DIY – Build your own shower pan

If you are serious do it yourselfer, you may prefer to build a shower pan yourself, as opposed to purchasing a kit.  Below you will find step-by-step instructions to help you.

Materials You Will Need:

  • Exterior Grade Plywood
  • 2 Piece Drain
  • Membrane Liner
  • Cement
  • PVC Cement
  • 2×4 Wood Planks
  • Large Head Nails
  • Utility Knife
  • Tile
  • Grout
  • Sealant

Before you begin building your shower pan

Make sure the floor you are building a shower on can support the weight.  Concrete is quite heavy, and you may need to reinforce the floor with exterior grade plywood.  If you are unsure, reinforce the floor to be certain it can bear the weight.  Check building codes to make sure your liner is thick enough and your shower pan deep enough to pass inspection.
After making sure your floor is ready and you know all of the local building code standards you must meet, you will need to prepare the shower drain.  You will need a two-piece drain.  One piece will sit flush with the floor and connect with the drainage pipes under the floor.  The other piece will fit on top of the liner and cement.

Shower Pan Drain Installation

Install the drain using PVC cement or PVD connectors to connect the drain to the pipes under the floor.  If you are performing this step yourself, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  If you are not confident in your abilities as a plumber, call a professional to complete this step for you.

Get your wood cut to size

Use 2×4 planks to build a frame on the shower floor to hold the concrete.  Spread the rubber membrane liner over the frame.  Make sure the edges overlap by at least 10 inches.  There must be enough material on all sides to connect to the wall at the proper height, per your local building code standards.

Make sure your space is waterproof – Use a rubber membrane

Pull the membrane snug over the frame, making sure it is flat against the edge.  Then attach to the walls using large head nails.  Make sure you attach to stud points that are at least 8 inches apart.

Cut a hole in the membrane over the drain using a utility knife.  The membrane will direct any leaks in the concrete down the drain.

Complete the drain connection

Attach the second part of the drain using the hardware included by the manufacturer.  Leave 1¼ inches of room between the bottom of the drain and the floor for the concrete.  Then cover the drain with duct tape to protect it.

Create the flooring area with Concrete

Mix concrete following the manufacturer’s instructions.  Spread evenly with a trowel.  The concrete should slope at least ¼ inch for each foot.

Finally, remove the duct tape and clean the concrete from the drain.  Let cure for 2-3 days before you begin tiling.

Are you ready to start this project?

Before you begin this project, make sure you understand all steps and your local building codes.  If at any time you are unsure, contact a professional to help you.  It is better to spend the money on professional assistance than it is to need to tear out all of your hard work and start over again. The other option is buying a prefabricated unit.

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