Tearing Out the Shower

Our shower honestly wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t great either. But it wouldn’t have warranted a bathroom remodel all on its own.

The tile was not my favorite, but it was white. I definitely could have lived with it.


The knobs were quite annoying, though. I spend my entire shower trying to get the water to the right temperature. I’ve never loved the two separate knobs in a shower.


We gave this shower a lot of thought. We considered just changing the shower head (it’s rusted) and getting one of those conversion plate things and calling it good. But ultimately, we decided that we didn’t want to stop short on this renovation. Even though it’s not some weird color or pattern, it’s still a dated tile size. Plus, I really dislike the look of the conversion plates. I wanted a new, single handle and that can’t be done without tearing out a lot of tile anyway. (There were also some poorly-repaired spots in the shower floor where some tiles had apparently come loose at some point. I forgot to get a pic before the floor was demoed.)

As much as we didn’t want to spend the money, we both knew we would regret not doing the shower once everything else in here was brand new. And then when the hubs busted the shower door, the decision was simple.

To tell you the truth, I was not in the room for most of this demo. It’s really not a two person job, and there was nothing else left to do in the bathroom at this point. At least not that we were ready to do or that I could do all on my own.

Normally the first step of a shower demo is not to clear your shower floor of glass, but that’s where this one began.


We always stuff a bag in the drain right away when we know it will be a long time before there is water running through there again. (to block stinky gases from rising up)

drain cover drain stuffed

Then the shower door track was easily removed by just unscrewing all the screws.

shower frame screws remove screws

Then came the fun part. I mean, if you think tile removal is fun.


I found it odd that this row of tile was attached with construction adhesive rather than mortar. I have no idea why.

hammer tile

I think showers are currently *usually* made with drywall on the studs and then backer board over that. And then tile. This is our third house built in this time frame, and they’ve all had mud and wire mesh. From what I’ve read, the wire is better. It’ll last a lifetime (and has been used for a hundred years), and can work better if your framing isn’t perfect since you can build up the mud where needed. Backer board is faster and easier (therefore cheaper labor), but if it isn’t absolutely straight your grout may crack down the line.

wire mesh

We’ll be using backer board on the new install. It’s a great convenience and it looks like these walls are straight enough to handle it. Besides that, we (collective we, not specifically the hubs and I) just don’t build showers to last a lifetime anymore. We know that someone will likely gut this shower is twenty or thirty years, so it doesn’t need to last forever. Sad state of our world. We’re materialistic consumers who want the newest thing. That’s just how it is. I’m as guilty as anyone.

There’s not a whole lot to explain here. The hubs worked his way around chipping/chiseling/hammering out the tile.

progress progress2

He was able to pull the ceiling down in two huge pieces. It appears that the ceiling tile was mortared (is that a verb?) directly to drywall, which made it come down easily. Much easier than he expected. He tore his shirt, scratched his shoulder, and scraped up his leg.

ceiling pieces shoulder leg

As always, be careful. Wear safety glasses and gloves.

The hubs found two dead mice. I won’t show you a close up. Because I didn’t get close enough to get one. He told me they were right here…


I didn’t need to see them. I’m thrilled they were dead. I put poison out everywhere after we put out traps. We ended up catching a few mice in traps, and then I put poison pellets in the garage, attic, and under the sinks just as a precaution. They must have come in the backside of this wall which is under the stairs (those wires are for a light in the stairwell), because there is no way they got in through the tile anywhere. I haven’t seen any evidence of mice in weeks, so hopefully this is the end of them.

The hubs also found an old Tostitos bag in the wall. It must be a contractor thing. We ALWAYS find old cans or food wrappers in the wall. It’s always fun to see how the packaging has changed.


It’s quite a messy job, of course. Surprisingly, about four trash carts full of debris were hauled out of here just from the shower.

shower debris shower tile

clean up

At the end of Saturday night, the shower was looking like this…

demo shower

I told the hubs not to work in there too much on Father’s Day, but he wanted to at least get the floor finished. I didn’t argue with him.

shower floor

He said the floor came up pretty easily. He used a hammer and masonry chisel, and the floor scraper at times.


floor scraper

As of last night, all that’s left is some tile on the curb.


The shower pan is in good condition, so we won’t be tearing it out. The hubs has built a shower pan before and let’s just say it isn’t his favorite thing to do. There are several steps; it has to be shaped with concrete and then there are layers of rubber liner, sometimes mesh, and more concrete. It’s quite a job, so the hubs is thrilled that he was able to get the tile out without damaging the shower pan. Woohoo!

He needs to finish demoing the curb (hopefully the tile will come off cleanly and he won’t need to remake the curb) and then all we have left is to remove the mirror (hopefully without breaking it so I can reuse it elsewhere). And then that’s it. This bathroom will be gutted (to the studs in a few places) and ready to start all new!


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