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What Are the Best Tips for Installing a Basement Shower?

A shower head.
Basements often have drainage systems that use sump pumps to remove excess water.
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  • Written By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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Installing a basement shower is a useful addition to any finished basement. A basement shower can increase the value of the home by adding functionality and an extra amenity to the space. The best tips to keep in mind when installing a basement shower are to assemble all of your tools and supplies before beginning, make sure you have the proper space for the shower and plumbing, use water-resistant materials, and always double check for leaks.

Make sure you have all of the supplies and tools you'll need before installing the basement shower. This includes plumbing supplies, the shower enclosure, framing materials, basic hand tools, a sledgehammer or jackhammer, and tiling supplies. If you are using a pre-fabricated shower unit, read all of the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure you have all required tools and supplies.

The greatest risk with the installation of a basement shower is the increased potential for water damage. To minimize the risk, the location of the unit is important. All basements have a drain that connects to a drainage system or sump-pump. The shower will drain into this pipe, so many homeowners elect to construct the shower near the drain to eliminate the need for excess plumbing. When measuring space for the shower, make sure the dimensions include room for all necessary finishings, including space for pipes behind the faucet and shower head as well as sheet rock behind the enclosures.

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Use a sledgehammer or jackhammer to remove the concrete flooring and concrete reinforcements before installing the shower unit. This is necessary to ensure there is adequate space for the shower trap. A shower trap is a length of pipe that sits lower than the rest of the plumbing, and traps dust and sediment inside. This prevents clogs from happening in other sections of the plumbing and keeps bad smells from coming out of the pipes. The trap can be attached to the house's existing outside vent stack, or to an auto-vent stack purchased specifically for the shower trap.

Make sure to use water-resistant materials when framing and tiling. Pressure-treated 2 x 4 inch (38 x 89 mm) lumber stands up to moisture, and will safeguard the framing from rot and mold. Use an epoxy grout for tiling. This type of grout can be expensive, but can tolerate high volumes of water and is also stain-resistant. Sealing the space between the tile and the shower with a silicone caulk with also make the area most resistant to water.

After the shower is installed but before the faucets and shower head are attached, run water through the drain and check the pipes for any leaks. Running this test will alert you to any issues with the plumbing and drainage systems, helping to prevent water damage later on. If you are unfamiliar with plumbing or drainage systems, consider asking a professional plumber for a consultation or assistance before installing your basement shower.

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