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Installing a shower base requires a few special skills, but it is not out of the reach for the average DIY enthusiast, especially if you enjoy building from the ground up.

If you want to give your entire bathroom a fresh new look, removing that old dirty shower base and installing a new one is one of the best ways to do so. In order to get this project done right, you need to know a thing or two about shower bases, however.

Most feature a single pan with a drainage hole. The shower base sits on your sub floor and mounts to your framing walls. Before installing the shower base, you must remove and strip out all the old tile and remove the drywall in your old shower.

Here’s how to install a shower base and get the project done right…

1. Place the new shower base into the shower alcove. Push it up against the studs and check for gaps.  If you find gaps between the studs and shower base, mount furring strips to the studs to fill them.

2. Level the base with a carpenter’s level. Install shims under the base to bring it to level. Screw all shims to the flooring with half inch screws.

3. Mark the location of the drain hole on the floor, remove the base and cut a hole at your mark with a reciprocal saw or jig saw.

4. Remove the base and attach the drain. Slide the top of the drain through the top of the shower base drain hole. Screw the lock nut onto the bottom of the drain pipe and turn the lock nut to tighten. Do not apply plumber’s putty to the drain if your drain already has a sealing washer. Apply plumber’s putty around the bottom of the drain flange before installation, only if your drain does not have a sealing washer.

5. Set the shower base back into the alcove. Fit the bottom of the drain into the drain hole, check to see if it is level and mount the base to the studs with 1 inch wood screws.

6. Assemble the new drain pipe and p-trap, and connect it to the home’s main drain line.

7. Connect the new drain pipe to the shower base drain. Slide the top of the drain pipe up through the drain in the shower base, push a compression washer over the drain pipe and compress the washer with a rubber mallet. Or, glue the new drain pipe to the shower base drain with PVC cement.