Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is your shower pan leak proof? 5 popular pan methods

Ask your contractor the method they use. There are several shower pan methods and you want to ensure yours will last and never leak. Each method can have a different look so to better understand the vocabulary of shower pans I have listed some descriptions below. Each pan has a critical criteria to provide proper drainage and prevent future leaking. An experienced licensed professional is recommend for each application.

  1. Mud set shower pan- This pan is very common and uses a rubber liner over a sloped mortar bed directing moisture to the drain. This is used in many cases where a prefabricated pan will not fit because of the custom size shower. This method gets finished with a tile of choice for a custom looking shower.

  1. Wedi systems or Schluter Systems- These systems are presloped water proof rigid panels that can be cut to fit any shower size. Material tends to cost more but labor can be less since it is a quicker and a simpler process. These are becoming popular because of the versatility with linear drain styles and curbless options for wheelchair access and modern design. This method also gets finished with a tile of choice and has prefabricated panels that accept custom drains for that contemporary look. 

  1. Tile ready pan- Simple, quick, and durable. Designed to be waterproof and mold resistant they are however limited to certain sizes.  Plan accordingly and check that the sizes will work for you. I recommend purchasing these pans and having them on site before framing the shower. These pans have a built in curb and splash around the edges for a leak proof system. They are provided with an epoxy to set the tile for ensuring a good bond to the acrylic surface.

  1. Fiberglass or Acrylic- This method is good if you are looking for a less expensive solution since it is a prefabricated pan that does not accept tile. That is right, this is the least expensive route and works great if you are not looking to put tile on the floor of your shower. You can however still tile the walls with the proper preparation and get that tile shower you are looking for.

  1. Corian-  A certified Corian fabricator can custom build a pan and walls out of Corian if you prefer to have a shower with no grout and still a choice of several colors. While this method seems maintenance free the pan tends to be slick. I suggest adding a decorative mat to prevent any slipping.

After the pan is complete the walls must be prepared with mold resistant board (concrete board, Hardie Backer, or other approved board for showers) and sealed properly. Tile in wet locations should never be installed over Sheetrock. The moisture will breakdown the Sheetrock and build up mold and possible rot inside the wall.

Tags: Tile installer, Portland bathroom remodel, shower repair