Installing a Fiberglass Shower and Tub Surrounds

Man transporting shower tub surround.
A new shower tub surround can perk up even the dingiest bathroom. Myers

­If you have tile walls, or the bathroom's just starting to look dingy, you may want to in­stall a fiberglass shower and tub surround. These are durable and easy to clean, and you may be able to handle the installation yourself.

The prep work you have to do before installation depends on the existing fixtures in your bathroom. You may have to remove tile or an older fiberglass unit. Whichever it is, make sure that the area is clean from debris after removing the old tiles and/or fixtures.


To begin the installation, you must mount your tub unit. Place it in your designated area and use wooden shims to support the necessary areas, making the tub level. When it's properly in place, simply screw the unit to the wall and begin preparing your spout and diverter. To install these, draw a perpendicular line down the­ center of the back of your tub so you can easily reference where the middle is. Then, draw a horizontal line to indicate where the spout should go. This spot should leave the spout one inch above the tub. When your spout is placed, you can choose where you'd then like to place the diverter. After you've chosen your area above the spout, make small holes in the back of the tub to mark it. Then saw larger holes in front that will allow the spout and diverter to go through the holes. You can then install and secure the spout and diverter in place with screws or adhesive [source: DIY Home Repairs and Remodeling].

Your surround may have been attached to your tub, as is the case in the example above, but if it's separate - usually several panels, then you would handle the installation as follows:

­Remove the spout and faucet and clean the existing wall. The wall should be clear of any tile or wallpaper, and dry-walled using moisture-resistant boards called "green-wall." Then, around the edge of the existing tub, apply pieces of apron trim. Locate your corner panels and size them to your wall. When they are prepared, apply drywall adhesive to edges, down the center and anywhere on the panel that is behind a ledge, like a soap dish. There will be foam tape around the edge. Remove the backing to the tape and then press the panel against the wall starting on one side and slowly moving pressure along to the other. Repeat this process with all the sides, making sure to cut proper holes for any faucets or handles you may need. When all sides have been installed, you should caulk all the edges to provide a water barrier [source: Henkenius]. Make sure to allow time for the caulk to cure -- plan to wait at least one day, preferably two, before using the new fixtures.

Depending on what your home improvement DIY skill level is, it can be a good idea to consult a professional before taking on a project like this. If you do decide to call in the pros, now you'll have a good idea of the overall installation process.

For additional home improvement information, check out the links on the following page.


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More Great Links

  • DIY Home Repairs and Remodeling. "Installing a Fiberglass Shower." (Accessed 12/14/2008).,,DIY_13715_2268435,00.html
  • Henkenius, Merle. "Installing a tub surround." Popular (Accessed 12/14/2008).