Building a basement shower from scratch

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by L7tech, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. L7tech

    L7tech New Member

    Oct 24, 2014
    I'm a DIY builder by necessity. The plan was to fix up my old (1928) basement but had to spend a large part of the budget on structural (replace lintel) and outside (fix sinkhole) work.

    Upon removing the old floor, I found dirt, no concrete slab.
    The plumbing is now done and I'll have contractor pour concrete.

    What I’m trying to figure out is how to build the bathroom / shower on the concrete.

    The rest of the basement will have linoleum or vinyl planks on plywood.
    What is the best way to build a bathroom / shower from the ground up?
    Is there anything I have to make sure the contractor does while pouring concrete?
    When making suggestions please bear in mind that while cost is important, ease of installation and long lasting result is even more important.
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple BATHROOM DESIGN & BUILD

    Jul 20, 2009
    Design Work
    North Vancouver, BC
    The best way is to build it custom and avoid any and all KITS. Ban Foam in your bathroom and do not allow it as a shower floor or wall material.

    There is so much info you requested just now. What is the best way to replace your motor in a BMW? What is the best way to remove a tooth? You would have better luck asking the questions in smaller steps.

    Should my builder do any prep work prior to placing the new concrete floor? Like 6 mil poly. Rigid insulation.

    IS a bond breaker required for my slab pour? Can I use tuck tape here or sill gasket.

    What kind of recess should I leave for a barrier free shower?

    You need to get the scope of work and plan from your builder. Then post that info for use.

    If you expect someone to take a day or two typing out every answer you will be waiting a long time.
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

  4. ShowerDude

    ShowerDude Showers

    Apr 7, 2014
    before you have a slab poured, consider youre code compliance in regards to headroom in your basement.

    the first step may be a recessed bed slab for the shower pan ( verify with your plumber if your drain line / trap allows for the drop ) i usually push for a 4-6 inch recess in basement showers with low headroom.......

    i would slow down, do some math and prepare before going fwd.

    show us some pics if you can...
  5. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Feb 16, 2013
    master tile and stone installer
    What John and RSCB said ^^^^^^^
  6. L7tech

    L7tech New Member

    Oct 24, 2014
    Thank you for the quick reply.
    I did not expect a full project plan, was just describing the situation. Will post more specific questions as they arise.

    Let’s start with the concrete. My concrete guy is great but I like to know what I am talking about before discussing with him.
    He already mentioned the 6mil poly under the concrete but not the rigid insulation, so I’ve already have something new to ask him about.

    The headroom between the ceiling and the floor will be exactly the required 7ft. So making the shower recessed would be great. But if the thickness of the concrete is 4in total how do we recess 4 inches in it? Digg that much deeper for the shower area?

    Would the tiles go directly on top of the concrete or there are additional layers involved?

    Should the concrete be pre-pitched or that will be done in the next layer?

    I’ve seen how the pitching is done using QuickPitch, but for someone with zero mud experience, the pre-sloped shower pans look very attractive (Hydro-ban, KBRS etc).

    P1040416.jpg P1040438.jpg P1040439.jpg floorplan.jpg
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    To pass code, and to be built with one of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) guidelines approved methods, you cannot just put tile on the sloped concrete - it needs to have a waterproof liner. The TCNA lists numerous ways to build a successful shower.

    Keep in mind, unless you can have them build the shower pan area recessed from the main slab, it will need some thickness in it to provide the slope. And, should you desire to have this built as a barrier free shower, you'd not want any buildup at all. I would not trust the guys pouring your concrete to be able to slope and grade concrete properly for a shower to work, so it should be flat, then later, you'd build your sloped pan on top of the new slab. If the size of one of the shower kits meets your needs, should you go with a preformed foam pan, it acts like a thermal break, and in a basement, is MUCH more comfortable when you step in. A concrete based pan is less expensive in materials, but not in labor, nor will it have the insulation factor. A mudbed is superior since it can be made in any shape and correct for minor imperfections in the floor, and accommodate a drain that isn't perfectly centered. But, how you build the pan would depend. FWIW, the thousands of showers at the University of Syracuse as they remodel and fix old leaking ones are going in as Schluter Kerdi ones. Those that have been in awhile have been totally trouble free, and college students are not known to be careful with anything!

    Depending on the size of the shower, unless it is recessed, keep in mind that the slope needs to be 1/4" per foot from the outside of the shower to the drain. And, the shower pan needs some thickness to be able to hold itself together. How thick would depend on the materials used and the shower construction method chosen. Depending on whose products you use, and the shower pan size, you could lose nearly 4" of height if the rest of the room is at 7'.

    One of the things to watch carefully on a concrete pour is that they keep your vertical plumbing risers truly plumb. It's a major pain to have your toilet drain pipe or shower drain either not in the right location or not plumb. The toilet flange and shower drains are wider (sometimes LOTS wider) than the pipe riser, and this can cause the flange on the thing to stick way up on one edge when it's not plumb, and that can wreck havoc with installation. It's nearly impossible to get this right without tearing a hole in the new concrete and fixing it after - MUCH better to get it right during the pour - it's really easy for the pipes to shift when they pour and work the concrete.
Similar Threads: Building basement
Forum Title Date
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Pro and con of building a shower cubic in basement Aug 6, 2007
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Building a showerpan Nov 12, 2017
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Building a tile shower help Jul 5, 2017
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Need a little advice, building shower pan Mar 3, 2016
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Rebuilding Price Phister Avante Single Shower Hot/Cold Valve Nov 26, 2015

Share This Page