At my house there were two ways to wash my two labs when they return from a muddy walk. Either outdoors with the hose or indoors [cold weather] in our neo-angle shower stall enclosure. Both methods have their disadvantages not to mention you have to bend over and that bothers my lower back which led me to write this article on how to build a dog wash station.
I started thinking there must be a better way and recently saw that a contractor friend of mine built one in a high end mudroom for a client of his.
While visiting this luxurious mudroom I filmed a two minute video called Pet Tub considerations.
Seeing this luxurious dog shower got me thinking about making one of my own. I did not have the same options as my friends client so I decided to build a utility dog wash in my basement with left over building supplies and an American Standard shower base and spray fixtures.
Purchasing a Dog Wash Station:
I first looked at pre-assembled dog wash stations and was impressed with the stainless steel tubs and ramps available until I took a closer look at the price tag of $2500 to $3000 cost plus a few hundred in shipping.
Even with a pre-made stainless steel dog wash I would still need a plumber to plumb it in an I had a limitation with existing drain heights in my basement location so making a custom dog was station was my best choice.
Choosing the Dog Wash Location:
I chose my basement to install the dog wash station. I have a bulkhead entrance so the muddy dogs can be brought down to the basement without having to travel through the house.
When thinking about how to build a dog wash station, you need to consider plumbing lines and more importantly drains and their existing heights. Your pet tub drain needs to drain into your waste line which means it needs to be slightly higher than the waste drain line.
I decided to remove an existing utility slop sink and repipe the drain to a larger diameter to accommodate the dog wash. The location was near an existing plumbing vent as well and from all appearances looked like the perfect location.
The only caveat was that the base of the dog wash needed to be at a height of 24-25″ in order for the plumber to install and pitch the 2″ shower drain. I actually liked this height because it allowed for the dogs torso to be at my waist height. Having a working height like this completely reduces lower back stress.
Designing The Dog Wash Station:
I measured my to pooches and decided that 36″ wide was plenty room to work in but decided 48″ wide was better and also allowed for future, larger dogs.
The Reliant 3 spray head has an ergonomic handle and 3-4 spray settings. Its long spray hose was perfect for my dog washing needs, allowing me to get all around and under the dogs.
As for the shower base platform, I decided to build the base, leg supports and walls of the dog was station out of wood.
Building the Dog Wash Station:
Once I had the AcryLux shower base I measured it and built a 2×4 and 3/4″ plywood platform for it to sit on, allowing room for 2×3 walls. This platform was to be pushed back against an existing 2×6 wall which would become the back wall of the dog wash.
The legs of the dog wash station are 4×4 pressure treated posts with post to base connectors and some cross supports for stability as well as the final skirt boards.
I used Simpson DTT2 tension tie connectors to reinforce the otter ends of the half walls. Here is an in-depth explanation of how and why I believe you need to reinforce half walls.
On the right wall I added blocking to support and ease the installation of my shower spray holder.
Plumbing in the Dog Wash Station:
Like I mentioned earlier we used the old sink plumbing vent but had to re-pipe the drain line to a larger diameter as well as plumb in a shower trap. We used the existing pipes in the wall to cut in and add a plumbing valve.
If this were for a customer I would have installed the shower valve in one of the side walls for easier reach. I did not see the need for the extra work and additional piping. We also added additional plumbing next to the dow wash for a new slop sink.
Installing the Dog Wash:
When all of the plumbing was ready we pushed the platform in place and secured it to the rear existing 2×6 wall. The shower base drain was connected and it was time to start making the shower walls water proof.
I shimmed out the wall studs with strips of Luan and installed 1/2″ Durock tile underlayment. Shimming the studs allows the Durock to pass easily over the shower base lip. I also used 3/8″ Luan shims to keep the Durock off the shower base shelf but made sure it overlapped the self lip.
Once the Durock was installed I taped the two corners and coated the corners with modified latex thin-set cement. The next day I applied two coats of HydroBan waterproofing product.
Hydro Ban is a thin, load bearing waterproofing/crack isolation membrane that DOES NOT require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners.
Hydro Ban paints on in a green color and is a single component self curing liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane and bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates. Read why it is important to waterproof showers.
I purchased simple subway tile at a local big box store and applied it to the waterproofed walls with thin-set. I butted my tiles together and kept them 1/4″ off the shower base shelf so it overlapped the Durock. Once the tiles dried I used a sanded white grout to fill the joints.
To cap off the shower walls I used 5/4″ pvc and cut it to overlap the wall by 1/” on all sides, then I routed a bull nose for aesthetic appeal. A Simple molding applied to the sink side of the wall hides the seam at the pvc topper. The tub side is caulked.
1/4″ AC plywood was applied to the bottom of the shower base stand and 1/2″ AC plywood applied to the wall adjacent to and behind the slop sink.
The plumber set the shower valve temperature for 100 degrees which is cooler than a human shower but more than warm enough for dogs and your hands.
All of the American Standard Reliant 3 shower trim was applied and I added a few towel hooks to the right side wall.
I also bought and installed a hook to the floor joist above and tied an old dog leash [cut to fit] to it to attach to the dog while showering.
SAFETY WARNING: If you install a permanent leash – It’s important NOT to leave your dog unattended when attached to this leash because if then try to jump off in your absence they can choke and injury themselves or die.