If you had asked me a month ago what I thought about prefabricated shower stalls I probably would’ve said something along the lines of soulless mass-produced garbage, but after taking a tour of the Tiny House Hotel (conveniently located right across the street) we were both surprised that the only tiny house bathroom that didn’t feel like a dark little coffin was the one with the prefab shower stall. The gleaming white walls and absence of square corners play a trick on the mind, giving the impression of much more space than is actually there, a welcome commodity in any tiny house.
So that’s how we got here, but we are quickly learning that not all fiberglass shower stalls are created equal. In making our choice we just couldn’t see enough difference between the cheaper ones and the nicer ones to justify the doubling of price, so we went cheap and what we saved and money and we probably lost again in labor trying to get the lumpy base and warped walls set and supported properly.
The normal approach in a situation like this is to carefully drop the entire assembly into a bed of mortar but that’s probably a bad idea for a tiny house given weight and vibration concerns and was a moot point anyways given the extreme difficulties we had getting our also cheap drain to slip perfectly over our immovable stub out without displacing its gasket. We chose strips of dense minicell foam spray glued to the floor to support the shower, a process which took a lot of trial and error to get a perfect fit. Eventually we won the war but it was a tenuous and fraught affair.
On the next build I’m going to do two things differently: first, no more messing around with inaccessible perfectly-placed underfloor plumbing stub outs. I’m going to do all of this work exactly like I did it in my airstream, via an under the trailer access hatch. Second, just buy the nicer shower stall and save a day in the process!
On a positive note I’m quite proud of the plywood Wrench I made for the drain nut and the plywood jig I came up with to enlarge the hole for the shower valve without damaging the valve itself!