How to Install a Pre-Formed Shower Base / Pan

Pre-formed fiberglass shower bases make the job of installing a shower alot easier. This article teaches you how to install a shower base or shower pan in 6 easy steps. The article assumes that you have already framed the walls to the size of the base and that the drain is plumbed.

brief how to

In this article, you will find information about:

  1. Verify That The Plumbing Is Installed Correctly
  2. Connecting the drain to the shower base
  3. Making sure the sub floor is level and the shower base will sit level
  4. Level the floor, when necessary
  5. Attach the shower base to the wall studs
  6. Setting the shower base making sure it attaches properly to the drain pipe

tools and materials

  • Adjustable pliers
  • 4' level
  • Hacksaw, to cut the drain pipe
  • Smooth mortar, sand only no rocks. Or other fast setting compound, laytex modified compounds are more sticky and stronger.

step 1 Verify That The Plumbing Is Installed Correctly

If you have not already done so you need to make sure that the plumbing drain coming up thru the floor is centered properly on the new shower pan. If you are remodeling a bathroom and have removed a bathtub to install the new shower then you will need to move the existing drain line to the center of the new shower. In most cases you will cut the drain pipe off at the same height as the top of the floor sheeting but you should have the drain in hand and double check all connections before cutting off the end of the drain pipe.

step 2 Connecting the drain to the shower base

Attach the drain fitting to the shower base BEFORE you set the shower base. Each brand of drain fitting will be slightly different but they all clamp to the shower base and then the shower base and drain fitting drop down over the drain pipe. Make sure the locknut is securely tightened onto the shower base, clamping the drain fitting onto the shower base so that it will remain waterproof.

step 3 Making Sure the Sub Floor is Level and the Shower Base Will Sit Level

Use the 4' level to make sure that the floor area is level. Put the level on the floor in several different directions to check the floor for flatness and levelness. Also, you should test install the shower base by putting it in its new spot and standing on it to see if there are areas that it rocks or deflects which indicates that the floor is not level or that the shower base is not perfecly flat. Either way, if you have an unlevel situation you will want to level the floor.

step 4 Level The Floor, When Necessary

Use smooth mortar to level the floor. Spread the mortar to the depth you think it needs to stop any rocking plus a little more to be sure, take note of the support structure on the bottom of the shower base / pan and make sure the mortar is in this area. After installing the mortar you will immediately install the shower base. Put the shower base on just like you did in the tests you did in step 3. Press it down being careful to push it to the proper height and level it without squeezing out so much mortar that it will rock when you take your weight off.

After getting it level it must sit long enough to allow the mortar to set and form a solid base under the shower pan.

step 5 Attach the shower base to the wall studs

Attaching the shower pan to the wall studs before the mortar sets is important to keep it in place while the mortar sets. Put a screw thru the edge flange into each stud along the edge of the edge flange. if the studs are too far away and the shower base edge flange becomes deformed because the screw pulls then you should place a shim between the edge flange and the stud and screw thru the flange and shim into the stud.

tip: The shower pan should have a little lip on it that goes up the wall. This is intended to go behind the cement backer board on the wall to further insure that any water that gets behind the tile will run down the cement board back into the shower pan. If your wall studs are not snug up against the edge flange then you should furr them out with strips of wood. If furring them out will mess up your tile work then you should at the very least have the wall tile run down over the edge flange.

step 6 Making sure the shower base attaches properly to the drain pipe

If you did not have to level the shower base then you will simply set the shower base on the wood or concrete floor and attach the drain pipe. The drain fitting should slide down over the drain pipe and then the drain fitting will clamp to the drain pipe. Check with the instructions for your specific drain fitting to clamp your drain fitting to the drain pipe.

The next step after the framing, plumbing and pre formed shower base are installed is to install the cement backer board and prepare for tile, cultured marble or fiberglass wall panels. Whatever you choice of wall covering you should install cement backer board as the backing first.

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