Introduction: Make Your Shower Wheelchair Accessible
This is my first Instructable, thus I might left some details out, if so, please let me know and I will clear any doubts you might have.
I recently remodeled a shower for a family who needed a walk-in shower with a ramp for easy access for a member of their family whom suffers from quadriplegia.
Once there, I noticed some broken tiles that needed to be replaced as well.
This type of work involves the use of blades and sharp tools. There is going to be flying debris, slivers and shards, always use the adequate protective gear.
Wet tile saw
Sledgehammer and chisels
Grinder with a diamond blade
Blue masking tape
Special waterproof pencil to mark the tile
Hardibacker (in case there's damage to the walls)
Grout (unsanded for walls, sanded for the floor)
Step 1: Demolition and Preparing the Surface
Due to the deadline to finish this project, I wasn't able to take pictures of the demolition phase, but I will be happy to respond any questions you might have.
This shower had double sliding aluminum and glass doors, they were removed just by removing seven screws and getting rid of the sealing silicone.
Cover the drain with masking tape to avoid debris falling into it.
In order to make space for the ramp, the marble on top of the step had to be cut, this was made with the grinder with a diamond blade, this phase involves a lot of dust, protect your lungs by covering your nose.
The rest of the step was removed by removing the tiles with the sledgehammer and the chisel. The cinder blocks were easy to remove, because this shower was poorly built and it had a water filtration, thus the step was just being held by the tiles and the marble on top.
To make the slope for the ramp, you need to chisel away. Find the appropriate angle and chisel away until you have reached the desired angle. Watch out for flying debris.
The broken tiles on the back were removed and they revealed a water damaged hardibacker board, it was removed and the area cleaned and prepared to receive the new hardibacker.
Clean the old mortar and grout from the adjacent tiles with a little chisel or putty knife, make sure it is completely free of old adhesives.
Step 2: Installing the Tile
Measure and make the necessary cuts to the tile before preparing the thinset mortar, once prepared, you'll have about two or three hours of workable product.
I didn't take pictures of the thinset being applied because I was in a rush, but it is very simple, just mix it according to the manufacturer specifications and apply it with the recommended trowel. Don't apply a heavy coat, just make sure to cover the area where the tile is going to be placed.
Work with two or three tiles at a time, place the tile and twist it in place, use the rubber mallet if you need to level the tile. Place spacers according to the space needed.
I like to use blue masking tape to make sure the tiles won't move while drying.
Step 3: Installing the Grout
Once at least 24 hours have passed since the tiles were installed, the grout can be applied (you can wait longer if so desired).
Apply masking tape to the adjacent areas to avoid unnecessary mess, since the floor and the walls required different grout tones and finishes, this procedure was a must.
Work small areas at a time, grout dries rapidly and it is very difficult to take it off once it has dried.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Wheelchair Accessible Shower
The shower can be used after the grout has dried, and the area has been cleaned.
Note: The tiles in the ramp were smaller than the adjacents because those I was provided with. It would have looked nicer by using the same size, but they weren't available anymore.
I am not a pro, but I have done a lot of repairs and improvements to my home. I remodeled my kitchen, one of my bathrooms another one is in process, I installed tile throught my home and more.
Feel free to ask any questions.
Thank you for looking at my instructable.