Build a Shower Pan:

How to Build a Shower Pan: Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Buying a brand new shower pan is easy but making your own is more fitted according to your needsand makes you more satisfied. You can customize the shape and size of the pan. There are some easy steps to build a shower pan like framing out the pan, spread and level out mortar that leads to the drain. Then comes the process of waterproofing liner and another mortar layer for tiles.

Here is the whole process to help you make your own DIY shower pan. But we recommend that since it’s a long-term investment, you better find a budget-friendlyshower pan that’s still of good quality. This way, you won’t have to be disappointed in case your DIY venture does not come into fruition.

Tools and materials:

  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Tape
  • Boards
  • Tar paper
  • Nails
  • Utility knife
  • Mortar
  • Tray
  • Hoe
  • Flat trowel
  • Liner
  • Silicone
  • Tiles
  • Grout
  • Thinset

Framing the shower pan:

  1. Take few boards of 2 by 6 inches for framing the shower pan. Measure the space between the walls where you are planning to set it and write it down. Cut the boards according to the size by using a circular saw. Put them between the studs as they are on top of your bottom plate.
  2. Take 2 to 4 inches’ board for building a curb for the pan. It would be the edge of the shower pan. Measure the length of the area which doesn’t have a wall. Lay down the boards and fix it on the subfloor. Nail 2 boards more on the upper side of the first one in place every 8” or 20cm.
  3. Put a large tar paper sheet on the floor for blocking moisture. It would protect the subfloor if water gets under the shower pan. Nail it into the shower floor every 20 to 30 cm so that the paper stays in right place.
  4. Find out the drain flange and cut a hole using a utility knife in the paper above the drain. You shouldn’t cut too much paper because it might be the reason for getting water to the subfloor. Install the drain pipes if there is not any and ensure that it has a 2-part drains.
  5. Tape the opening of the drain with duct tape. After covering the drain completely, apply mortar for the shower pan.

Applying a mortar base:

  1. You have to make a mixture of mortar and water in 4:1 parts in a mixing tray. Mix them by using a garden hoe and to check the consistency of the mixture, make a ball with it. if the ball holds its form, it is perfect otherwise mix more mortar.
  2. To make the perfect border round your frame, create a 3.8cm thick and 8-10.2cm wide border with a flat trowel. To avoid air pockets, press the mortar with the flat trowel.
  3. Spread out the mortar and smooth it as it slopes to the drain. Start smoothing from the place utmost away as of the curb. Slope down the mortar in such way as it drops 0.64cm per 30cm among the drain and the wall. Ensure to apply the whole layer in one day otherwise it would dry unevenly.
  4. After smoothing the mortar as much as you can, let it set for about 24 hours. When the entire layer of the mortar become dry, cut through or peel off the tape over the drain flange.

Waterproofing the shower pan:

  1. Shower liner is the waterproofing fence that would serves as a layer of the subfloor. With a utility knife, cut the liner according to the measurement of your pan and increase 20cm to each sideways for framing.
  2. Take a silicone gun and put silicone sealant in it. Apply a bead of the sealant to prevent water leaking.
  3. Apply a few drops of the silicone sealant and place your liner inside the pan smoothly. Push it tightly around the upper layer of the mortar to let the liner sticks and stays smooth as much as possible.
  4. Fix the liner with the studs of the walls with woodworking staples or nails to secure it from leaking.
  5. Cut the liner for the drain in X-shapes and bolts them to ensure that the water flows into the pipe.
  6. The top portion of the drain flange that attaches with the bottom. You have to screw that part clockwise into the hole and tighten the drain bolts.
  7. Repeat the same process of applying another layer of the mortar. But this time you must ensure that the floor is smooth enough to drain water. Level the floor if necessary and let it dry for 24 hours.

Tiling the shower:

  1. Take 1 tiles and put it beside the drain. Measure by dry-fit the tiles to know that how many and which size tiles you will need. Choose the tiles according to other fixtures and style of your bathroom.
  2. Wipe out the pan with a wet cloth and dry it with a dry and clean rag.
  3. Apply a thin layer of the tile thinset for 1 or 2 tiles at a time and spread out the layer over the mortar smoothly.
  4. Set the tiles on the thinset by pushing the tiles in place very carefully. Wait about 2 minutes and wipe off the extra thinset that arose up between the joints.
  5. Spread some grout over the tiles and spread by using a rubber squeegee or trowel. Spread it between the tiles to prevent leaking and make the surface flat. After applying it, let the grout dry for 1 hour.

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