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How to make a shower pan with Video

How to Make a Shower Pan

A mortar shower pan is so much nicer than a store-bought fiberglass unit. Once you established your drain setup you’ll want to buy a shower pan drain as shown in the video.

1) I like to lay down a layer of felt paper on the subfloor first.

2) Now install the rubber membrane ensuring that you have it going up the sides, at least, three inches on all four sides and that it is laying down nice and flat. Or as flat as you can get it.

3) Now mix up some sand mortar mix for the base. And of course, make sure you make straight lines all around your base, at least, 1 1/2 thick at the base tapering down to the drain. I use a straight board cut to the width of the shower. Two different sizes may be needed. Along the base edges, they should all be even but tapering down towards the drain. Let’s say your shower is three feet wide, then a 1/2 slope is more than enough. Remember, water will flow easily as long as you set the tiles good as well.

shower pan setup

4) Now that you have the base in place it’s time to lay yet another layer. This one you’ll fix any not so nice areas of your first one. You can use a mortar for this one. This is the top coat and last chance to make it right. So make sure you really pay attention to the height of the drain leaving enough space for the tiles. As well at this point, you’ll be able to screw the drain up or down to get it just right. Always make sure you have the top of the drain just a little below the tiles. Also, you can use this found at Home Depot 

Video Thumbnail

How to make a shower pan

This is a picture of the shower in the video once completed and used for a few months.

I collected a list of items to help make building a shower pan a little bit easier. Use this link

How to make a shower pan with Video
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Comments ( 27 )

  1. great videos, thanks. I am installing a shower pan in a 10 year old home. The floor is very sound. WHat is your opinion on using the “sloped sticks”. These appear to almost ensure the correct slope of a shower.

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  3. Dominick

    Normally trusses are just fine. If you feel a lot of bounce then yes of course to so. If not you’ll be fine doing it the way I show in my video.

  4. We’re installing a 3′ x 4′ ceramic tile shower on the 3rd level of a 3 story townhouse. It currently has a 3/4″ plywood sub floor and trusses in between the 3rd and 2nd floor. Should we consider reinforcing the sub floor before building the shower for strength and support?

  5. Dominick

    That’s a tough call. I would need to know more on how you plan on framing it up first.

  6. Hi Dominick. I’m going to be installing a shower pan soon but I wanted to add a seat to the shower and cover it with tile. Do I take the membrane over the framing of the seat as well and if so, how?

  7. I watched your video on installing a shower base and was wondering if i messed it up by installing by cement board on the wall over the membrane on the walls before the final cement mix base? Thanks

  8. Dominick

    Thank you. You wouldn’t. Just lay it on top of the concrete allow it to get embedded in the mortar.

  9. Hi Dominic, awesome video. I have a concrete floor. I want to attach the wire mesh to the floor. A staple gun will not work. How would I attach the wire mesh to the concrete floor?

  10. Dominick

    The slope and drain location is going to be dependant on the shower or shower base you install.

  11. So glad I found your site… love the way you do your video’s. I’ve got a lot more confidence after just watching it once. I’m sure by the time I have my bathroom updated I will have watched at least a dozen of your video’s over and over again. Thanks!! Question…

    I have a standard tub / shower combo currently. The opening that my tub currently sits in is 59″ wide x 48″ deep. I would like to change over to a shower only. I’ve only ever really seen “shower only” type set up’s with the drain in the middle. Could I set this up keeping the drain where it currently is … which is closer to one side of the opening? My concern is that I would end up having a shower drain that is 6 – 12″ from one side and 3 – 3.5′ from the other… any concerns with the slope?

  12. Dominick

    No there isn’t. It’s not always easy to find someone to film me while doing real work sorry to say. What were you looking to do ?

  13. After the tileboard installation video are there any others for this shower? I can’t find them.

    Thanks,

    Jason

  14. Dominick

    You can use anything thin. Use thin set if you like.

  15. Did all the right steps in making the pan and have a good slope.Checking it for voids and finding some What should I use to get the voids out? Is there something that I can skim over the sand mix and even out the voids Thanks

  16. Dominick

    That would be to soft and the mortar would crack I’m sure. Good thought though.

  17. I’m a commercial roofing contractor and we use a ridged tapered insulation board with 1/4″ slope per foot to achieve slope to drains. Do you think I could use this same concept for my sub- slope in lue of a sloped mortar bed? Then cover with epdm membrane

  18. Dominick

    Glad I could help and thank you so much.

  19. Have built a number of houses including my own, but have never constructed a shower pan, so I’m in for a new experience. Coming across your video was fantastic. Your instructions are to the point and in order. Hope our new walk in shower comes out as good as yours did. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  20. Dominick

    Sure thing. I mean really whatever works best for you and or the job. Not mixed dry, but not really wet either.

  21. Dominick, Do you think the same basic principles would apply when using a linear drain as opposed to the center standard setup? With linear drains it seems that you use one pitch which allows different types of tile other than mosaic.
    Also, are you just using standard mason’s mortar, mixed dry?
    Good video.
    Mike Keys

  22. Dominick

    You would screw the tile board right in place.Than tile that.So many so called pros comment on how to never screw the board to the curb, but these are the ones that have no clue what they’re doing. So yes screw the boards in place and then tile the board.

  23. Hello Dominic,

    How do I put cement board and tile on the inside shower curb? The small area between the bottom of the shower door and the bottom of the shower floor? I have laid the final layer of cement and am to the point where your video leaves off. I have cement board on the outer side and top of the curb, but I am concerned about screwing it into the inside which is so close to the shower floor. You wouldn’t recommend applying the tile straight to the rubber membrane would you?

  24. Dominick

    I would. Incase the floor moves it will keep your pan separate.

  25. Hey Dominick
    Thanks for the shower pan video. I am installing a mortar pan onto a slab floor. It will be 4′ x 7′ . Do I need the felt paper and wire mesh under the bottom layer of mortar?
    Thanks
    Drew
    Drew

  26. My friend and I are going to construct a shower stall. This question relates to the floor pan. The condo where we will be working is on the ground floor with a concrete slab that is exposed since we removed the old tub and shower stall. Would you recommend against installing the membrane directly over the slab, rather than putting concrete in first?

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