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How to Install a Shower (or Tub) Door

If you're tired of dealing with a leaky, mildew-stained shower curtain on an existing shower, installing a shower door might be a perfect solution. The installation, which is essentially the same for a stall shower or tub/shower, is a no-brainer.

Measuring and cutting the tracks

The top and bottom tracks supplied by the manufacturer must be cut slightly shorter than the width of the your shower’s opening. As always, read the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully before you do anything, and then follow these steps:

  1. Use a measuring tape to find the distance from wall to wall along the top edge of the shower base (or tub) and, for the top track, at 6 feet above it.

  2. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and subtract the required amount for each track from the total width of the opening.

  3. Cut both tracks to length and smooth any rough edges at the cut end with a fine file.

    Use a hacksaw and a miter box to ensure a square cut. Putting a block of scrap wood in the track and clamping helps keep the track square and in place while you cut it.

Locating the bottom track

You install the bottom track on the top edge of the shower base or tub.

  1. Place the bottom track on the flattest part of the shower base or tub ledge, following the manufacturer’s instructions to determine which side of the track faces out.

    Make sure that the space between the wall and the ends of the track is the same on both ends.

  2. Temporarily secure the track to the ledge with masking tape.

  3. Make a light pencil mark on the shower base of tub along the front edge of the track to guide caulk application.

Locating the wall jambs

The wall jambs are fastened to the sidewalls and support the top track. Ideally, you screw the wall jambs directly to the studs. You can also use sturdy metal anchors to secure the jambs.

  1. Place a wall jamb against the wall and push it down over the end of the bottom track so that it’s fully engaged with the track.

  2. Hold a carpenter’s level next to the wall jamb and adjust it to plumb.

  3. Mark in each mounting-hole location.

  4. Remove the wall jamb and drill the holes for the mounting screws or wall anchors.

    If you’re drilling into ceramic tile, use a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit.

  5. Repeat the drilling in the opposite wall for the other wall jamb.

    Install wall anchors according to instructions where there is no stud available.

Caulking the bottom track

Lift the bottom track and apply a bead of silicone caulk into the groove on the underside. Then erase your pencil marks and reposition the bottom track in its proper place.

Installing the wall jambs

Work on one wall jamb at a time and follow these steps:

  1. Place one wall jamb into or over the bottom track, depending on the design. Then align the holes in the wall jamb with the holes or screw anchors in the wall.

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  2. Secure the jamb with the screws supplied by the manufacturer or the anchor.

    Sliding door kits should include rubber bumpers. Install them over the screws at the top and bottom of the jamb.

  3. Repeat the installation on the other jamb.

Installing sliding doors

Sliding doors hang from the top track so install it over the wall jambs as directed by the manufacturer. Prepare the doors by installing roller and, if applicable, handle/towel bar hardware. Place the rollers on the top frame flange of both door panels and secure them with lock washers and machine screws.

Hanging the door panels

Installing the door panels is easiest from outside the shower. Follow the installation instructions provided, as details may vary, but the following steps are typical:

  1. Install the inside panel first. Lift it up inside the top track and bring it back to vertical as you hang the rollers on the inside rail of the top track and lower it into the bottom track.

  2. Install the outside panel by lifting it up inside the top track and hanging the rollers on the outside rail of the top track.

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