The Easiest Way to Remodel Your Shower
You’ve heard about shower remodeling projects which have become a cesspool of wasted money and taken f-o-r-e-v-e-r to finish. You’ve read about shower design mistakes people have had to put up with for years to come. And perhaps you’ve experienced a shower base, shower wall or exploding glass shower door which has caused you and your family more pain than you ever thought possible.
And now (despite all those concerns) you’ve decided it’s finally time to remodel your shower. However, what you also know is you DO NOT want these painful mistakes to be YOUR painful mistakes. You want a project which isn’t a pain in the rear to accomplish. The bottom line is….
You’re looking for the easiest way to remodel your shower!
If this describes you, you’ve come to the right place. Below I’ll outline 11 strategies to get your dream shower without draining your bank accounts, or the project taking forever to complete and/or getting stuck with a design which doesn’t work for your family for years to come.
At the end of the article, let me know which of these strategies was most important for you and if there’s other ideas you think should also be included on the list. Now, let’s look at the 11 strategies to a simpler (and more cost-effective and better designed) shower.
Strategy #1 – Don’t move the plumbing
Moving drains and shower heads is no small matter. And if you’re not a licensed plumber, it’s a part of the project which should be left to a professional… that is IF you don’t want to worry about leaks.
And another downside to moving plumbing is it’s a big cost.
And while keeping the drain in the same location (assuming this will require you to buy a custom shower pan), will result in higher product costs, those increased material costs are often less than shelling out money for the inflated labor rates (and lack of availability) of qualified plumbers or general contractors.
Strategy #2 – Buy a complete shower replacement kit
I know if you’re like me, when you finally decide to start a project, you want to get products purchased right away. And while it can be tempting to go on a shopping spree, I’ll tell you from seeing homeowners who have wasted money on products they WERE NOT able to return, it’s better to plan your purchases BEFORE pulling out your credit card.
You need to make sure your shower pan will work with the glass shower doors.
You need to make sure your shower wall surround is not only thick and high quality but won’t be a pain to maintain.
You also want to make sure your shower door WILL NOT cause your 6’2” tall family member to duck – so they won’t whack their heads – every time they enter.
You also want to make sure you get all the products you need and don’t get nickeled, dimed and ‘dollared’ with escalating costs you can’t control.
So, the question is how can you make a smart plan AND know the shower components will work together and you’ll have everything you need?
Well, the way to a smarter – and more cost-effective – shower replacement project is to buy a complete shower kit. And if you’re not sure how to do that, read How to Choose the Best Alcove Shower Replacement Kit.
The Ultimate Shower Replacement Kit Guide
Clear advice on bringing your bathroom to the next level
Strategy #3 – Buy products which DO NOT take forever to install
If you’re hiring a professional contractor you need to recognize (especially in today’s high-labor cost contracting world) if the products you choose (tile for example) are time-consuming to install, you’re going to pay a boatload of money for them. And if spending boatloads of money isn’t ‘in the cards’ for you, you’ll want to look for labor saving shower products.
Smart labor-saving products include:
- Grout free shower surround panels – Products like laminate shower walls offer the real look of tile and stone, but take 80% less time to install vs. tile.
- Grout free shower pans – Not all grout free shower pans are cheap and plasticky. Check out this modern low-profile shower pan.
- Premade shower niches – Shower niches for your spouse’s never-ending supply of products are critical, but they’ll also be more time-consuming to install than you ever imagined.
Get Free Samples!
Click here to request free samples of our Laminated Waterproof Shower Wall Panels.
Strategy #4 – Know the right questions to ask to choose a contractor or supplier
Finding a contractor – or supplier – who is not only available (and has product in inventory to sell), but also won’t require you to take out a 2nd mortgage to get the shower done can be a challenge. And since you’re not often in the market to redo your shower, it may be hard to even know what questions to ask to make sure you don’t get ‘taken to the dry-cleaners’ as your dad used to say.
Well – one way to help you distinguish between the ‘duds’ and the ‘right dudes (or dudess’ – not a real word, but I’m using it) ’ will be to read 5 Non-Traditional Questions to Ask to Select a Remodeling Contractor.
Strategy #5 – Stop using tile.
I’ll grant you ceramic tile looks wonderful the day it’s put in. However, it’s a pain to install. It takes a lot of time and costs a bunch of money if you’re paying a tile-setter (and this trade may be near-impossible to find anyway depending on what town you live in). And it’s a pain to maintain. And if you’re the unlucky one in your family who ‘gets’ to clean the mold off your tile shower floor or walls today, you know how much you look forward to this job (‘er not at all would be the answer).
Unfortunately, long after tile is installed you ‘get’ to maintain it. You get to fight back mold and mildew.
Well – this (unfortunate) tile reality doesn’t need to be your reality. Options in grout free shower walls, shower pans and shower niches have never been more realistic and time-effective to install.
Don’t settle for tile because this is the only alternative your contractor offers. There are better options which will make an easier shower for you to enjoy (vs. clean) for years to come and will be simpler for your contractor to install!
Image Source: JTEK Solutions
Get Free Samples!
Click here to request free samples of our Laminated Waterproof Shower Wall Panels.
Strategy #6 – Keep the same size shower
If you live in a production-built home, you’ll likely have a standard 48” x 36”, 60” x 32” or 60” x 36” alcove shower. And it’s likely you have a common one-piece fiberglass shower unit.
And while it might be tempting to blow out walls for a larger shower, if you’re looking for the simplest shower project, this will not be the smart way to go.
If you want to make your shower remodel easy (and more budget friendly) do not tear out walls, move plumbing and make a bigger shower. Keep the same size shower.
Strategy #7 – Don’t assume ‘covering over’ old tile will be the easiest or smartest thing to do
You’ve heard ‘one day bathroom’ commercials on tv for acrylic (‘er plastic) wall panels which go over your existing tile. This really does sound like an easy way to get a shower remodel done with no-muss, no fuss… and all in 1 day no less!
And while it may (initially) be easy, I’d argue it’s hardly a smart thing to do. You see since old walls can get moisture behind old tile (through the grout joints), when you put a waterproof wall panel over them any moisture behind the tile wall is now trapped inside the wall (and becomes a breeding ground for mold).
And if this happen to you the ‘one day bathroom remodel,’ can turn into a shower which needs to be completely redone (and the new wall panels will need to be taken down as well).
This is a ‘penny-wise, pound foolish’ (as my dad used to say) strategy. In the short run it seemed easy. Eventually it proved to be a disaster. Even if you’re using a grout free system, remove the old wall coverings and backer board system first.
Strategy #8 – Get free advice BEFORE spending $$$
I applaud you because you’re literally taking this advice as you’re reading this article. Why spend dollar-one without getting insights from professionals (and DIY homeowners) alike who’ve been down this shower remodeling road before? Why not learn from other’s mistakes?
And when you read blog posts or watch YouTube videos about shower remodeling, you’re doing the smart thing. You’re getting free advice before spending money. This effort will not only make you more educated but will save you money as well.
Strategy #9 – Buy premade shower niches and shelves
If you’ve ever seen a tile niche being installed, you’ll likely ask, how could something so small be soooo time consuming to put in?
And attempting to waterproof a tile shower niche does take up a lot of time. However, whether you’re planning for a tile shower – or to use shower surround panels – you can cut labor costs AND have an easier to maintain shower with preformed shower niches.
And today you’re not even limited to tiny 14” x 14” niches you know WILL NOT be big enough for you family. No, today you can get horizontal and vertical large recessed niches which can be as big as 58” wide x 14” high or 14” wide x 58” high.
Strategy #10 – Buy a frameless (or semi-frameless) shower door with ‘fudge-factor’ built in
If seemingly everything in your home is out of square you know how difficult it can be to buy anything which is ‘standard.’ It just doesn’t fit right. However, if you’re one who loves the sleek, contemporary look of a frameless glass door, but is worried about it fitting your ‘always-out-of-square’ walls, I’ve got an idea to ease your worries.
Simply, look for a shower door with side door gaskets which give you the ‘fudge-factor’ you need to make a stylish, yet simple-to-install, door even when things are slightly out of square.
The Ultimate Glass Door Shower Guide
A clear guide to making the best bath or shower glass shower door choice
Strategy #11 – Make sure it’s easy to get in your shower
No matter how wonderful your shower looks, it’s of no use if all the people in your family who need to use it aren’t able to because they can’t step over the threshold (either because of an accident, health challenge, or mobility issue) to get in.
It’s for this reason the safest (and I’ll also contend sleekest) idea is to insist on a shower pan with a low-profile curb. Low profile curbs range from 1 1/6” to 2 ¾” tall and can help ensure you have a ‘forever shower’ you won’t be removing because this was one critical design factor you failed to take into account.
Get Our Ultimate Shower Base Guide!
Step Up Your Bathroom by Stepping Down Your Shower Pan!
So, do you need more advice to make your shower as easy as possible?
While I hope I’ve given you practical ideas for an easier shower remodeling project, I know this article was not written specifically with your bathroom in mind. So, if you’re looking for additional product or design insights for your master or guest shower call 877-668-5888 or click for a Free Design Consultation. We can help with your selection of a shower pan, stylish shower wall panels and shower glass doors.
And if you’re looking for a Cleveland shower remodeling contractor, call The Bath Doctor at 216-531-6085. And finally, if you need a nationwide referral to a contractor in our network, make this request in the comments below, and I’ll see if we have a dealer to help you.
Thanks for reading,
If you want more advice follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFoti.
And if you’re a bathroom remodeling contractor interested in being a dealer of unique shower wall panels, shower pans and glass shower door systems and purchasing quality shower kits, call 888-467-7488 and ask for Mike.
Gary we do have dealers down in Florida who will supply the materials to you and do the installation. Or if you’re looking for materials only (and plan to DIY it) we can provide them to you. Feel free to call our office at 877-668-5888 and one of our team can go over this with you. Mike
Gary A Hollenback
Looking to have our master shower replaced with a new shower pan and acrylic wall panels. We live in Florida just outside of Daytona Beach. Do you have anyone in this area?
Bruce – we’d be glad to help you. We can either supply materials to you – or we may have an installing dealer who can help you. Feel free to call our office at 877-668-5888 – Mike
I have been reading with great interest about your bath remodel advice and products. My wife and I are considering a master bath remodel and have been considering getting rid of the tile and replacing with something like acrylic panels. Our shower is in one corner of the bath and next to it is a built in tub. We have hardly ever used the tub and if it is removed would cost more than we really would like. The original shower base is about 36″x 48″. Replacing it with the same size would spare the expense of re-plumbing. Too bad we are not in Ohio. Looking for contractors and products her in Florida. Any advice and assistance would be helpful. The only service we have contacted is Re-Bath through Lowe’s and will see what they do. You have a great website.
Hi Claudia – just call our office at 877-668-5888 and our team will review our dealer list with you and see if we have a contractor who may be close enough to help you. Thanks for reading my blog – Mike
Looking for one of your ‘contractors’ that will serve the PRESCOTT, Arizona area?
Casey- we don’t have any dealers in Seattle yet – but if you talk to a contractor you like we’d be happy to work with them on the installation of our materials – and maybe they can become a dealer in this market. Feel free to call us at 877-668-5888 for any additional help you need – Mike
Tom – we do have some dealers in North Carolina – give us a call at 877-668-5888 and give our team an idea of what you’re looking to do and we can connect you with our best dealer for you – Mike
Brian – with grout free showers you will have a small amount of caulk in the corners (between the panels) and also between the bottom of the panels and the shower pan. Sometimes you will need to recaulk this (over the life of the shower) – but it’s a very small amount of maintenance compared to a tile shower. Feel free to call us at 877-668-5888 for more help – Mike
We are wanting to put in a walk in shower, interested in the barn glass wall , shower pan – low entrance, shower walls and niches. Looking at 36 deep, 72 long, 78 inches high I’m 75″ tall. No tile guys etc around us.
Do you need to caulk and re-caulk the showers?
Thank you for your articles. I’m ready to plan my master bathroom remodel. Requesting a referral for a contractor in my area, Beech Mountain, NC 28604. Thank you.
Do you know of any contractors in the Seattle / Snohomish county area of Washington state?