How To Build Your Own DIY Shower (That Won’t Leak!)

At least half of Tile Lines’ customers are weekend warriors eager to tackle do-it-yourself home improvement projects, and they rely on us to educate them so they can make the best choices. Here’s our step-by-step overview of what you need for your DIY shower project.

Step 1: Plan

Who uses the shower? What are their storage and accessibility needs? What features do you want and need? Make a list of everything you want and/or need, then sort them into “absolute must-haves” and “we’ll include it if the budget allows”.

Some features you might want to include are:

  • Bench or seat
  • Grab bar
  • Recessed shelving
  • Foot prop for cleaning and leg shaving
  • Line drain
  • Invisible/infinity/hidden drain
  • Curbless entry
  • No door/open walk-in shower
  • Window, skylight, or solar tube
  • Rain shower head
  • Detachable shower heads
  • Multiple shower heads
  • Heated floor; no more cold feet!
  • Pebble floor
  • Low-maintenance tile for easy cleaning
  • Luxurious or glamorous tile

Step 2: Prep

Are you gutting an existing space or starting new? Make sure your floor is level, your walls are open showing the studs, and your plumbing is solid. The area should be clean and ready for your waterproofing system.

What are your plumbing options? Are you using pipes from a previous tub or shower? Do they need to be updated or relocated?

How much space will you need for the shower and all who use it? For example, a one person shower can be much smaller than a shower for a wheelchair user.

And of course, what do local building codes say about this project? Do you need any permits?

Step 3: Waterproof

Start with a strong foundation: waterproofing is the most important part of any shower. Fortunately for intrepid DIY bathroom builders like yourself, there are several systems available with pre-made parts that make it easy to build your shower. You can get shower pans with the drainage slope built in, benches, recessed shower niches, waterproof wall panels… and all of it can be cut down to size for endless custom size options.

Our favorite is HydroBlok. We stock a wide selection of HydroBlok products in our store. We also ship HydroBlok shower kits, recessed shelves and benches nationwide. See more in our online store.

HydroBlok has great installation videos on YouTube and information on their website that is helpful to contractors and the do-it-yourselfer.

Step 4: Tile

Finally, the decorative goodies. Your local tile store can help you pick the perfect wall and floor tiles for your new shower, but you should answer these questions before you choose your products:

  • Do you have any inspiration pictures you can bring to the tile store? Even if you don’t have an interior designer’s terminology or vocabulary, you can compile an idea book of what you like. We recommend Houzz for ideas and inspiration.
  • What words would you use to describe your dream shower? Rustic? Elegant? Modern? Clean? Bright? Dramatic? Calming? Write down how you want your shower to feel; these descriptors can help you maintain focus and keep you from being overwhelmed by choices.
  • Who uses the shower and how often? Is it a guest bathroom only used once a year, or the family bathroom used by 5 people every day? Certain products hold up to wear and tear better than others.
  • Do you have your wants and needs list from earlier? Bring it to the tile showroom! We want to know if style is the most important factor, or is it low-maintenance surfaces?