The Most Common Shower Remodeling Problems and Solutions

May 4 2022

Are you planning to remodel your bathroom? If so, it is recommended that you be prepared as numerous problems can arise. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the process before you start.

To make life easier for you, we have created a short list of the most common bathroom remodeling issues that you are likely to come across. This list will help you save time, money, and hopefully a little of your sanity!

shower remodel

Make a Plan Before You Start

The first step before starting your project is to get a sense of the scope of work and set a budget. Layout your floor plan first even if it is just a simple hand sketch. This will be the foundation for the entire project. From here you can create a material list that will adhere to your budget.

The shower is the main feature in most bathrooms so this must be carefully planned. Do you want tile, steam heads, linear drain or curbless? These are some of the important questions that you need to ask yourself before the project begins.

During the planning stage, you will also need to select the vendors you will be approaching to purchase your bathroom accessories and building materials from. Most good suppliers can help you not only with your layout but also with the selection of material along with helping you stay within your budget. Some large retailers offer complete design services as well.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get the planning process started:

  • Do I want built-in or stand-alone cabinets?
  • Do I want a shower or bath/shower combination?
  • How big should my shower be?
  • Where do I want my fixtures such as my toilet, cabinets, closet, etc.…?
  • Do I need more lighting? Where should I put it?
  • What design style do I want? This helps to determine cabinet type and sizing and a basis for the colors and finishes.

Contractor or DIY?

Many things can go wrong when remodeling your bathroom, but most of them are easily preventable. Selecting a reputable contractor should, in most situations, assist in reducing or eliminating any difficulties. Choosing the wrong contractor could make it a nightmare. It is important to check their online reviews and meet them before you make your final decision. If you decide to tackle the project on yourself, you need to be well prepared as problems can arise due to poor planning.

Deciding to take on a renovation yourself can be a very rewarding experience especially if you have the skillset to get the job done right. If you are inexperienced make sure you find and rely on good resources to learn what you need to complete your project successfully. YouTube is a fantastic resource, although be careful to only use good channels. There are plenty of books that can help as well. Even your friends and family can help guide you if they have the proper home improvement experience.

Use the right tools

Once you’ve made the decision to take the plunge and Do-It-Yourself a good step to ensure it will be done correctly, is to make sure you invest in the right tools. Good power tools are not only reliable, but they can make the job safer and even save strain on your body and reduce fatigue making your project go smoother.

There’s no question that tools can get expensive but by selecting contractor grade brands you will have reliable tools that will last for many years. If you can afford it, consider buying some specialty plumbing and tiling tools. They will serve you well in the long run especially if you plan on more DIY projects or renovations in the future. You’ll be glad you did.

Understanding the Scope and Size

By default, bathrooms were built with just one primary goal in mind: functionality. While utility should always come first, that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style.

If you have a conventional 5′ x 8′ bathroom, you must plan effectively. You can, however, make it seem larger by selecting the right materials and finishes. You’ll commonly find outdated 4″ by 4″ wall tiles and tiny, small mosaic floor tiles in older showers. These proportions make your bathroom seem smaller. You can add flair by updating with larger ceramic tiles or faux tile wall panels. Not only will your bathroom & shower look bigger, but this will also provide you with an updated look while incorporating modern day style.

Although purchasing prefabricated shower pans can seem very convenient and cost effective, they do not offer a high-end finish and you may have you spending more money in the long run. A $300 standard-sized 60″ x 32″ shower pan you bought from the big box store can seem like a fantastic deal until you discover that your drain isn’t located in the right position and that your plumbing needs to be relocated. Suddenly, that low-priced base has cost you much more. Foam based shower pans are easily customizable and can allow the drain to be placed precisely where you need it. As a rule of thumb before purchasing the incorrect shower pan, compare the entire cost, including materials and labor to install it.

Selecting your finishes

It’s all in the details! When selecting finishes such as faucets and hardware, it is important to take into consideration things like color and manufacturer. These choices can make a significant difference in providing the finishing touches that can make your finished project look spectacular. Be aware that different manufacturers have different styles and product lines. It is always recommended to choose items from the same line as this will make it easier to pull together all the elements in the space you are creating. Be cautious in choosing “specialty” colors from manufacturers as these will be harder to match with other hardware such as door handles, hinges, knobs etc. Matte Black, Chrome, Brushed Stainless Steel and Polished Brass are quite common and are usually consistent across most manufacturers. This will aid in preventing an unsightly mismatch in your finished renovation project.


Proper ventilation is a fundamental requirement for any bathroom. It is often overlooked, especially in older homes. Insufficient venting will lead to high humidity (moisture laden air) inside the bathroom which can and will cause unsightly mold or mildew. This can lead to long-term negative health effects for the entire family. Bathrooms require an exhaust fan and an outside vent to effectively remove the moisture from the humid areas. Choosing a powerful, quieter, and more effcient fan is strongly recommended.

To determine if a replacement or venting update is required, it is suggested that you perform a quick test by running a hot shower and turning on the existing fan. Observe if the walls sweat, or if the mirror is excessively fogging up. The bathroom moisture should decrease quickly after the shower is turned off and the exhaust fan is running. If this is not the case then it may be time to install new, proper venting. Although time-consuming it will be an excellent investment in solving any present ventilation problems you may have.

If you notice black mold stains during the demolition process, you should consult a professional for advice on how to clean and sanitize the bathroom properly before proceeding.

There are many professional mechanical wholesalers and DIY stores that can help you in selecting the right ventilation system for your bathroom ensuring your home is a healthy environment for you and your family.

Plumbing and Electrical

If you need plumbing and electrical work and decide to tackle the project on your own, consider that this can be get very complicated and potentially dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Unless you are a plumber or electrician this is best to left to the experts. If you do decide to take this on yourself, be sure to adhere to all local building codes and check with your local municipality for permit requirements.

Waterproofing your shower

Selecting the materials needed for a bathroom renovation can be very challenging but choosing the right waterproof shower system doesn’t have to be.

Foam systems are the most popular and are normally readily available. Whatever waterproofing materials you select it is recommended that the manufacturer offers a complete system solution to ensure that you are covered under their warranty. If you choose to select materials from different manufactures such as shower pans from one and wallboards from another and something goes wrong, there will be no warranty to protect your investment leaving you with a mess to clean up at your own expense. Choosing a system that is easy to install and covers you in the event of a failure is probably the most critical decision you’ll make in the whole process. The right materials will protect the rest of your home from water damage and mold/mildew buildup behind the walls. Please do not make this decision based solely on price. You still want to design something within your budget but also consider the overall value of high-quality materials that allow for an easy install and offers you full protection.

HYDRO-BLOK showers offer a fully warrantied system that’s very easy to install, and if installed correctly, will ensure that you will never have to worry about a leaking shower again.

Shower Enclosures

Shower enclosures are designed to keep the water IN the shower where it belongs. Ever have a rotating glass door that leaves puddles of water on the bathroom floor? Or if a framed slide glass door with a bottom track that collects hair and filth?

Solid pane glass shower enclosures are the best choice and allow for almost limitless design possibilities. Although they are not the cheapest, you’ll get a pleasing open concept look with glass enclosers that are easy to keep clean. Sliding or hinged, solid or modular the choice should be “crystal clear”.

Shower Storage

Shower niches and corner shelves have gained popularity in the past several years. If included in your design, you may need to prepare for them ahead of time. This is particularly crucial when installing custom recessed niches, as you must consider stud placement and framing dependent on the size of the niche you want to install.

Location of your mixing Valve

If turning on your water is a shocking experience, then you may want to consider a new placement for your mixing valve. Placing it under the main shower head may require you to get fully into the shower to turn it on which can be very uncomfortable when the water is cold, especially in the winter. Carefully consider your layout and move it to a place that you can reach in and turn it on, AWAY from that FRIGID BLAST!

Tile or Prefabricated walls?

TV commercials depicting companies promising to provide you with a ‘bath-in-a-day’ by installing acrylic wall panels may seem like a good idea in the short term, but it could lead to a poor long-term solution.

If you have mildew behind walls, a grout-free panelized system placed on top of old tile can trap moisture behind it causing long-term damage. Unless you find out if you have underlying mold growth and correct the source it will continue to develop and can cause long term health issues. If something seems too good to be true it probably is.

Nothing quite replaces the timeless beauty, endless design choices and durability of tile or stone.

Shower Curb or no curb?

It pays to consider your family’s needs while remodeling your bathroom. Would a low-profile shower pan with a barrier-free entry make more sense for your family now or in the near future?  Look at the long-term mobility of family members and whether an easily accessible shower may be a necessity sooner than later. Spending a little more money now may save you some burden in the future.

There are many barrier-free or curbless options on the marketplace so like many other aspects of your shower layout you need to consider both the cost and ease of installation to determine overall value.

In conclusion, although this is not a complete list of every issue you might encounter, we hope that it provides you with a basic understanding of what it will take to design and complete a professionally finished product. Your bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your house so careful planning will go a long way in a successful remodel. Good luck!!

HYDRO-BLOK Shower System components are lightweight and easy to install. Once installed properly with our HYDRO-BLOK sealant the system is 100% waterproof. No additional difficult and time-consuming steps are necessary so that one can start tiling in as little as a couple of hours. Our accessories are lightweight, strong, and backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Our mission is simply this; to provide installers with straightforward, high-quality products that save time and money.

Suppose you are looking forward to purchasing the highest quality bathroom accessories and equipment at an affordable price while DIY friendly, you may think about getting the help of HYDRO-BLOK. There are various products available with detailed video instructions for installation on this online store. All you need do is browse through the products and get what you want.

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