Elevated shower pan for basement BR - max height of threshold

hippityhoppyOctober 9, 2013

I am adding a shower to the basement Bathroom. What is the maximum height recommended from the floor to the shower's threshold?

The basement floor is concrete slab. The main waste pipe exits the house about 15' from the shower drain. The waste pipe is about 4" above the concrete floor. That is, it exits thru the foundation wall, not the floor.

Solution #1. We built a platform for the shower pan that is 6" above the concrete. That 6" accommodated the drain. Tests with water from the hose indicate it drains well.

However, when the shower pan is installed its' base and threshold added 6" more to the step up into the shower. The pan itself added 3" and the pan's threshold added 3".

So, to step up into the shower, one must raise one's foot 12" from the floor. Is that too high?

There are two other alternatives:

2. Another approach is to jackhammer the concrete slab and install waste pipes to a new sump pump. The plumber estimated the cost at $3,000 to install pipes from drain to the sump pump and connect to the waste pipe.

3. Elevate the Bathroom floor 4" to 6", placing a step into the BR. Then, the step up into the shower is diminished to 8" to 6".

Thank you for the benefit of your experience.

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Sophie Wheeler

#2 is the only correct way to do it.

#1 is the emergency room visit way that will cost you more than #2 in hospital bills or canceled insurance for creating such a safety hazard.

#3 can work in some situations, but in a basement with already low ceilings, you probably don't have the overall height to do this by the time you start adding the slope inside the shower. You have to have minimum head height requirements of 7' in the room and 6'8" for the shower. And that's LOW touch the ceiling every time you try to rinse the shampoo out of your hair yucky. It's never a good feel to step up into a cave. And it's another trip hazard to do so, even if it's less dangerous than #1.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Thanks, HollySprings,
That's great advise. I've been chewing on this issue for too long and need to move forward.

Your advise is excellent and I really appreciate your chiming in. These design matters can be challenging to DIY'ers. I did not want to create a hazard.

I'll go with #2, the sump pump.

Unfortunately that means when the electric goes out, with regular frequency in storms, there will be no drainage in the lower level. And, of course, a sump pump is one more thing to break down.

Rather a broken sump than a broken bone!
Thanks, again.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 3:43PM
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There are no sewage lines in the floor to connect your drain to?

I have similar issue in basement bathroom remodel. I have low ceilings with 82 inches from concrete to ceiling joists (after I removed the 4 inch raised concrete slab in the bathroom area).

We already put in an interior drain tile and sump pump system and at same time re roughed in the plumbing for toilet drain and shower drain.

Problem is I miscalculated where my shower drain should be - and am now trying to find a shower pan that will fit. I am looking at raised pan drain below or probably re jacking the floor to move the drain.

Unless you have 10 feet clearence - raised floors will feel tacky no matter how you do it.

If you are in the city - you should probably have sewer lines below you can tap into. Once you dig - it is pretty darn easy. Hire someone else to do the dirty work - then get your plumber back in there. My guess is someone was lazy last time and sent drains through the foundation instead of doing it right.

It will be worth it.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 10:27PM
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