We will be discussing how to remove your shower surround; the one piece built in type surround, not tile or other types of shower surrounds. There are two basic ways that old shower surrounds may be attached. They can be attached with screws and caulking or more commonly, with adhesive and caulking. This page tells you how to best remove both types with minimal damage to the walls behind the old surround. Walls can be made of ordinary drywall, water resistant drywall (green board), tile or other less common materials.
Tools and Supplies Needed
Before you begin, it is a good idea to make sure you have all the required tools and supplies gathered together so you know you have what you need to complete the job. You will need:
• Screwdriver/ screw gun/ cordless screwdriver
• Pipe wrench
• Utility knife
• Jig saw/ hole saw
• Caulking gun
• Joint compound (as needed)
• Tile adhesive (as needed)
• Primer (if necessary)
• New surround kit
• Adhesive and applicator
• Any new shower accessories you may want
Removing the Old Surround
1. Remove all faucets handles
2. Remove the bottom water spout
3. Remove the top shower head
4. Remove any other accessories attached to the old shower surround
5. This is where you should plan for any new shower or bath accessories that you may want to add when you apply the new shower surround. You may wish to add a grab bar, soap dish, or other accessories.
6. Using a utility knife, cut all of the caulking seals around the old shower surround.
7. If your shower surround is screwed in place, remove all of the screws holding it in place. You may use a screw driver or a screw gun for this task
8. If your shower surround is glued in place, you will be slowly and carefully pealing it away from the wall. Normally the adhesive will have been applied in a zigzag pattern and will cause damage to the drywall beneath if you indeed have drywall walls. If you have tile underneath, peeling the surround to fast can cause the tiles to loosen and come off of the wall behind the surround. Take your time and try to do as little damage to the underlying wall as possible. Some damage is to be expected in most cases. Don’t worry, we will patch it up before we install the new surround.
9. Patch up any damage to the underlying wall after you have removed the old surround. For drywall, you can use joint compound to smooth over any areas where the wall was damaged from pulling off the old surround. For tiles, you should reattach any tiles that may have come loose.
10. That is all there is too removing the old surround. Next, you can follow the instructions that came with your new surround to install it. If the underlying surface is tile or another smooth surface, you will want to use sandpaper to roughen the surface so that the adhesive for the new surround will adhere better. And if you did a lot of patch work to the old drywall or the drywall is not primed, it is a good idea to prime it.
Installing the New Shower Surround
As mentioned in step 10 of removing the old surround, your new surround should come with instructions specific to that kit. You should use the manufacturer’s directions, but here are the basic steps to installing your new surround:
1. Once you have the old surround removed and the wall ready to go, you will also need to remove the old caulking between the wall and the tub if it is in bad shape. It is a good idea to do it even if it doesn’t look horribly bad because you won’t get another opportunity for some time that is as good as this one.
2. Make a template with all of the holes marked for things such as the spout, shower head and knobs that will protrude through the new surround. The carton that the new surround came in will usually make a good template material. Use your pencil to mark the cutouts.
3. Use a jig saw or hole sawn to cut the holes in the new surround for the faucet, knobs, etc.
4. With a helper, hold the panels in place in the order the directions recommend and mark their possiton at top and bottom. Make sure to use your level and make sure all pieces are plum and that the holes align correctly.
5. Apply the adhesive according to the manufacturer’s directions. Most will call for allowing the glue to set for a period before putting the panel up, so be sure to read any directions carefully to the adhesive works properly.
6. Attach the panels to the walls in the proper order as per the directions.
7. Replace all hardware and accessories and add any new shower gadgets your heart desires.
8. Apply caulk to all the joints and allow it to dry as per the directions.
9. Make sure you allow the proper amount of time for both the caulking and the adhesive to set and dry completely before you use the shower or bath tub or you will risk weakening the adhesive and/or ruining the calking and setting yourself up for major water damage later on.