How To Build a Shower Pan?

A durable, waterproof shower pan or floor is important to the entire operation of the shower, but a shower pan is more than simply build a functional item.

It has to do with how it seems and feels underfoot.

You can build the ideal shower floor that is gorgeous and watertight by making a bespoke DIY shower pan from tile in a mortar bed.

In an enclosed shower, there isn’t anything you can use as a substitute for a shower pan.

The only situation in which you won’t need a pan is if your wet room is completely tiled but doesn’t have a shower enclosure.

If you’re building a DIY shower pan on a concrete slab, you’ll need to consider a riser kit.

These instructions are predicated on the idea that you’ll be installing a shower pan on plywood subflooring.

How to Make a DIY Shower Pan?

1. Block Among the Studs:

Block Among the Studs

Two-by-six lumber should be cut to fit between the shower stall’s studs.

Use one-by-six lumber or a router to make a groove to accommodate impediments like pipes where they are present.

By blocking the shower, you may run the waterproofing material up the walls to make a DIY shower pan liner.

2. Shut Off the Drain:

Shut Off the Drain

To prevent mortar and other debris from clogging the shower drain, cover it with tape and plastic.

3. Place the Tar Paper:

Place the Tar Paper

If water ever leaks underneath your shower pan, tar paper will preserve your subfloor.

Your shower pan’s floor should be covered with a thick piece of tar paper, which should be spread out as flatly as possible.

Every 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm), hammer a nail into the floor to keep the tar paper in place.

Discover the drain flange in your floor by feeling through the tar paper.

Once you locate it, use a utility knife to cut through the tar paper by moving down the drain’s edge.

If you remove too much tar paper, water might be able to seep into your subfloor, so try to stay as close to the drain’s border.

Peel back the tar paper from the shower floor.

Use roofing nails or staples to secure it.

To prevent mortar from getting inside, tape the drain opening shut.

 Use duct tape scraps to close the drain opening by ripping them off.

Overlap your pieces of tape by 1 inch if you want to completely cover it (2.5 cm).

After using the tape to cover the drain, you may begin applying mortar to build your shower pan.

4. Mortar mixture:

Mortar mixture

Using a hoe, mix mortar inside a mixing tray.

A bag of quick-set mortar should be poured into a sizable mixing tray and uniformly spread out.

Using a garden hoe, combine the mortar while adding a little water at a time.

Use 1 part water to every 4-part mortar mixture to reach the proper consistency.

The mortar should be rolled into a ball and mixed with your hands.

If water leaks out, add more mortar mixture until the ball maintains its shape.

5. Apply Mortar to the Borders:

Apply Mortar to the Borders

Put on your waterproof gloves and spread the prepared mortar onto the shower floor.

Spread the mortar over the base by hand, then with the trowel, increasing the thickness at the edges.

The mortar should be spread out and smoothed so that it slopes toward the drain flange.

When your shower’s edge has a border, begin smearing the mortar in a downward motion toward the drain’s bottom flange.

To avoid disturbing any of the mortar you’ve already worked on, start from the corner that is furthest from the curb and work your way back.

The mortar should be sloped so that it falls 14 inches (0.64 cm) for every 30 cm between the wall and the drain.

6. Reduce the Mortar:

Reduce the Mortar: How To Build a Shower Pan

Taper the mortar down toward the shower drain with the flat trowel.

The tapered slope can be continuously checked using the scrap piece of two by four and a level.

The two-by-four can also be used as a screed to level the mortar.

Allow this cement bed to dry for at least 24 hours.

When the cement has dry for at least 24 hours, take the tape off.

After you’ve smoothed out the mortar, leave it alone for the evening so that it can set.

You can’t work on the mortar again for around 24 hours after it has set.

Once the mortar is dry, you can take off the tape covering the drain by peeling it off or cutting through it.

7. Put some silicone in the drain:

Put some silicone in the drain: How To Build a Shower Pan

Unscrew or unbolt the top portion of the shower drain to remove it.

Apply a thin silicone bead around the drain’s edge.

Apply a bead of silicone all around the bottom drain flange to halt leaks.

To make it simple to apply the silicone sealant to build a shower pan, put it in a silicone gun.

Apply a little bead of silicone by following the outer edge of the drain’s bottom flange and pulling the trigger.

In addition to keeping the liner in place, the silicone also keeps water from seeping underneath it.

8. Include the shower water-resistant material:

Include the shower water-resistant material

Place the waterproofing material in the shower and extend it five inches up each wall from the floor.

On the shower drain, firmly press the substance into the silicone.

Do not cut the corner material, fold the corners into position.

The waterproof material’s top should be nailed to the studs to prevent it from falling.

9. Replace the Shower Drain Top Cap:

Replace the Shower Drain Top Cap: How To Build a Shower Pan

Make slits with the utility knife so the four bolts on the shower drain may stick up.

Install the top cap and firmly screw or bolt it in place.

Create the drain hole for the shower.

10. Cement Boards Lower Section:

 Cement Boards Lower Section

The remaining cement boards can now be affixed down to the mortar bed’s level.

11. Add a Reference Line to the Walls:

While the remaining shower drain is still temporarily in place, mark a line with a pencil or piece of chalk along the perimeter of the walls to use as a reference line for the top of the tile.

Utilizing the leftover two-by-four, determine the slope from the walls to the shower drain.

12. Place the top mortar layer on top:

Place the top mortar layer on top

Mix the mortar in the mixing tray, then pour it into the shower floor in a pattern similar to the bottom mortar layer you made before.

Create a tall border around the exterior of the shower, stopping about 1/4 inch below the tile’s edge.

Taper the mortar down to the shower drain using the trowel.

13. Set up the Tile:

Set up the Tile

Using the notched trowel, spread the thin set-out, then push the tile into the thin set.

To keep the right gap between tiles, use tile spacers.

Let the tile dry completely.

Utilizing the rubber tile float, evenly distribute grout across the tile’s surface.

14. Grout the tiles:

Grout the tiles

Tiles should be grouted so they are flush with the drain.

In the container, it was shipped in a sizable bucket, combining the grout.

A flat trowel or rubber squeegee can be used to spread part of the grout across the tiles.

Work the grout into the crevices between the tiles to prevent water seepage and to create a smooth surface.

Following application, give the grout at least an hour to dry.

Essentials of Tiled Shower Pans:

Shower pans, floors, and receptors are names for shower basins.

Installing a prefabricated polyurethane or fibreglass pan is one common method to build a shower pan.

The conventional method of making a shower pan with tile on a mortar base allows for the most inventiveness, even though pre-fabricated pans are a tremendous convenience for do-it-yourself.

To construct a shower or pan with numerous layers, you will require a variety of materials.

 Layers maintain the waterproofing of the surrounding materials while sloping toward the drain.

Tar Paper and Pre-slope:

The basic tapering slope for the shower pan is created by the shower pan slope, which is a mortar base.

A second mortar bed is eventually used to smooth out this slope. On tar paper, the pre-slope is placed.

Waterproof Liner:

The liner is a membrane made of PVC or another type of polymer that sits on top of the slope.

The subfloor’s final line of defence against water is this liner.

Highest Slope:

A second bed of mortar, which sits on top of the waterproof membrane and generally follows the pre-slope’s contours, is present.


The tile is used to cover the floor of the top shower pan.

It is installed in a thin bed of a thin set of mortar.

The tile seams are afterwards covered with grout.

Shower ledge:

The shower walls encircle three of the shower pan’s sides.

The curb is the user’s open entrance into the shower.

The curb is situated two to six inches above the shower drain’s level.

FAQ- How to Build a Shower Pan?

Q1. What differentiates a shower pan from a shower base?

The term “shower base” most frequently refers to the structure that sits beneath the shower floor and it is typically formed of cement or mortar.

This structure helps direct water into the drain and safeguards the shower alcove that is immediately around it.

A shower pan is a name given to the acrylic or composite supplement that is installed on top of the substructure.

Q2. What is the price of a shower pan?

Standard shower sizes are 32 by 32 or 36 by 36 inches.

For these sizes, square shower pans typically range in price from $150 to $250 or $150 to $600.

The price increases from $200 to $700 if the bathroom is 48 by 48 and has a shower-tub combination.

Q3. How to build a shower pan on a plywood floor?

The installation of a shower base on a wooden floor differs slightly from that of one on concrete.

Instead of covering the hardwood subfloor with mortar, take the following actions:

Cut a hole in the flooring with a tracer.

Install the drain and waste pipe.

Install the shower base on the subfloor.

Silicone is used to seal the edges.


While you may purchase a shower pan that has already been build that allows you to alter its size and shape to suit your needs.

Spread and smooth the mortar so it leads to your drain after you’ve framed out your shower pan.

Add a waterproofing liner and an additional layer of mortar once the first layer has dried so that you can install tiles.

Hello and welcome to House Modify! I am Rahul and I am passionate about everything related to design, decoration and renovation. I am a serial renovator, currently working as a civil engineer. Take a look around, leave a comment and don't forget to subscribe to my emails so you don't miss out!

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