What are my options for no-tile shower pan?

tartanhabitDecember 29, 2007

I'm researching what my options are for a solid all in one unit shower pan and want to know all the ins and outs.

MATERIALS: What are my choices? Acrylic? Fiberglass? Cast-iron? What's the best way to go? Please could you name some brands for me to look at.

SIZES: Also am I tied into buying pre-set sizes?

Is there such a thing as custom-sized pan to fit my own shower dimensions?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not the expert on this, but we are planning to use a shower bottom (they call it a shower receptor) made by Kohler. The model is called Katherine, and we chose it because we wanted a cast iron bottom, rather than acrylic. (I had heard from a couple of people that the acrylic ones are harder to keep clean).

It comes in a few different colors, but only one size that I can tell. They have another model on the website that is also cast iron that is bigger.

The rest of the shower will be ceramic tile, and with apologies to all of those who can install the perfect tile shower floors, we have had so many problems over the years keeping the grout or the caulk clean and in good shape, we are finally giving up.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We've used solid surface shower pans from both Swanstone (swanstone.com) and Onyx (onyxtop.com). Onyx has the biggest selection of standard sizes, and also does custom. They've got tons of colors too.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 10:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the info - I'll look into these.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 12:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

About the only bases I know of that can be custom made would be something like the terrazzo bases, or any of the synthetic solid bases. Guaranteed, though-- it's going to cost you bigtime for anything custom sized.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sometimes I wish I pursued a terrazzo base more when I was looking for a custom base. While I do like the look of tiled bases, I'm not queen of the housekeepers so I wanted to stay away from that grout. I couldn't get over the plasticy feel for the walls or I would have done something easier to clean there too, but for the base I had a custom corian base made (in a terrazzo look, boo hoo). The place that made them for me has a choice of 3 solid surface materials. If you just want plain white they have something called "polycomp" which felt like a hard textured plastic to me - not tactile like corian - but it was half the price of corian. They also do acrylic but a matte acrylic, not shiny - and then of course corian (in any color they make except for the very dark colors. It was definitely not cheap (compounded by the fact that the color I fell in love with is one of the most expensive corian colors) but it's very very nice looking. I haven't used it yet (just installed into rough framing last week) so I can't comment on that but it sure looks nice. They can do any size/configuration (I required an "offset curb" in mine, if I didn't I would have been all over that kohler cast iron receptor).

If you can use a standard size, definitely look into swanstone shower pans. Make sure you are looking at the pans that are made out of the actual swanstone solid surface material though and not the pans made by swanstone corp called "veritek." These have gotten universally lousy reviews on this board (pretty much anything made of that material). They have a surprising number of standard sizes and are definitely reasonably priced compared to custom.

I ended up getting samples and pricing from both onyxtop.com and showerbase2.com and found the same size shower pan in plain white matte (an upcharge from glossy) from onyxtop to be about 30% more than the corian shower base I got in silver birch from showerbase2.com. I guess YMMV depending on what you are looking for but I was shocked that a "no name" brand was more than corian, figuring I'd be paying a premium for the corian name (as in countertops). I was very pleased with the customer service there too and it arrived packed in a custom MDF crate with pallet. Very professional.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

kgwlisa, the showerbase2 company looks good. Can you tell me what the surface looks like (if you have time or the inclination any photos would help). Just wondered if it was textured and if so, how. In my research this weekend I've seen some ugly looking things out there! I'm looking for something really simple with minimal ridges/moulding or decorative grooves - as contemporary as possible.

Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 1:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We just had a tile shower installed this fall and used a Swanstone base in a standard size and a Swanstone niche. The white color was a good match to our tile selection. I would say we have been totally happy with this choice. I would take a unified base over grouted tile underfoot anyday. Likewise we like the niche without attempts to tile and grout anything (although our tile man was excellent and I am sure he would have done a good job).

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually their shower bases don't have any of that stuff. They are sanded with a low grit sand paper to rough them up enough to make them nonslip but no texture is applied. For that reason they won't do any of the darker corian color. It's sort of the same principle as when you scratch a dark colored corian you get a white line - their process of roughing up the surface to make it non slip would create a white haze over the dark corian.

Right now my shower base is covered to protect it (it's installed with the shower rough framed) but if you go to their website they have a photo gallery of installed bases. One of the things I liked about this base vs. the cultured marble and swanstone bases is that there is a very clean install - it's not so much like a shallow "bowl" but rather the tile comes all the way down to the base. I'll link their gallery so you can see what I mean but an installed base with a curb is later in the gallery set.

This is also the reason that their acrylic finish is matte and not shiny. They start with a regular shiny acrylic but when they are done roughing it up it's matte. As far as what it looks like, it looks like corian, but when you touch it it's definitely rougher than a corian countertop (I actually ordered a few corian pieces - a bench top for my shower bench and a shelf for my niche and they finished those to countertop texture and there is a difference in how they feel).

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: photo gallery

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks. I'm waiting for an estimate from Showerbase.com. I like the clean look of how this system works. This forum is a miracle!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Let me tell you, my base was NOT cheap. Just so you're not shocked when you get your estimate. The base white corian was probably about 2x that of the acrylic prices on the site. The good news is that they use relatively little corian so an upgrade to even the most expensive corian is "only" a couple hundred bucks at most on top of that. By the time I was paying for corian I figured I might as well go all the way and take advantage of some of the great design options they have. It was a nightmare trying to match a white base to the white subway tile anyway so I went for something more grey to coordinate with the planned grey grout. I went with silver birch, which as I said before, looks like terrazzo to me.

I probably could have spent way less on having a tile guy build a tile base for me but as I said, I did not want to deal with that grout in a wet location for cleaning purposes. Hopefully the exhaust vent we are installing in the shower will take care of the tiled walls - my old shower got mildew pretty quickly around the bottom of the shower on the tiled walls.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

kgwlisa, how's the shower coming along? Do you love how this base looks? You were right that corian is not a cheap option. I received my estimate. Still considering it.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well after chasing down the plumber since before christmas he is finally done roughing in everything he has to rough in. So we're moving ahead at a snail's pace. GC installed the shower base per instructions and it installed pretty easily. The subfloor was very level to start with and then tiny minor tweaks (pushing it down a little on one side etc) got the pan dead level. It looked pretty easy to install anyway (I was standing there while he did it). Feels pretty solid too.

They recommend that you leave I think 1/2" all around when you install it? something like that, to make it easier to position in the walls. My gc just put placed the shower pan in the right position and screwed down the base plates for the stud walls around it so he was able to install it a little more tightly. I think it was much easier to just have it resting against the base plate rather than having to manipulate it with the whole wall framed out already. The thing is HEAVY and you have to watch for fiberglass splinters on the outside of the flange.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 6:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our new shower has a Swanstone base. For the most part I like it with one exception. It has a pebbled non-slip finish and the water just sits on top of it. After showering I use a squeegee to shove the water down the drain.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We're going with the Kohler cast iron Katherine shower pan too, with full tile walls and a tile bench. My GC recommended it because he feels that over the long haul his clients are happier with the maintenance of this than a tile floor. Demo of the old bathroom is starting Monday, so I'll let you know how it works out once it's installed. However, I do think you have to stick with a few standard sizes.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 10:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the input everyone.

Lisa, I'm trying to find out if the showerbase2 company's system meets California code. I've already had to rule out a Duravit (beautiful!) shower pan which is German made but does not have US stamp of approval. Ugh!

Kohler looks nice but they do have just a few sizes.
If anyone out there is reading this thread and researching this subject Showerbase2.com quoted me $980 for an acrylic shower base 58x34 and $1600 for corian. Neither option is cheap!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 10:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had a custom base made out of cultured granite. I went to a few cultured marble showrooms and liked the cultured granite better. Our is 5x4 and cost about 1100.00 including installation. It will clean and hold up wonderfully. The tile walls get installed in two weeks and I hope it all looks great. I was however upset the finish was a lot different than the sample, as they made the base rougher to prevent slipping and it really took away from what the original sample looked like. It was done because of cleaning issues too, with 4 boys and another on the way (need I say more).

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks. Wow, mommyto4boys, your shower will get well used!

Unfortunately I'm having to go in a different direction on this and go with tile. It just seemed to be too difficult to find a custom manufacturer for what we were looking for that would be up to code. I even printed out specs and took them down to the permit dept and spoke with an inspector who straight away told me that anything without IAPMO listing wouldn't pass. Perhaps if you are buying domestic such as Kohler it's all a lot easier, but for European shower bases or custom, it's really worth checking out ahead of time if it's up to code if you are doing work under permit.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 12:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

we used a swanstone base and have been very happy with it, And ceramic tile walls.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 9:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our bath store also recommends the Jacuzzi Tru-level shower base. Does anyone have experience with this?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can someone tell me the difference between a single and double threshold shower pan? Which is needed in order to fit a glass enclosure on top. I'm looking at Swanstone pans and Holcam glass enclosures. thanks.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 6:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you tried looking at these guys? Looks like they do custom size corian shower bases -

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.formed.com.au/collections/shower-base

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 6:17PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
shower pan worries. Is any of his method correct?
Unsure about my plumber's method. Could I get some...
Lighted Tub/Shower Niche
Anyone ever wire a light into your shower niche? I...
Polished vs Unpolished tile for bath
We are redoing our master bath with a grey 12x24 porcelain...
What do you think about jets and rain shower?
Any body going with or have them already in their shower? DH...
Which latricrete products for full shower build?
I'm a bit confused about all the various Latricrete...
Sponsored Products
Hand Shower Bracket for Riser Pipe - Chrome
Signature Hardware
Access Lighting Glase Bathroom Vanity Light - 33.9W in. Chrome - 23918-CH/FCL
$220.00 | Hayneedle
Chadwick Oiled Bronze 17-Inch One Light Pendant
$350.00 | Bellacor
Premium Select Brushed Steel 60-Inch Ceiling Fan with Dark Walnut Hand Carved Or
$608.00 | Bellacor
Access Lighting Poseidon Wall Light - 16.75H in. - 20344MG-BRZ/RFR
$156.00 | Hayneedle
Celina Five-Light Dark Rust Chandelier with Silver Glass
$498.00 | Bellacor
Zephyr 42W in. Layers Wall Mounted Range Hood with White Glass - ALA-E42AWX
Void Pendant by Tom Dixon
$615.00 | Lumens
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™