How to install shower panels

Written by henri bauholz
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A quick and (relatively) easy way to create waterproof walls for your shower and bath area is to purchase one of the many styles or brands of fibreglass panels that are available on the market and install the waterproof sheets in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The panels involve less work and expense than the traditional tile walls, and so they offer themselves as a viable choice to liven up your shower and bath area. Here are a few guidelines for the installation that will enhance the instructions provided for by the manufacturer.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Caulk gun
  • Silicone caulk (white or appropriate colour to match the panels)
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Adhesive (provided by manufacturer)
  • Putty knife
  • Shower panels
  • Electric drill
  • Chalk
  • Hole saw to fit in drill (or high-speed bore bit)
  • Two foot level

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  1. 1

    Make sure the tub is securely installed and the drain is all hooked up. (It is usually best to have a plumber do this task) Also the plumbing pipes (valves actually) should be in place for the hot, cold water, plus the shower valve. These three valves should be placed in a row by the plumber with a pipe for the faucet just below the shower valve.

  2. 2

    Inspect the walls, surrounding the tub to make sure there is no water damage and the wall is not in need of repair. If the wall is in need of repair then do this task before you begin the installation project and make sure the repair work is thoroughly dry before you begin putting the panels in place.

  3. 3

    Cut and fit the panel that will be placed around 4 pipes and valves (5 if the shower head falls within the panel area) Do this after the spigot and valve handles have been removed and hopefully the shower head will just be a straight section of pipe that barely comes out of the wall. First be certain that the corner is square and that the piece of panel fits snugly into the corner. If the corner is out of square then you will have to cut the panel to fit snugly into the corner. A utility knife is a common tool that can be used to cut some shower panels, but check with the manufacturer's instructions first to see what the preferred method for cutting is.

  4. 4

    Mark and cut the holes for the pipes and valves. Be sure the sheet fits snugly into the corner before you make your measurements for the openings. Double check your measurements before you cut the holes. Four (sometimes five) is a lot of openings for one shower panel, so make sure the alignment looks good to the eye as well. Then go ahead are carefully cut the holes. Start on the front surface of the shower panel and bite right into the plastic coating with your drill and drill bit (or saw bit). This makes for the cleanest cut. After the holes are drilled, then test your panel sheet to see how it fits. An alternative method is to make a template out of the cardboard first. When you get your template to fit snugly around all the pipes and valves, then you can transfer the openings to the real panel. This way is highly recommended for anybody that does not have a lot of remodelling experience.

  5. 5

    Install the 3 sheets in the order mandated by the manufacturer. Apply the adhesive to the back of the panels and attach each panel to the wall. Again, check with the instructions to make sure you are applying the adhesive correctly and allowing for the adhesive to set up properly before it is used. Then apply the sheets in correct order .

  6. 6

    Caulk arounf the tub and all seams with the silicone caulk.

  7. 7

    Re-attach the valve handles, shower head and faucet.

Tips and warnings

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cutting the panels. A utility knife may not always be the correct tool for cutting the panel.
  • Not all shower panels come in flat sheets. Sometimes curved pieces are sold which join along the centre wall. These panels are installed in a very similar way to the flat panels and they also have to be levelled.

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