After much debate, I decided to use Schluter Kerdi products to build my custom shower. I discussed other options in my demo post (found here). Schluter offers a ridiculous amount of information for do-it-yourselfers (and pros who aren’t familiar with their products) on their website and YouTube Channel. They seriously make a video for every aspect of installing a shower. If I can figure it out from their videos, so can you!
**This is NOT a sponsored post. I received no compensation for writing this post, nor did I receive any discount on the products. But Schluter, if you’re reading, I still have 2 other bathrooms and a kitchen floor to do, so call me.**
Supplies for DIY Custom Shower
First I ordered the complete Kerdi shower system from Home Depot online: Kerdi-Shower 32 in. x 60 in. ABS Shower Kit with Brushed Nickel Drain for $596.62. The cheapest option for my shower size was $499, but it came with a stainless steel drain and PVC (white) fittings. I needed ABS fittings (usually black) because my existing drain pipe is ABS. You really shouldn’t mix the two. I also decided to spend the extra $30 for a brushed nickel drain to match my plumbing fixtures. Ultimately I don’t think the drain material matters, so go ahead and get the stainless.
The kit, as you can see, comes with a ready-made shower pan, the curb (you know, the bump that keeps the water in, and what the shower door sits on top of), drain assembly, and material to waterproof the floor and walls. So really, it comes with everything.
After I ordered the kit, I decided I wanted to build my own shower pan. Schluter will show you how to do it with or without their pan, and they even kind of recommend NOT using their pan if your drain is off-center or your floor is not level. Of course with my luck I couldn’t take the easy route because my drain was off-center (I expanded the shower 1 ft) AND my floor was really uneven.
So I returned the kit and ordered only the pieces I needed and it came to $390.11, saving $206. Woohoo! I didn’t need the pre-sloped shower tray or shower curbs, because I was going to build both of those on my own.
- 1 roll Kerdi waterproofing membrane – $99.97 (I thought I’d need 2 rolls, but 1 was enough)
- Kerdi waterproofing band – $18.97
- Brushed nickel drain assembly, plus preformed waterproof corners, pipe seal and mixing valve seal – $171.20
I still needed supplies to build the shower base, so I took hubby to Home Depot to buy everything John Bridge says I need to make deck mud. (Thanks Kim @ TheKimSixFix.com for the tip!)
- 1 bag Portland Cement – $10.35
- 4 bags all purpose sand – $12.40
- PVC coupling fitting (needed to use around the drain before I could fill with cement) – $2.44
We also bought 5 sheets of cement board for the shower walls and 1 sheet of drywall for the shower ceiling.
TOTAL (with tax) $415.67 to build the shower (not counting the tile and doors!)
Building Shower Walls
As stated above, I bought cement board (Wonderbaord, to be precise) for my shower walls. However, you DO NOT need to use cement board with Schluter Kerdi. You can Kerdi right over drywall (only if you like to use nouns as verbs). I went with cement board because I thought it would make a better frame for my DIY shower pan. If I used drywall, I would have to line the drywall with Kerdi before laying the deck mud (because wet cement and drywall don’t get along), which would have messed me up. I wanted to build my walls, then the shower pan, then water proof everything all at once. So I went with cement board.
Attaching cement board is like attaching drywall, except it sucks. You drive cement board screws through the board and into a stud… and it makes a hot mess. Little particles of cement dust flying everywhere. Cough.
Cutting it is no fun either. The edges tend to crumble. But remember, it’s not difficult, just annoying, so don’t be scared. 😉
You can get a few more glimpses of the Wonderboard going up in the pocket door post (found here).
Oh, and did I mention that the plumber didn’t set the fittings back far enough in the wall? This piece of cement board had to come down and he had to move everything deeper into the wall. Glad it wasn’t my fault!
Look at the plastic collar, and you should be able to see the difference.Keep in mind that the cement board and your existing drywall probably won’t be the same thickness. It’s not a problem for me because I’m planking my walls and will have a transition piece between the tiled shower and planked walls. Just something to think about.
Building a Shower Curb
This was way harder in my mind. Basically I cut a few 2x4s to length, stacked them on top of each other and covered all 3 sides with cement board. See it’s a good thing I bought that cement board.
I actually jacked this one up a little bit because I read (AFTER I built mine) that you should not lay 2x4s directly on top of a concrete subfloor. Oops. That’s exactly what I did. But really, the entire bathroom is framed with 2x4s laying on concrete, so I think it will be fine. But you… you should use brick or something.
Up next is the drain and deck mud… So much easier than I thought it would be!