How to Build a Shower Pan on a Concrete Floor: Essential Steps and Pro Tips

How to Build a Shower Pan on a Concrete Floor?

To build a shower pan on a concrete floor, start by installing a shower drain in the concrete slab.

Ensure that the drain is a 2-inch drain and locate the P-trap under the slab.

If the drainpipe is too short, extend it and leave a 1-1/2-inch space between the pipe and concrete.

Use a leakproof drain assembly like the No-Caulk Shower Drain, and create a seal around the drain basket flange with plumber’s putty.

It’s recommended to use a brass drain basket instead of plastic and tighten the ring with large slip-joint pliers.

Lower the shower bay and basket assembly over the drainpipe, cut the pipe to length with a hacksaw, and slide a caulking gasket over the pipe to sit against the lip of the drain basket.

Thread on and tighten a caulking nut to seal the pipe, and snap on a perforated drain cover.

Install a waterproof barrier, such as a cementitious board painted with a rubber membrane, in wet areas.

Use the right mix of concrete for wet areas, add a densifier to reduce porosity, and apply multiple coats of a penetrating sealer to protect the concrete.

Ensure slip resistance by adding a grit or roughing up the surface.

Consider utilizing a custom-fabricated shower pan with a drain trough outside the separating wall, and use a 2-by-4 framework, Masonite substrate, and melamine casting surface to create molds for the shower pan.

For dense concrete, use GFRC panels spiked with UltrasealZ ZFRC admixture.

Finish the project with a penetrating waterborne polyurethane sealer for absorption protection.

Key Points:

  • Install a 2-inch drain in the concrete slab and locate the P-trap underneath.
  • Extend the drainpipe if necessary and leave a 1-1/2-inch space between the pipe and concrete.
  • Use a leakproof drain assembly and create a seal around the drain basket flange with plumber’s putty.
  • Use a brass drain basket instead of plastic and tighten the ring with slip-joint pliers.
  • Lower the shower bay and basket assembly over the drainpipe, cut the pipe to length, and seal it with a caulking nut.
  • Install a waterproof barrier
  • Choose the right concrete mix
  • Add a penetrating sealer for protection.


Did You Know?

1. Did you know that the earliest evidence of showers can be traced back to the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro in present-day Pakistan, which dates back to around 2500 BCE? The ancient inhabitants constructed rudimentary shower rooms with a network of clay pipes and carefully positioned drainage systems.

2. In 1850, English inventor Joseph Bramah patented the first modern shower, which was initially designed to be used as a form of hydrotherapy. It consisted of a large metal tank mounted above the user, with a chain-pulled valve that released water from above.

3. The concept of a shower timer was introduced in the late 19th century as a means to regulate water usage. These timers were often hourglasses filled with a specific amount of sand, indicating how long one should spend in the shower to conserve water.

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4. During World War II, shower pans made out of concrete were commonly used in military barracks. These pans were lightweight and easy to construct, making them a practical solution for accommodating the needs of a large number of soldiers.

5. One of the most innovative shower designs is the “rain shower.” This type of showerhead mimics the experience of standing in a gentle rain shower by releasing water in a steady, rain-like flow. It gained popularity in the mid-20th century as a luxurious and immersive shower experience.

Importance Of 2-Inch Drain And Locating P-Trap Under Concrete Slab

Building a shower pan on a concrete floor requires careful consideration of the drainage system. It is crucial to install a 2-inch drain, as a larger diameter allows for better water flow and reduces the risk of clogs. Locating the P-trap under the concrete slab ensures proper functionality and prevents unpleasant odors from seeping into the bathroom. The P-trap acts as a barrier, preventing sewer gases from entering the shower area. By placing it under the concrete slab, any potential leaks or issues can be easily addressed without causing damage to the finished shower floor.

Extending Drainpipe And Leaving Space Between Pipe And Concrete

Sometimes, the existing drainpipe may be too short for the new shower pan. In such cases, it is necessary to extend the drainpipe to ensure a proper connection. To do this, measure the required length of the extension and use a hacksaw to cut a section of pipe to size. It is essential to leave a 1-1/2-inch space between the pipe and the concrete to allow for the proper installation of the drain assembly. This space allows for easy access to the drain and ensures a tight and secure connection.

Using Leakproof No-Caulk Shower Drain Assembly

When installing a shower drain in concrete, it is vital to use a leakproof drain assembly. One popular option is the No-Caulk Shower Drain, which provides a watertight seal and eliminates the need for caulking.

This type of drain assembly consists of a rubber gasket and a drain body, which are secured together with a caulking nut. The rubber gasket creates a tight seal around the drainpipe, while the caulking nut ensures a secure connection.

Using a leakproof assembly saves time and effort, and provides added peace of mind knowing that your shower pan will remain free from leaks.

Creating Seal With Plumber’s Putty Around Drain Basket Flange

To enhance the waterproofing of the shower drain, it is crucial to create a seal around the drain basket flange. This can be achieved by using plumber’s putty, a pliable material that effectively seals joints. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply a thin layer of plumber’s putty around the underside of the drain basket flange.
  2. Make sure the putty covers the entire circumference of the flange.
  3. Tighten the drain basket in place.
  4. The plumber’s putty will create a water-resistant barrier, preventing any potential leaks.
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Remember, the key step is to properly seal the drain basket flange with plumber’s putty to ensure effective waterproofing.

Note: Plumber’s putty is commonly used for creating watertight seals in plumbing applications.

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Suggesting Brass Drain Basket Over Plastic

When choosing a drain basket for the shower pan, it is advisable to opt for a brass drain basket instead of plastic. Brass is a durable and corrosion-resistant material that offers better long-term performance compared to plastic. It can withstand the continuous exposure to water and daily wear and tear, maintaining its integrity over time. By using a brass drain basket, you ensure a reliable and robust drainage solution that will endure for years to come.

  • Brass is a durable and corrosion-resistant material.
  • Brass drain baskets offer better long-term performance compared to plastic.
  • They can withstand continuous exposure to water and daily wear and tear.
  • Brass drain baskets maintain their integrity over time.
  • Opting for a brass drain basket ensures a reliable and robust drainage solution.

“By using a brass drain basket, you ensure a reliable and robust drainage solution that will endure for years to come.”

Tools Needed For DIY Project: Hacksaw, Hammer, Slip Joint Pliers

To successfully build a shower pan on a concrete floor, you will need the following essential tools:

  • Hacksaw: This tool is used to cut the drainpipe to the required length, ensuring a proper fit within the shower pan assembly.
  • Hammer: Sometimes, a hammer may be necessary to remove any obstructions or debris from the drainpipe or surrounding area.
  • Slip joint pliers: These pliers are essential for tightening various components of the drain assembly, ensuring a secure and leak-free connection.

It is important to note that building a shower pan on a concrete floor requires careful attention to detail and adherence to specific steps. By following these instructions, you can ensure a successful installation that provides a durable and watertight shower base. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Prioritize proper drainage: Ensure that the concrete floor is properly sloped towards the drain to allow for efficient water flow.
  2. Use quality materials: Invest in high-quality drain components and waterproofing materials to ensure the longevity of your shower pan.
  3. Have the necessary tools on hand: Having the right tools readily available will make the installation process more efficient and help you complete the project with ease.

Pro Tip: Consider using a pre-formed shower pan kit, which simplifies the installation process and provides precise measurements.

With these essential steps and pro tips, you can confidently embark on your DIY shower pan project and create a functional and long-lasting addition to your bathroom.

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Ensure a proper fit within the shower pan assembly
Remove any obstructions or debris from the drainpipe or surrounding area
Tighten various components of the drain assembly to ensure a secure and leak-free connection

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put a shower pan on concrete?

Yes, it is possible to install a shower pan on concrete. One option is to use a fiberglass shower stall, which can be placed directly on the concrete floor. It is important to ensure that there is a drain roughed in, with the pipe sticking a few inches above the floor, to connect the shower pan to the plumbing system. With proper installation and alignment, a shower pan can provide a sturdy and functional base for a shower stall on a concrete surface.

How do you waterproof a shower on a concrete slab?

One effective way to waterproof a shower on a concrete slab is by using a combination of epoxy and polyurethane sealers. First, a layer of epoxy can be applied as a primer to provide a strong bond to the concrete surface. This epoxy primer helps to seal any cracks or imperfections in the concrete, preventing water from seeping through. On top of the epoxy, multiple coats of a water-based polyurethane can then be applied. This combination of epoxy and polyurethane ensures a durable and waterproof barrier that can withstand the constant exposure to water and moisture in the shower area.

Another approach to waterproofing a shower on a concrete slab is by using a two-part polyurethane system exclusively. The two-part polyurethane, consisting of a resin and a hardener, offers excellent waterproofing properties when applied correctly. The first step would involve thoroughly cleaning and preparing the concrete surface. Then, the two-part polyurethane can be mixed and applied onto the shower area as multiple coats. This system forms a robust and waterproof barrier that can withstand the daily wear and tear of shower usage, effectively protecting the concrete slab from water damage.

Do I need a shower pan liner on a concrete floor?

Yes, it is recommended to use a shower pan liner on a concrete floor, even if the tile is directly laid on the floor. While the overflow may drain directly into the room, a shower pan liner provides an extra layer of protection against any potential leakage at the wall-floor junction. Additionally, using a shower pan liner helps ensure that the concrete floor remains protected from water damage, prolonging its lifespan and maintaining its integrity.

Is cement waterproof for shower?

Yes, cement is indeed waterproof for showers. Cement boards are specifically designed to be highly moisture-resistant, making them an excellent choice for use in bathrooms and showers. These boards are capable of withstanding the damp conditions often found in these areas, ensuring that they do not become damaged or weakened by long-term exposure to water.

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