Adding a shower stall in a basement increases convenience and value in a home. However, due to conditions such as a concrete floor and possible dampness, basement showers have some unique considerations. There are several good choices available for a shower in the basement.
Pre-formed fiberglass showers are a simple solution to basement shower installations. They are convenient for basements for a variety of reasons. They can be purchased with preformed walls or only a preformed base, making them versatile for unique basement spaces. Fiberglass showers are easy to install, as opposed to the time-consuming job of laying tile or other hard surface, and they come in a variety of colors. There are also clear or opaque fiberglass panels that can be used above a fiberglass base for additional variety.
Glass block is a material often used in basement windows, but also works well for a basement shower. The blocks let in light, important in dark basements, but obscure the view into the shower for privacy. Use standard mortar and finish every other course with a panel anchor for stability. All mortar should be sealed with a clear sealer to prevent mold and mildew.
Tile is a labor-intensive choice for a basement, but provides an elegant finish. Take extra precautions to avoid any water leakage when tiling a basement shower. Light-colored tile is preferred in a basement, since the room relies entirely on artificial light. Installing a tile shower requires framing in three sides of the shower, so be sure the layout of the space allows room for workers to finish three sides. If the bathroom is in a corner space, it makes this process quicker and easier.
When installing a basement shower of any kind, be sure to vent the drain into the main outside vent stack. If it is inaccessible, use an auto-vent with a flapper so the water will drain smoothly. Double check carefully for any leaks after the shower installation is complete, then check again in a week and in a month. Water leaking in a basement can be easy to miss, so it can do a great deal of damage before it is detected. Use the correct backing for tile in the basement to prevent water damage. Shaping the edges of both tiles and fiberglass with a handheld rotary tool and sanding band or grinding stone accessories may be necessary to ensure a tight fit, but always wear safety goggles and a respiration mask when sanding or grinding either material. Water resistant cement backer board will keep tile from cracking and prevent water damage better than drywall.