Surecreting A Shower- How To & Tips

Our shower at our vacation rental, The Urban Flat, was in some serious need of attention. When we renovated this space back in 2017, we did the bare minimum of what our budget could allow... and we're doing the same thing, yet again.
The shower surround is not a typical acrylic surround- rather a dated pressed board of some sorts that someone had installed back in the 80's possibly? When we were updating the bathroom in 2017, we had repainted the shower walls with a fresh white enamel paint and called it good. Since then, age and wear have started to show. The metal seam strips were starting to get crusty and the caulking around the edges of the tub had started to look the same. There was a little metal shower nook that wasn't properly sealed and was pretty loose, rusty and yet again, CRUSTY. Get the point? We had to do something!
I really wanted something unique and spa-like. All my inspiration photos consisted of textured stone walls found in European cottages with linen shower curtains. I had used Surecrete on many projects around our home and shoppe (our vent hood, faux fireplace, and our shoppe walls). I love the look of it and thought about the possibility of using the product on the shower walls.


In Leanne Ford's blog, she talks about how they've used Surecrete in bathrooms all the time... and everywhere- shower included. There were a couple concerns and perks to the idea as I started to brew on the thought of using Surecrete in the shower:
PROS:
1. It would eliminate the shower caddy (with a patch)
2. It would look like my European-inspired bathroom inspiration photos
3. It would be budget friendly (compared to having a new shower insert installed)
4. Since the shower is for a vacation rental- it's not getting the everyday use like a shower at our home would
CONS/Questions:
1. Could we seal the walls properly so we wouldn't have any issues later?
2. Would it adhere and hold up on our pressed paneled walls?
3. Would it be rough to touch?? Ouch!
I began talking with Taylor (my husband) about the idea and he was extremely skeptical. With my experience of working with Surecrete and how many textures/surfaces I've covered using the product, I had a gut feeling it could work out if I could seal the walls properly.
As I began searching for a sealant, I started looking on Surecrete's website and stumbled across their sealant FOR Surecrete... perfect! I read the reviews and product directions. Everyone was raving about how incredible the sealant was and many used the sealant on their concrete countertops- as the sealant was food-safe and durable. I decided to go that route!

PREPPING: 

Leading up to the project, I really only had about a week to get the job done (in between stays). I gathered all my supplies and began to prep the walls. I first started by removing the shower caddy and patching the hole. I then tapped off the faucets and removed the old caulking from around the tub edges.The painted walls had a little gloss to them and I decided to rough up the walls for extra adhesion... couldn't hurt, right? Once everything was sanded and prepped I began with the Surecrete.

COATING:

I mixed the Surecrete powder with water to get my pancake batter-like consistency and began to smear it on the wall. I have found through my past Surecrete projects, I like to use a rubber tile float for smearing the mixture to the surface. The tile float is a nice, soft spatula-like tool for working it on. I worked from the bottom up and made upward sweeps with the Surecrete. I got super excited to see the first coat!
TIP: Don't worry if some Surecrete chunks fall off onto anything. You will make a mess! It's super easy to take a razor and clean up afterwards.
Once the first coat was finished, I could still see some of my walls underneath and I knew it would take one finishing coat. The next day, the first coat dried beautifully and it got me so excited! I mixed up another round of Surecrete and began smearing on the second coat. Since this was the finishing coat, I really tried hard to get a smooth finish. 

SEALING:

I waited a couple days to let the walls really dry. I was excited to seal them and wrap up the project. Before I prepped my sealant solution, I took some sandpaper and went over the walls to knock any loose pieces off and to ensure that the walls wouldn't be rough once done. 
Because I knew I would need two coats of sealant, I split my sealant in half. The small 24 oz. can I got, covered 100 square feet. Since the sealant dries pretty quickly, I had to split the first coat into two parts/sections (splitting the shower in half). Once I did all my ratio math, I put the respirator on and started pouring. I also wore gloves and long sleeves because once you start to roll, splatter will fall back onto whoever is rolling.
I used a small foam roller and began coating the shower walls- working in small sections from the top, down (because the sealant will run). The first coat was done in under 10 minutes and I just had to wait 10-15 minutes (when the coat is dry to the touch) before my second coat. The second coat went on smoother and faster! 

FINISHING DETAILS:

That night after I sealed the shower, I put our ozone generator in the room and let it run for several time intervals (with the door closed). This helped MAJORLY in cutting the strong smells of the sealant. Once I was done with the ozone, I set up a fan overnight. The next day I came in and recaulked around the shower edges to make everything sealed and look nice.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Sealant: The sealant was a high gloss finish. Initially I wanted a matte finish so that nothing was super shiny and resembled stone walls more. When I was buying the sealant, the finish had totally slipped my mind- which I'm glad it did. While the high gloss does give the shower some sheen, now that the shower is finished, it's easier to clean/wipe down the walls.


I was concerned about the walls feeling rough when someone brushed up against them... totally NOT the case! They're smooth and the sealant made everything smooth and nice to touch!
Adhesion: Even with the paneled walls moving slightly- if pressed hard enough, I'm not concerned about the walls cracking... at all. Honestly, the Surecrete adheres like a sticker (in my opinion and application) and looks awesome in the shower! 
 

Difficulties: Surecreting around the faucets was the most difficult part of the entire project. With not a lot of room to get the tile float in, spreading it around the faucets was a bit tricky. Other than that, easy-peasy! 

All my concerns went out the door with the crusty old shower! I absolutely love the final look. Grabbing photos of the finished shower was a little more difficult as the finish of the micro concrete didn't pick up well with the camera. There's an organic feel to the walls and I love the neutral finish.
I'll keep you guys updated as the years pass to let you know how it holds up. 

Hugs, Alyssa

SOURCES:

Bathroom Wall Color: Sherwin Williams, "Perfect Greige" | Shower Curtain: DIY drop cloth shower curtain | Shampoo/Conditioner Dispensers: Amazon
 

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