Building a shower: What you need to know!

There are many reasons why you could be interested in buying a shower floor pan. Perhaps you just moved into a new home or appartment and need to remodel the bathroom because it is old fashioned, or even damaged. Old tile showers are often leaking water if they were installed by amateurs, so you have to put in some work to prevent further damage. Or maybe you want to install a second shower in the basement of your home, so your guests can enjoy a shower in privacy without disturbing others. Whatever your reasons are, you need to know a couple of things before you go out and buy a new shower base. In this article I want to explain in depths why it is a good idea to spend some time researching flower construction before you click the order botton.


Regular Tile Shower Bases: Pros and Cons

Many men think that they are gifted with the talent of craftmenship. And this is propably true. But there are some projects which are certainly more advanced than others. Everyone can build a dog house, but building a brick and mortar tile shower plays in a completly different league. It does not only require proper planning, but also good technique and a grasp for all the details. The risk is rather high: If you are making a mistake, water will leak and this can lead to bigger problems: Rot, mold, you name it! You don’t want that to happen! But why is it so hard to build a traditional shower pan? Well, you need to make sure you layer correctly. Yes, you need to layer certain materials, because tiles and grout are NOT waterproof, even if you have guessed otherwise. You need to carefully follow a ton of steps to build the shower correctly:

  1. Lay a foundation. Often, a regular cement board is used with tar paper, to keep the added layer of masonry in place until the cement dries. Relatively easy if you are familiar with basic masonry, right? No, there is more! You have to:
  2. Keep the drain hole in place!
  3. Make sure that you construct the base level in a slope fashion so if water seeps through, it gets channeled into the drain hole…
  4. Add a Vinyl sheet
  5. Add another layer of mortar, slope it but work towards reaching a base level
  6. Lay your tile
  7. You see, it takes a lot of work and expertise to build a shower this way. It might be a good idea to get some professional help if you are not confident in your abilities to do the job right. Because if you fail at one of these steps, it could prove to be a very costly mistake! But the rewards are great: traditional tile showers are long lasting so it might be a very good investment. They also look great and you can select the right tiles to make your bathroom shine. This is especially important, if you are a perfectionist and into home decor!

    Pre-built Shower Floor Pans

    If you just want to take a shower, perhaps think about buying one of these ready made shower flor pans. They are often made from fiberglass, a very durable material used in the construction of airplanes. Very lightweight and certainly a lot easier to install. But keep in mind, that you need intact shower floors. Especially in older buildings, shower floor walls are damaged because of leaking water. Perhaps they would need to be rebuilt. But if not, you can have your new shower ready in no time, even if you are not so much into crafts. Any reasonably handy person can do it! But please note, that not every pan is tile it’s either or! If you are handicapped or building a shower for a handicapped person, a ready made fiberglass shower pan is the only option, because some of them come with a special non-slip surface. But even if you are not a special need person, these types of shower bases are cheap, effective and easy to install and therefore a good choice for most people.

    If you are looking for something better than fiberglass, perhaps choose an acrylic pan. They are more scratch resistant and and of overall better quality. Mold grime and soap residues do not penetrate the material and it will stay glossy forever!

    Where to buy

    Now you might be asking one question: Where can i purchase a shower floor pan to fit my needs? Because every bathroom is different, you need to do some research to find the right product for you. You can get them at local home improvement stores, but also online. Internet shopping has the advantage of offering you a wide array of products, with low prices. You can buy shower floor pans from amazon and have them shipped really quickly. But only local stores offer you the opportunity to take a real look at the desired product. The question is: Is it really needed in this case? In my opinion, online shopping is fine and you can simply send back the item if you are not satisfied and order a new one!

    Top Rated Shower Pans

    Here are a couple of good products you can order right away

    Swanstone FR-3260R-018 Veritek 60-Inch by 32-Inch

    This is a good, basic product made of fiberglass. I like the fact that it comes in different shades of white, so it will fit your bathroom tiles. Matching colors are very important to me. Here are the key features of this product:

    - 60-Inch x 32-Inch x 4-5/16-Inch
    - Integral tile flange
    - Includes color matched strainer
    - Retrofit to existing bathtub
    - Right hand, molded-in drain

    Buy now

    American Standard 6032Y1ST-R.020 Shower Base with Right-Hand Drain

    American Standard is a company with a lot of experience. They exist for 130 years now and offer top notch products to enhance your bathing experience. I like the minimalist style. It fits most modern bathrooms very well. Just take a look at this elegant beauty:

    Great, isn’t it? Key features:

    - High-gloss acrylic-capped ABS with fiberglass reinforcement
    - Single threshold
    - Right drain outlet
    - Integral three-sided, tiling/water retention flange
    - Includes liner on base for protection during installation

    Buy now

    Tile Redi 3232CDL-PVC Shower Pan 32×32 Double Threshold with Integrated Center PVC Drain

    The best of both world. If you want ease of installation, but the great, classic look of a tile shower base, you need to buy a tile ready product like this one. Simply use it as a base, then tile it. It does cost a bit more, but its an amazing way to pay your tribute to a classic look, without having to worry about the hassles of building a traditional shower. Do not forget, that a pro will cost a lot of money to build your shower, so the extra $$ you spend on this item might be worth it if you plan to install and tile it yourself :)

    Comes with a 3y warranty.

    Buy it now


    It can be pretty dangerous to build a traditional shower floor if you are not a handy person. Ready made pans are a good, cheap and easy to install alternative. If i were you, i’d go with them. They might not be as durable, but durable enough to last you a long time. They might not look as great, but with a tile-ready shower base, you are able to get the best of both worlds without risking a leaking shower which can lead to dangerous mold!

    I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to share it freely :)