Shower pan bases are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.
Generally, there are three shower pan base shapes: square, rectangle, or neo-angle corner unit, and whilst standard shower pan bases are readily available, custom bases can be obtained to fit any dimensions.
The standard size for a shower pan base ranges from 32” by 32” to 42” by 60.” For a neo angle shower pan base, the average cross measurement sits in the range of 36” to 60.”
When taking a shower, you don’t necessarily think about what you are standing on, but over time a shower pan can become stained or damaged, meaning that it requires a replacement.
Knowing the standard size of shower pan bases and what is required for your space is imperative in sourcing a suitable substitution.
Additional factors include threshold height and the material it is composed of. This article explores standard vs. custom bases, threshold options, and the durability of a selection of materials.
Read on for all of your shower pan base questions, foremost including the standard measurements for a shower pan base and how to measure your own one.
What Is The Difference Between A Standard Or Custom Shower Pan Base?
All shower bases require a non-slip surface and adequate slope for drainage. A standard base encompasses a central or offset drain that needs to align with your existing drain. By contrast, purchasing a custom base enables the drain to be placed in any position.
Standard bases range in size from 32 inches by 32 inches to 60 by 42 inches, obtainable in a square, rectangular or neo angle shape.
Custom bases are built to order and can be tailored to the specific measurements of your shower.
Shower drains can be incorporated at the center, offset, or edge, and it is important to factor in the location of your drains when selecting a shower pan base.
Measuring not only the dimensions of the shower pan itself, but additionally the drain layout is key, as explored in the article below.
Do Shower Pans Need Liners?
Shower pans require liners between themselves and the base.
If you are looking to replace a current shower pan base, you may already have a liner in place, but when installing a shower base from scratch, a liner is something you will need to factor in.
Even if you have previously had a shower liner installed, it is worth checking when you refit your shower pan base, as any damage to the liner can cause a multitude of problems in your bathroom, from seepage to mold build-up.
The shower pan liner is put in place to prevent leakage; it can be the difference between a pleasant showering experience and water damage to your home. Most liners are made from PVC, varying in size from 4 feet to 6 feet wide.
The size of liner needed for your shower base will generally be a foot wider than both the length and width of your shower. For example, if your shower pan measure 3” by 3” purchase a liner that is 4” by 4”
What Are Threshold Options?
Shower pans are installed to direct water to the drain sufficiently. In addition, they are often lipped to prevent water leakage onto the floor of your bathroom. Known as the threshold, there is a multitude of options in height.
A standard threshold is 4 inches, which prevents drainage issues and keeps the water contained in your shower. It does, however, pose a trip hazard. Other thresholds are available to alleviate this problem.
A lower threshold ranges from 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inches, whilst the ‘Universal Design’ is a zero threshold. Though these provide easy accessibility and minimize trip hazards, you will need to ensure that your floor has adequate drainage before installing.
For people with disabilities, a ramped threshold is the best option as it allows easy access whilst maintaining good draining functionality. A ramped threshold can be inbuilt to the structure or has the option to be custom made as a removable piece.
How Do I Measure For a Shower Pan Base?
Measuring for a new shower pan base requires you to take accurate measurements of your existing product, including its width and length.
It’s important to bear in mind that the measurements of shower pan bases are generally ⅛” shorter than your wall studs for ease of use during installation.
The measurements you need to take depend on the style of your shower pan base. Below is an outline for square, rectangular, and neo-angle shower bases.
How Do I Measure For A Square Or Rectangular Shower Pan Base?
To measure your shower for a new base, there are three essential measurements you will need to take:
- Each side of the outer edge of the shower pan.
- The depth of the shower pan from the inside bottom up to its top edge.
- The outer corner of the shower pan to the drain.
How Do You Measure A Neo Angle Shower Base?
When measuring a neo angle shower base, there are additional measurements you will need to take:
- Measure each of the outer edges of the shower pan.
- Measure the back corner of your shower (where the two walls intersect) to the edge of your threshold (lip under the shower door.)
- Measure the distance from both of the wall-attached shower edges to the drain.
What Is The Difference Between a Shower Base And A Shower Pan?
The shower base is located beneath your shower and is the structure of the shower floor itself. In contrast, the shower pan is the piece you see sitting on top of the shower base that collects the water and provides sufficient drainage.
As the key function of both is to channel water into the drain, a shower base and shower pan will both be made of waterproof materials.
A shower base will typically consist of cement for its strength and stability, whereas the shower pan is often made from something durable yet aesthetic.
With a selection of materials to choose from, the article explores some of the pros and cons below.
How Long Should A Shower Pan Last?
The average shower pan should last for several to ten years. Its durability is largely based on the material it is made from.
The most common materials for a shower pan to be made from are acrylic, tile, and fiberglass. Acrylic is the preferable choice for most homes as it is non-porous, meaning that the water does not permeate it, thereby making it easier to clean and durable over long periods of time.
Tile may be the cheapest option for a shower pan and is also easy to clean. However, the drawback of this material is that it may need regrouting from time to time, meaning that its overall durability is less than that of its acrylic counterpart.
On the other hand, tile allows for a more bespoke design, and many people opt for this as a stylish finish for their bathroom.
Fiberglass is among the most aesthetically pleasing and is easy to maintain. Though the drawbacks of the material being susceptible to breakages and staining make it the least durable of the three most common materials.
In general, acrylic will last for around 10 years with little to no maintenance. Tile will sustain for a longer period – around 15 years – but is likely to need regrouting during this time.
Fiberglass will last for around 8 – 10 years.
The most durable materials for your shower base include stone or concrete.
Do I Need A Shower Pan On A Concrete Floor?
In short, yes! Concrete is a porous material and, over time, will be prone to soaking up water.
If left, this can cause significant damage to your floor, and with the water soaking through the concrete, there is no guarantee that it won’t seep through to other locations.
Whilst it’s not advisable to leave a concrete floor without a shower pan, it is possible if you treat the base with a concrete sealer.
If choosing this option, it is advisable to consult a professional to prevent the aforementioned damage to your property.
Most shower pan bases will fit within a standard range of sizes, which are fairly easy to understand.
It may be more potent to understand the impact of different materials and waterproofing methods when purchasing a new shower pan to increase the longevity of your product.