Basement Shower Makeover

Loose tiles on the shower wall…that’s all it takes.

Those loose tiles turned into a big demo and a fun DIY wall and shower rebuild. This was May of 2019 and I needed to hurry this along because summer was right around the corner!

I’m always really good at demo and decorating, it’s the middle part of putting it back together that I’m not as big of a fan of.

This shower is in the basement and is my teenage boys’ bathroom. They had been complaining of standing water in the shower base. When I went to inspect it, not only was there standing water in the corner of the shower pan, there were loose tiles that looked molded and suspicious.

Before I knew it I had removed the glass surround and was pulling the shower pan and wall up. The lower half of the wall where the tiles were loose had gotten water in it and the sheetrock and insulation acted as conduits and spread the moisture upward. This leak had gone on for a while.

I don’t think anything was done properly by whoever originally installed this. The shower pan was sloped incorrectly and there was insulation on an inside wall surrounding the hot water pipes. At some point, that insulation was hot enough to burn. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened.

Once everything was removed, I turned the fans on high. The cylinder blocks needed a few days to air out and the studs needed scrubbing with mold remover.

Once everything was dry, I was able to waterproof the cylinder block, reinsulate the exterior wall and plastic that back up. While that was drying, I started working on the new base. Since I am super familiar with concrete and I love the look of my concrete shower upstairs, I decided to stick with what I know works. I made the base with concrete and built up a curb with 2×4’s for the edge.

Once the curb was built, I added a waterproof vinyl around it and mesh on top of that. The mesh helps to hold the concrete in place. The waterproof guard actually goes over the curb, on the base and up the wall behind the Durock as well.

The drying time between each of the steps was what took the longest. I would only be able to get so much done before I had to turn the fans back on high and come back to it the next day.

One of the most interesting steps was the application of the RedGard. It truly is red and it’s another water barrier layer that needed to happen after the Durock was installed.

I had Alexa playing 80’s songs while I was painting this stuff on and, “I believe the children are our future,” by Whitney Houston came on. I don’t know if the fumes were getting to me or what but I had Alexa repeat the song over and over and over while I was down there. I was really feeling it!

Getting the RedGard done felt so close to the home stretch! The calendar had just flipped from May to June. I had to get this done. Summer in MN is so short and I didn’t want to miss a single day of it!

I was getting to the part of the shower that I am so familiar with, the skim coat! I had also gotten far enough along where I was shopping for all of the fun decorations that you get to crown a renovation job with. The shower curtain had me stumped, but I found the perfect one!

Now that the skim coat is done, I just have to wait 48 hours to seal it. While I waited, I took a step back and thought about how dark it was in there. I grabbed my go to paint color from Behr, Polar Bear White, and lightened the room up.

I think it looks fantastic and I can’t wait for the boys to be showering back down in their own shower again!

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