DIY Shower Pan Installation

5 Crucial Techniques You Should Know

By: Glenn Whitehead

Are you considering DIY shower pan installation? Looking to install or renovate your tile shower, but working on a budget? Installing your own pan can save you several hundred dollars and is a project that can be done; if you've got the right knowledge and you don't mind a little hard work. There are several phases of the project that must come together to make the finished product and they all involve a considerable amount of planning and hard work. The most important part installing a tile shower is the one that no one will ever see; installing the pan. If done properly; you'll never think twice about it once it's completed. However, if the pan is not properly installed, it will, most likely, be the source of endless frustration, damage to your home, and expensive repair costs. The follow is a list of important things you should know before attempting this job that could save you many headaches and much money later on.

  • Always Install A New Liner-If you're repairing or remodeling an existingshower; there may be the temptation to leave the old liner and replace only the tile. Don't do it. The small amount of time and money you save are not worth the risk of possible problems that could occur as a result of re-using a faulty or damaged pan
  • Secure the Plumbing-Before starting a DIY shower pan installation; be sure the drain line and pee trap are firmly secured beneath the sub floor. There should be no movement from side to side or up and down. Otherwise there is the possibility of damage to the plumbing or the pan from stepping on the drain during showering. You can use wood blocking and pipe clamps or strap to secure the pipes against movement.
  • Support the Pan With Blocking-Wood blocking such as 2x8 or 2x10 should be installed between the wall studs around the bottom perimeter of the shower to support the pan and prevent it from dropping into the wall cavity.
  • Check the Curb Height-The curb at the shower door should be at a height at least a couple of inches above the finished drain height and the pan should overlap the curb. This will prevent water from escaping from the shower in the event of a clog. If needed, the curb height can be raised by adding 2x4's.
  • Inspect the Liner for Damage-Prior to spreading the upper mud bed over the vinyl; be sure to inspect the liner for holes or cuts that may have occured during the installation. As a precaution; plug or cap the drain line and fill the pan with water. The mark the water level and leave it overnight. If the level drops, there is a problem that needs to be corrected before proceeding.
Following the basic steps will help insure a successful and trouble free installation. If you're considering a DIY shower pan installation; I highly recommend a great set of "how to" videos from professional tile setter Randy Davis. The set is called Tile A Shower and it includes detailed instructions for attaching the pan to the drain, properly folding the corners, and spreading the mud bed; as well as additional videos on grouting and installing floor and wall tile. The last time I checked the price was $27 and they offer a money back guaranty if you're not satisfied. For more information

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