How to Install a Shower Base on a Wooden Floor: Essential Steps for a LeakFree Bathroom

How to Install a Shower Base on a Wooden Floor?

To install a shower base on a wooden floor, follow these steps:


Trace and cut a hole in the floorboards according to the dimensions of the shower base.


Install the waste pipe and drain, ensuring that the drain is even with the top of the floor joists.


Fit the shower base into the subfloor, ensuring it sits securely in place.


Seal around the edges of the shower base with silicone to create a watertight seal.

It is important to consider additional support along the wall, use adhesive and boards for extra stability.

Secure the shower base into the subfloor by applying adhesive along every joist and screwing it into place.

Additionally, applying silicone around the edges firmly secures the base to the wall.

Post-installation, tiling over the shower tray can be considered for a finished look.

For further information and guidance, you can refer to the additional resources provided.

Key Points:

  • Trace and cut a hole in the floorboards to match the dimensions of the shower base
  • Install the waste pipe and drain, making sure they are level with the top of the floor joists
  • Fit the shower base securely into the subfloor
  • Create a watertight seal by sealing around the edges of the shower base with silicone
  • Consider adding additional support along the wall using adhesive and boards
  • Secure the shower base into the subfloor by applying adhesive along joists and screwing it into place

Did You Know?

1. The first known recorded evidence of indoor plumbing dates back to ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia around 2500 BCE, where homes had drainage systems and toilets connected to a centralized sewer system.
2. In the early 18th century, showers as we know them were not commonly used. Instead, people would use a device called a “caponiere,” which was a helmet-like container designed to release water on the head while standing in a tub.
3. The concept of the modern shower first gained popularity in the 19th century when the first patent for a mechanical shower was filed by the English inventor William Feetham in 1767.
4. Another important innovation in shower design was the introduction of the adjustable shower head. The first adjustable shower head was patented in 1889 by African American inventor, Thomas J. Saint, who also invented the shower door.
5. Wooden floors can be susceptible to water damage in bathrooms. To prevent this, it’s crucial to properly waterproof the shower base before installation, which can be done using various techniques, such as applying a water-resistant membrane or using waterproofing paints.

Cutting The Floorboards

Installing a shower base on a wooden floor requires careful planning and precise execution to ensure a leak-free bathroom. The first step in the installation process is to trace and cut a hole in the floorboards where the shower base will be placed.

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To install the shower base on a wooden floor:

  1. Determine the proper position and size of the shower base.
  2. Place the shower base in its desired location and trace around the edges onto the floorboards using a pencil or marker.
  3. Carefully cut along the marked lines using a jigsaw or circular saw.
  4. Take your time and ensure that the cut is precise and clean to ensure a proper fit for the shower base.
  5. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as goggles and gloves, while cutting the floorboards.

Tip: Pay attention to the dimensions and make sure the hole matches the size of the shower base accurately. Any gaps or unevenness may lead to future leaks or installation issues.

  • Measure twice and cut once!
  • Ensure the floorboards are sturdy and in good condition before proceeding with the installation.
  • Double-check the plumbing connections and make any necessary adjustments before placing the shower base.

Remember, proper planning and execution are crucial for a successful installation. Taking the necessary precautions will help create a leak-free and durable shower base.

Installing The Waste Pipe And Drain

After cutting the hole in the floorboards, the next step is to install the waste pipe and drain. It is crucial to position the drain correctly to avoid any future issues. Make sure the drain is even with the top of the floor joists to ensure proper drainage.

Begin by connecting the waste pipe to the drain, ensuring a tight and secure fit. Use PVC cement or plumber’s tape to seal the connections.

Once the waste pipe is connected, test the drainage by pouring water into the drain and observing its flow. This step will help identify any leaks or blockages that need to be addressed before proceeding with the installation. It is essential to ensure that the waste pipe and drain are functioning properly to prevent any future water damage.

Fitting The Shower Base

With the waste pipe and drain in place, it is time to fit the shower base into the subfloor. Carefully lower the shower base into the cut-out hole, ensuring alignment with the waste pipe and drain. Level the shower base and ensure it sits firmly on the subfloor.

To secure the shower base, apply adhesive along each joist under the base and screw it into place using wood screws. These screws provide additional stability and prevent any movement or shifting of the shower base. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper adhesive application and screw placement.

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Sealing With Silicone

After fitting the shower base into the subfloor, the next step is to seal around the edges with silicone. Silicone is a waterproof sealant that will prevent water from seeping through the gaps between the shower base and the floorboards.

  • Apply a thick bead of silicone along the edges of the shower base, ensuring complete coverage.

  • Use a caulking gun for precise application and smooth the silicone with a caulking tool or your finger for a neat finish.

  • Allow the silicone to dry completely before proceeding with any further steps.

This sealant will provide an additional layer of protection against leaks and water damage, ensuring a leak-free bathroom.

Adding Extra Support

To ensure the long-term stability of the shower base, it is important to add extra support along the wall between the existing boards. This step is crucial if you observe any flex or movement in the subfloor. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin by applying adhesive along the wall.
  2. Place additional boards perpendicular to the existing floorboards.
  3. Use screws to secure the additional boards to the existing subfloor and wall studs.

This additional support will strengthen the subfloor and prevent any movement or flexing that could potentially cause leaks or damage in the future. Remember to follow proper construction practices and consult a professional if you have any doubts about adding extra support.


“Proper support is essential to ensure the long-term stability of the shower base and prevent the risk of leaks or damage.”

  • Apply adhesive along the wall.
  • Place additional boards perpendicular to existing floorboards.
  • Secure using screws.

By following these steps, you can increase the stability of the shower base and avoid potential problems down the line.

Tiling Over The Shower Tray

Once the shower base installation is complete, you may consider tiling over the tray to create a more aesthetically pleasing bathroom. Tiling not only enhances the appearance of the shower area but also provides an additional waterproof layer. Before tiling, ensure that the shower base is completely dry and free of any debris or dirt.

Begin the tiling process by applying a waterproof membrane or primer to the shower tray. This will help create a solid base for the tiles and prevent water penetration. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific waterproofing product you are using. Once the waterproofing is dry, proceed with tiling the shower base using the appropriate tile adhesive and grout.

Remember to choose tiles suitable for wet areas and ensure proper sealing between each tile to prevent water from seeping through. It is also essential to maintain regular maintenance and inspection of the shower base and tiles to address any potential issues promptly.

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In conclusion, installing a shower base on a wooden floor requires careful planning and precise execution. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure a leak-free bathroom and enjoy a functional and aesthetically pleasing shower area. Remember to take the necessary precautions, such as wearing safety gear and consulting with professionals if needed, to ensure a successful installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you build a shower on a wooden floor?

Yes, it is possible to build a shower on a wooden floor, but it requires careful consideration and additional measures to ensure water does not cause damage. To avoid potential issues such as wood rot and fungus growth, it is crucial to create a properly waterproofed shower pan. This can be achieved by using a combination of a strong, water-resistant membrane and effective sealing techniques. By taking the necessary precautions and using suitable materials, it is indeed feasible to install a shower on a wooden floor without compromising the structural integrity or risking damage to the wood.

Do you need to put anything under a shower base?

Yes, it is highly recommended to install a bed of mortar under a shower base. Not only does this provide a solid foundation for your shower, but it also serves as a protective barrier against water damage, mold, and rot to your subfloor. By following the manufacturer’s recommendation and putting mortar under the shower pan, you can ensure a long-lasting and secure installation that maintains the integrity of your bathroom.

Can you put a shower tray straight on the floorboards?

Yes, you can safely place a shower tray directly onto floorboards. While some manufacturers recommend using sand/cement or silicone sealant, it’s important to ensure that your floor is relatively level before proceeding with the latter option. As long as the tray is securely placed and the floorboards are stable, it should be perfectly suitable for installation.

How do you stick a shower tray to plywood?

To adhere a shower tray to plywood, first, ensure that the underside of the tray and the plywood are both primed with Ultra Tile Fix Primer. Then, lay either Jackoboard or Hardie Backer Board on the tray area of the floor, securing it with both tile adhesive and screws to create a reinforced base. This step helps to prevent any adhesive sinkage. Finally, back butter the shower tray using a 10mm trowel, ensuring an even layer of adhesive is spread across the tray’s surface. This method will provide a strong bond between the shower tray and the plywood, ensuring its stability and durability.

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