Concrete Skim Coat: Tub and Shower Edition

Time Needed:

  • 2 days for skim coating (including applications, sanding and dry time)
  • 3 days for sealing (including applications and dry time)

There’s a rule about not posting the horrific stages of a renovation because so many people can’t picture the end result. Meh, I don’t follow the rules and like to share the early stage pics because I’m excited for you to see this process and progress. #concreteshower #tilecoverup #ihateglassshowerdoors

My tub/shower combo has some interesting features that came with the house:

  • There are 4 shower heads
  • There is a thing that I don’t even know what to call. Let’s say it is a spa-like, muscle massaging, power sprayer. That is what the big thing on the right is. I’ve used it once and it was more than I personally will ever need. It will also blow your eyes out of your head.

I started by removing the shower door and giving the tile a nice scrub-a-dub with my regular shower tile cleaner. You do not need to sand or scuff the tile. Once that was done I mixed up my skim coat and started troweling it over the tile, concentrating on the grout lines. I kept a wet sponge handy for wiping off any skim coat that got on areas I did not want it.

Once you get a layer on, let it dry for 30 min, sand it, put another layer on. The thinner the layers the better. That helps the concrete dry faster and makes sanding any bumps down easier. The number of layers that you will need is going to depend on the thickness of the layers you put on. I kept applying more layers until I could no longer see the grout lines through the skim coat. Once you’re satisfied with the texture you need to give the concrete about 24 hours to completely dry before you seal it. If you don’t, your sealer will seal in moisture and you’ll have a tacky mess, like cheap or old fingernail polish that never fully dries on your nails.

Stay patient and let it dry.

In the pictures below, the darker areas are wet skim coat and the lighter areas are dried skim coat.

You might be wondering what the concrete feels like. It’s as smooth as a baby’s butt! I sanded my arm off between each of my six layers of concrete. I didn’t trust a power sander, so I was just like Karate Kid. Concrete on, Concrete off, Concrete on, Concrete off.

I’m normally love vintage everything, but I was so excited to have this final DIY makeover in my master bathroom complete! The before picture is from Zillow, back when I was looking to purchase this gem. The yolo picture is what the bathroom looked like just before applying the concrete sealant.

I’ve used skim coat on a bunch of other projects prior to taking the leap of using it on the tub/shower. You can read up on those posts here:

So we’re ready for the sealer!

The sealer works much like Rain X on your windshield.

You have to work fast and there is definitely an order of operation to follow to avoid drip lines! I tried using a little roller at first, but the sealer is the consistency of milk and when the drips started happening I quickly switched to something more controllable, a paint sponge (you can see it in the picture).

You want to start at the bottom and work your way up, this is to avoid any drip marks. Once you put the first coat of sealer on you need to immediately follow up with the second coat. If you don’t, the first coat repels the second coat. I worked in about 2′ x 2′ sections and started at the bottom to avoid drips that would’ve soaked in from the top to the bottom.

You need to let the sealant dry completely before using the shower. The dry time will depend on the humidity in your area. Once I was done with the sealant, I waited approximately 48 hours before using the tub or shower.

And Vwalla! I can’t even believe the transformation!

**I did this renovation in 2017 and since then, I have lightly sanded and resealed it once just to be proactive. It has held up extremely well. I use regular scrub-n-bubbles shower cleaner on it and have had no issues with any areas cracking, molding, or becoming saturated.

Products Used:

  • Sponge paint brush (for applying sealant)
  • Old tupperware container (for putting sealant into)
  • Trowel (for applying skim coat)
  • Trowel tray
  • Kitchen fork (for mixing the concrete/water in the tray)
  • Sponge (for wiping up any messes)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s