I’ve been a bit absent from the blog for the last month or two, but for great reason. We have moved into our new home! We are still finishing a few projects (painting trim, carpentry, gutters, etc.) but we are truly enjoying the farmhouse. Work, life, and finishing the house are keeping us all very occupied and the blog a bit neglected, but here I am early this Wednesday morning ready to share one project that I just wrapped up.
I’m jumping in and putting this blog together out of turn because I can’t wait to share our Shiplap Shower. Of all the little details and decisions we made on building our farmhouse, this is the project that I get the most questions about. When I was searching for master bathroom shower ideas, I pursued all of the tile suggestions and started to look for alternate materials. Much like granite, I felt that most tile was too sleek and formal for the type of house that we were building, but there aren’t a lot of different affordable options out there. I came across this shiplap shower made of Corian, milled to look like white boards. It was exactly what I was looking for! The sheer thought of having Corian milled to my specifications for a 3’ x 5’ double shower was enough to send me into a budgeting frenzy. We hadn’t allowed much wiggle room in the budget for the shower materials, but instead of heading back to the tile store, I came up with a plan.
Could we build a shower made from Hardie Board 8” Smooth Lap Siding? Will my husband build it or will he think that the paint fumes had gotten to me? Well, what would we lose if it doesn’t hold up well? How will we waterproof it? All of this was discussed at length. We consulted several contractors, our local Sherwin Williams representatives, and our tile guy. Nobody had ever heard of a Hardie shower, but they all agreed that it should be doable. We had to give it a try. After all, we had over 100 pieces of Hardie left over from the exterior siding, which made the shower (other than the floor and plumbing) basically free.
Our biggest concern was waterproofing the backing. Hardie is a concrete product and is “thirsty”. It will absorb water and typically needs to breathe. We also installed this shower over an open, unfinished area in the basement, so if there were any leaks, they would quickly become obvious. We started with the pebble tiling on the shower floor. My cousin, David, placed a plastic shower pan/liner in the floor and stretched it to about 1 foot above the floor and laid the pebble tile.
Then we installed Hardie Backer board on all 3 sides of the shower. We then caulked the joints of the backer board and the screw holes with a waterproof silicone caulk. When it came time to prep the Hardie Siding, I painted all sides of the boards with a cement waterproofing paint sold at Sherwin Williams. This sealed the boards against any moisture. My husband ran the corner boards, made from Hardie trim pieces first, then lapped the siding (so it isn’t a true shiplap!) just enough to encourage the water to run off. He was not convinced that this shower would “look right” but he trudged along, trying to make sense of why we were always taking an alternate route.
When we had the house painted, the Hardie was caulked and painted in Sherwin Williams Duration Home Exterior paint in Shoji White with a satin finish. This is when my husband finally decided that he liked the shower! All he needed was to see it painted. We were totally loving it.
In the last week or two before getting our C.O., the plumbers came back to wrap up the plumbing installation. We were so anxious to see our Delta Linden shower trim installed, so we ran over to check it out as soon as it was up.
Then, we got our C.O. and started to get settled into the house. We had chosen a frameless glass shower door from Garmon Glasscrafters, Inc. to complete the shower, but waited until we got all of the variable costs nailed down before we ordered it. These were some of the nicest, most professional people that we dealt with while building. So almost three full weeks after moving into our home (we’d been using a standard shower curtain), we had our shower door installed yesterday. It was a quick process, only taking about two hours and it totally changes the look of the bathroom.
As far as cleaning the shiplap, I use a vinegar and water mixture on the walls weekly and we wash down and wipe down the walls every day after showering. We will also now squeegee the glass shower doors after each use. We did have our glass treated with Guardian ShowerGuard which should protect the glass from etching, hard water stains, and make it easier to clean.
The end result feels a lot like an outdoor shower or an added on bathroom in an old house. We finished the bathroom in custom shaker style cabinets painted Raccoon Hollow by Benjamin Moore, countertops made from reclaimed wood with chippy white paint by Old Soul Goods, and a 61” clawfoot tub that I ordered from Elite Bath on eBay.
I’m so proud of how this project turned out. I plan to update this post in the future with a note on how it is holding up, but right now, after almost a month of use, it is still looking gorgeous. I think that this would be a great project in a remodel, new build (if you DIY), or in a guest house. Please feel free to post any questions or comments and I will do my best to answer.