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Shower Pan Installation

A comprehensive resource to assist you in buying and installing shower pans.

Does the idea of shower pan installation sound a little extreme to be a do it yourself project?  Well, everything is possible, especially when you’re on a tight budget and you want to have the bathroom of your dreams.

I’ll be here to tell you about the basics of installing your own shower pan.  It may seem intimidating at first, but you’ll get used to it along the way and realize that DIY shower pan installation is in fact possible. I’ll be giving you some tips, tricks and tweaks and some things to avoid when performing shower pan installation.  This method can be performed for fiberglass shower pan installation and more.

Water leaks in your shower enclosure may typically be caused by overly saturated concrete.  Water enters into grout between your shower tiles, and the grout isn’t water resistant but rather just repels it.  Eventually, though, the grout breaks down over time, leading the water to begin to leak out.  This starts when water begins entering the cracked grout on the shower pan itself.

With that said, sometimes we’ll need to start a new leaf and move forward with a new shower pan.  Let’s take a look at the best way to perform some DIY shower pan installation.  Keep in mind that you can always hire a professional to do this, which we’ll discuss briefly after outlining some do it yourself steps as far as shower base installation goes.

Steps to follow when performing shower pan installation

•    Start with a solid wood floor or concrete when your bathroom is in the basement.  You’ll use this as a base.
•    Apply a roofing felt on the floor (wood or concrete).
•    Cement (5:1 sand over portland) should be sloped toward the drain, smooth it out.
•    Shower pan should be wrapped up the walls, 10 inches.
•    Shower pan should be wrapped on the door or opening ledge too.
•    Check corners to make sure they’re folded, sealed, and leakage free.
•    Mortar bed needs to be laid down after and surrounded by crushed stone.  Try to slope it towards the drain.
•    Put floor tiles down after concrete is installed.
•    Make sure this is all done before the walls are joint between wall and floor, and use a flexible sealant.  This is very important.

Mortar beds are concrete beds with wire mesh, and they’re used before laying over tiles on the floor. Crushed stone, by the way, is used for proper flow of water into the drain.  It allows all water to flow right toward the drains and avoids clogging up your shower pan.  This is why shower pan drain installation must be done right.

Here are some common mistakes that are made when shower pans are installed:

•    Some people err in choosing the right floor base.  Make sure that the floor base, either wood or concrete, can hold the weight of your shower pan.
•    Make sure to slope down the base to let the water properly flow down the drain hole, so that water won’t build up and cause clogs.
•    The cement ratio must be right, as making it too hard or sticky will ruin your work.
•    Try to use a waterproof liner.
•    Seal the liner right, and seal it off from the drain to the membrane.  Make sure you do this to avoid major leakage.

I know it’s complicated, especially if you’ve never done this before.  Here’s another option though.  There is a kit available, and it’s a tile ready shower pan and it’s very easy to use.

It’s called the Schulter-Kerdi method. This is a new way of making a shower pan that works effectively and does not cause any mud mess in the future. When you purchase this kit, you’ll get a pre-formed foamed base, which will serve as the solid floor and has the mesh qualities of the traditional mortar bed.  Above this is the pre-formed shower pan, which is already acting as the base for the tiles that you will lay into.  From there, voila!  You’ll simply lay your tiles ordinarily. The drain for this one mehtod is only used for the base alone so it’s specifically built for this method.  This is yet another way you may want to go.

Otherwise, you’ll be best suited contracting out a labor worker to perform the job.  Look locally on sites like Craigslist, search your Yellow pages, or even perform an online search, as you’ll very likely find many offers as far as installation goes.  Regardless, this is something you’ll want to perform as swiftly as possible, as you’re likely to want to begin resuming the use of your shower (or to start using a new shower).  Still, you’ll want to make sure it’s done right.  Clearly, this is a time consuming and potentially costly process, so get it right once to avoid any potential headaches in the future.