Blog Post

Today we’re continuing the bathroom remodel. If you missed the demo from last week’s video, go check that out before watching this one. This time, I’ll be preparing the shower for tile, minus the water-proofing.

We decided that our shower would have a shelf, or shower nook. It’s a little more work but adds a custom look and is very functional to store soaps and shampoos. I measured out where I wanted it to sit and drew some level lines to the neighboring studs.

Over at the miter saw I cut up all the 2×4’s to length. I cut 2 jack studs for the bottom, 2 for the top side, and the two plates.

This is the basic shape of how they would sit. I nailed and screwed the upper and lower jack studs, as well as the cross plates.

I was careful to make sure the lower shelf was not level, but sloped down towards the shower. This reduces the risk of water leaking in through the nook. You can see the bubble shows the slope.

Now I’m checking to make sure the studs are in the same plane. If one stud is sticking out, it can be planed down, and if one is sunken in deeper than the rest, a secondary stud can be screwed to it that is in line with the rest. In my case, they were all flat.

I added some 2×8 blocking between the bottoms of the studs. This not only strengthens up the framing, but gives structure to secure the pan liner to. It will also act as a mold for pouring the shower pan later. The blocks should be flush with the outside edge of the studs.

I determined the placement for the shower curb and made sure it was square to the walls. I marked the location with a pencil and then applied a heavy bead of construction adhesive. I smashed it down and then re-aligned it to the walls, then screwed it down with some 3 inch deck screws. I checked for level to make sure I didn’t have to shim the curb. I repeated the same process for the second and third 2×4’s.

The old shower head was too low. I ball-parked the new location and marked it with a pencil. I measured the support length and after cutting it, screwed it in place.

It was time to replace the shower valve. I shut off the water to the house and opened the lowest water spigot outside to drain the system. There was still some water in the shower valve and pipes, so I drained those out.

I removed the nails holding the head pipe to its support.

Now I needed to remove the valve completely. I used a small pipe cutter and cut the hot and cold water pipes leading into the valve.

The 2×4 support for the old valve was too thick for the new one so I tore it out from between the studs.

I attached a thinner 1×4 in its place with a couple screws.

I measured out the lengths of copper pipe and soldered them to the new valve. I made sure to remove all the pieces inside of the valve before heating it up.

In screwed the valve to its new home. From there, I measured out the length I needed to connect it to the hot water line. I cut it and then thoroughly cleaned all the ends, inside and out, on all the connecting pipes.

I added some flux to all the joints. This helps the solder to melt and sweat into the voids to make a water-tight connection.

When soldering copper, apply heat opposite to where the solder is being applied. Keep heating until the solder liquefies and sucks into the joint. It’s always better to solder away from the studs, but when you have to, make sure you are prepared to handle a small fire. I had my fire extinguisher on hand. I also watered down the studs to prevent any excessive heat, but they still charred a little bit anyway.

I used a level to make sure the shower head pipe was plumb, and then screwed it in place.

Once the valve had cooled down, I inserted the valve cartridge, secured the bonnet nut, and added the handle.

After turning on the house water, I inspected all the joints with a flashlight to make sure there were no leaks. I also opened the valve to check if the water flowed correctly.

­­So that the shower drain base could sit down flush on the subfloor, I tapered the edge of the hole. This can be done many different ways, but is easiest with a reciprocating saw and a long blade.

After making sure the drain base sat flush, I cleaned both the existing pipe below and the new drain.

I applied a solid coat of black ABS cement to the two mating surfaces. I secured the connection and then held it in place for a few minutes.

Once the cement had set up, I screwed the drain base down to the plywood sub-floor.

I measured out the exact shower floor dimensions for the shower pan liner.

I transferred these dimensions to the pan liner and cut it to size, leaving enough extra on all sides to reach up near the tops of the 2×8 blocking.

I folded the pan liner corners in this method to make sure any water will fall to the drain and then tacked it to the blocking with some galvanized roofing nails.

I continued tacking the pan liner all the way around the shower with the same nails. The liner needs to be as tight to the blocking as possible, since the cement backer board will sit on top of it.

The curb creates a little more complexity since the liner can’t simply be folded around it. I made some cuts around the curb, and tacked the inner flap similar to the other corners. I also tacked the liner down to the curb on the top as well as the outside.

I found the drain hole below the pan liner and cut out slices with a utility knife to open it up.

I also found the 4 bolt locations and cut an “X” through the liner. Now I could screw down the bolts and secure the clamping ring by tightening down the bolts.

I screwed down the adjustable drain barrel and then checked to make sure it was level. And it was.

I applied construction adhesive to all the studs and then put up the cement backer-board. I tacked it up with a couple roofing nails, and once it was steady, drove in screws every 6 to 8 inches.

I added some 2×4 blocking between studs, over-hanging the cement boards. This adds strength to the connection, but more importantly, makes sure the boards stay flush and won’t bow. I added more construction adhesive and continued installing the boards.

Each board was cut out in the garage with a masonry blade in a circular saw.

This board needed a hole cut to fit the shower valve. I used the circular saw to make straight lines and then finished it with the jig saw.

I added this board just like the rest using construction adhesive and screws.

To make sure I drove the screws in without missing the studs, I used a level to draw a line.

This bottom board needed to be notched out to fit the shower curb, and adjusted for the thickness of a piece of backer board. Once cut, I could fasten it in place.

I realized that I hadn’t put a 2×4 block behind this piece of backer board, so I unscrewed it just enough to fit a block in and then screw it back down.

Now I could cut out the hole in the cement board for the shower nook. Since the framing was all in place, I just had to trace the outline with the reciprocating saw.

I measured the dimensions of all the backer boards and fit them in place. This joint shows how the water management should look. Vertical pieces always come down on-top of horizontal ones. That way, any water that travels down will hit the horizontal piece and drain away, instead of running down a seam. Of course everything will be water-proofed, but the principle still remains.

I screwed down the four sides after adding some construction adhesive. The back only received some adhesive but no screws. The sides will lock it in place.

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