DIY Tutorial: Tearing Out Shower Doors

I feel a little like Milli Vanilli.  Remember in the early 90s when they got busted for lip syncing because their CD got stuck on endless repeat "girl you know it's ... girl you know it's ... girl you know it's ... "? Yeah, well for the past few weeks, I've been saying "tear out shower doors ... tear out shower doors ... tear out shower doors ..." on a similar endless repeat ala Rob and Fab.  {Note: I am still pretty devastated that Milli Vanilli fell from grace in such an embarrassing way.  I still love their music.  And I don't think I knew until maybe my mid-20s that their names were not actually Milli and Vanilli.  Sorry, random.}

Anyway, up today is my promised and much talked about DIY tutorial on how to remove shower doors.  I will start by saying I was completely prepared to call in a professional if the shower surround underneath was in dire shape.  I figured I could handle some minor patch work (especially since I got a new saw for my birthday!), but knew if the situation under those doors was grim, I'd need to call someone who knew what he or she was doing.  Lucky for me, that was not the case.

Remember, this is what I started with:

The first thing I did was take my time and evaluate my space.  My doors were screwed into a fibreglass shower surround on the two sides and glued/caulked to the porcelain tub on the bottom.  The big wrinkle was the one side of the tub near the window: the shower doors acted as a little barrier between that fibreglass surround and the wood wainscoting.  This part of the wall scared me.   I did my homework on Google, You Tube and eHow and searched how to remove shower doors and watched many a tutorial online.  I also asked several friends how they did it. This was all very encouraging. I made my list of supplies and got ready.

The supplies that I needed were: screwdriver, putty knife, utility knife, and needle-nosed pliers (to pull the anchors from the surround).  Of course, I also needed a shower curtain, shower curtain liner, curtain hooks and a shower curtain rod, not to mention some almond-colored caulk to match the shower surround for filling in the holes where the screws were.  Once I had all the goods, it was time to get to work.

First, I unscrewed the doors from the frame.  I took the screws out of the top and bottom rails.  This bottom rail part pretty much held the doors in place (and was also disgusting and literally crumbling).

Next, I gave a tug and pulled down those doors! Yes!  To my surprise, they were not heavy at all (I'd been warned it was possible that they would be super heavy), so I took them outside to the trash (note: we set the doors & rails out on the curb before trash day and someone came and picked them up! gotta love that they're not going to end up in a landfill).  Here I am dorkily celebrating my first success.

After the doors were out, I simply popped the top rail off, and I was left with just the frame.  So I then unscrewed the screws holding in place and gently used my utility knife along the caulked sides to loosen the frame from the wall.

Once I got the two sides down, all that was left was the bottom rail.  The side rail near the window ended up being just fine.  I might add a piece of trim to finish it off a little, but for now, it looks good.  Anyway, back to the tub -- I did not want to scratch or damage the beautiful porcelain tub, so I used a stiff putty knife on this.  And it worked, as I am making clear with my thumbs up.

Ok, see that black? That was glue and nastiness.  I used my bucket of cleaning supplies and cleaned that tub and made it shine.  I ended up using a combination of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for Bathroom, CLR bathroom cleaner, steel wool and Comet powder.

After a lot of scrubbing, rinsing and scrubbing some more, I had done it!  My tub was completely clean and bright.  Once I finished cleaning, I simply caulked the small holes where the screws had been and called it a day.

Hooray!  Removing the doors and then cleaning/patching the tub and shower surround took a little under two hours.  Not bad!

Do you have any demo-type projects on the horizon? Share! We love that stuff.

See you swoon,


  1. this looks amazing. so much better! you are a good diy'er friend!

  2. We have the same tub! Great transformation!

  3. All frameless shower doors come in several different styles. Frameless folding shower doors can be single or double action, it is up to you. But if your door is to open in just one direction it is crucial that it swings outward into the bathroom to prevent the user from becoming trapped inside.

  4. Hi! I have the same tub and had to do the same thing to the shower door that was installed previously. However, now I need to deal with where the door attached to the wall. Do you have any suggestions? I'd love to stay away from tiling if possible...

  5. Hi Elisabeth! I can't picture what your wall looks like. Can you snap some pictures and shoot them my way via email? I'm happy to brainstorm! ( Thanks for the comment!