Make Your Shower Wheelchair Accessible




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.

Safety notice:
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.

Tools Needed:
Wet tile saw
rubber mallet
Tile trowel
Grout float
Sledgehammer and chisels
Putty knife
Floor scraper
Grout sponge
Grinder with a diamond blade
Blue masking tape
Measuring tape
Special waterproof pencil to mark the tile

Materials Needed:
Hardibacker (in case there's damage to the walls)
Grout (unsanded for walls, sanded for the floor)
Thinset mortar

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.

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    6 years ago

    Thank you. Apart from the practical side, I love the mosaic and wall tile match.

    But one question, why not have all the bathroom floor at one level, for easier cleaning, with the evac water to take the water from the shower and the floor washing?

    I'm thinking of doing that, which will make parquet impossible in the bathroom, as it doesn't like being soaked with too much water, but I need a shower (no one's getting younger, and no-way am I moving again!), and a single evacuation for shower and floor washing is one option.

    The other being a raised, separate shower and wood parquet in the rest. I'm between the 2. Walls come first, so I have time, but I'd like to know why you did your shower that way, if you have time...


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very well done, both the workmanship and the Instructable!

    appears from the photos that the shower was originally recessed in the
    concrete house slab about an inch or so below the bathroom floor level.
    If that's right, was it the front shower-pan edge of the slab that you
    needed to chisel to form the ramp, or just the mortar under the curb?

    I imagine you had to replace the sliding shower door with a fixed panel
    and a wide hinged door to accommodate the difference in height after
    removing part of the curb. Or a curtain might suffice if the hem is

    I have an almost-accessible tiled shower that
    appears to be the same size as yours, but the floor of my shower is not
    recessed (instead it slopes gently toward the drain from all directions)
    and mine has a 1" high curb around 2 open sides. The little curb could
    be removed easily if needed and replaced with a few shower floor tiles
    to make a smooth continuum with the bathroom floor, and it still won't
    flood because of the slope to the drain. With or without the curb it's
    small for a walk-in shower, and it needs something to keep the shower
    spray inside. An enclosure made to fit would be costly and a lot of
    glass to wipe dry after every shower, so I'll probably bend some conduit
    for a curtain rod around the outside corner, then 2 extra-long shower
    curtains with weighted hems.

    Thank you for sharing the method and result of your informative and useful project! You made it seem quite do-able. I hope you'll post some of your others, too.