Step 1: Unpack your Panels Kit
Shower wall panel installation is easy! Let me show you how to use a shower surround kit. The kit has three panels: one for the back, one for each end, and two trim strips. It's important to remember that you'll want to bring this into the same room you plan to install it in at least 24 hours in advance. This way, it can acclimate to temperature and humidity.
Step 2 : Remove the Plumbing Fixtures
The first thing we'll want to do is remove the plumbing fixtures for the spout. You'll want to use a strap wrench to prevent damage to the finish. The shower valve is removed by loosening the set screw on the underside of the handle, then removing the screws that hold the adjusting ring in place and pulling it free next. The video shows that the two screws holding the escutcheon, or trim plate, have been taken off before finally unscrewing the shower head and arm.
Step 3 : Cut the Panels Kit
The panels come oversized and must be trimmed to the correct width and height. The best way to ensure you trim it to the right size is by measuring and marking the dimensions. Draw and cut on a line making sure it's parallel to the opposite edge when cutting the panels. Scissors, a sharp utility knife, or a pair of snips are all great options for cutting the panel to size, but snips give more leverage, making the process easier.
Step 4 : Measure the Side Wall
Start by measuring the wall location of the fittings. You should aim to get precise measurements from the back wall and the tub's top edge to the center of the fixtures, then transfer those measurements to the side panel and mark the fixture locations. The side panels have a folding flap that will wrap around the corner and onto the back wall to create a watertight joint. There is a crease for that fold molded into the panel when transferring the measurement from the back corner to the fixture centers. Be careful to measure from the crease rather than the edge of the panel and mark the location for the faucet, the shower valve, and the shower arm.
Step 5 : Drill the Panels Kit
Next, place the panel on a piece of rigid foam insulation, plywood, or heavy cardboard to protect the floor when using the drill. Drill through the panel and then use a hole saw to create more holes for the fixture. Next, bend the panel along the crease and extend the flap into the corner and onto the back wall. This ensures that the corner remains waterproof. With the corner folded and the fixture holes in place, do a test fit to ensure everything aligns properly.
Step 6 : Verify the Panels Fit Correctly
Tape the left panel in place temporarily while working on the opposite end section and the back wall. Next, make the fold on the right panel. You won't need to bore through this panel because there are no fixtures on it. Then, test fit the panel and use masking tape to hold it in place for the moment. Finally, put the panel against the back wall, align the edges, and apply masking tape to keep things in position with all three panels up. Take a step back to get an overall view, and once you've decided you're satisfied, draw a pencil line around the top and side edges. This line can be used as a guide when applying the adhesive to avoid getting any excess material on the wall.
Step 7 : Apply an FRP Adhesive
Now that everything is outlined remove the masking tape and take the panels down to make cleanup easier. Apply strips of masking tape along the pencil outline and around the top edges of the bathtub. Once you've done your test fit and determined that everything fits perfectly, it's time to handle the shower wall panel installation using FRP Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic panel adhesive. This will adhere the panels to the wall to make sure the panels stick without a problem. Before the application, do a final wipe-down using a clean, dry cloth to remove dust or particles from the surface with a putty knife.
Step 8 : Fit the Panels Kit
It's time for the moment of truth! Press the panel firmly into the adhesive using the flat of your hand. Then use a j-roller to make sure any air bubbles are pressed out. It's crucial here to move from the center of the panel to the edges alternately. You could opt to use a heavy rag and perform the same operation again, starting in the center and moving outward. When the left panel is up, move to the right panel, apply the RFP adhesive, and then the high-tech instant grab material. Finally, set the panel in position and press out any air bubbles.
Step 9 : Cut the Trim Pieces
This is j trim or j channel, and we're going to slip this over the front edge of the panels now to give them a more finished look. The trim can be cut to length using either a sharp utility knife or a pair of scissors to secure the trim to the panels. Use clear silicone adhesive to cut the nozzle closer to the tip to create a small opening to puncture the seal, then load it in the caulking gun and apply a bead inside the channel. Then pull the edge of the panel away from the wall and slip on the j trim. Apply another dot to the back of the trim, and press against the wall to create a watertight seal along the edge. Now, remember the RFP adhesive has a work time of 30 minutes or more, so be sure to apply the trim before the panel adhesive is set.
You can also opt to try an alternate method:
- Apply the adhesive to the inside of the channel.
- Slip the trim onto the panel edge.
- Apply silicone to the back of the trim.
- Set the panel in place with the trim already attached.
Step 10 : Clean the Panels Kit
Apply the adhesive to the back wall, set the panel in place, and roll out any air bubbles. Once the back panel is in place, peel back the edges where they overlap. On the flap on the end sections, you should apply a bead of silicone to the edge and press the back panel into the silicone bead. This ensures a watertight seal between the back and end panels.
The adhesive bond is quite strong almost immediately, but to ensure the panels don't move while the adhesive dries, you can apply masking tape around the edges. When the glue is set, take them off and apply a bead of white silicone sealant where the bottom of the panel meets the tub. This is to ensure a watertight seal to create a smooth professional-looking finish. Finally, spray on a solution of water-denatured alcohol and a few drops of dishwashing detergent, then use your finger to tool out the bead with the surround installed.
Step 11 : Replace the Plumbing Fixtures
Once the panels are installed, you can replace the plumbing fixtures. Before returning them, apply a bead of silicone around the edges where they contact the wall. Begin with the spout, then the valve and trim, and finally, the shower arm and shower head. This shower surround is durable, non-porous, grout-free, easy to clean, and affordable to traditional ceramic tile. So if you want the look of tile without the expense, then a shower surround like this could just be the answer! Best of all, it is a project you can do yourself.
Finished Shower and Wall Panels
Tools & Materials Required
- Razor knife, Scissors
- Tape measure
- Hole saw
- MirroFlex™ Tub and Shower Walls
- Silicone Sealant
- Soap, Water, & Damp Cloth for Panel Clean-Up
- Mineral Spirits to Remove Excess Adhesive or silicone Sealant
- Painter's tape
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