What's your favorite shower pan material?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by jch, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. jch

    jch New Member

    As mentioned in another post, I'm replacing a clawfoot tub with a shower, 36"W x 50"L with 12" neo-angle on one end.

    Our designer keeps pushing us towards getting a custom shower base made (either acrylic or some solid material that I can't recollect).

    I was under the impression that a tiled pan (mud or schluter foam) would give a longer-lasting finish. (I'm hoping for 20+ years)

    Based on old shower installations that you've seen (and how they wear), what would be your first and second choice for shower pan material??

    All opinions welcome.

    Thanks!
    .../john
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    Tiled. And, I'd use a surface membrane like Kerdi on it. This way, there is so much less that can get wet. For a neoangle shower, you probably wouldn't want to use their foam pan, make it out of mud. While you can cut the foam pan to shape, you need to cut it evenly so the outside edge stays at the same thickness or your bottom row of tile won't be aligned. Functionally, it doesn't matter, but you may not like the look. But, at 1/4" per foot, it often isn't much. A mud pan will compensate for an uneven floor - with any preformed pan, you must make sure the floor is leveled before you install it or nothing will line up or drain properly. Have you checked out www.johnbridge.com?
  3. jch

    jch New Member

    Definitely, that was the plan if I went the tile route. I've been reading up on the Schluter system, and have the John Bridge Tile Your World book and Kerdi e-book.

    Good point. My hesitation is that this designer is super-insistent that a pre-made custom pan (fake marble? or acrylic) would be way easier and that "all her tile guys use them and have never had a problem" (sound familiar?)

    Personally, I prefer the feel of a solid shower pan on my feet but just envision it looking beat up after only a few years.

    To me (never having done it myself) tile *seems* like a better choice, performance-wise, but I wanted to check with people who had actually been called in to replace old showers and had seen first-hand how pre-made pans had held up.

    Yah, love that site.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    The acrylic pans will end up dull eventually. It may take a long time, depends on use. All it takes is one trip back from the beach where you end up with a lot of sand and you could start to scratch the surface.

    The biggest issue to me and probably the designer who isn't up on the newer methods with a tiled shower pan is that the tile is not waterproof. Some moisture will get beneath the tile. If that pan is constructed with conventional deck mud, that gets damp. Assuming it is built right, that moisture will migrate to the weep holes and drain, eventually drying out if not used regularly. On a shower that is used frequently, it may stay damp. This can lead to mold growth unless you religiously clean soap scum and crud up in the shower. With a surface membrane like Kerdi, the whole structure is waterproof - walls, floor, curb. And, when properly installed, no moisture ever gets underneath into the mudbed or walls. This is why you can use regular drywall (the preferred method with Kerdi) on the walls and curb - the membrane completely seals any moisture out from them. Because the thinset is by design thin, there's no place for moisture to accumulate and the whole shower dries out faster.

    I've used both the Schluter foam tray and a mudbed. The mudbed 'feels' different than the foam pan. I think I'd prefer the foam pan if the floor was a concrete slab, but over wood, it's a tossup. Once tiled, the foam is very stable and provides some insulation from the floor (that's why I think I prefer it over a slab - it ends up not being as cold and warms up almost instantly when you turn the hot water on). The foam curb looks like it would be wimpy, but once it is thinsetted into place, you'd need a sledge to get it out of there. Their curb is fairly wide, and a stack of 2x4's with drywall over them gives more flexibility on height and shape, but either works fine.
  5. jch

    jch New Member

    That's what I was thinking. Didn't know whether the "fake-stone" ones were any better...?

    That was exactly her argument. Told her I'd use Schulter/Kerdi if using tile and she said she'd never heard of it.

    Wow, the "cold feet when getting into the shower syndrome" had never occurred to me. :)

    Any experience with the durability of the non-acrylic / non-fibreglas pre-formed shower pans??
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,711
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  7. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,711
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  8. jch

    jch New Member

    Cool.

    Does the "lid" come off so you can clean hair balls out of it??
  9. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    588
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    I think the best shower pan is a cast iron bathtub.
  10. jch

    jch New Member

    I agree, space permitting. Cast iron feels great on the feet and is easy to clean. When I re-do the shower in the other bathroom, I'll replace the existing built-in cast iron bathtub with a new one (Kohler Villager).

    But the bathroom I'm (still) working on doesn't have enough room for a full built-in tub. Hence the custom neo-angle shower. Finally finished re-plumbing *all* the drains in the house, installing a drainwater heat recovery unit, and about to start replacing all the supply piping.

    Once that's all done, *then* I can start building this shower....
  11. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,711
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  12. jch

    jch New Member

  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,048
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    My "favorite" shower pan material is whatever the tile installers want to use. I do NOT install them, so I don't have to worry about them getting punctured, or otherwise damaged during the construction. Unless, I am installing a preformed shower base, that is.
Similar Threads: What's favorite
Forum Title Date
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog What's better to bathe in Cabernet or Beaujolais? Oct 30, 2014
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog What's a good tub? Feb 12, 2014
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Marble, granite, travertine, porcelain? What's best? Jan 13, 2014
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Two tubs: what's the difference?? Oct 30, 2013
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog What's the secret sauce on manuerving a Drop in Cast Iron Tub May 11, 2013

Share This Page