How To Build A Shower Pan - Step By Step!
By Al Bullington
Your shower floor pan isn't often noticed, but it can become very important.
When I noticed a wet spot on the bedroom floor next to the shower, I knew I was in trouble. I hadn't notice that the grout had deteriorated at the bottom of the shower. A trip under the house confirmed the leaks and damage to the floor under the shower. Then I learned that the tile guys in our area are all very busy, so you wait for someone to get to your job. I paid close attention when Mr. Davis finally got there, because it looked like "how to build a shower pan" would be an interesting do-it yourself project.
After watching the whole job, I still think a handy person can learn how to build a shower pan.
Here's how you do it.
Damage is usually to the sub floor below and around the shower pan. Remove rotted material and replace it. If water has damaged walls or ceilings in floors below, you could be looking at big repair bills. Avoiding these problems is why you want the job done right.
Install the drain base.
Tile floors are not water-proof. The mortar that's exposed to water absorbs some water. If you don't mix the mortar properly, it will crumble and fail. Install the drain properly so whatever water weeps
into the mortar finds the drain. Now rough in the drain base.
Build a sloped mortar base.
Build your slope in here. The slope moves all the water to the drain preventing standing water. Build a two inch thick base that sloping to the drain. Let this bed cure before the next step.
Install the shower floor pan liner membrane and drain top.
A flexible, waterproof membrane goes over the mortar base. The membrane is a rubber-like material that's waterproof. The membrane goes up the sides of the wall a few inches. One of the tricks is properly folding the liner in the corners.
Install the top mortar bed.
A second mortar bed is installed over the liner and reinforced with wire.
Build the threshold.
Build any threshold forms and pour mortar mix to establish the correct shape.
After the second coat of mortar cures, install a coat of thinset. Then install tile. Let thinset cure then grout.
Shower floor pan tricks:
There are several places to make mistakes and many questions can come up.
- Like how do you build the threshold?
- How do you get the right amount of fall in the floor?
- How is the pan attached to the drain?
- What kind of mud is best and how do you mix it?
- How do you get the liner in the corners?
- How do you run the pan up the walls?
Still puzzled about how a shower pan works?
There are "secrets" about shower floor pans that the tile guys don't want you to know.
Visit: InstallingCeramicTile.net! and find the answers to your questions.
Al Bullington enjoys ceramic tile and showers in the hot and sticky rural South.
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