Shower remodels are more involved than most homeowners realize...

We are known for having the best shower remodels in Phoenix because of our expertise, being meticulous, & not skipping steps.

One of the scary parts of remodeling a shower is if a contractor misses or skips one step, it could mean you have to redo the entire or majority of the shower remodel. 

Homeowners obviously do not want to waste money paying for two shower remodels, but it is one of the riskiest things to renovate in your home.

We usually will not touch another contractors partially finished shower, so we have to remove what is currently there and start over. This unfortunately is common in the Phoenix area.

Here is a step-by-step breakdown on the proper way to build a tiled shower from one of our projects:

Step #0: The Shower Before Remodeling

Shower Remodel before img

This is a common shower size and style our clients like to have remodeled.

Most homeowners are asking to have the bathtub removed so they can have a walk in shower.

They want a curtain or glass doors, depending on what type of access they prefer.

Now that you see what it was like beforehand, let's jump into step 1 of the shower remodel process...

Step #1: Remove existing tile and boards

Shower Remodel 1

Many homeowners think you just remove the tile and put up new tile.

That is a huge liability that no contractor would do (hopefully not)

If you get a leak, you're in for a roller coaster of stress, and playing Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out where it came from.

Plus you'll have to rip out all of the new tile, cement board and other items to completely gut the area and then reinstall EVERYTHING!

Homeowners insurance usually covers very little to none of the costs.

That means you are paying twice for the same shower.

 You want your remodeled shower to bring you joy, not aggravation.

Step #2: Remove the bathtub

Shower Remodel 3

Removing the bathtub can be difficult because the builder didn't caring about leaving any space for a potential shower remodel in the future.

Some contractors will cut the wood studs to get the tub out. Some may not replace the cut wood which is obviously bad.

After removing the tub there is sometimes mold that needs to be properly removed.

Some contractors do the bare minimum.

So from just this step alone, you can see how a contractor could skip several steps causing you stressful issues and more money in the future.

The worst part is those issues will be behind everything so you would never know until it is too late.

Step #3: Break up concrete and move plumbing for new drain

Shower Remodel

The floor isn't as easy as just re-tiling it.

The majority of the time you have to break up the concrete underneath the bathtub to move the drain for the shower.

Obviously this take more time but it has to be done.

The plumbing is then moved so that the shower drain is in the right location (middle of shower in this setup).

If the plumbing is not done correctly it will leak underneath your shower without you knowing.

You won't see any signs until it is too late.  That can consist of many structural issues which could impact not only our bathroom but other rooms.

Step #4: Pour pre-pitch for the shower pan

Shower Remodel 3

Now you can see how there is a lot more involved in a shower remodel then most people realize.

This shower install step involves pouring the shower floor and pre-pitch to ensure the water will move to the drain.

This task takes skill & precision.

If done incorrectly it can create cracks, which results in your floor tiles moving and cracking causing leaks under your shower.

Done improperly, can also cause leaks and mold growth underneath that you won't see.

Step #5: Install liner for shower pan

shower liner process

We have seen this step skipped from the demos of previous shower floors.

As you can imagine, not having the liner is a liability for leaks.

We use a very strong grade 40 shower liner with all of our bathroom shower remodels.

Unfortunately some contractors may use a liner, but they don't run it up the shower wall to ensure there are no leaks between the wall and the floor.  

This is another thing that a homeowner can't be expected to know, but can cause tremendous stress and wasted money.

Step #6: Create wall plumbing for shower fixture(s)

Shower Remodel 5

This next step is setting up the area for the shower head and the shower valve that you use to turn the water on.

The position of both of these can vary.  You can have the shower valve at the top or in the ceiling for a rain shower.

For the shower valve, most people like it on the same wall and in the middle.  

We often move the shower valve closer to the entrances on some master bathroom showers so that way the homeowner does not get hit with cold water when they go to turn on their shower.

It is important that the shower valve is securely installed to the wall. If it is not securely fasted that can create leaks and a "cheap" feeling of the valve moving and wiggling when you turn it on or off.

The valve is turned and pushed hundreds of times a year. If it is not secured to the wall properly, this constant movement can create cracks in the plumbing and cause leaks behind the shower wall.

Small leaks that last a long time before known it is happening, can cause the most mold behind the shower. 

Step #7: Add shower niche, backerboard, tape the seams & mud

Shower Remodel 6

There's several steps in this one shower step to save you time.

First we install the shower niche to add your shampoo, soap, etc.

We also do shower niches at the bottom for to shave legs safely, but don't want a huge bench. 

The shaving foot niche is safer than a bench, less money, and does not take up space like a bench does.

After the niche is framed we install cement board, which is important because it is moisture and mold resistant making it the best choice for the shower walls.

Next we tape off all the seams and mud them.  This ensures there are no open seems anywhere.

As you can see, we take our bathroom remodels and shower remodels very seriously.

Step #8: Time for the shower waterproofing!

Shower Remodel process7

Just when you thought there couldn't be any more steps in this shower remodel process...

In this step, we apply a waterproof coating to the shower walls.

This is one of the things that gives us the confidence to give clients our no questions asked warranty on not only the materials but also our workmanship.

This remodel step ensures you don't have to worry about mold growing behind the shower walls.

Step #9: Install pitch 

Shower Remodel 8

Now that the pre-pitch is poured and the liner is installed, this next step is to pour the pitch.

This ensures the water flows towards the shower drain just like in the earlier step.

Pretty boring, right? 

It's still vital to your shower remodel and it takes precision.

Step #10: Install shower floor tile and shower niche tile

Shower Remodel 10

This is the first shower remodel step the homeowner will always see!

So consider this...

We have had 9 other steps that a contractor could skip and the homeowner would have no idea their shower remodel may cause problems because those first 9 steps are not visible to the homeowner when the shower is completed.

In this step we install the shower floor tile and the shower niche accent tile the Phoenix homeowner chooses.

Step #11: Install the shower wall tile

Shower wall tile install

We are getting close to finishing our remodeled shower!

In this step we carefully install the tile.

We use tile spacers (those small white things you see in the picture) to ensure that the spacing between the tiles are the same. 

You don't want to hire a shower remodeling company that does not use tile spacers.  I don't care if they say they so good at it they can do it without, everyone should always use them.

So now at this point we have the shower wall tiles, shower floor tiles and the shower valved installed.

Step #12: Grout the shower wall tiles


This is the 2nd to last step of our shower remodel tutorial!

We always use high quality grout so it will not crack or discolor easily, unlike the cheap stuff some contractors use to save a couple dollars.

Grouting is important for the look of the shower and to keep the water out.

This is where the remodel of the shower really starts to show!

Step #13: Install shower glass, trim kit & shower accessories


This is our last step in the shower remodel process!

We install the shower door frame and then the glass shower door(s).

Take a look at the finished product!

That is a well-built shower that the homeowner will be able to enjoy and not worry about leaks or other issues.

There's a reason you hear horror stories about other contractors and the problems they create. 

Construction is a serious trade that needs to be done in a very detailed and exact manner.

If you want to have your shower remodeled, we would be honored to work with you!

This is how you get the best shower remodel in Phoenix!

If you are looking to do a bathroom renovation, we highly recommend reviewing these bathroom remodel tips.

You don't want to deal with the risks involved with mediocre materials, bad workmanship, or a leaking shower.

If you haven't already, review our process and see if we are a good fit for one another:

Which remodel guide would you like for free?

Remodeling doesn't need to be so confusing or stressful. We're here to help.

AVoid Checklist cover

Avoid Choosing The Wrong Contractor

PHR Kitchen remodel guide 201

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Guide


The Simplified Bathroom Remodel Guide