Thickness of shower base?

lesleypAugust 15, 2013

Hello wise GWers! I am in the process of roughing in a window over a shower and want to avoid having to put in a tempered glass window. My code book says that tempered glass is only required if the "glazing is less than 60" above the shower standing surface".

Honestly, I have no idea what kind of shower base I will put in (acrylic pan, tile, or solid surface) but I need to finish the framing soon. So, can you guide me on the range of thicknesses for shower bases? I am looking for the typical height between the subfloor and the "standing surface" for these different base options.

I do know that I would prefer a slim/low threshold but I doubt I would do a barrier free entrance. I have looked at the engineering diagrams of a bunch of acrylic shower pans, but none of the drawings show the standing surface height.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide. I am trying to eke out the tallest possible window without violating the code requirement. (And I can't raise the window header because it is already fixed.)

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Mud bases covered with a topical membrane are usually 1-1/4" thick at the drain and slope up 1/4" per foot to the wall. For a 4' square shower, that's about an extra 1/2". So figure 1-3/4" thick at the wall.

On top of that sloped mud you'll have the membrane, thinset and tile, roughly 3/8" total.

2-1/8" total. Add in a little extra for Murphy, figure 2-1/2" to be on the safe side.

If you do a CPE membrane that is set on top of a sloped mud bed with a second layer of mud over that, add 1" to the above number. That's being generous. It can certainly be thinner, but it shouldn't be thicker than that.

If you use a base like a Kohler cast iron shower receptor, it's about 2-1/4". For any of the tile-ready or preformed shower bases, you can look up their drawings online.

Typically, thinset is about 1/8" thick and tile 3/16" to 1/4" thick.

Your mileage may vary...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:30PM
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That's great information Mongo -- thank you! I have started to look at the preformed bases, but have been stunned by how expensive they are.

Do you have any suggestions for products that provide good results without breaking the bank?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 2:37AM
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