Shower base material

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by DonR, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. DonR

    DonR New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I am looking on line at 3 options for a 60X 30 or 60X32 shower base to replace an old tub with a walk-in shower.
    1/ Dreamline white acrylic $255.00
    2/ Swanstone White fiberglass $205.00
    3/ Sterling white Vikrill $180.00

    The difference in the cost is not significant but I would like the best product of the 3, is price an indicator or is the Sterling Vikril as good a product?

    Any comments appreciated.
    Thanks Don
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    I prefer a tiled shower, and wouldn't use any of those. For a tub replacement, www.schluter.com makes two different tileable pans for use with their Kerdi shower system. One has the drain centered, and the other has the drain at one end. Note, all showers require a 2" drain in the USA, so you'll need to redo the drain up until it is at least 2", so you could either leave it about where it is or move it. Schluter has some videos on their site showing how one of these goes together. For tiling help, check out www.johnbridge.com.

    I would not use fiberglass and, if not specifically precluded from using it, I'd make sure to set the shower pan in mortar to give it full support. If you use the Kerdi pan, you use thinset to anchor it to the floor.
  3. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Price and marketing propaganda have nothing to do with a product's quality, especially in the plumbing world. The acrylic tub I recommend is 2/3 the price of some of the high end designer models, and it is 10x a better product!

    You should make sure the base can be set in to a mortar mix (ie doesn't have some crazy support scheme), and that it has an anti-skid surface, and that the design looks good to you. A double tiling flange is also nice, but if you intend to use a shower door, you have to do extra work and planning to get the walls nice and flush so that the shower door frame installs nicely.

    Unfortunately, you won't really be able to tell the actually quality of the unit until you can see it in person...some units are pretty thin in areas, and you can actually see light through those spots...scary that the factory would pass those through.

    But if you use a proper mortar bed, your fiberglass tub/shower will be rock solid!
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    The gel coat is a lot thinner on a fiberglass pan verses a typical acrylic one, and, I think softer. Another reason I don't like fiberglass. It should last if it is fully supported, but soon starts to look crappy if it isn't when the stress cracks start.
  5. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    I recently put in a $1000 fiberglass tub, and you could see the total unevenness of the casting. But luckily the thinner spot was in a safe area. Actually that tub was a total PIA to install, I allowed myself extra room when I reframed the tub walls, and I still had to shave down the tub and the studs...a few choice words were spoken that afteroon!

    Tiled shower bases are definitely nice if they are done properly with good looking tile, but for some reason I prefer the look of a nice fiberglass base with a nice wall tile pattern and glass shower doors...I guess it looks more modern to me.
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