Stainless Steel Shower Base Installation

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by k2014, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. k2014

    k2014 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    WA
    Here are my plans to install a stainless steel shower base. The thing has almost no pitch/slope and is just plain sheet metal, so I'm a little worried.

    Anyway:

    1. Staple plastic sheet to subfloor.

    2. Trowel down thinset with a notched trowel, thicker at perimeter.

    3. Set in base and try to level it, put weights around the drain assembly, and let it cure.

    Thoughts? Advice?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,332
    Location:
    New England
    Sounds like a recipe for disaster! The slope can be measured, and check it. PLastic underneath will break any bond you might get with thinset, plus thinset doesn't stick all that much to SS, and you'll end up with 'oil-canning' if you don't have full support underneath if it is that flexible. That can be really stressful on the drain plumbing. Do you have a link to the product?
  3. k2014

    k2014 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    WA
    http://www.frigodesign.com/custom-bathrooms/custom-showers/stainless-steel-shower-base.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH0QrlqkUSc

    [video=youtube;VH0QrlqkUSc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH0QrlqkUSc[/video]

    So no plastic? What filler/adhesive would you suggest? The stainless steel is .060" thick. Thanks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2014
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,332
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    New England
    Without seeing the bottom of the thing, it's all speculation. It has creases in the bottom to direct and channel the water so it should drain okay IF the floor is level or you make it level beforehand. I'd call them and get their installation instructions and see what they call for underneath. See what some others may think, plus, you might want to check at www.johnbridge.com and see if anyone there has dealt with one.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    What are your plans for the floor. If you are setting tile, you might consider in-floor heating. That shower pan is going to feel awfully cold without it.
  6. asktom

    asktom Member

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    Location:
    Victor, MT
    Hope that stainless isn't slippery.

    It is possible you are trying to re-invent the wheel.

    Sorry if I sound negative, but it sounds a bit iffy.
  7. k2014

    k2014 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    WA
    The floor of the shower IS stainless steel. It's a shower base, not a tile pan. No more leaky, mildewy, cracked, tile/grout for me ever again!
  8. k2014

    k2014 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    WA
    No more slippery than a bathtub, maybe less. It's a matte finish.
  9. k2014

    k2014 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    WA
    I'm thinking that if I was able to magically wood shim every square inch of it, I'd be fine with that. I'm not sure of the benefit of making sure that there is adhesion between the base and the floor. I think I just need a gap-filler or moldable shim.

    So the plastic film to protect the floor from thinset moisture doesn't seem to hurt. Nor would the possible lack of adhesion between stainless and thinset be a problem as far as I can tell. Having it out laying around right now, it seems to be shape-stable.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,332
    Location:
    New England
    A properly built tiled shower pan is rock solid...seems you've not owned one built properly. It isn't really all that hard, but it is very detail oriented to get it done right...miss one point, and it either may leak or fall apart. If maintenance is your main issue, combine the tile with an epoxy grout, and that issue goes away. For the cost of that pan, you could easily go that route and put some money in your pocket.

    Thinset is not designed to be installed over about 3/16-1/4" thick, and that may not be enough. A medium bed mortar has more depth stability and may be a better choice, if you decide to go that route. Thinset over ply will not damage the subfloor. Now, if it were perpetually wet, that's another thing, but it should never get wet again in a properly built shower, and then, it doesn't get all that wet in the first place. There is an approved method of installing tile directly on plywood, and that uses thinset. That is not an issue, but neither thinset nor a medium bed mortar is really designed for what you're talking about doing. I might chance it with the medium bed mortar. You never indicated what the manufacturer suggests for setting their pan.
  11. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I was referring to the floor in the room. Unless I were building over a concrete floor, I prefer the flooring underlayment running under the shower pan. Heating the shower pan along with the floor would be a nice option.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,272
    Location:
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    quote; 1. Staple plastic sheet to subfloor.

    You are even starting off wrong.
    1. The "safety pan" is to catch any leakage between the floor and walls, so it MUST be water tight, and TESTED to be sure it is.
    2. Every ONE of those staples is a leak so it would not "hold water'.
    3. How are you going to "slip proof" a smooth, slick stainless steel floor?
    4. The drain needs a "recess" so it sits flush with the floor, NOT above it where it will create a dam and trap water in the base.
    5. Unless the floor has a "built in" slope, nothing is going to create one that will last.
    6. You do NOT create the "sub base" with thinset and a "notched trowel".
    7. .06" is about 1/16" and do you really think you are going to "flex" that to make a "sloped" floor?
    8. Do not make the shower too expensive, because you will be redoing it sometime, maybe soon, in the future.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  13. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    224
    Location:
    Ontario
    Does this pan need more than just a mortar bed to support it, like you would put under a bathtub?
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,332
    Location:
    New England
    The product's website does not provide any manual or help on install...it sounds like the OP has it in hand, and one would hope it came with some installation instructions. The shape of the thing would seem to require a perfectly level floor and full support, since the only path for drainage seems to be some shallow creases in the pan. Unless the thing comes with something on the bottom to help keep the shape, it would seem it would require some solid support.

    But, this is all speculation. Mortar may be enough. It may not. Without some more info, it's all just a guess.

    Personally, I don't think it would be my first (or second) choice, but everyone's different.
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