What is a Mortar Shower Pan?

A brick or mortar mud shower pan can be just actually a shower foundation constructed out of dry pack mortar. The shower pan forms a floor of the shower and is finished with a tile surface and sloped to your built-in shower.

A shower pan has been traditionally constructed in two layers with an embedded membrane or layer in the middle. This center layer functions the distinctive purpose of redirecting any shower waste-water that has passed through the top layer of the shower floor back into the drain.

Therefore, a traditional shower pan, along with the uniquely embedded inside membrane of it, serves two key functions:

To easily immediate shower wastewater into the shower by means of a sloped-to-the-drain surface.

To redirect any water that has passed as a result of the surface of the shower floor back into the shower by way of an embedded waterproof layer that slips to and drains into side weep pockets of this shower.

As the sloped floor of typical shower panhandles a majority of shower wastewater, proper functioning of the waterproof middle barrier layer (number 2 above) is important for a properly functioning, dry, mold-free, leakproof shower build.

Although a few more modern commercial shower methods are well designed to deliver a single-layer leak-proof shower pan devoid of an embedded shower liner, traditional hand-built mortar shower pans desire a system to deal with borne water.

Mortar is ready although heated water is permeable. Because with the, a few waters may find it’s how through the shower floor and when that particular passed water is not stopped, it is going to result in a leaky shower.

So Why Build a Traditional Mortar Shower Pan?

Even though you will find several ready-made shower pan strategies available, it’s challenging to beat a traditional Deluxe mortar shower pan.

Premade shower pans provide simplicity and speed of installation but lack the rigidity, durability, and flexibility of a hand-poured mortar pan. Packaged devices (Kerdiothers) get expensive and complicated without even offering compelling benefits overhand built shower pans.

Packaged devices (Kerdiothers) get expensive and complicated without even offering compelling benefits overhand built shower pans.

How Do You Build a Mortar Shower Pan?

A hand made shower pan has been integrated layers around a shower drain assembly.

Building a shower pan can be a straightforward undertaking of assembling these layers. This is going to just take a bit of time and a few works, however, also the payoff will be a long-lasting, leak-free, long-lasting shower base.

Begin With A Strong, Secure Base

A new shower constructed using a decorative shower pan, concrete backer board and tile is thick. Just before you start, make sure that you have adequate sub-flooring, framing and suitable shower plumbing in place.

Frame the shower grip

If you are planning on building a shower suppress, you’ve got several options to achieve that. A common option is to build a questionnaire to pour mortar into to produce a physical treat.

Another option would be to work with materials to form the center of the control and apply mortar on top with this core. Core stuff may be mortar cubes or brick or even a heap of lumber (such as 2″ x 4″s O ).

You’re able to also employ an industrial curb guidebook kit like the”Kirb-Perfect” control information by Mark E sectors shown below.

I utilized mortar and both the core round method using several stacked 2x4s to create the curb heart.

To build a control working with a two x4 center, stack and fasten a few (I used 3) 2x4s sequentially to the subflooring.

To begin with, screw the bottom 2 x 4 to the subfloor, and then screw the second 2 x to the fastened first 2 x 4 and replicate to desirable curb height.

To build control using forms for a concrete pour, assemble forms using similar or boards and fill out those forms together with concrete.

A DD blocking to create a shower pan box.

Next, add wood obstructing involving the wall framing to create a”box” to your shower pan.

For the blocking material, utilize pieces of 2x6s, plywood or comparable stuff — I used pieces of the 3/4″ plywood I was able to build my subfloor. The obstructing ought to be at least as large since the shower grip.

To commence the shower pan construction, add a layer of roofing felt (tar paper) to the bottom of the shower pan.

The felt will function as a moisture barrier to its very first layer of sand enabling the mortar to retain moisture while curing. It will also assist to isolate the subfloor in your shower pan.

To install the asphalt felt, cover the horizontal surface of the subfloor, reducing the drain base. Add staples that are galvanized to secure the felt to the plywood.

Mount galvanized wire mesh to the bottom of the shower pan and over suppress.

Add galvanized mesh or stucco wire to the bottom of the shower pan, The mesh will probably reinforce the base floor sand layer of mortar along with help hold the mortar to the shower curb.

Bend the mesh slightly to create”waves” in meth support embed the mesh at the center of this floor sand. The mesh around the curtail framing and secure with galvanized principles.

Put together floor combination

A latex concrete admixture could be inserted to some or all of the water component of the mortar mixture to add strength and flexibility in many scenarios, however, latex is overkill for typical shower pan mortar. That said, I did substitute about 50% of the water demand to my own mixture having latex admixture (I like overkill).

To earn superior mud, first dry mixture the ingredients (even though in the premixed bagged solution ) extensively with a hoe to ensure right sand/cement contact. Once mixed, add water (or some water/latex mix ).

Use only enough water to produce a mix that will hold its shape when squeezed into your hand, but not discharge excess water. Dry combinations generate sta strong stable concrete with much less shrinkage and greater compression energy.

Using the well-prepared floor combine mortar, build the layer of this shower pan. Slope this foundation layer in the walls of this shower toward the shower at a fall of 1/4 to 3/8″ per foot.

To greatly help you produce the appropriate slope, first determine and mark the shower partitions with all the correct beginning height to the mortar.

This commencing height is the mortar elevation in the walls that’ll give the suitable slope toward the drain.

The sum of increased peak required at the walls could be determined by adding to the total calculated added height required for that desirable incline.

To ascertain the mandatory height at the shower wall to get this incline, measure the distance from the wall to your drain border and multiply by the desirable incline (1/4″ to 3/8″ each foot).


Distance from your drain to the walls: two feet
Desired slope: 1/4″ per foot

Result: 2 ft x 1/4″ each foot = 1/2″ additional height at the wall.

In this case, the mortar grade in the shower will be 1/2″ greater than the elevation of the mortar surface a the drain border.

Because the exact length from the shower partitions to the drain changes for nearly every shower pan (the exception being around shower pan having a centered drain), the sum of slope through the duration of the pan will probably be different as well.

To place the minimum proper slope for your whole pan, determine and mark the wall elevation to get the wall location that’s the furthest in your drain. The tip is.

Once you decide and indicate this wall height that is particular starting, use a flat to continue that line around the shower. This line will be starting up the top of the bed at the partitions of this shower to provide the appropriate minimum incline for that entire pan and offer a flat border for the full pan.

Now with the wall-mounted mortar flat indicated on the shower walls, then dump mortar mix into the shower carton and build the first layer of this shower pan.

Use a straight border or equivalent to screed the mud from your wall markers to the edge of the drain base and continue including mud until the pan is already formed.

Use mud to build the first mortar layer of the shower curb. Add mortar to each of the sides of the curb, employing the curb mounted stucco cable to help hold the mortar to the lumber curtail heart.

Add a thick enough layer of mortar to cover the stucco wire. You may locate the use of a number of quick directly boards (2x4s or related ) or long magnesium floats helpful when forming the mortar deal. Slope the top outermost layer of the grip marginally toward the shower pan to give a drainage path toward the shower pan.

Install shower liner within the treated mortar primary layer of this shower pan

With all the layers of mortar assembled and cured, after that, install the shower lineup on top of the mortar foundation layer and check layer.

The shower-liner creates a barrier that contains and redirects any water that is passed into the shower. It is critical to slope this initial base toward the shower to allow appropriate drainage of plain water on top of the shower lining into the drain.

Shower lined installed directly on the subfloor or on the level mortar base will maintain stagnant water with will finally lead to leaks, mold, along with also a failure of the shower pan.

A correctly installed and sloped shower lining enables water that’s penetrated the shower floor to rapidly move to the drain and then empty into the drain through modest weep holes at the side of the drain.

To begin installing the shower lining, put a continuous sheet of this liner over the shower foundation wrapping it over the top of the shower curb.

Smooth the lining level to figure out the appropriate dimensions of this lining. Remember to completely flatten the line along the face and corners of this pan and then shower curb. Liners installed without sufficient slack fail and can stretch.

In addition, to clean up the shower pan base, some will incorporate a layer of roofing felt (tar paper) on the mortar shower base to aid protect the liner out of the abrasion of the mortar foundation.

Plan to carry up the lining the walls of the shower — 12″ or higher and at slightly higher than the shower curb.

The lining should be one continuous bit, covering the entire pan, up the walls and over the curb. The line will serve as your watertight obstacle.

Think of it for a swimming pool liner that will need to carry the full amount of drinking water contained with all the pan up to the shower curb.

DoSoon’t makes it too quick when conducting it up the shower partitions also don’t cut penetrate the liner within this”pool” place.

Once you’re happy using all the position and lay of the liner, make use of a marker to mark the exact desirable cuts on the lining. Do not cut on the shower at the corners as it passes over the curb.

As an alternative, bend the liner at corners (similar to wrap a gift) and then tuck them into the wall fascia.

If you must cut on the lining in the control or for corners that are complex, use patch kits using the lining glue that is suitable to pay the cuts.

To adapt the thickness of this shower liner contrary to the decreased walls of this shower, a few may shave some material from the surface of the lower portion of the shower studs.

This measure can help ensure the to become installed backer board will place flat over the space in which the shower liner extends up the shower partitions.

With the liner marked, take out the lining from your shower and then cut the lining with scissors similar. Set the liner straight back into the shower to confirm the suitable size and match. Next, sleek the lining within the shower pan and into the corners.

Twist the corners and toenails the fold toward the wall pit or contrary to nook studs in the event pose. Protected the top of the liner and top of the springs together with roofing claws or exterior alloy screws only the exact top edges of the wall portion of the liner.

You may also use liner adhesive or silicone caulk applied to the field of the shower pan for increased firmness.

It’s very important that you do not permeate the lining beneath the level of this shower suppress as collected water can proceed through fastener penetrations leading to escapes.

After that, fasten the lining to the shower curb using lining adhesive or silicone lubricant utilized to the shower side along with top of the mortar curb. Do not use penetrating attachments or nails, staples on the shower side or top of this suppress should possible.

At the top of the shower, the curb needs to supply a continuous, watertight route back to the shower pan and shower. Holes created by fasteners along this course may endanger this obstacle.

To complete the shower liner over the control, cut on the liner at the front top border.

Once the shower liner is installed, cut on the liner and clamp to the shower.

With all the shower lining installed, the shower base will be underneath the shower lining. Smooth the lining across the drain foundation to identify its location. Once found, reduce small holes to the 4 shower bolts.

To locate the bolt heads, then push down on the liner along with your fingers. Once located, make a very small slit just over the bolt heads only large enough to enable the bolt heads to drive through the lining.

Following, slice the drain hole from the lining. Track down the drain hole by simply pushing down on the liner. Feel that the edges of the opening and with a sharp knife, carefully cut out the lining to coincide with the within of the drain hole.

Once the bolt heads and drain holes have been cut off, seal the bottom of this lining to the drain foundation utilizing silicone coating or lining glue. Don’t use sealant on the topside of this liner because it may block water from the lining into the drain.

Complete the drain installation by installing the top drain gathering.

The assembly that is tightened will compress and then seal the liner to the drain.

Use care when tightening clamp bolts. Move bolt to bolt tightening every bolt just a little.

Drain risers are threaded to let height varies by rotating the riser.

Remember to consider tile depth once adjusting the drain riser top. The empty grate height should be matched by the tile coating on the final shower floor.

Previous to obeying the top mortar layer, heap gravel, stone spacers or more across the weep-holes of this drain collar to keep the weep holes available and more functional following the mortar will be poured.

Now, your shower liner and drain gathering should sort a watertight basin.

To test the liner and drain assembly, plug in the inside of the shower drain and flood the shower pan. The pan should support the fill-level of plain water over a long time period (immediately, by way of instance ).

Install the decrease class of this tile backer board

To generate the layering of the shower partitions over the shower linerthen install the lower path of one’s own tile backer board now.

Inside this way, the vinyl backer board of this shower will create a drinking water path down the wall into the shower pan over the liner.

Install the lower portion of the tile backer board now also adds stability to the shower partitions since they’ll be inserted from the top mortar layer of the shower pan.

When installing the backer board to add to the bottom edge inside the shower pan, you also only need to install the reduced portions of this backer board at the moment. Once the shower pan is finished, you can then install the backer plank.

Install the backer board on the shower lining using the bottom border of the backer board gaped 1/2 — 1″ over the shower lining covered shower pan base.

Scrap parts of plywood or smooth backer plank work as spacers to position the backer board prior to strengthening. Avoid having cement plank for being a spacer on top of the lining which can damage the shower lining.

Spacing the edge of the backer board will help prevent injury to the lining from the bottom edge of the backer board and assist in preventing movement of water up the shower wall. The gap that the backer plank over the shower curb.

With the backer board precisely and in place gaped above the lining and suppress, secure the backer board using the backer plank screws only at a level well over the shower lining as well as a curb.

Independently placed at the lower portion of the backer board can permeate the inherent shower liner and lead to leaks. Don’t forget the reduce portion of the backer is going to probably be integrated into the top, mortar layer of the shower pan and also become quite secure.

With the backer board is secure and position, the pan is ready for the very top layer of mortar. This top and also a final gold layer of this shower is put on top of the shower liner.

The top layer will act while the weight-bearing structural layer and form that the surface thatile will likely soon be installed on.

After creating the incline for this top layer it’s often not crucial to add a lot additional slope as you will likely probably soon be building on top of the previously sloped base mortar layer.

While planning the thickness of this to top, mortar layer, adjust the height of this drain throat to permit for the desired mortar thickness with consideration to your final depth of this tile along with a thin-set to be installed.

The final height of this tiled shower pan should match the top advantage of this shower and accounts for your intended tile’s thickness.

Prior to massaging this layer, shield the weep holes of the drain gathering by covering with pea gravel, marble chips or tile spacers to reduce blockage of these weep holes by a floor mixture.

This top layer of mortar needs to have sufficient thickness for mechanical integrity and also sloped as mentioned previously.

Generally speaking, the mortar should be 1 1/2 — 2″ thick in the drain. Policy for and place this thickness in the drain by simply correcting the drain collar to your right peak.

If you remove the top drain peeled, the Degree of mortar in the drain will likely probably be only below or close to flush with the empty collar (dark grey round thread piece at the photo above)

Once the drain height is put, use a straightedge to indicate the appropriate mortar height in the shower walls (which now will be your installed vinyl backer board). This marker should again correspond to a 1/4 — even 3/8″ slope toward the drain with a high-speed depth of at lease 2″.

With the drain set and walls marked, ditch moist floor mix onto the shower liner and screed smoothes using wooden or calcium float. Function out of the rear part of the shower to the front. Distribute the mud right on the shower lining and screed having a level piece of two ×4, similar or magnesium float.

Once the sand is in place and in the appropriate slope and thickness, sleek and complete the surface with a metal trowel or even similar.

Then put in the top layer of sand to the shower curb, similar to the pan, entirely on top of the shower liner. You may reinforce the curb mud layer by utilizing an”L” shaped piece of wire mesh into this second sand layer. Use care not to penetrate or damage the shower liner with the wire mesh or tools whilst building this top layer of this curb.

Last, end the top outermost layer of the curb with a steel trowel or similar tool. Permit the shower pan to cure for every day or 2 before tiling.

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