Shower pans come in all shapes and sizes for different bathroom dimension needs. These bathroom pieces are essential because they direct the water from the shower to the drain. In contrast to what many would presume, shower pans do not have a universal size. But if you are wondering about the standard size for shower pans, it would be in between 32”x32” up to 42” x60”.
If you are looking for shower pans now and you want to know the standard sizes that are available for each type, you have come to the right post because we will discuss that down for you. So, without much fuss, read on.
In this article:
- What is a shower pan?
- What are shower pans made from?
- What are standard shower pan sizes?
- What is the smallest shower pan size?
- Do shower pans come in custom sizes?
- How do you measure a shower pan?
- Do you need a shower pan for a tile shower?
- Which is better shower pan or a tile?
- How long do shower pans last?
- Does a shower pan need a liner?
- Do I need a mortar bed under shower pan?
- Can I use spray foam under a shower pan?
- Do shower pans fail?
- How do I know if my shower pan has gotten bad?
What is a shower pan?
As have been briefly mentioned, a shower pan is installed on the shower floor to direct the water down the drain. It is installed slightly sloped so that all excess water would eventually fall through, into the drain. They are also installed in a slightly lipped manner so that no water would leak back to the floor.
A lot of people are confused about the difference between a shower pan and a shower base. The pan is basically the thing you see in the shower floor while the shower base would be the structure installed beneath the shower itself.
What are shower pans made from?
Like all other home improvement structures, shower pans are also made of different materials. There are three most common types, however. These would be acrylic, tile, and fiberglass.
This is a well-preferred shower pan material by most homeowners because it is non-porous, meaning that dirt and grime would not be able to stay long and penetrate through the shower floor. It is also durable and comes at a reasonable price.
This is perhaps the cheapest material for a shower pan and it is easy to clean too. Since it is customizable, you can easily incorporate a high-end look to your shower pan. The only downside of this one is its upkeep in the long run as it might need regrouting down the stretch.
Aesthetics wise, the appeal of fiberglass shower pans is outstanding. Aside from that, it is also inexpensive. However, they have the shortest lifespan out of the four materials here plus they are also more vulnerable to breaking, damages, and stains.
Other types of shower pans include cast iron, composite, molded stone, and cultured marble. However, they are more tricky to install and would need professionals to have them put into place.
What are standard shower pan sizes?
Note that all shower pan sizes are manufactured using an even number scheme. They all start at 32×32 inches and up to 42×60 inches. On the other hand, neo-angle shower pans have a cross dimension from 36-inches to 60-inches. As for the depth, the shallowest allowed shower pan lip would be 1-inch. In contrast, the deepest shower pan lip is at 5.5”x6”.
There are other considerations to follow too, relative to shower pan sizes. One, choose where to position the shower drain. It can be an off-set drain, a center drain, or an on-edge drain. Also, you must consider if you just need an individual pan or a whole shower pan kit.
What is the smallest shower pan size?
Now, some bathrooms are really small, and you might find yourself wondering about the smallest shower pan size for these kinds of bathrooms. The smallest or minimum size of shower pans would be at 30-inches.
Do shower pans come in custom sizes?
Yes. You can have your shower pans made in your preferred size, shape, angle, and design. But of course, they are always more expensive than the pre-fabricated ones. The price depends on the difficulty of the design and the materials used.
How do you measure a shower pan?
To get the proper fit, you must know how to measure for a shower pan. It is not that complicated and here are the steps that you have to master to properly measure one.
- Take the measurement of each side of the shower pan from the outer edge. This is the first measurement that you must take down.
- The next one would be the shower pan’s depth. Start measuring from the top edge until you reach the inside’s bottom.
- Lastly, measure the outer corners of the pan relative to the location of the shower drain. This is how you can ensure a perfect fit.
For first timers in measuring shower pans, take heed of this special tip: also measure the space between the drain and the wall studs because you have to make sure that the shower space matches the drain space.
Do you need a shower pan for a tile shower?
Be it a tile shower or not, a shower pan is still essential. As for tile showers, it is an important fixture because it kind of waterproofs the area. This means adding safety to the tile shower because it tends to become slippery when wet. Other than that, it also helps in making sure that the tile floor and subfloor does not wear fast due to water leaks.
Which is better shower pan or a tile?
There are a lot of factors to weigh in for this question to be answered so ultimately, the decision rests on your hands. And to narrow down that decision, it would be better to present the pros and cons of each fixture.
For a high-end finish, tile is often a go-to choice. Upfront and in terms of maintenance, ceramic tiles are also more costly than a single buy shower pan. When it comes to the shower floor, here are the pros and cons of tile over a shower pan.
|More versatile design options.||High maintenance.|
|High-end finish adds value.||Prone to cracking.|
|Greater customization options.||Labor intensive.|
Function wise, this fixture is made for the sole purpose of channeling shower water down the drain. But it is not perfect and it also has its share of pros and cons and it would be the following:
|Low maintenance.||Not fail-proof when it comes to installation.|
|Easy to install.||Hiccups in installation.|
|Inexpensive.||Needs drain placement.|
How long do shower pans last?
This one depends on the material used for the shower pan. For instance, acrylic is a prime choice because it lasts for more than 10 years and with minimal maintenance. On the other hand, tile could last for more than 15 years but it needs re-grouting in between as well as making sure that it does not crack for it to reach this span.
Fiberglass is quite the hardest to maintain so in terms of longevity, it is estimated to last for 8-10 years. Perhaps, the most durable and with the longest lifespan would be composite shower pans or those made of stone and concrete. They are also low maintenance.
Does a shower pan need a liner?
Almost always, a shower pan needs a liner. Contractors would say that installing liners beneath the shower pan adds to its safety because it is another waterproofing component of the shower pan. The only time that a shower room works without installing a liner is when the shower floor is based on concrete and tiles are installed directly on top of it.
Do I need a mortar bed under shower pan?
At times, it is not necessary but on some other times it can be useful. It actually depends on the construction of the entire shower space. Mortar beds are specially designed to be another draining fixture for water. It is like a protective component because it inhibits water backflow as well as the growth of molds.
Can I use spray foam under a shower pan?
While you would hear that this is a commonplace practice for shower pans, note that spray foams expand underneath when too much water pressure is handled. As such, it is advised that only a minimal amount of spray foam should be used under a shower pan or else, you are risking your shower pan with premature cracking which consequently leads to early replacement.
Do shower pans fail?
When it comes to shower pans, installment and time are its main enemies. Badly installed shower pans or too old shower pans can weaken the home’s foundation with all of that water coming and going every time one uses the shower. Once the shower pan leaks and breaks, the water will find its way directly to the home’s foundation.
How do I know if my shower pan has gotten bad?
There are three main indicators of a failing shower pan, and it would be the following.
- Visible stains: Once you see stains or blemishes in your shower room’s drywall, ceiling as well as the space around or along the shower head, it means that your shower pan might be cracked hence, water backflow or water puddling.
- Mold or mildew: The presence of mold or mildew along the wall is another manifestation of a failing shower pan. It means that the water is already seeping through the wall ledge. Any discoloration on the slabs on the first floor of the home is also an indicator of a bad shower pan.
- Visible water: Sometimes, water puddling can be more significant. Once you open a faucet and you see water leaks from nearby crevices, one of the main factors causing that would be a faulty shower pan.
When one of these three happens or becomes visible and you have no idea how to fix them, you have to call for a plumber immediately. This is to first aid what can be saved and for someone to professionally assess what you should do next when it comes to your shower pans.
To conclude, the standard sizes of shower pans are not that complicated since you already know that the base dimension is 32×32 and it could go up to 42×60. Petite bathrooms could be as small as 30×30, on the other hand.
The more important thing to understand about shower pans would be factors such as material, construction, and other waterproofing components that you could benefit from a shower pan.