Saturday, March 14, 2015

Installing a Shower Door

New Shower DoorDoes your shower have a curtain hanging and you'd rather have a door?  Or maybe you've got a shower door already but would like a new one.  Once again, I'm gonna show you how you can make it happen, and as always, save some money by doing it yourself!

What you'll need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Hacksaw
  • Electric Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • Masonry Drill Bit (5/16")
  • 4' Level
  • Masking tape
  • Caulking Gun
  • Clear Silicone

The first thing your going to need to do is remove the existing door or curtain.  If you've currently got a shower curtain, then it should be relatively easy to remove.  Just release the tension on the rod or you'll possibly have to remove a few screws on the brackets at the ends of the rod.  Either way, it's a really quick process.  If you currently have a shower door, this will take a little longer.  The process goes like this:  The doors have casters attached to the top of them and are hanging from the top rail of the frame.  There is also a door guide attached to the middle of the bottom track.  Move both doors to one side and remove the screws in the door guide and take the guide out.  The doors will freely swing in and out at this point.  Swing the bottom of the inside door in toward the shower and lift up to unhook the casters from the top rail.  Discard the door.  Repeat this same process for the other door.  If there is any silicone or caulking around the frame, you will need to remove this.  With the doors removed. the top rail should just lift up off of the wall jambs (this is the shower frame on the side walls).  After the top rail is off, remove the screws holding the wall jambs in place.  The only part remaining now should be the bottom track.  Typically, this is just held in place by a bead of silicone underneath it.  Using a knife or screwdriver, slowly cut this away while pulling the track up at the same time.  After the track is removed, do a thorough cleaning on the entire area before you start installing the new door.

Level Wall PiecesBottom TrackNow that we've went over the process of removing the old shower door system, you should understand the install better.  It's pretty much the same process in the opposite order.  The first part you will need is the bottom track.  Measure the length between the side walls and subtract 1/4".  This will be the length that the bottom track will be cut to.  Transfer this measurement to the new track and cut it to length using the hacksaw.  Position the track on the center of the ledge.  If you are installing this on a fiberglass shower unit, you may need to file the ends to match the rounded corners.  If it's going on a tiled shower wall, the track will usually fit just fine with square ends.  Once you've got it in place, tape it down and mark the position.  You can now position the new wall jambs (side pieces) onto the bottom track.  Holding it against the wall and using a level, make sure the jamb is plumb (vertically level) and mark the screw holes.  The next step is to remove the side pieces and drill the holes in the side walls using a drill bit and Drill.  The hole size will vary with different manufacturers (typically 5/16") and if you are drilling into ceramic tile, you will need to use a masonry drill bit.  After all the holes are drilled, install the plastic anchors that should be included with the new shower door (these simply press into the holes that you drilled).  Now that the side pieces have been removed, remove the bottom track as well.  Apply a bead of silicone underneath the track along the groove on the outside edge of the bottom of the track.  Position it back where you had it marked before and apply tape to hold it down again.  The next step will be to place the side pieces back into their position and install them using the screws provided into the anchors in the wall.  On each side, there will be a door bumper installed with the screw in the top and bottom spots.  After this, the bottom track and the wall jambs are installed!  The HARD part is now done!!!

Wall JambMasonry Drill Bit

  Next you will need to measure the top, from one wall to the other.  This will be the length you'll need to cut the new top rail.  Just as you cut the bottom track, use the hacksaw to cut the top rail to length.  The top rail will just fit over the side pieces securely.  The weight of the glass doors will definitely hold it in place.  Now onto the doors.

Shower Door Frame  Using a screwdriver, attach the hanging brackets on the top edge of each door.  After this, attach the casters (wheels that the door rolls along the top rail with) to the hanging brackets using a screwdriver as well.  You're now ready to hang the doors from the top rail!  While holding one door upright, swing the bottom in toward the shower and raise the top (end with the casters attached) up into the top rail and hang the casters on the inside edge inside the rail.  Repeat the same process for the other door, except this time you will hang the door on the outside edge inside the top rail.  Now that the doors are hanging and able to slide either way, you need to slide the doors up against both wall jambs to make sure they close all the way up against the door bumpers that are on the wall jambs.  If they don't, you will need to adjust to fit.  The hanging brackets that you installed on the top edge of the doors usually have three separate holes.  This is to allow for adjustment.  If the door is not closing all the way at the top, you can adjust the casters either up or down on the hanging brackets to make it fit nicely.  Use the same process to make it fit better at the bottom, if needed.  After both doors are adjusted, the door guide will need to be installed on the bottom track.  This door guide will keep the sliding doors moving smoothly and not rubbing against each other.  Locate the middle of the bottom track and place the door guide in place at this location.  Using the self-tapping screws provided, attach the door guide to the bottom track.  Once this is done, the door handles can be installed.  Install one facing the inside of the shower, while the other should face the outside.  You're almost done!  Now that everything is installed and working, the only thing left is to seal it all up.  Apply a bead of silicone on the outside of the shower along the entire length of the wall jambs and the bottom track (silicone should be placed where the shower frame meets the wall and shower base).  On the inside of the shower, only apply the silicone to the wall jambs, NOT the bottom track!  This allows any water that happens to make its way behind the frame to drain back into the shower, not out onto the bathroom floor.  At this point, the shower door has been installed.  You should not use the shower or expose the silicone to any water at all until the next day.  This will ensure that all silicone has dried sufficiently and your new shower door system will not leak.

New Shower DoorWhile these instructions might make this project sound pretty easy, it does require patience!  I would consider this to have a medium range of difficulty and the time to complete this should be about 4-5 hours.  I hope this post gives you enough information and tips to help build your confidence in tackling a project like this.  As always, I am interested in your feedback.  Please let me know what you think of this post.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment and I'll be happy to respond.  Good luck!