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Installing a Van Shower – Part 2: Custom Van Shower
Installing a Van Shower – Part 2: Custom Van Shower

Installing a Van Shower – Part 2: Custom Van Shower

After installing the grey water tank and connecting it to the shower pan, it was time to start building our custom van shower. Designing the actual layout of the custom build was the most creative part of this project. We wanted our van to still feel open (not like a corridor) and at the same time have a fixed/permanent shower that we wouldn’t need to set up each time (a.k.a. our previous convertible shower). This took a little bit of creative planning, but we are happy with the final results of our custom build.

Complete Custom Van Shower
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Testing Out the Completed Shower

Building the Shower Frame

Once the grey water tank was in place, it was time to get to work inside the van. Since the shower pan was already in place and attached to the drain, we started by building a box around it. When building out the shower box, we had four measurements to keep in mind:

  1. The dimensions of the shower pan 27″ x24″ x4″
  2. The dimensions of the custom fold up shower curtain holder 19″ x21″
  3. The dimensions of the 16 gallon fresh water tank 24″ x15.5″ x10″
  4. The position of the fresh water tank drain outlet to the top of the shower pan

Make Room for the Fresh Water Tank

The original 21 gallon fresh water tank at 39″ x16″ x8″ was too long for our fresh water storage area since we had to move the drain a few inches back (as mentioned in our previous post) to avoid putting a hole in the chassis. With the final dimensions in place, our custom shower began to take shape.

The frame of the shower was built using 8′ x2′ x3/4″ plywood. The box interior dimensions are 24″ x27″ x 21″. The height of our shower had was limited by the height of our bed and the location of a D/C outlet just above the back of the shower. We also didn’t want our bench to be higher than 22″. We still wanted it to be a comfortable height for sitting on.

Adapting Square Boxes to Curved Van Walls

In addition to building a custom frame around the shower pan, we ran a 2″ x4″ along the wall at the top of the shower to anchor the shower in place and to attach hinges for both the shower lid and the lid for the water storage area. Since the walls of the van are rounded, this helped to square off the boxes and made it easier to build.

Our Custom Fresh Water Storage

Our 16 gallon fresh water tank is 24″ x15.5″ x10″. We wanted the drain outlet to sit higher than the top edge of the shower pan. The shower pan is 4″ tall. To raise the fresh water tank from the floor, we used left over 3/4″ plywood and scrap starboard to build a 4″ x10″ x 24″ platform. The remain area of the water storage area is used for our hosing, water pump and hot water heater. In the third post of our van shower installation project, we will share more on this compartment.

Custom Fresh Water Tank Platform
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Fresh Water Tank Platform

Custom Van Shower and Water Storage Bench

After framing out our shower and water storage area, we needed to attach the lids. For the lids or the bench seating, we used a couple of nicer pieces of Aspen. A 2′ x3′ x3/4″ piece of Aspen was used for the primary shower lid, supporting the shower curtain holder. A second piece of Aspen at 2′ x4′ x3/4″ was cut into two pieces. One piece is fixed over the fresh water tank holding it in place, while the other is a lid to turn on the water pump and water heater. It is also where the shower hoses are stored until it is time to shower.

Custom Fresh Water Tank Storage Bench
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Shower, Fresh Water Tank Storage, and Bench

Under the shower lid, we attached an old pontoon boat privacy enclosure as a folding shower curtain holder.

Once all the pieces were in place, we decided to paint before waterproofing. Our van is all black and white, so we decided to continue with the theme and used our left over paint.

Waterproofing our Custom Van Shower

Before installing the plumbing, we needed to waterproof the shower. We decided to line our shower with white FRP Board and trim. When shopping, we chose one 4′ x6′ piece of FRP board. From there, we were able to cut it down into smaller pieces to line the four interior walls and the lid of the shower box. To attach the FRP Board, we use a basic waterproof sealant and vice clamps . Once it was dry, we used a clear caulk to seal the corners and the top of the shower pan.

Waterproof Custom Van Shower Box
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Waterproof Shower Box

With the shower complete and the grey water tank in place, it was time to start stage 3 of our van shower installation project; the plumbing. Check out part 3 for hoses, water pumps, and hot water!

Final Custom Van Shower
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Van Shower

Items Used For This Project

Tools:

  • Drill (x2)
  • Handsaw
  • Jigsaw
  • LED Flashlight
  • Tape Measure
  • Painters Tape
  • Vice Clamps
  • Foam Paint Brushes

Supplies:

  • 27″x24″x4″ Shower Pan
  • 2′ x8′ x3/4″ plywood (x2)
  • 2′ x3′ x3/4″ Aspen
  • 2′ x4′ x3/4″ Aspen
  • 2″ x4″ x6′ board
  • 1 5/8″ screws
  • 2″ screws
  • Clear all-weather caulk
  • All-weather waterproof sealant (x3)
  • 3.5″ hinges (x4)
  • 16 gallon fresh water tank
  • 4′ x6′ white FRP Board
  • 6′ FRP corner trim (x2)
  • 6′ FRP edge trim (x3)
  • Folding privacy enclosure frame
  • Shower curtain hooks
  • Exterior paint
  • Shower curtain liner (x2)

Good luck with your own van build and thanks for reading! ~KiteBikeVan

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