Shower Pans: What You Need to Know

shower pan

If you are building a house or building and have a choice, a shower pan is almost always the best option. The same goes for repairing a shower. It is usually advisable to install a shower pan rather than replacing mortar and tiles.

With that said, you may be wondering what exactly is a shower pan, why you need one, and how to choose a shower pan. We’ll address each of these questions in this article.

What is a Shower Pan?

A shower pan is a pre-fabricated structure that is part that is used as the floor of a shower stall or area. Shower pans have walls or raised edges that allow them to capture water, thus the term “pan.” The shower pan floor is usually slopped towards an opening that is to sit above the shower drain opening.

Not all showers have shower pans. Some just have a shower base. The shower pan is different from a shower base. A shower base is the flooring or tile or mortar that does not have a shower pan. The shower base may be made of mortar, tile, or other materials, but the concept is similar to that of a shower pan. The shower base is used to isolate and collect water from the shower and direct it to the shower drain.

Why Shower Pans?

Shower pans are used as they are easier to install and maintain. You don’t even need a substructure underneath most shower pans.

Shower pans also require less repairs and they have the added benefit of being easier to clean. Compare this to tile shower bases that wear out over time and are difficult to keep clean.

The trade off is often aesthetics. Shower pans do not have a custom look to them as tile flooring can.

Choosing a Shower Pan

There are quite a few choices when it comes to shower pans. While style and aesthetic features matter, you should focus on durability as a long lasting shower pan can help prevent water damage and plumbing problems. In short, a durable shower pan can save you money and time in terms of future repairs.

We recommend shower pans made of composite materials. These are made up of acrylic and fiberglass. They are generally stronger, more flexible, and longer lasting than shower pans made of other materials.

If you are wondering, you can just get an acrylic or fiberglass shower pan as well. Acrylic shower pans are made of Plexiglas that is heated and molded into the shape of the shower pan.

Fiberglass is a polyester resin that is woven with glass fibers and shaped with a mold. Fiberglass shower pans are usually the least durable option available.