Installing Shower Walls-Glue-Up

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Installing new shower walls with adhesive is a project most homeowners who are handy with tools can do themselves. Shower walls may be molded into a U-shape as a single unit, which is most often used with new construction, or consist of separate interlocking panels that install in a sequence to form a watertight seal, used in remodels. This project assumes your old shower has been removed and you’re renovating your shower alcove with interlocking panels. It also assumes the floor has been prepared and the shower base has been installed. As you work on your project, be sure to follow any manufacturer instructions that come with your shower wall kit.

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WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:

TOOLS:

  • Roller and roller pan
  • Utility knife
  • Straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • Power drill
  • Carbide hole saw
  • Caulking gun
  • Carpenter’s level

MATERIALS:

  • Shower enclosure
  • Primer
  • Panel adhesive

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Step 1: Clean & Prepare the Walls

Step 1: Clean & Prepare the Walls1. Clean the wall surfaces with denatured alcohol to ensure a good bond
for the enclosure panels.
2. Prime or water-seal any raw plaster, wallboard or spackle in the area where
the enclosure panels will be installed.

Step 2: Create Template for Plumbing Wall

Step 2: Create Template for Plumbing WallNote: When measuring, always measure twice for accuracy. 

1. Use a straightedge to draw a vertical line up along the wall from the corner of
the shower base to an inch below the ceiling.
2. Measure the center of the showerhead pipe and faucet valve stems from the
top of the mounting surface along the vertical line.
3. Transfer these measurements to the shower wall cardboard carton, which will
serve as a template.
4. Cut holes in the cardboard large enough to accommodate the fixture fittings.
5. Check the fit of your template on the plumbing wall.
6. Mark again and adjust if necessary.

Step 3: Cut Panel Openings

Step 3: Cut Panel Openings1. Place cardboard on the floor and lay the shower wall with the surface that will
be exposed face down on top of the cardboard.
2. Lay the template over the back of the shower panel.
3. Use the template to mark the holes on the panel.
4. Place a piece of scrap wood beneath each marking for a hole on the panel to get
a cleaner edge when drilling the hole. Use a carbide hole saw to drill holes
through the back side of the panel. Be sure to make the holes smaller than the
decorative trim that will cover them.
5. Test-fit the panel against the wall and check accuracy by lining up the edge with
the marked vertical line.
6. After test-fitting the wall, set it aside until Step Six where you will permanently
install it.

Step 4: Install Corner Panels

Step 4: Install Corner PanelsNote: Proper application differs by adhesive type. Always apply the recommended
adhesive per the manufacturer’s instructions. 

1. Test-fit a corner panel.
2. Remove the corner panel and lay it on the floor with the surface that goes
next to the wall facing up.
3. Use a caulking gun to apply adhesive to each corner of the panel.
4. Carefully position and apply the corner panel to the wall. Let the adhesive set.
5. Apply pressure with your hands to make sure all areas of the panel are in
contact with the wall. Let the adhesive set.
6. Remove any excess adhesive.
7. Repeat for the remaining corner panel.

Step 5: Apply Adhesive to Walls

Step 5: Apply Adhesive to Walls1. Test-fit the back and side wall panels and note where the top is. Make a mark 1”
down from the top on the wall.
2. Place a bead of adhesive along the line on the wall.
3. Place adhesive in 1-½” diameter dots at 12” intervals on the wall, 3” from the
side edges of the panel.
4. After test-fitting the walls, set them aside until you install them in Step Six.

Step 6: Install Remaining Panels

Step 6: Install Remaining Panels1. Use a carpenter’s level to line up the top of each panel and ensure they’re level.
2. Carefully position and apply the panel to the wall. Let the adhesive set.
3. Apply pressure with your hands to make sure all areas of the panel are in contact
with the wall. Let the adhesive set.
4. Remove any excess adhesive.
5. Apply any trim and silicone sealant at the connecting joints and around the edges
of the installation, as needed.
6. Allow the adhesive to dry for 24 hours then install the plumbing fixtures and
shower arm.

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