Shower floor: tile or cast iron pan?

seaswirlFebruary 20, 2013

We're putting our Hurricane Sandy wrecked home back together. The MB has a terrazzo shower pan which is a mess (40 years old and the wrong color). We want a solid base so I thought maybe a Kohler cast iron shower pan. The GC asked me to consider tile. What do you think?

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Tile floors usually look beautiful. Tile will cost more $ than a cast iron shower receptor (pan). The labor to install the tile usually adds to the cost, It can be a PITA to keep clean from what I've heard/read, but for some it's worth the extra cost and work to get the look they want.

We had a Kohler cast iron receptor installed when we reno'd our guest bathroom. Cost was a big factor as we were coming off our kitchen reno at the time, The bathroom is on the ground floor (on slab), and it is a guest bathroom after all, so we didn't want to put tons of $ into it (we still had to reno our two main floor bathrooms!). We wanted the bathroom to look really nice though, as it opens directly off our FR. We are very, very happy with the Kohler cast iron pan. It looks nice (the glossy white looks terrific with the glossy white shower wall tiles, and with the white toilet and sinktop). It is very sturdy and durable, and has no slip grips "baked" right into the finish (easily cleaned with a Magic Eraser if they start to look dingy--good as new!).

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:05AM
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If my shower had been a standard size, I would have gotten the Kohler cast iron shower pan. I think they are very nice looking, and would be so much easier to keep clean than grouted tile.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:24AM
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I do a fair amount of tile but I do love CI. The Kohler pans are terrific in my opinion. Substantial, durable, well-performing, and attractive.

If you want a solid base, and especially if you want CI, go with CI. Had you chosen one of the "other" solid bases and had an anti-CI bias I might have steered you towards tile.

But cast iron as your first choice? Nice.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:45AM
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I put the Kohler 36"x60" cast iron shower pan in my recent bath remodel. No regrets. It's super easy to clean and super solid. Best of all, I don't have to worry about the worst case scenario: if the waterproofing/grouting for a tile floor was done wrong and I'm going to have to rip out and redo in a few years.

I did a creamy travertine-look porcelain tile, a brown actual travertine chair rail, and actual travertine mosaic tile in the niches. It looks great with the white CI pan.

The CI will be way less in materials and labor cost.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:13AM
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I'd go with the cast iron pan. Tile shower floors are a pita. I think they look great.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 1:35PM
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i LOVE our cast iron shower pan- it's 36x60"... with the built-in bench, our shower size is ~54x60" ... i will be very happy if i never again have a tiled shower floor!!!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:51PM
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The problem with tile shower floors is that grout sealer just won't stand up to any serious scrubbing, or any serious cleaners. Once the sealer is damaged or gone, the grout absorbs water and gets darker looking. Soon the mortar base is damp and you have to let it all dry out before resealing. So, if you can get a pan for your application, get it. Contractors like to "up sell" the superior look of tile floors, but they aren't coming back to do the cleaning and resealing. Just say NO.

If you already have tile, one thing will cut down on the need for scrubbing. Liquid soaps will not leave soap scum in your shower. bk

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:04PM
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I'm not a shower pan construction expert, but I believe there are a few methods for shower pan construction which water proof on top of the base (such as Kerdi). I also believe that there are different types of sealers, many which are water permeable, so in those cases the grout would absorb water. But the mortar underneath should not, so the shower should dry quickly. There are many people here who have tile shower floors and seem to really like them.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:10PM
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