How To Fit A Shower Enclosure

Ever since the credit crunch set in a few years ago, many homeowners have gone for the option of carrying out their own DIY projects, rather than browse their Yellow Pages or Thompson Directory for a plumber or tradesman to fit it for them. There are the obvious positives of choosing to do this, such as gaining new skills and more confidence, plus the cost-saving side of thing. However, as reports of embarrassing and common DIY failures becoming more regular, we’ve put a few tips together which we feel will help avoid such issues.**

DIY-tools

Be sure to have good quality DIY tools available if you’re fitting a shower enclosure!

 

Fitting A Shower Tray

The shower tray is the key part of a shower enclosure. Fitting this correctly will ensure a water-tight fit, and allow you to fit the door and panels correctly.

Be sure to choose the most suitable shower tray. By this, we mean that you should pick one suited to either a corner shower enclosure of one designed to fit against a single wall. Many shower trays will include grooves for fitting the side panels, too.

Always ensure that the shower tray is level by using a spirit level – avoid using the modern smartphone apps that are becoming popular, as these require precise calibration and are not guaranteed to be accurate.

spirit-level

A spirit level is essential for ensuring a level shower tray – avoid using your smartphone!

Many shower trays include adjustable legs that allow small and precise adjustment of the height of your shower tray. When fitting, be sure to allow enough space beneath for any minor plumbing repairs, remembering that reaching the waste pipe below can be complicated.

In order to create a good seal between the tray and wall, it’s better to cut a groove of up to 1cm (approximately half an inch) into the wall, and fitting the edge of the shower tray into this groove. This will help create a more professional-looking finish, especially as not all bathrooms have precise right angles in the corners and any minor defects will be more visible. In addition (or as an alternative), tile your shower enclosure with thicker bathroom tiles, as this will help cover any gaps.

Remember to seal the tray with a silicone-based sealant or caulking before you start fitting the panels. If your budget allows you to buy sealant with anti-mould or anti-fungal additives, this is a good investment, especially as any fungal build-up can cause the sealant to deteriorate over a period of time. Don’t be tempted to use the grouting that you used on the tiles, as watertight seals always need to be flexible. When applying the seal, try and sit in the shower tray itself, as this will simulate the weight of a person and expose the gaps that need sealing carefully.

 

Fitting the Shower Doors or Shower Enclosure Frame

Almost every shower door you buy will have two wall channels. The channels are fixed to the walls either side of the recess which will act as the housing for your new shower door. The frame of the shower door will slide into the channel on each wall and offer several millimetres of adjustment for walls which may not be perfectly level.

Each wall channel usually has a lip running down one long edge. This lip can be tiled over adding extra rigidity to the shower enclosure. In cases where the shower door is replacing an existing door the profiles can sit on top on any existing tiles. If you are installing a complete new cubicle it is advised that you fit your tray, then fit the wall channels, making sure they are fitted straight (vertically) using a spirit level. Once these two stages have been completed you can then tile the inside area of your shower cubicle. Remember to complete any tiling before fitting any of the frame or panels – not only will you find it far easier to work in an unrestricted space, you’ll also negate the risk of getting any glue or grouting on your new shower enclosure (which may damage the glass, even if you’re successful in removing it).

 

Fitting the Shower Door

Now that your shower tray and shower enclosure frame is installed you are ready to hang the shower door section. Some shower doors like the sliding shower door will need to be assembled first. Once this done you can slide the door into each wall channel either side. There will be a certain amount of adjustment each side of the shower enclosure. This is to account for any walls which are not level or perfectly even.

Once the door is in place and flush at the bottom you can fix the locating screws (usually three) down the side of each profile. It is a good idea to put one screw in each side and test that the door opens and closes smoothly. The door may need to be slightly adjusted before you put the remaining screws in place.

 

Finishing Touches to your Shower Enclosure

Once you’re satisfied that the door is fitted correctly and that the wheels/hinges are running smoothly, it’s time to push on the cover caps/strips onto the top and edges of the wall channel. Finally, you’ll need a dab of silicon where the metal frame meets the walls and tray, and the small holes at the end of the fixed panel.

If you’re adding wooden panels around the edge of the shower tray (whether to match the wood finishes elsewhere in your bathroom or the floor), remember that any mistakes are likely to be evident in the early days & weeks of using your shower enclosure. Don’t be tempted to seal this paneling too tightly, as you might need urgent access to the wastepipe in the event of a leak.

Also, if you have any tiles left over (even half tiles), you could store these under the shower tray. This will keep them safe and make it easier than trying to find matching tiles in future, should you need to repair any chipped tiles, or cover over plumbing repairs.

 

Now, you’ll need to leave the shower enclosure for 24 hours before using, in order for the sealant to dry.

 

** if your shower tray, door or enclosure includes fitting instructions, always follow any such instructions. This advice from First Bathrooms should not be used a substitute for the advice of an experienced shower fitter – should you be unsure, always contact a professional.

Spring Cleaning Your Shower

With April having finally arrived and the British weather hopefully becoming warmer, many of us will be turning our thoughts to the annual “Spring Clean”. For most, it’s a time of dread, when furniture is moved and unpleasant surprises are found lurking, cupboards are emptied of unwanted junk and, of course, the bathroom is set for it’s deepest cleaning yet…

Spring Cleaning Your Shower Enclosure

Spring Is Here – Time For A Spring Clean Of Your Bathroom!

Since a bathroom is one of those rooms we clean more regularly than most, perhaps it’s not quite so daunting as is first thought. But it’s an excellent opportunity to push the boat out a little further and make sure the entire bathroom is left completely spotless.

So, once you’ve tackled everything else with unbeatable gusto, one of the most frustrating parts of the bathroom are the glass panels of your shower enclosure or bath screen. Inevitably, being translucent, any dirt, scratches, grime and soap stains are always going to show up far more readily than we’d like. And with the shower being used daily, any hard work on your part could be undone in a matter of hours. So, how can we keep ourselves and everyone happy? Here are some tips that our staff & customers have picked up:

 

Cleaning Your Bath & Shower

Cleaning Your Bath & Shower

Avoid Abrasive Products

It’s tempting to use strong, aggressive cleaning products like scouring powder or caustic substances like soda crystals. But these can damage the surface of the glass. Not only does this look unsightly, but it can also allow water, dirt and residue to build up. Always use a product which is designed specifically for showers, or better still one which is recommended by the company who manufactured the shower enclosure in the first place.

 

Vinegar

One of the oldest chemicals used to clean glass is vinegar. Although the smell is unpleasant to many, this is a very effective trick to use. Vinegar will dissolve dirt, soap residue and any limescale that may accumulate. If the smell is something you might wish to avoid, some customers report that white wine vinegar is a less malodourous alternative. We’ve also heard that using wiping the glass down with newspaper is a good way of absorbing any remaining residues (much the same way as it works on windows).

 

Invest In A Daily “Shower Shine” Spray

With showers getting daily use, using a product which is intended to be quickly sprayed onto the glass each day is a labour-saving way of keeping your shower clean. This simple solution is sometimes overlooked, but the benefits really speak for themselves.

 

Cleaning A Shower Curtain

Shower curtains tend to attract and accumulate moisture and, if they’re left open whilst damp, mildew can gradually build up and lead to discolouration. To avoid this, use the anti-mildew spray you’re already using on the shower head & bathroom tiles to break up the bulk of the mildew.

For more stubborn staining, a simple trick is to wash your shower curtain in a washing machine at 40ºC with biological washing powder will normally remove this discolouration and any damp odours.

 

Keep Your Shower Head Dirt & Limescale Free

Many of us will use the shower head to rinse off cleaning products, but it’s important to remember that any limescale or mildew contained in this will be inadvertently sprayed over the shower or bath. Always remember to use mildew or limescale sprays on the shower head regularly, or you might accidentally undo your hard work. Some customers have gone to the trouble of carefully unscrewing the shower head to make sure any limescale hidden inside is removed first.

 

Consider The Option of Treated Glass

As technology improves, shower enclosure manufacturers, such as Lakes showers, are investing in special coatings which repel water and dirt. Sometimes referred to as “hydrophobic” (meaning “water-hating”) coatings within the industry, this relatively new innovation is becoming increasingly popular as a time-saving alternative to constant cleaning.

Lakes Bathrooms have taken the option of incorporating a coating known as “AllClear®” into a number of their shower enclosures and screens, with their “Classic” range now featuring this coating as standard.

   

Have you got any tips? Any highly effective ways of keeping your bathroom clean? Or stories of epic fails? Share them below!