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RV DIY Wood Shower Mat

How to build an RV DIY wood shower mat with ipe (Brazilian walnut) for your cargo trailer conversion or RV that will look beautiful and last for years.

One of the most difficult projects that we tackled in our cargo trailer conversion was the bathroom shower. Like everything else in this cargo trailer conversion, the shower had to be built completely from scratch.

wood shower mat in RV shower with metal walls

Why build a shower mat from scratch?

Well…the main reason was because it’s an odd shape (the shower needed to fit it in the V nose of the cargo trailer). Everything had to be built custom, including the walls, floor, drain and the bath mat. We couldn’t just go to the home improvement store and pick out ready-made pieces.

custom built shower in cargo trailer conversion with waterproof walls in red

I won’t go into the whole shower build in this post but I will talk about the finishing touch…the DIY wooden bath mat for the floor of the shower. There is a How-To card with step-by-step instructions at the bottom of the post.

Since we didn’t have a pretty looking shower floor we decided to build a wood floor mat to disguise some of the ugly. Of course it had to be custom, because of the shape, but it wasn’t really a difficult thing to make (once we figured it all out).

black painted shower floor with metal shower walls in an RV

So, the biggest issue with building a mat for the shower was what kind of wood to use. After all it was going to get wet so it had to be able to withstand wet conditions.

Teak is a great choice for using in wet conditions but it’s a popular choice, which makes it super expensive. The next best choice was a wood called ipe (pronounced ee-pay), which is Brazilian walnut. It’s a really hard wood and was perfect for this application. It can get wet and it’s impervious to bacteria.

Like I said, this wood is really hard. So hard that when you hit it together it almost sounds like plastic. Because it’s so hard it took special tools to cut and put it all together.

Luckily for us, Roger’s work has those tools so he spent one Saturday morning at work building our new shower mat.

Supplies for DIY wooden bath mat

  • ipe or teak (we used 5 1/2 x 6′ decking planks)
  • 1/4-20 x 1 1/4″ stainless steel flathead machine screw
  • 3/4″ PVC cut into 1/4″ strips
  • 3/4 x 1″ x 10″ piece of ipe (for bottom supports)
  • Lexel

Tools required

  • table saw
  • chop saw
  • tape measure
  • clamps
  • drill
  • drill bits
  • 1/4-20 tap and handle
  • hex wrench
  • counter-sink

Building a Bath Mat

Before we started the build we made a template of the shower floor with a large piece of cardboard. This was a big help with getting the exact dimensions that we needed.

Then we used the cardboard template to lay out the wood so we could make it fit.

Next, Roger marked the wood according to the template.

ipe wood planks on cardboard cutout of shower floor

Then he cut the wood planks with the chop saw. He used a table saw to cut the angled pieces on two of the planks that would make the “v”.

cutting ipe wood plank on chop saw

We did a quick check of our cuts by laying all of the plank pieces on the template (using scrap wood for spacers).

Once we were happy with the cuts, we started working on the supports.

Roger cut the 3/4 x 1 x 10′ piece of ipe with the chop saw to make the supports for the bottom of the bath mat. We used 1 on each outer end and 2 in the middle (for a total of 4 pieces).

shower mat on plywood ready for screws

With the supports cut, we were ready to screw it all together. Roger clamped the mat so it was slightly snug (with the wood spacers still in place).

Then he drilled, tapped and countersunk all of the support strips of ipe.

countersinking screw holes in wood bath mat

He attached the strips using stainless steel screws, tightening them with the hex wrench.

Disclaimer: hand tap the wood so you don’t strip the threads

clamped shower mat on plywood ready for screws

Once the mat was screwed together we tested it out in the RV. Heavy but a perfect fit!

DIY wood shower mat on concrete floor

Bath Mat Finishing Touches

For the final step we attached some vinyl strips to the bottom of the shower mat that were leftover from the shower build. They are completely waterproof.

vinyl strip on bottom of ipe wood shower mat

We used lexel, which is a waterproof sealant, to attach 4″ strips of PVC to the bottom supports strips of ipe. They were necessary because they act as a guide so that the water from the shower can easily run into the shower drain.

Then we left it dry.

Now we have a custom RV shower mat that will last years.

bottom side of shower mat with white vinyl strips

We had a bit of ipe left so I built a removable foot rest for the shower. It’s perfect for washing dirty feet and shaving your legs and just like the shower mat, it’s built to last.

RV shower with metal walls and wood floor mat

The whole shower turned out better that we’d ever thought. It’s perfect for our tiny cargo trailer conversion.

large pinterest graphicDIY wood shower mat in RV shower with metal walls, and a large graphic

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Yield: 1 RV Wood Shower Mat

RV DIY Wood Shower Mat

wood shower mat in RV shower with metal walls

Building an DIY wood shower mat for an RV made from Brazilian walnut. Custom built and will last for years.

Active Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Difficulty intermediate
Estimated Cost $85

Materials

  • ipe or teak (we used 5 1/2 x 6' decking planks)
  • 1/4-20 x 1 1/4" stainless steel flathead machine screw
  • 3/4" PVC cut into 1/4" strips
  • 3/4 x 1" x 10" piece of ipe (for bottom supports)
  • Lexel

Tools

  • table saw
  • chop saw
  • tape measure
  • clamps
  • drill
  • drill bits
  • 1/4-20 tap and handle
  • hex wrench
  • counter-sink

Instructions

  1. Measure and make cardboard template of shower base
  2. Use the template to lay out the wood to make it fit
  3. Mark the wood according to the template
  4. Cut the wood planks with the chop saw
  5. Use a table saw to cut the angled pieces on two of the planks
  6. Check size of cuts by laying plank pieces on the template
  7. Use scrap pieces of wood as spacers for in between the planks
  8. Cut the 3/4x1x10' piece of ipe with the chop saw to make the supports for the bottom of the bath mat
  9. Lay out the ipe strips on the underside of the bath mat, 1 on each outer end and 2 in the middle (for a total of 4 pieces)
  10. Clamp the mat so it's slightly snug with the spacers still in place
  11. Drill, tap and countersink all of the support strips of ipe and attach strips using stainless steel screws
  12. Tighten screws with a hex wrench*
  13. Cut 4" strips of PVC for bottom of shower mat
  14. Use Lexel, a waterproof sealant, to attach 4" strips to the bottom supports strips of ipe
  15. Let dry
  16. Place in shower

Notes

Note * Make sure you hand tap the wood so you don't strip the threads

Did you make this project?

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7 Comments

  1. What a luxury for one to have — a private shower in a small rv. You guys are so handy and have such great ideas — you should consider going in the business. Great job ❤️❤️

  2. Very pretty! We just bought a small used travel trailer (our 10th rv since we first started camping 40 years ago) and are having fun detailing and upgrading it. One question: the Airstream you just bought-is that a fix up and sell, or are you planning on keeping it?

    1. Thanks Linda! So exciting to have a new to you trailer.

      Our Airstream will be a fix up and sell project…as long as I don’t fall in love with it along the way. 😉

      Happy travels!

  3. Your conversion and projects inspire me. The RV is so well planned and each inch so useful. Great job.
    The shower is awesome!

  4. Hello-
    Question did you have a shower pan in already and the wood was sat upon it or what did you actually use? The event we have acquired has the shower out and I had lot of the galvanized walls but wasn’t sure about what I could use for the base for cost efficiency.

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