Are you ready for another bathroom update? Last week we watched as Matt fixed some pipe and added concrete board to the shower enclosure. Today, we add shower walls. When we were planning this bathroom remodel, one of the biggest decisions we had to make was shower wall material. Matt really wasn’t digging the idea of putting tile on the walls, so we set our sights on a shower insert. But, after checking out a few samples at Lowe’s, we weren’t too impressed with the hollowness of insert walls. So, after reviewing the non-insert, non-tile options, we landed on Swanstone panels from Home Depot. These panels are made from some composite material and are 1/4″ thick. They get attached to the concrete board with silicone caulk and are supposed to fit right into your shower enclosure. Easy, peasy.
So, naturally, ours didn’t fit exactly. Apparently our slab slopes downward a bit which means that the tub slopes a bit meaning that the Swanstone piece going along the back wall of the shower had to be trimmed at the exact angle of the downward slope.
Once the big piece was happily in place, Matt moved on to the first stressful bit of this process, cutting holes in our new, expensive shower walls for the faucet and valve.
And then hold your breath when you make the cut into the actual shower piece.
Whew! With that out of the way, he quickly cut down the third piece to fit and moved on to stressful bit number 2. Gluing the panels to the walls. The manufacturer recommended using silicone caulk, which is nice because it is not super fast drying. If a mistake was made, there would be time to adjust. The downside of the slower drying silicone caulk is getting enough pressure on each panel while the glue dries, ensuring a successful, gap free bond. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any volunteers to stand and push against the panels for hours, so Matt had to create a brace.
Every few minutes of this process, parts of the brace would tumble. It was incredibly frustrating and very much like building a card tower out of 2×4′s. It really felt like you needed 10 arms to get it to stay put, but between the two of us, we finally managed to make it work.
And the next day, the braces were removed and the gluing process was deemed a success. Now, in the picture above, do you see that gap in the corner of the shower where the seams meet? Luckily, the manufacturer understands that no one can get those panels to line up perfectly, so they provide corner pieces to glue in the seams.
It’s so clean, bright, and smooth! We love the way it turned out, a great improvement on the grey mismatched tile that was there before. And getting the shower done makes the bathroom seem so much closer to being complete! Overall, the experience of the Swanstone was a bit tedious, but mostly just took some patience. It definitely feels solid, sturdy, and easy to clean!
Next up, tile!