature controls and ensure they are working as desired. Make any necessary adjustments or repairs before proceeding.

Clean and Polish

Give your entire shower a final clean and polish. Use appropriate cleaners to remove any residues and ensure a pristine appearance. Pay attention to the materials you have chosen and follow specific cleaning instructions to maintain their quality and longevity.

Regular Maintenance

To prolong the life and beauty of your remodeled shower, establish a regular maintenance routine. Clean the shower regularly, following the recommended cleaning methods for the specific materials and fixtures. Address any issues promptly to prevent minor problems from escalating into major repairs.


Remodeling a bathroom shower may seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning, budgeting, and the right materials, you can achieve remarkable results. Regular maintenance and care will help preserve the beauty and functionality of your shower for years to come.

Enjoy your new bathroom shower, and embrace the improved comfort and aesthetic appeal it brings to your home. Don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance when needed, and remember to follow proper maintenance practices to keep your shower in excellent condition.