How to Replace a Bathtub With a Walk-In Shower

By Dale Devries

  • Overview

    With the growing popularity of the whirlpool tubs many people have opted for putting in a separate walk-in shower in their bath. Walk-in showers have also been popular with the elderly for some time because they are much easier to get in and out of then a tub. You can now purchase prefab showers and shower pans that make the installation a breeze or you can build your own custom shower. Either way you will need a long weekend to complete the job and some basic knowledge of carpentry and plumbing.
    How to Replace a Bathtub With a Walk-In Shower
    • Step 1

      Rip out the bathtub and clean up the area. Check the subfloor for any moisture damage and if there is any you will need to replace it.
    • Step 2

      Install your plumbing for your hot and cold water pipes. If you already had a shower in the tub the plumbing should be in place for that, however the hot and cold water valves are probably too low. They just need to be extended up where they are easy to reach standing up.


    • Step 3

      If you already have greenboard installed on the walls, then you will need to measure and install greenboard where you took out the tub. If you don't have greenboard then take down the sheet rock you have up and replace it with greenboard.
    • Step 4

      Install the shower pan according to the manufacturer's directions. Each prefab kit is different. Some have a strip with pre drilled holes that you can nail into but most are put on with adhesive. Make sure you have your drain hole lined up and glue the pan into place on the bottom and the three sides where indicated.
    • Step 5

      Measure and cut your panels. Some kits come with pre-measured panels that will fit perfectly but most don't. They are panels that will fit any number of areas and you have to cut them to fit your space. Cut slow and wear eye protection because the plastic material tends to curl up and fly off as it is being cut.
    • Step 6

      Measure and cut the holes for the shower head and the hot/cold water in the first panel. Some have a separate hot and cold water pipe and some have one. Whatever your is, cut the hole for it. Measure twice and be very careful to cut in the right place or you can ruin your panel.
    • Step 7

      Put a bead of silicone caulk along the outer edge of the shower pan where it will meet the panel. Put adhesive on the back of the panel and put it in place. If these are completely flat panels you can use a board wrapped in a towel to press on the panel and get it on tight. If there is anything raised in the panel just press on it to get it in place.
    • Step 8

      Run a bead of silicone along the back of the pan this time and do the same thing with the panel. Repeat for the last panel making sure the plumbing is coming through the holes you cut for them. Install your drain kit.
    • Step 9

      Run a finishing bead of silicone to all the inside seams, the corners and all along the bottom edge where the panels meet the shower pan. Run a bead of acrylic caulk to the outside where the panels meet the wall and the pan meets the floor. Allow everything to dry for 48 hours.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Ingredients:
    • Prefab shower kit
    • Jig saw
    • Adhesive
    • Nails
    • Hole saw
    • Silicone Caulk
    • Acrylic Caulk
    • Drain kit
    • Greenboard
    • Tip: You can also build or use a prefab shower pan and install ceramic tile on the walls.

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