A Shower Pan From Scratch


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So you want to learn how to build a shower pan with Dix Systems’? Well, let’s just go on and learn about how I made a marvelous one, cheap and easy! First things first, let’s make the curb. We’re going to need to create a wooden form. After that’s done, we’ve got to get some concrete to fill it with. Mine was 4” tall and 5” thick, so two 4” boards cut to length should be fine. Screw them into the floors and walls where necessary, and make absolutely sure there is a 4” space between the two boards. If you want some extra strength, take some large 4” screws into the floor instead, and use steel reinforcing wire along the length of the center, to create more crack resistance in its finished state. If you’re doing concrete over wood, then it’s probably best to use roofing paper to separate concrete from plywood, so all that moisture from the still-wet concrete won’t hurt anything.

The top of your drain should be about 2” from the floor (that’s the top, not the bottom). To make sure everything is even, use a ruler or those fancy levels, if you have one, to draw a straight line around the perimeter of the pan you’re creating. It should be just a bit short of 3” from the floor. It should be enough, perhaps a quarter or so, so it can allow water to flow down into the drain.

Remember to not use cement with gravel aggregate in it. Your cement should be fairly dry, and should actually be almost crumbly. Try to use some cement that’s also used for brick mortar. It should be pretty close to regular concrete in stores. About three bags will cover a 32 x 48 shower, so you can do the math and make adjustments yourself by measuring your shower and seeing how much bigger or smaller it is than the example. For example, one of my showers was 32 x 48, but the other was half that, or 16 x 24. Mine was pretty easy to figure out. Just divide three in half, and you get 1.5 bags. It might have taken a little more than half the second bag, but one bag wouldn’t have covered it. Mix the cement outside, preferably in something like a wheelbarrow or large trough.

Borrow one from your neighbor if you don’t have one, or their neighbor if they don’t. Do this one bag at a time, and carry it into the bathroom with a large bucket. Five gallons should be enough. Once there, just dump that cement into your shower.

Next, you just have to smooth it out. Make sure you don’t get any concrete in the drain, though! Use a wide selection of straight edges to scrape and smooth the concrete, and until you get a nice, smooth bowl, just keep adding more concrete. Once it looks smooth from the top, see if you can spot any bumps or waves from a side-view. If you can, smooth ‘em out. All that’s left now is the waterproofing!