Swanstone or equivalent shower pans

lil_geekFebruary 5, 2007

We are starting to look into the addition of our second floor bath. The bathroom will not have a tub, just a shower. I would like to do a tile style... but am concerned about DIY the pan/base. I have seen at HD a cheap acrylic(?) pan... but it was pretty small (and ugly).

In a previous post I found info on Swanstone pans. From what I read... it is the base, you then just need to do your tile walls. Correct? This will eliminate a lot of space for error?

Can you please let me know of any other similar products. I found a Kohler one too.... so any more will be appreciated.


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When I saw your message I had to chime in. A couple years ago we put in a large shower and used a Swanstone shower pan...we very much regret this choice! It looks and feels very cheap, it stains easily and never gets completely clean no matter what we try. We are now going to replace the Swanstone pan after only 2 1/2 years and replace it with natural stone or tile. It really is disappointing!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 3:19PM
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I, too, have been researching what to use to replace our existing shower pan and walls. I have been considering Swanstone and Tere-stone. Glad to hear the feedback on Swanstone. I have been leaning toward Tere-stone because it seems to be much better in resisting stains and it feels very solid. However, I can not find opinions on Tere-stone on this site. Lil geek, you might want to take a look at Tere-stone. Also, the Tere-stone also has shower walls to match the base. Not cheap, but it might be an answer. I wish someone would chime in with their experience with Tere-stone. Thanks... Gary

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 3:42PM
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Thanks for the info. I just also found some information about corian shower bases. Similar concept but possibly better?

To add complexity... we are in Canada and the options always seem to be even more limited. So if anyone can chime in on Canadian suppliers....

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 3:46PM
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I think many people find it confusing that Swan Corp., inventor of Swanstone, changed their name to Swanstone Corp. They sell many products that are NOT made of Swanstone solid surfacing. Among them are acrylic/fiberglass bath units that are made of Veritek. It is a cheaper but acceptable product for those that cannot afford true solid surface. However, there is no comparison between it and the true Swanstone product.

Swanstone solid surfacing is neither cheap nor flimsy. It makes an excellent shower pan, as does Corian. Swanstone has a higher heat resistance which is useful in kitchen products, but irrelevant for the bathroom.

Yes, solid surface showerpans make an excellent base. They are very heavy and will last your lifetime. I've owned Swanstone bathroom vanity countertops with integral sinks since 1989 and they are an excellent product.

You might also want to look at your local cultured marble dealers. They usually offer a cultured (synthetic) granite option that is cheaper than any solid surface product, and more than adequate for bathroom use. The look is very similar to Corian/Swanstone. Our custom shower is cultured granite, and no one has been able to tell the difference between it and Corian. I can, but I've owned these types of products for several decades (cultured granite is a bit shinier than Corian/Swanstone).

Note that using a solid showerpan is no absolute guarantee that your shower will not leak. Your tiled walls must still be properly installed and sealed, but using a solid showerpan certainly REDUCES your risk of leakage. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 4:06PM
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Check out this site.. AND, it's Canadian!!!!


If you click on some links, you can see they actually go step by step with pictures showing the installation process....

They make it look so easy....

Anyway, I'm in the same boat and will have someone do the work but, I'm tempted to try it myself, if I can't get a good price and timing......

Here is a link that might be useful: Ontario Tile

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 4:07PM
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I am also trying to remodel my shower and have many of the same questions. HD says I have to use a Swanstone pan with corian walls, but the colors don't match perfectly. They also will not install the Swanstone, so I am left to find my own contractor for that portion of the job.

A plumber told me he has heard of failure in several Swanstone pans.I emailed Corian with the info and they sent a phone number for a company called Shower Shapes that has a very sketchy web site.

I also saw the instructions on how to install a corner shower bench for tile, I assume it would be the same to have it covered with Swanstone? Or does Corian prefab the bench with the wall? Has anyone tried the bench and how did it work? Also input on whether anyone actually has the Corian pan as well as surround. I would love to have my vanity top match the shower floor and walls. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 6:28PM
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Frankly, I wouldn't believe anything a contractor told me on hearsay. "I've heard...." is one of the most common excuses heard when an owner is asking for something unusual or out of the ordinary. You have only to peruse these boards regularly to learn that most contractors know very little about anything except the same old products they've always worked on. Plumbers had to practically be beaten over the head to accept the first Toto toilets -- I know, because I had that experience and so did a lot of other people on this forum.

And frankly HD doesn't know what they're talking about either. You do NOT have to use a Swanstone pan with Corian walls. In fact, you can find Corian showerpans to use with your Corian walls, just as you can buy Swanstone panels to use with Swanstone showerpans.

What you want is a vendor who will work directly with you in Swanstone or Corian or Silestone or....whatever mfg's product you choose. Solid surfacing is just that, it will work in many different configurations BUT you will pay a lot for custom work. There is no cheap way out, if you use it.

I don't know about the other SS mfgs, but I believe Swanstone does not do bathroom installs. Like DuPont, they only insist upon company installation for kitchen use. Bathrooms, I think, are just too small a market for them to be interested in handling.

That's why I mentioned cultured marble and cultured granite, it's often much cheaper because installation is included in the price. We have seen a beautiful installation of Cambria solid surface custom showers by a local vendor in several bathrooms, but it was big $$$$$. They were not even interested in doing any bathroom project that was under $20,000.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 11:26PM
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Stay away from Veritek by Swan. It is garbage. Mine has been in for two months. It is already chipped and cracked. Dropping a razor in the shower can chip this material.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 1:48PM
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So no one out there with a Tere-Stone story? Like the look of the product but it amazes me you can't find any comments. Maybe that is a good sign. (Probably wishful thinking!)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 4:45PM
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lil geek, whenever folks start looking for shower pans I always now want to mention the *cast iron* Kohler shower "receptor" which is just *dreamy* if your space fits it. I think they make it only in 36x48, unfortunately, but if that fits, I'd go for that with no further decision needed.

If you are going for acrylic, Maax and a lot of the other tub companies also make shower lines, e.g. Jason and others. Maax is good quality acrylic. They have a "Keystone" line, I think, at HD, too, and a higher-end line from which we purchased our Melodie tub.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 6:11PM
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I have to say that I love the Swanstone pan that we installed in our bathroom. There's concrete under our Swanstone pan, so it is very sturdy. I'm partial but I think it looks great. Our color is called Bermuda Sand.

If you take a look at our pictures, you'll see what we found when we removed the tile from our shower floor. Scary! I don't mind grout on the walls but I don't see the sense in it on the shower floor. I'm very happy with our Swanstone pan, just be sure that you're buying it from a plumbing supply company and not Home Depot. I think HD sells the Veritek product which is not the same material as Swanstone.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swanstone pan

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 7:41PM
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One problem with any acrylic or fiberglass showerpan is that often they are NOT properly supported. These materials are brittle and will NOT flex without eventually cracking.

Set in a solid mortar bed, they're fine. But I'd bet the majority of them were just shoved on top of hardiboard (or whatever they use these days) and left at that.

We had an acrylic tub with matching shower surround. One day after about 8 yrs, I was getting out of the shower, and put my hand out for balance against one of the surround walls. It cracked immediately! Eventually we replaced the entire unit with a custom neo-angle cultured granite shower unit - much, much more solid, but also much bigger $$$$.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 1:12PM
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ANY Acrylic shower/Tub installed without Mortar is on the way to failure in the long run. Level install or not.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 12:07AM
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lil geek,

If you want a tiled pan and you want to do it DIY, look into the Kerdi System by Schluter.

Schluter makes a pre-sloped pan base, which is of excellent quality, and it's very easy to install.

The pan and walls are then covered with Kerdi membrane, then the tile is thinsetted to the Kerdi.

A Kerdi shower is well within the realm of DIY, the quality, in terms of water-tightness, and avoidance of future water saturation problems, is second-to-none.

With the Kerdi membrane being just beneath the tile, there is no deep wetting of the substructure of the tile.

There are installation picsutes available here, and if you look in the right column on the webisite page there are installation videos as well.

Do not confuse or compare Schluter's pre-formed shower pan with other premade trays that people on this forum are gripping about. Unsupported, thin flimsy trays are a failure waiting to happen.

The Kerdi line is nothing like that.

Just another idea...but only consider doing this DIY if you can follow simple instructions, if you have basic skills, and you have enough intelligence to be smart enough to map out the steps to success before you start mixing thinset.

The ability to think through a project ahead of time, step-by-step, from start to finish, before starting seems to be a rare skill these days. If you anticipate problems, then remarkably, you'll likely have no problems.

What a concept!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 10:19AM
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We are installing a frameless shower in our bathroom remodel, and are looking at the Maax-Keystone kits from HD: the neo-angle shower with the French glass doors that swing open, a square base with corner entry slide open doors, or a neo-round base with slide open doors.

The bathroom is very small and has no natural light. The corner walls will be tiled, with the same tile used on the floor, maybe a tumbled stone, in a light, neutral color. The vanity top will be cultured marble, biscuit w/white streaks.

I am looking for opinions/advice on any of these showers. We originally thought neo-angle would be nice, but I dislike the look of the French glass (patterned glass, etched so that it looks like it has divided lights). Is this something I need to get over, is it in style? Will it clash with the pattern of the tiled walls?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 4:57PM
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