Pre-Fabricated Shower Unit 

When renovating a bathroom, you may get stumped on deciding on whether to install a pre-fabricated shower stall or to construct a tiled shower stall. Pre-fabricated shower stall units come ready to install from the factory, Pre-fab shower stall units were considered below par to tiled stalls because manufacturing techniques were not sophisticated. These days though, pre-fabricated stalls come in a variety of textures, colors, and shapes. You don\’t have to always replace pre-fab shower units made of fiberglass or acrylic You can either spot repair them with fiberglass compound or install a liner.  

Tiled shower stalls are building by carpenters and tillers. The carpenters construct the basic frame, install it in the cement-based board, and it is finished with tiling work by tillers.  

Pre-Fabricated Shower Unit 

The pre-fab unit can either be a seamless one-piece unit or a multi-piece unit composed of a shower pan and solid side panels. Important: one deciding factor between one-piece or multi-piece units is whether you can get the one-piece unit through the doors of older homes. Homeowners often choose multi-piece units for this reason. 

Advantages of Pre-Fab Unit 

    * Fast installation, whether by pros or DIY. Have a new shower by end of the day.

    * Typically cheaper than tiled stall.

    * Lighter and can be installed in problem areas, such as on a floor with less-than-adequate joists below.

    * Flexible. If there is any chance that the floor might shift, the shower pan will not crack with movement. Nearly impossible for the pan to leak.

    * Easy for do-it-yourselfers to install.  

Disadvantages of Pre-Fab Shower Unit 

    * Fewer design options than tiled shower stalls.

    * Available only in set sizes.

    * As noted above, one-piece units may not be appropriate for remodeling because size may prevent them from passing though doorways. One-piece units are intended mainly for new houses or additions.  

Tiled Shower Stall 

If you plan on tiling the shower or tub yourself, I recommend a specialized book such as Edwin Fields\’ Professional Tiling book (Buy Direct – Professional Tiling by Edwin Fields). A less intimidating but over basic book that I often consult is Ortho\’s All About Tiling Basics. (Buy Direct – Ortho All About Tiling) 


    * Literally an infinite range of design options, since it is built from scratch.

    * Size can be adjusted to fit any space.

    * Slightly better resale value.

    * Good for remodeling, since it is often difficult to get large building materials through doorways.  


    * More expensive than the pre-fabricated units.

    * Difficult for do-it-yourselfer to build.

    * Probability of shower pan leaking because it can crack with the settling of a house. Note, though, that you have a couple of alternatives. In some instances it is possible to install fiberglass shower pans in conjunction with tiled walls. Or, even better, if you want to keep the look of tile throughout, install a polyurethane shower pan which can be tiled over.

    * Slow installation time due to curing process.