What to Put Under Shower Base: Essential Installation Guide

What to Put Under Shower Base?

To properly install a shower base, it is recommended to use a mortar base underneath it.

The mortar base provides a level surface for the shower pan and helps to direct water into the drain.

It also protects the walls and floors from water damage.

Before pouring and leveling the mortar, a plastic waterproofing membrane should be placed on the subfloor.

The mortar base should be roughly 1-inch thick and perfectly level to ensure proper slope for water drainage.

It is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm if a mortar base is necessary for your specific shower pan.

After setting the pan and drain, allow the base to dry for 24 to 48 hours and run the shower to check for proper drainage and any leaks.

Key Points:

  • Use a mortar base underneath the shower pan for proper installation.
  • The mortar base provides a level surface and directs water into the drain.
  • It protects the walls and floors from water damage.
  • Place a plastic waterproofing membrane on the subfloor before pouring the mortar.
  • The mortar base should be 1-inch thick and perfectly level for water drainage.
  • Confirm manufacturer’s instructions for specific shower pan requirements, including a mortar base.

Did You Know?

1. Did you know that the Romans were among the first to use lead as a waterproofing material? They used a mix of lead and oil to create a seal under shower bases, allowing for a water-tight environment.

2. One unique solution to consider placing under a shower base is expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. This lightweight material not only provides insulation and support but also helps to reduce noise transmission, creating a more peaceful shower experience.

3. In some ancient cultures, such as the Aztecs, builders would use a layer of clay as a natural barrier beneath shower bases. This method not only prevented water leakage but also allowed for adjustable slopes to accommodate different levels of comfort.

4. For those looking for an environmentally friendly option, recycled rubber can be used as a base layer under shower bases. Not only does it provide long-lasting durability, but it also reduces waste by repurposing discarded materials.

5. Some modern shower base installations incorporate a layer of mortar or quick-drying cement. This not only serves as a solid foundation for the shower base but also allows for easy adjustments and corrections during the installation process.

Installation Steps For Shower Pan

Installing a shower pan may seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps and proper guidance, it can be accomplished successfully. Here is a list of installation steps to follow:

  1. Dry-fit the shower pan to ensure it fits correctly into the shower alcove. Check that the edges are level, the corners are square, and the drain hole aligns with the existing drain line.
  2. Attach the drain body to the shower pan. Perform a dry fit by inserting the drain flange and applying the proper sealant for a watertight connection.
  3. Prepare the shower base by ensuring it sits on a level surface. Use a mortar base to provide stability and protect against water damage. Start by placing a plastic waterproofing membrane on the subfloor before pouring and leveling a thin-set mortar. The base should be approximately 1-inch thick to provide adequate support.
  4. Check for any issues or leaks after preparing the shower base. Run the shower for 10 to 15 minutes and make sure there is proper drainage. This step will help identify if any adjustments or repairs are needed before proceeding.
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Types And Materials Of Shower Pans

Shower pans, also known as shower bases, are an essential element of bathroom design. They serve as the floor of the shower and play a significant role in directing water into the drain while protecting the surrounding walls and floors.

Here are the common types and materials used for shower pans:

  • Preformed acrylic or fiberglass shower pans: These are the most popular options in the market. They are widely available, durable, and relatively easy to install. These pans come in various shapes and sizes to fit different shower alcoves.
  • Other materials, such as porcelain and solid surface materials like Corian, are also used for shower pans. These materials offer a sleek and luxurious appearance but are generally more expensive and may require professional installation.

When it comes to choosing the right shower pan, consider factors such as budget, aesthetics, and durability. Additionally, it is essential to select a shower pan that suits your specific shower design and size.

Cost And Considerations For Professional Installation

Professional installation of a shower pan typically involves labor costs being the majority of the expense. On average, the cost of professional installation can range from $1,000 to $2,000. However, this cost may vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the installation, geographic location, and additional materials required.

Hiring a professional for shower pan installation ensures that the job is done efficiently and correctly. Professionals have the expertise and tools necessary to handle any unexpected challenges that may arise during the installation process.

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It is important to note that professional installation is recommended for individuals with limited DIY experience or when facing complex shower pan installations. Attempting a DIY installation without the necessary skills can lead to costly mistakes and potential water damage.

Important Considerations For DIY Installation

While professional installation is recommended for complex projects, those with intermediate-level skills can consider a DIY shower pan installation. However, there are important considerations to keep in mind before embarking on a DIY project:

One crucial aspect is ensuring proper leveling and drainage. A level shower base is essential to ensure the water properly flows into the drain. Inadequate slope or uneven surfaces can cause pooling water and potential leaks.

It is also crucial to thoroughly read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific shower pan being installed. Each shower pan may have unique installation requirements and recommendations.

During the installation process, if the project becomes too challenging or overwhelming, do not hesitate to seek professional help. It is better to have the installation completed correctly by an expert than to risk water damage and additional expenses later on.

Tips For Properly Prepping And Leveling The Shower Base

Proper prepping and leveling of the shower base are essential for a successful installation. Here are some tips to ensure the base is adequately prepared:

  • Before pouring the mortar for the shower base, make sure to place a plastic waterproofing membrane on the subfloor. This membrane will prevent any water damage or leakage from reaching the underlying structures.
  • When leveling the shower base, it is important to use thin-set mortar. Apply a layer of mortar that is roughly 1-inch thick. This thickness ensures stability and provides a sturdy base for the shower pan.
  • Manufacturers often recommend installing a bed of mortar under the shower pan for added support. This mortar base not only ensures proper alignment and leveling but also protects against water damage, mold, and rot.
  • If necessary, chiseling off any mortar base from a previous shower pan replacement may be required. Removing any old mortar ensures a clean and level surface for installing the new shower pan.
  • In some cases, the shower pan may come with screws and brackets for extra security. However, if they are not included, using roofing nails to attach the flanges to wall studs can provide additional support.
  • After setting the shower pan and drain, allow the base to dry for 24 to 48 hours. This drying time ensures that the materials have adequately settled before testing the shower for proper drainage and any potential leaks.
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In conclusion, installing a shower pan involves several steps and considerations. By following the proper installation steps, choosing the right shower pan material, and considering professional installation when necessary, homeowners can successfully install a shower pan that provides both functionality and aesthetic appeal to their bathroom space.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What material to put under shower base?

When looking to find the ideal material to place under a shower base, we suggest considering Cement Australia Rapid Set Sand & Cement. This premixed mortar, which only requires water to activate, offers a convenient and efficient option. Its rapid setting capability ensures quick and reliable installation, making it particularly suitable for repair projects. By using this product as a bedding material, you can ensure a strong and stable foundation for your shower base.

What do you put under a shower tray?

To ensure stability and proper installation, a layer of mortar is typically placed underneath a shower tray. The mixture, made from a combination of building sand and cement, acts as a solid foundation. Once the mortar is prepared with 5 parts sand and 1 part cement, it is applied as a relatively thin layer to the designated area. The tray is then gently pressed into the mortar, and a spirit level is used to ensure that the tray is perfectly aligned. This method guarantees a secure and level base for the shower tray, ensuring its stability for years to come.

Do you need to waterproof under a shower base?

No, it is not necessary to waterproof under a shower base. Unlike regular bathroom tiling, a shower tray is designed to be the waterproof layer itself. This eliminates the need for additional under-floor waterproofing as the shower tray acts as a barrier to prevent water from seeping through. Therefore, installing a waterproof layer beneath a shower base is not required.

What does a shower base sit on?

A shower base typically sits on top of a concrete surface, which provides a stable foundation for the base. To ensure a secure fit, it is recommended to wriggle the base into position and snugly place it into the recesses that have been cut out. After it is installed, a spirit level can be used to confirm its levelness, adjusting its position if needed. Lastly, any excess cement around the edges of the shower base should be cleared away using a shovel for a clean finish.

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