When you want to install a new shower, you’ll need to think about your shower floor, and this includes your shower pan and base. Choosing the right shower pan sizes for a bathroom renovation is essential. Surprisingly, the shower pan might be the most neglected feature of a home.
Most people focus on their tile shower and shower floor. And although tile showers have many concerns, shower pans and shower bases aren’t given enough attention. Among first time renovators, this is especially true when they want to redesign their shower floor.
Many shower pans are available and fit with the configuration, style, and function of a bathroom shower. Also, you’ll need to consider how shower bases and shower pans offer different things. In the long run, the more time you devote to your shower floor, the fewer problems you’ll have later.
To learn more, you’ll want to keep reading as we dive into the basics of shower pans and shower bases. We’ll also show you 8 of the best shower pan and shower base options on the market today.
You’ll also be provided with a few instructional guides that will walk you through the installation process. Before it’s over, you’ll discover how easy it is to install shower pans, a bathroom feature that you’ve always neglected.
Before we go further, let’s learn about shower pans and shower bases.
Shower Pan Vs Shower Base
While a shower pan and a shower base both channel water into a drain, there’s one key difference: “Shower pan” is the shower floor that you step on, whereas “shower base” refers to the structure underneath the shower itself.
While these two terms are interchangeable, it is crucial to know the difference.
What Is A Shower Pan?
A shower pan, also known as a shower bed, is a separate area in a walk-in shower for example, that directs and maintains water flow to the drain. The pans come with a drain hole and a slow floor that helps guide water in the direction it’s meant to travel on your shower floor.
Shower pans are easy to install. They come with installation kits in a variety of sizes. But a shower base will require more time to install versus a shower pan that can easily fit in place.
What Is A Shower Base?
A shower base is a structural base that sits underneath a shower pan. This references the layer of mortar and liner sitting on top of your subfloor beneath the shower pan. Shower floors range between 32 inches x 36 inches
Having a liner or sealant put down before the mortar will ensure your subfloor doesn’t get wet. If you’re replacing an old one with a new shower pan that’s standard size, you’ll also need to use liner or sealant.
6 Easy Steps For A New Shower Base
- Tack a waterproof pan liner down: after removing your old pan, make sure there is a clean, make sure the surface is dust-free before you begin.
- Dry fit the new pan so it is level. Place two levelers on both sides of the pan. If one side is lower, add shims until the pan levels out and tack those in place.
- Use Plumber’s putty to secure the drain to the pan.
- Your mixed mortar should be a peanut butter consistency; apply about an inch layer to the liner. Do not get it in the drain hole.
- Place the new pan into the mortar on the shower floor.
- The mortar will expand while it dries. Add temporary strapping to hold it in place.
NOTE: Allow one day for the mortar to dry.
8 Top Bathroom Shower Pans
If you want to save money on a shower pan, this one is a popular choice. The shower pan comes in standard sizes molded into one piece, so it’s easy to install. It’s perfect for any home DIY enthusiast.
It’s made of high-quality composite material with additional reinforcement. The non porous substance is stain resistant and shocks so you can have a hot or cold shower without any issues.
It also has a non-slip top layer to prevent falling on your shower floor, and it’s also safe for walk in showers. Standard sizes range between 32 x 30 inches and up to 60 inches.
- Available in standard sizes
- Easy to install
- Shock and heat resistant
- Only comes in one color which is white
- Warranty is short
This model by Woodbridge comes in standard sizes and has a kit for easy installation. The kit includes materials like three aluminum metal bars and 12 pounds of tile epoxy glue, enough to cover the foundation area. It’s perfect for any shower shape. Like most shower pans, it also has a neo angle corner unit.
The center drain can fit in a standard shower and is located in the center like the other shower bases. A two-inch PVC drain in a stainless-steel drain plate with a nickel finish is also available.
- UPC and CSA Certified
- You can use the kit right away
- High-quality drain plate
- 1-year limited warranty
- Low-quality issues
If you have a corner shower, you’ll like this neo-angle base by DreamLine. This is a popular choice and the smallest shower pan size available.
This design allows a door opening of 32 x 32 inches which should be plenty of room and it’s installed with glass doors.
It’s made of acrylic reinforced with fiberglass fibers, so you know it’s durable. There’s also an anti-slip surface to prevent slipping and other accidents.
The drain isn’t included, but the base is made to accommodate 2-inch drains.
- Compact but big enough
- cUPC certified
- Shower drain not included
- Without a drain, excess water will be a big problem
This shower pan by Westbrass has a solid acrylic base and comes in standard sizes and is easy to clean. It is also made of reinforced fiberglass and resin backend.
Shower pans are available in six sizes and four different finishes and made with different materials. The pan has a center drain and is a popular choice.
There’s a drain kit included and you have the option of either plastic or brass. The standard shower pan is designed for a three-wall alcove corner shower.
- Available in 6 sizes, including 60 inches and 36 inches
- Shower drain kit included
- 1-year warranty
- Non porous surface
- Small circle drain in the middle could cause flooding in high water volume conditions
- Excess water issues
For a natural stone look or if you have a concrete floor, the Tile Redi USA Shower Pan is wheelchair accessible and rolls inside. It does not have a frontal threshold. It’s rectangular shape in shape had doesn’t have an obstacle in the front, so it’s perfect for walk in showers.
The base is tile friendly and comes with epoxy and different materials. It also comes with a wrong dream play made of stainless steel, so it’s durable.
Flashing metallic bars prevent leaks and it increases its waterproof abilities. The base meets the UL and AISI standards and it even comes with a limited 3-year warranty should there be issues with the shower pan.
- Easy to install
- Includes drain and flashings
- Doesn’t need tiles
- Low maintenance
- Water flow is hard to manage
This shower pan by Woodbridge has a solid surface base and it comes with three different drain styles. There are also 6 different sizes to choose from. The model is ideal for a concrete floor design.
It is a rectangular shape and made from non-porous solid surface material with a smooth surface. That means it won’t attract mold or mildew and there will be no grout to clean. There’s also a slip-resistant design so that you don’t have to worry about falling in and out of the shower.
It also has an integral three-sided tiling/water retention flange that helps with the easy installation.
- 10-year warranty
- 6 sizes to choose from
- High-quality material prevents mold and mildew
- Low maintenance
- Noisy during use
If your bathroom design features cultured marble, this base by ELEGANT STORE is a favorite and premium shower pan made from a sheet molding compound. It’s also lightweight, heat and water-resistant, and durable. It offers easy drain placement and has a neo angle corner that can fit in any shower space.
There’s also an integrated tile flange that you can merge with your current flooring and makes for easy installation. You can choose from three different drain locations, including an edge drain on the left or an edge drain on the right of the shower pans.
It’s only available in white. A drain is included and comes with a stainless steel cover. The shower pan also has a non-slip design, so you don’t have to worry about falling.
- 3 drain locations
- Nonslip design
- Drain and stainless steel cover included
- Low maintenance
- Versatile drain placement
- Only comes in one color which is white
For those with a small shower space or a corner shower, the Tile Redi USA shower pan offers a variety of sizes, colors, and has more than one drain location.
One of the main features of this shower pan is that it is pre-pitched, and it also has a bench surface to customize the base to the look and feel of your bathroom. This model can fit over natural stone, but wouldn’t look right with cultured marble.
The shower pans are easy to install. Just place the pan in the mortar base and let it dry.
There’s a drain and plate included that is a 2-inch center PVC drain and a square top grate. This shower pan is leakproof, so you won’t have to worry about water damage.
- Base N Bench setup adheres to your bathroom
- Common sizes, colors, and drain locations
- Made out of high-quality polyurethane
- Neo angle corner
- Bench framework not included
- Some quality issues
How to Install a Shower Pan
If you’re feeling like it’s time for a DIY project, you can follow these easy steps to installing a shower pan.
You’ll want to take the necessary measurements to make sure that everything fits. Then you can start preparing everything to install the shower pan. You’ll need a space of at least 32 inches.
You’ll want to make sure you do prepare the subfloor to allow your shower pan to sit on it. Also, check your first floor before you begin.
This is considered the drain, so you’ll want to make sure that everything is in the right place and locked in.
Secure Shower Pan
It’s dependent on if it can be applied to adhesive or needs mounds of mortar.
Gasket and Drain Screen
This is straightforward as you’ll place the rubber gasket over the drainpipe. Then you’ll put the drain screen on top of that.
When you’re done installing the shower pan or base, you’ll want to test for leaks. If there are no leaks, congratulations, you’re done! If there is, you’ll have to make adjustments.
How To Build A Shower Pan
If you are an experienced DIY’er, this may be a fun project for you to build a shower pan. You’ll need the tools and materials to get started.
You’ll have to take some measurements so you can build the shower pan that is best suited for the shower floor.
Here are the steps to build shower pans:
- Drawing the Floor
- Confirming the layout
- Opening the walls
- Locate wall studs
- Forming the curve
- Putting on the first layer of Mortar
- Laying in the liner
- Folding in the layers
- Making a drain hole
- Attaching the Tile Backer Board
- Adding Metal Lath
- Form the curb
- Covering the lath
- Mortar the curb
- Adjusting the drain hole
Check out HandyDadTV YouTube Channel for full detailed instructions on how to build a shower pan.
Related: Teak Shower Floor: Pros And Cons
Shower Pan on Concrete
If you have a concrete shower floor, you’ll have to adjust how to build a shower pan on top of it. In the long run the only time you’ll need to do this again would be right before you sold your home.
Here are some basic steps to build a shower pan on the concrete shower floor:
- Build the Shower Pan
- Prepare the floor
- Laying the shower liner
Remember, concrete is a porous surface, so pay extra attention to waterproofing.
Check out TileCoach YouTube Channel for a full and detailed DIY tutorial on how to build a shower for concrete floors.
Home Improvement Shower Pans
If you’re coming up empty on ideas for your bathroom renovation project, you’ll like this DIY shower pan idea.
Tiled Shower Pan
This shower pan was made with custom titles that match the bathroom decor. You can see that the center drain is located in the middle. Center drains are more effective Installation does not involve locating wall studs.
It appears that the tiles are slip-proof, which means there won’t be injuries getting in and out of the shower. Check the full tutorial here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What's the difference between a shower base and a shower pan?
A shower pan is easier to install and can just take up a small portion of the shower.
A shower base is more customized, so it’s harder to install. They’re typically underneath the shower floor, usually made out of cement or mortar.
Do you need a shower pan for a tile shower?
Yes, because it can help prevent water damage to the tile shower floor. It’s actually important that you have a pan for those showers.
What sizes do shower pans come in?
Thankfully they come in all different sizes that will fit the perimeter of your shower. They can range from 32 x 32 inches to 60 x 42 inches. The neo-angle ones can range from 36 to 60 inches in diameter.
Is a shower base better than tiles?
It really depends on what you want. Shower bases are much easier to clean whereas tile floors you’ll be cleaning often. A shower base works better if your shower is an odd size or making the most of the space.
Installing shower pans is exciting. It means less cleaning; it looks better and more efficient. Standard shower pan sizes are created equal but come in many designs and sizes.
When it comes to shower pans, we recommend the WOODBRIDGE Tileable Shower Pan because it has different sizes and designs that you can choose from, and it even comes with an install kit.
If you have found that this guide on shower pans has been useful, please let us know if you have other questions or would like to drop us a message in the comments space.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What Are The Standard Shower Pan Sizes?
Standard square or rectangular shower base pans range in size from 32 x 32 inches to 60 inches. There are also standard neo angle base pans for corner showers that range from 36 inches to 60 inches in diameter.
What Do You Put Under A Shower Pan?
Mortar is recommended for shower pans. Otherwise known as thinset, when applied underneath standard size shower pans it reduces the risk of pan slippage or cracking on an uneven surface.
Can You Use A Thinset For A Shower Base?
Thinset is a type of mortar specifically modified for adhering tile to walls or shower bases. The mortar contains latex and polymer additives which increase the bonding strength to surfaces. Most power pans adhere to a shower area or bathroom space with thinset. Using thinset will also ensure the edge chain is a proper fit.
Do You Need Mortar Under A Fiberglass Shower Pan?
Mortar is recommended for shower pans, even if your shower is a glass enclosure. The material reduces the risk of pan slippage and cracking from uneven surfaces. Fiberglass shower pans are more durable and long lasting. than other types of shower pans.
The pans have a high gloss finish, so if you’re in an environment that needs a better grip on the floor, look for a tile shower pan.
Can You Add Custom Tile Over A Shower Pan Liner?
Installing custom tile on your shower’s floor gives it a cohesive look than having tiled walls and a rubber shower pan. Custom tile is easier to clean and not prone to staining like rubber. You’ll need to use the correct shower pan material when replacing an old one with a new one.
Shower Pans Conclusion
Your bathroom space is a high-traffic area. It should be durable and equipped to last long. If you want to replace your tub with a shower or install a new shower pan and base, give yourself two days to complete the project. If this sounds like a labor-intensive home improvement project, don’t worry, it’s not.
Remember, a base’s structure is where a shower pan sits. You’ll want a clean and even base if you want your shower base and pan to last for a long time. You may have to give this more detail, but when working with standard pan sizes, installation doesn’t vary as they’re designed with the same basic dimensions.
Those who often have visitors know that guest bath functionality is a priority. You don’t want to deal with re-grouting the custom tile walls of your walk-in shower more than you would want to reinstall an uneven shower pan.
If your shower room works but you notice water puddling or water leaks, resolve those issues and give more detail with concrete sealers. With home improvement, do not neglect water damage and tackle visible stains immediately. If you don’t, more problems will arise.