SHOWER!! What kind?

DA3232December 3, 2011

I ripped out my 20 year old fiberglass shower unit. Now, what to replace it with??

I thought I was nearly decided to go with a corian base (guy at HD said it was the easiest one to keep clean and most rugged) and tile walls, until my mother screeched, echoing my biggest concern with tile, that it is tough to clean. She replaced her tile shower with fiberglass (6 yrs ago?)when she fell through the rotted wall lol, and she says it's so much easier to keep clean and still looks shiny and new! (not my experience when it comes to the floor, but I think we made mistake of using cleaners that were too harsh, while she uses a mild solid surface liquid polish/cleaner.) She says she would never get anything other than fiberglass.

I just read some posts about the Kerdi system, but these posts are a few years old now and I think the Kerdi system requires a tile floor.

So, can anyone tell me, which is better, acrylic/fiberglass floor and walls, corian Or other type base with tile walls,something else? I don't want to do this again in another 20 yrs, or for that matter, in my lifetime.

If you're still reading, here's more:

Had to replace old floor as it was cracked and leaked. Have since determined that can't just buy a new corner 36 x 36,double entry unit to replace old shower as can't find one. If change the size of the shower or get one of those neo angle units, would need to move the drain. I can also have a bigger shower than original as I have over 6' x 3' 5" to work in. So, I figured, if have to do all that work, might as well do it in tile so he can custom make it to fit the space we decide on. FYI, I just learned that the sub-floor is unstable (it moves if bounce on it)so that is likely why the shower floor cracked (have to correct it no matter what I do), so feel slightly better about fiberglass as it wasn't the shower's fault it cracked and leaked, anything would have leaked. What a project. Who knew?

I could actually use my old walls (which are now discolored), get a new fiberglass base, and use my old doors, but think while it's all out, might as well do everything new and hopefully not have to do this again.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sounds like if Mom fell through the tile wall there was severe water damage behind that tile. Today's waterproofing is excellent & when installed by an experienced tile sub can last for a good long time.

With that much space available for your shower, I would go all out & use every inch of space for a grand shower & tile the whole thing--walls and floor. Finding a shower base as big as you would need will be nearly impossible. Our shower is 4' x 7' & I love it. There is plenty of space & I never feel crowded. The handspray ended up perfectly positioned for a back massage while sitting on the bench & both DH & I can get in at the same time if we need to & not get in each other's way. I would not want to go back to a smaller shower after having experienced our new one.

As far as cleaning, in my experience, you will likely scratch/damage fiberglass long before you scratch/damage tile. And like you have found with the floor, I think fiberglass is dificult to clean. Invest in a good squeegee & use it after every shower and your cleaning woes will be practically eliminated. We've been in our house about 8 weeks now and we squeegee after every shower & I haven't yet had to scrub the shower & it still looks like new (it's all tile). Once a week, I'll spray some Scrubbing Bubbles on the shower floor & rinse it away just to take care of any bacteria that may be there. Mom & Dad built their house 6 years ago with a large all tile shower and their shower looks just like the day they moved in. They squeegee religiously after every shower & Mom has only scrubbed it twice--not because it was dirty, but because it had been 3 years in between cleanings.

I'll snap a photo of our shower for you in the morning & post it for inspiration--DH is already in bed asleep.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you mydreamhome, what you say makes allot of sense. I can't wait to see the picture! Sounds beautiful.

4' X 7'-- sounds like you could fit a whole group in there! :-)

What about a corian floor and tile walls, do you think? My tile guy is saying if I got a floor that's about 42" or even 36", he can build a seat after it and then either a full wall or half wall with storage in the roughly 24" space left over to the wall. But I still worry about leakage...sounds so weird to have part of the shower outside the pan.

Didn't you have to custom order a pan for your shower? What do the tiles adhere to if there isn't some type of pan/base?

I'd like to go full out with multiple shower heads, etc. but here's the thing: the house is over 100 years old and while the plumbing in the house is new, the underground to the street main is not (wonder what it would cost to correct that, and wish I did it before the sidewalks and driveway), so I doubt there would be enough water pressure to support two showers running. (Can't run water in other parts of house without possibly scalding or freezing out whoever is in the shower.)

What do people think of those shower heads that are overhead instead of on the wall? Is it harder to rinse your hair (without the shampoo ending up in your face)?

This is my first house and while I'm proud of and enjoy the renovations I did, it's not my "dream" home, and it's definitely topped out on resale value. But I do like to do things right. :-) How much do you think it would cost to go all out? Or even almost all out? I started this project with the idea that I could just replace the floor for $150 w/a new floor from HD! LOL.

Another factor is that I have a whirplool tub in the bathroom, so it gets pretty steamy in there (although vented). I used to get mold on the ____ of my old shower (what do you call it, it's not grouting with a plastic/fiberglass/acrylic shower, but a sealant round the edges where floor meets wall and doors meet floor, can't thing of name, but you must know what I mean.) Hence the concern about mold,etc. in the grouting.

Thanks for the email post!

PS, what does DH mean? __ husband?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

DA3232- Glad I could help. I've posted the pics below--2 slightly different angles so you could get a good view of both sides of the shower--squeegee conveniently placed by the entry. Note: the floor wasn't completely dry from this morning's showers when I took these, so the grout color may appear uneven in places. When completely dry, it is all a uniform light cream in color. I also have answers to some of your questions...

4x7--This size got us the things we wanted: a bench in the shower + no door + easier access should one of us require walker/wheelchair/assistance in the future. We have zero splash out.

Shower pan--Tile sub ordered it from his supplier and then he lays a base in the bottom with proper sloping (I think its concrete or something like it), then he waterproofed the entire shower (tile backerboard put up on the walls first, of course). This is what he then adhered the tiles to.

Corian Base--These are the things that come to mind-- I think it may be an advantage to have 1 solid piece. From what I understand, Corian is easy to clean (no personal experience though). On the other hand, I would worry about 1 solid piece being slick and falling in the shower. If they are somehow making the Corian non-skid, what are they using to do that? I know the nonskid stuff they use in the bathtubs likes to hang on to dirt even through a thorough cleaning. Who wants a shower floor that looks dirty all the time? If they are putting grooves in the bottom, how deep are they, are they comfortable to stand/walk on, and how does the water drain out of them? I would also think that using a solid piece whether fiberglass or corian may leave you with a lip along the sides which will need caulking. It will also collect dust & hair and offers another place for mold to potentially grow. Caulking is the sealant around the edges where the floor meets the wall & doors meet the floor that you were referring to in the end of your post.

Multiple Shower Heads & Water Pressure--Sounds like you have city water which should mean plenty of water pressure to support multiple heads. Check with your plumber on the household plumbing supply lines being able to support it, though. You may be ok. Then again, even if you're not ok right now, if you upgraded to multiple heads all those lines would likely need to be replaced anyway. I would definitely check with your plumber on the freezing/scalding issue when turning on additional faucets & see if there is an easy/relatively inexpensive fix for that.

Multiple Showerheads--From the pics you can see we have 3: a regular head in the wall, an overhead raincan & a handshower. We very rarely have all 3 going at once--usually just 1 or 2 & I notice a very slight difference in water pressure if I'm really paying attention. I've never tried just the overhead raincan before. I usually run it in combination with the one on the wall & it feels very luxurious. Going with multiple heads, I would definitely upgrade your exhaust fan & get as many CFMs as possible and make sure its positioned well to pull from either the shower or the tub to help reduce the steaminess that can lead to mold/mildew growth.

Cost-- My tile ran $2.00 sq ft for the walls & $9.00 sq ft for the floor (little 2x2 tiles on a mesh backer). The listello (decorative) tiles were $8.00 each. Don't know about the bullnose (edge) tiles. Install labor fees were $6.50 sq ft for walls, $6.00 sq ft for floor (I may have those numbers reversed).

DH = Dear Husband

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jean Bo

I recently put in a shower and used Kerri on the walls and used noble on the floor and ditra on the floor to protect from cracking. i used noble on the floor as I put in a trench drain. Kerri sells a shower floor kit and you could research that. I agree that if you squeegee after showers it keeps the room looking good. Likely you will put in glass doors and the definitely need a wipe down. I have difficult water so every once in a while when feeling energetic I use a microfiber cloth and it works to get off the light film of build up.
I argee that if your moms bathroom wall was so rotten that it had so much moisture behind it that I have no doubt it was a cleaning nightmare. Technology today in showers are terrific and you have come to the right place. It is because of this site and the pro's here that I have the georgous high functioning master bath that I have no doubt will out last me. You have a lot of research to do in front of you but if you put the time in you will have a room that you love. Btw your right get the floor fixed and make sure all is well behind walls before you move forward. Btw I don't know how handy you are , we did all the plumbing, electrical and prep so that it was ready for the tile pro. That way you can save some money.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mydreamhome, that's great! Beautiful! I wish I could do that, but the way the space is, the entrance would need to be on the outside house wall,near a window; when entering the shower, would be facing a corner, and have to make a left to get in to where the water is, so it would be very tunnel-like. (I'd be entering where you're shower head is mounted and my shower head would be on the wall where you're opening is, if that makes sense.) Plus, there is a large window in my bathroom (has to keep it covered with a blind as you were correct, I am in the city) and the frame starts at 30" from wall, so concerned with having the wood/window so near -- a couple inches of the frame would actually be in the "shower" entrance, if I take advantage of the 3' 5" (41") width to work with at other end, where shower head is located.

Really liked the idea also because would save money on glass doors and put it into a cool shower instead! hmm...

But I do see that the tile everywhere is a much nicer look, and bigger is better! :-)

Ty to both you and Jazzy for the reassurance that tile doesn't mean leaks down the road anymore and is easy to maintain. I will research Kerri & noble as have no idea what they are. lol RE: French drain, that's where there is a trough around the perimeter of the base and it is sloped towards a drain? I will look into this as a possible solution also. A previous contractor/sub I now see CUT A HOLE IN THE FLOOR JOIST FOR THE DRAIN, thereby destabilizing the floor, which may have contributed to causing the previous shower floor to crack and which obviously needs to be corrected. As stated in previous post, can bounce on the plywood sub-floor where the shower was. But as I take a 2nd look tonight, the sub-floor may also be a little rotted or, at least weakened from the leakage.

And no, I am not "handy". Totally beyond me to do the labor to reinforce floors, moving the drain, etc. Can figure things out, but the doing part of mechanical, plumbing, carpentry stuff is not part of my skill set and clearly no DH unfortunately. I wish I was experienced at it, as you have to know HOW to do everything anyway in order to ensure the person doing it does it right and to know how to design your shower, right? I think you all should lend me your DHs, no? I promise they will be used and abused for labor only. Ok, I may have crossed the line into inappropriate...cracking lol... (and oh how I wish this was the only thing going on.) :-) Wish you were next door to take a look.

Thank you both!!! Learning much! If anyone else has pics, would love to see them. I'm very visually oriented and need to envision the end product as a starting point. Really helped sending the pictures, thank you again!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jean Bo

Isn't that the truth why is that.... no pride in workmanship. This site is terrific and will give you so much help that when someone is doing the work you will know when things are going south. Too bad your not closer I love a project. btw just a suggestion to look for rectified porcelain tile. You can use a really tight grout joint, I used '0' and used large 24' x 24' tiles in my bath as I wanted very little grout! There is a great web site called houzz in there you can refine your search to your particular stile and see beautiful room. Look for that. Well good luck, hey you got one decision out of the way ... Tile! Now get ready for 10k more! Lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi mydreamhome, does your shower have a door? I thought it did not, but see a label that mentions the door. Is it glass?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 2:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No door on my shower. (If you clicked on the photo & ended up in my photobucket album & saw the label there it's because when I downloaded the pics, I did a quick save & it got was assigned to the last group of photos I did which were of my flush glazed patio doors). I tried to follow your verbal layout of your space, but got confused. I know our GC tried to talk us into moving our shower doorway to the side wall--sounds like that may be what your space dictates. Could you do a rough sketch with dimensions & post it?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 9:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In 2003 we replaced a decaying acrylic tub with a custom 42" neo-angle shower. Pan and surround are cultured granite, mfg'ed by local cultured marble dealer.

Tile was never a consideration for us. DH and I do not like tile, and wanted something solid and easy to maintain. We considered Swanstone (it's been a great product for us) but their largest neoangle is 38". We tried standing in a 38" neoangle in a local showroom and immediately decided it was a little too small.

But to go to 42" meant we had to find an alternative. The local CM vendors all offered what we wanted, just a matter of choosing color. We ordered the pan, slab surround, plus the additions of corner storage unit, inset double wall shelves, and molding to finish the outside slab edges.

One week minimum to mfg custom pan after order. Pan is installed first (and it took 3 big men to carry it in!). Then they measure for the surround, and it's manufactured, installed about a week later. Only then do the shower enclosure folks come out to measure for the enclosure. Another week or two for that, and after install it's a day to let the silicon caulk dry.

BTW, I would suggest one of the thin-metal framed enclosures (sometimes called Euro-style). We have frameless and it has some issues we weren't aware of - plus it's twice as expensive as thin-frame. Since you say you are getting close to the market limit on RE upgrades (we are too, so I sympathize), frameless will not be a big enough ROI to be worth it. One of the biggest savings for us was that prices for the cultured granite include install. We are extremely pleased with how it turned out, and would do it again.

The one thing we forgot - SAFETY BARS. Plan for them now, and install them with the surround, when the labor cost is minimal. You never know when they'll be needed, and it isn't the kind of thing you can do in 24 hours in an emergency. I broke a leg unexpectedly, and DH suffered a sudden haemorrhagic stroke at 50. We regretted not putting the bars when it would have been so much easier to do at the time of install!

Here's our shower:

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How would I do a sketch on computer? I think must need a program I don't have? Would love to!

Nice shower jkom. Are the walls only two pieces? I realized I am limited in what I get as old house, narrow stair case.

Can anyone remember what they paid for all the supplies and want to share? Or at some point, did you stop counting? :-)

Thanks for tip on doors! And safety bar-- just thought of that the other day, definitely.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

DA3232--if you'll do a rough sketch with dimensions (wall length, window width, measurement from window to end of wall, vanity, etc) by hand and post it, I can put it into a layout program for you.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, there are only 2 walls to the shower surround. We made a mistake in the place of the showerbar. In a neoangle, you want the spray aimed AWAY from the door. We should have had the bar installed in the far LH corner of that same wall instead.

Our prices were back in 2003 so not really applicable now, but from the best of my very imperfect memory, they were:
- showerpan $750
- surround slabs $500
- molding and storage units another $425
- frameless surround $2200

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been able to find solid surface shower pans in 60x 42 or 48 but I can't find shower walls in solid surface big enough. What gives?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a dinky little bathroom at the moment. We have a 800 sf apartment/flat in a barn 400sf is downstairs upstairs is our bedroom and bathroom. We have the ability to go thru the bathroom wall once the loft floor is complete and extend our bathroom so I can have a tub. We were planing on doing this end of next year due to the budget but right now I cant take the delapadated shower stall kit. I caulked it for the last time the walls are cracked the base or the metal glass fram leaks in the corners edge where it connect to the wall my base board in the corners are yuck. The vynal floor has dis colored due to the mold any way HD has looked and the leakages does not concern him. Dry wall and exhausts fans in bathrooms all new to me. I lived in brick and concrete homes all my life until now. I need lots of advice I guess we will have to do this in two Phases now that I feel we need to replace the shower now. I don't like the tile floors I don't care for the base options. I would love a concerte framed base I worry a bout weight tho on the second floor. And for some reason I have read concerte is porus. Any help and suggestion welcome I don't know where to start.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2014 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gwendy -

Where did you find solid surface shower pans that are 60 x 48? That's what I need but I didn't think I could get one. I am looking at having cultured marble made (which should be fine, but I am curious).

    Bookmark   December 1, 2014 at 6:31PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Photos of your finished bathrooms?
Is there anywhere on this site where people on this...
Layout help
Hello, I wanted to ask for feedback on my planned layout...
amerec vs mr steam vs thermasol steam shower
Trying to choose a steam shower for a 4 x 5 shower...
Which Tile Color for DH's "Manly" Bathroom?
The vanity/sink is the only thing we've done so far....
Doable...European sink & US bathroom pop-up drain and faucet?
Originally posted in "Plumbing" I cannot...
Sponsored Products
Progress Lighting Recessed Lighting 6 in. White Recessed Fresnel Shower Trim
$33.84 | Home Depot
Millen Pressure Balance Shower Faucet With Lever Handle - Brushed Nickel
Signature Hardware
Steam Spa Indulgence Package for Steam Spa 4.5kW Steam Generators in Oil Rubbed
Beyond Stores
Coventry Yellow Medium Scale Floral Tie-Up Valance
$18.95 | Bellacor
Berkeley Outdoor Ottoman, Patio Furniture
$695.00 | FRONTGATE
Leva Grab Rail 21 Bathroom Shower Safety Support Handle Bath Grab Bar
Hudson Reed
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™