How to Build an Outdoor Shower Enclosure

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
Today, I’m on my way to Tybee Island, Georgia to visit Dodie Gay.  Now this coastal community has an historic lighthouse that has stood watch over the water for several centuries.  Dodi Gay lives on Tybee year-round and loves her life here but she doesn’t love the sand and dirt that gets tracked into her house from the nearby beach.  The outdoor shower she had installed certainly helps with the problem but there’s something missing.

Okay, but you have a shower already. I mean you just want some privacy on this?
DODIE:
Privacy so I can change clothes, get out of the wet suit and not annoy the neighbors.
RON HAZELTON:
Or entertain the neighbors if anyone wants to look at it. [LAUGHS]
[WOMAN LAUGHS]
Okay, what I think here, we probably ought to-

To give Dodie the most privacy, we'll build an enclosure around the shower that lets light and air in, but keeps prying eyes out. We'll construct it like we build a fence, with corner posts to support the 1 x 6 wood slat walls.

The first thing we're going to do is install the posts that will support this enclosure. And those posts will be attached to the concrete using this. This is called a post base. You can see here, this is the location where those five posts are going to go.

We set the post bases, one-half inch from each edge of the concrete pad. First, we'll need to drill holes in the concrete for the bolts that will secure the post bases. To make sure that the holes for these are exactly the right depth, we'll mark the drill bit with a piece of tape that shows us just where to stop drilling.

Dodie is using a hammer drill. It pounds as it drills, which makes the going a lot easier. In a matter of seconds, the hole is bored.
[SOT]
DODIE:
Voila.
RON HAZELTON:
Well, our holes are drilled, we've cleared out the dust that's collected in the bottom. Now it's time to attach the post base and we're going to do that with these. These are called expansion anchors. They're designed especially for concrete and we'll just drive them into the hole.

I leave the nut on to protect the threads while I hammer the anchor in. Then we can slip off the nut and position the post base, remembering to leave about one-half inch to the edge of the concrete. Then we replace the nut and a washer and ratchet it down. Now we're ready to cut the posts.

How does that feel?
DODIE:
Like slicing bread [LAUGHS].
RON HAZELTON:
Bit more thrilling, isn't it?
[DODIE LAUGHS]

We set the post into bases, securing them with galvanized ten-penny bracket nails. It's important that the posts are perfectly vertical, so Dodie and I check each one with this handy post level. It's one of my most useful tools.

We use a few clamps and a series of braces to hold the posts in place.

Don't worry about this one — that's it.

The shower's concrete base slopes toward the yard for drainage, so we've left the posts on the outside, a bit longer. But now we can even them up. Using a level, we mark a cut line on the taller posts and then use my good old Japanese handsaw to trim off the top.

Now we've taken a lot of care to make sure that all five of these posts are perfectly vertical, because they're going to form the foundation, if you will, for the rest of our structure right here. Next step is, we're going to put some 2 x 4s on the top, all the way around here to sort of tie everything together.

45 and 3/8ths, let's see what you've got —

We measure the distance between the posts, then cut miters on the ends of the 2 x 4s. This will give us a finished look and conceal the end grain. We'll glue the boards to the posts and to each other, with waterproof polyester glue, then secure them with screws.

Now we can start on the walls of the shower. First, we'll need to install crossbars, 2 x 4s that will stretch between the posts. We'll attach the crossbars to the post with metal brackets. Using a level, I make sure we position them evenly. Then we screw them on.
DODIE:
I love having a magnet on a drill bit.
RON HAZELTON:
Using plastic mallets, we nudge the 2 x 4s into place, then secure them to the brackets with nails.

Great. Well, that finishes our frame. I hope you weren't planning on taking a shower out here tonight. We're out of light.
DODIE:
Out of light and, out of time.
RON HAZELTON:
Yeah. So let's knock off for the day, come back in the morning and we'll finish it up. We don't have much more to do, just to put the walls up on the side here and the door. Great job, very nice.

Well, it's day two. You can see by the way I'm dressed, a little chillier than yesterday, but it's great weather to work outside. Today, we're going to put the boards on the outside of our shower frame.  This is 1 x 6 pressure-treated pine. They'll go right up here like this. Dodie, can you come on in? I've drawn a line up here about six inches down from the top. If you can align that with the top of the 2 x 4.

We're going to put up several of these, leaving spaces in between, then we'll come back and place some additional boards on the inside, to cover up that gap. This part of the job will go a lot more quickly if we tack all the boards up temporarily to check for fit and spacing. A pneumatic nail gun is the perfect tool.

Over away from — over a little bit more. There you go, that's good.

To create some privacy in the shower but at the same time, keep good ventilation, we're going to place an inside board right across that space between the outside boards.

With all the inside and outside boards in place, we'll drill pilot holes, and secure them permanently with rust-resistant deck screws. Now that's over 100 screws. I like the power tools. And yes, we are thankful for power drivers.
DODIE:
Race ya.
RON HAZELTON:
Walls are up and now it's time to build the door and that door's going to need a frame which we're going to make out of 2 x 4s and we're going to use this half lap joint. The advantage of this is that it's very strong, it's good looking and it makes it easy to assemble the frame, keeping everything square.

It's really not that tough. We set our sliding compound miter saw to cut only halfway through the board, then just keep slicing away an eighth of an inch at a time until we've created a clean cutout.

The shower door will look just like the walls, with alternating 2 x 6 slats. We'll make the door first, then hang it on the shower. We assemble the frame, using glue, then screws to connect the joints. Now, we can attach the 1 x 6 facing boards the same way we did for the walls.

Then we attach heavy duty strap hinges. Now one last thing before we can hang the door though — I need to add a doorstop, so the door won't swing inward.

A little heavy, huh?
DODIE:
Yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay. Just set it right up on that block. You know, it's a temporary block. Just — so we don't have to hold the weight of this.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
DODIE:
Okay — I'm there.
RON HAZELTON:
There you go.
DODIE:
Good idea. Uh, that made it a lot easier.
RON HAZELTON:
How's that? Very nice. Very nice.

All that's left is for Dodie to finish up the hinges, and she's got herself one heck of an outdoor shower. Clean and private.

Dodie — [LAUGHS] how is it in there? Does it feel like a shower?
DODIE:
Feels like a shower.
RON HAZELTON:
Huh? All we need is some warm weather now so you can actually use it.
DODIE:
Or a hot shower on a cold day.
RON HAZELTON:
Yeah, yeah. What fun. This was a great project, okay. Enjoy it year round, will you?
DODIE:
Appreciate it. Thank you.

Add a DIY Shower Enclosure for Privacy When Slipping out of Wet and Sandy Beachwear in Your Outdoor Shower Area

Leave salt, sand, wet swimsuit and unwanted audiences outside while you change comfortably in the privacy of your DIY outdoor shower enclosure. Two layers of slats maintain ventilation while obscuring the view from wandering eyes. Build this project from stock materials and mount it to an existing concrete shower area in an attractive design that won't test your comfort level.

Secure Five Metal Post Bases to Concrete with Expansion Anchors
Step 1

Secure Five Metal Post Bases to Concrete with Expansion Anchors

Mark depth on a masonry bit with tape and drill uniform holes for post bases positioned 1/2-inch inward from the perimeter of the concrete shower pad. Set bases, tap in expansion anchors, and secure with washers, nuts and ratchet.

Cut and Secure Four-by-Four Posts to the Five Post Bases
Step 2

Cut and Secure Four-by-Four Posts to the Five Post Bases

Straight-cut the bottom ends of five four-by-four treated posts--you will level and cut the tops once they are mounted. Position and ensure each post is plumb while you secure it with galvanized 10-penny bracket nails to its base.

Cut Post Tops at Uniform Cut Lines with Japanese Handsaw
Step 3

Cut Post Tops at Uniform Cut Lines with Japanese Handsaw

Use a bar level and pencil to measure/mark a uniform and level cutline on the post tops. Trim off the excess with a Japanese handsaw, being careful to keep each cut parallel on its cut line.

Cut and Attach Mitered Two-by-fours to Tie Posts Tops together
Step 4

Cut and Attach Mitered Two-by-fours to Tie Posts Tops together

Miter four two-by-fours to length on their flat sides for mitered corner joints on the shower enclosure's four upper corners. Pre-drill screw holes and coat the post tops with waterproof polyester glue prior to securing the two-by-fours in mitered joints.

Level and Attach Metal Brackets for Two-by-four Crossbars
Step 5

Level and Attach Metal Brackets for Two-by-four Crossbars

Ensure uniform elevation with a bar level and attach brackets for two-by-four crossbars/braces between the posts. The cross bars will provide additional structural support and rigidity as well as a nailing surface for the face planks in a later step.

Seat Two-by-four Crossbars in Brackets with a Plastic Mallet
Step 6

Seat Two-by-four Crossbars in Brackets with a Plastic Mallet

Drop a two-by-four crossbar of exact length into each pair of brackets and seat each snuggly in its bracket by tapping with a plastic mallet. Drive rust-resistant screws through the brackets and into shower surround posts with a power driver.

Test Plank Spacing and Nail to Both Sides of Enclosure
Step 7

Test Plank Spacing and Nail to Both Sides of Enclosure

Tack up one-by-six treated pine facing boards temporarily to test staggered spacing inside and outside the frame and completely obscure view from the outside. Pre-drill pilot holes and attach planks permanently with rust-resistant deck screws and a pneumatic nail gun.

Cut Half-lap Joints in Two-by-fours for Enclosure Door Frame
Step 8

Cut Half-lap Joints in Two-by-fours for Enclosure Door Frame

Use a sliding compound-miter saw to cut half-lap joints in two-by-fours for the shower surround's door frame. Adjust the saw to cut only half the thickness of the two-by-four and reposition repeatedly to slice away 1/8 inch at a time.

Assemble the Door Frame and Its Facing Boards
Step 9

Assemble the Door Frame and Its Facing Boards

Assemble the door frame first, ensuring it is square as you pre-drill, glue, and then secure the half-lap joints with screws. Add crossbars and attach one-by-six facing boards to match the rest of the shower enclosure.

Secure Heavy-duty Door Hinges and a Door Stop
Step 10

Secure Heavy-duty Door Hinges and a Door Stop

Space equally and secure hinges along one edge of the door for maximum support. Rest the door temporarily on support blocks while positioning and securing the hinges to the shower surround wall. Add a door stop on the opposite side.