If your looking to transition from a bathtub and you are just not comfortable with building a shower pan, a shower base is a perfect product to help with water management inside your shower area. The shower base is either a completely pre-manufactured base or a semi-manufactured base where additional construction is still required after installation. The shower base is an easy solution for providing structure and security in protecting your subfloor from moisture damage.
Pre-cast Shower Base
A pre-cast shower base can be made of a wide variety of materials, each serving their purpose of resisting water penetration. The pre-cast is typically a standard rectangle size for a shower area and smaller square size for corner areas. You can expect a pre-cast shower base to contain tile flanges to secure the wall area from water seepage. Depending on the pre-cast shower base you choose and the intended installation, you can have a single or multiple curbs to deter water from exiting the shower area.
Acrylic / Fiberglass Shower Base
An acrylic or fiberglass shower base have a similar structure, where both are manufactured from a fiberglass substrate, the acrylic version uses a thermo-process of applying the acrylic over the fiberglass. The finished product is lightweight, resilient, and a unique sheen to it’s surface. An advantage to these types of shower bases is a wide choice of colors to choose from, while a definite drawback will be it’s susceptibility to scratches and the colors of the exposed interior layers. Another disadvantage, while it is economical, the materials used during manufacturing do have a tendency to reduce in luster and even are more tolerable to staining.
Cultured Marble Shower Base
A cultured marble shower base has the appearance of a highly polished natural stone. The manufacturing process of cultured marble consists of crushed limestone and a resin, while the exterior layer is a sprayed on gel goat that gives it a’ natural look. Beside the beauty of a naturally looking stone and highly durable shower base, the still tend to stain over a long period of time and they can be chipped by falling objects.
TIle Shower Base Pan
A tile shower base is usually a single piece, but can be multiple pieces, that comprise the entire structure that sits on the shower floor. The tile shower base should have a slope built into it, to allow for moisture to lead down the shower area and into the shower drain. Most will be made of a material that can be cut to size in the field. Installation is just easy and straight forward as a solid shower base, and allows for a custom build shower pan feel.
Besides the waterproof nature of a shower base, the tile flange on the shower base is just as important of a factor in keeping moisture from entering behind the walls. The tile flange is going to allow the shower wall and tile to sit over and just above the shower base lip. At this lip, a bead of caulk will secure the rear of the wall from the shower area. The tile flange is another protective element to stop moisture in the event that the bead of caulk breaks.