I meet quite a few people with a fiberglass shower or tub enclosure who are dreaming of replacing it with tile.  It may be old and outdated, but hey, it still works!  The clients for this project had wanted to replace the enclosure from the day it was installed.  It was a special unit made for modular homes and was very skinny and smaller than usual.  They were very excited to have me replace it with a new tile shower.

Often, the biggest hassle with replacing a surround can be actually removing it from the bathroom.  They are typically installed when homes are built before drywall is hung.  They are attached directly to the studs.  To get them out, you almost always have to cut them into pieces!  That was the case with this one as well.  It was actually installed after the drywall with trim hiding the flange around the sides, but I had to cut it up to remove it from the bathroom.

The new shower would be much larger and the tile would go all the way to the ceiling.  The change would be dramatic.

This was a manufactured home near the Greene and Owen County line south of Spencer, Indiana.  Before it was a shower, it had been plumbed for a garden tub.  This meant that there were some pipes in the way of the new shower that I had to deal with by framing a new floor above the pipes so that the drain would be high enough.  I also had to hide a corner vent pipe in the corner by creating a small tiled foot-rest.  My clients liked that idea.

Once the walls were put back together I could start installing the Kerdi waterproofing system  (left) and thinking about tile.  We were trying to keep the tile simple to keep the costs down.  I installed some basic 2″ square tiles on the floor and as a stripe around the shower.  The 12″ tiles on the walls would be a grid pattern, but I offset the ones above the stripe to dress things up a little.  This wasn’t difficult to do, but added a lot to the design.

The corner shelf and soap dish offer some great storage without the expense of adding a tile niche, which are beautiful, but labor intensive to install.  The clients were excited about the new shower and grateful to have a little more elbow room when they’re getting clean!

By the way, here is one big difference from when I used to work in Nashville, TN- the views!  Here in Indiana, I’m often surrounded by beautiful rolling farmland when I’m outside using the ol’ tile saw.  Here’s the view from this project:

Not a bad place to take a lunch break, but good luck using your cell phone!  :)