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atm 04-26-2009 06:30 AM

How to build base for a shower stall
I am installing a single 36x36 shower stall in the new basement bathroom. The rough in drain pipe that is sticking out the concrete is somewhere off centered.

I am planning to create a tiled enclosure and will not be using the prefab shower base.

Can someone describe what is the proper way to build the shower base so its as good as a prefab shower base (i.e. guarantee no leaks.)


al's sewer 04-26-2009 07:15 AM


Originally Posted by atm (Post 265627)
I am installing a single 36x36 shower stall in the new basement bathroom. The rough in drain pipe that is sticking out the concrete is somewhere off centered.

I am planning to create a tiled enclosure and will not be using the prefab shower base.

Can someone describe what is the proper way to build the shower base so its as good as a prefab shower base (i.e. guarantee no leaks.)


If you are on a concrete floor all you have to do is get a mud base ceramic tile and your drain does not have to be centered for it to work as long as you slope to it. YOu might go in the remodeling forum to get more accurate info.

Bob Mariani 04-26-2009 08:43 AM

Check out the Kerdi drain systems at they have the products you need and the directions to make this base correctly.

Michael Thomas 04-26-2009 09:35 AM

For information on how to build a water tight conventional shower pan, take a look here:

You can achieve satisfactory results using either conventional built-up shower pans or Kerdi and similar systems, but based on my experience inspecting tiled showers you are more likely to get a satisfactory result using the latter - it's not that the former system is especially hard to do, it's just that it's becoming harder and harder to find people with the skills and experience to do it properly.

One other thing to consider: there is a temptation to assume that because a shower pan is being installed on a slab, installation is less critical.

However if somebody is installing a tile shower on a slab there is likely going to be finishing the floor surface outside it, and you are already going to have all the other issues and concerns involved in selecting and properly installing a satisfactory covering material on a concrete slab - a material inherently prone to cracks and often in a below grade location especially subject to water intrusion.

Water leaking under a slab from a defective shower pan only increases the likelihood and potential severity of problems with floor coverings, and you are not going to have the option of coming at such problems from below to correct them.


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clasact 04-26-2009 10:22 AM

atm if you search through some over the old threads on this site you will find several links that show just how to do what your trying and I dont remember the guys name but his vidio is very good about how the sand mix should look and feel.I followed it a while backto do mine and it turned out great.The kirdi system is above all the best and easiest I did a shower from scrach and one with kerdi but has its costs.So if you will go through the site you will find just what you need and good luck its not as hard as it looks

atm 04-26-2009 05:06 PM

Thank you all for your help! This is the info i was looking for.

My plan is to build the wall, install the piping components and cover the bathroom with the drywall (green board). Previously, I was planning to do the bathroom at a future date but would end up paying more for getting the drywaller to come back just for the bathroom.

Do I need to install the shower base before doing the drywall or can I do the drywall in the bathroom first then build the shower base at a later date?

Also, Do I need to use the cement board or dense shield around the shower area for tiling or would the Green board work fine?


clasact 04-26-2009 05:26 PM

I guess you could do the drywall before the base work it will be like two different areas since you dont want drywall near the shower area.You could use either one the cement board or dense shield I did mine with cement board.I would get it a roughed in and ready let the drywall guy do his thing then you can put your sand mix base in that is after you got your drain where you want.This is going on a slab right?Then you can put up you walls mud and tape the seams and then your water proof material I like the schlter material for this part as compared to the other stuff it cost a little more but its your most important part so dont skimp here.I see no reason why you cant do it at a later date but be sure you have it all framed and rouged in befor you start closeing things up

Bob Mariani 04-26-2009 06:22 PM

green board is not allowed in wet areas like the shower wall. Use 1/2" cement board and Redgard for a waterproofing membrane or normal drywall and kerdi shower membrane. The wall material needs to go after the mud base, since the membrane needs to lap up the wall about 12".

clasact 04-26-2009 06:29 PM

could be my take on what he was asking Bob but I thought he was asking if he could put green board in the rest of the bath area and then cement board for the shower walls at a later date along with the base.I could be wrong though it has happen before and before and before

Bob Mariani 04-26-2009 07:38 PM

maybe so. But why greenboard anywhere. mold resistant drywall is better. Greenboard is too flexible for the ceilings. Only place you cannot use it is for the shower walls.

atm 04-26-2009 08:49 PM

Is the green board the same as the blue board? I got the blue board at home depot and was told that these are similar to green board. Sorry for the confusion.

To clarify, I wanted to confirm if I could use blue board all around the bathroom including the shower area? If I understand correctly - I can use the blue board in the shower area as long as Schluter sheets are applied to them.

Thanks again.

clasact 04-26-2009 09:01 PM

no you can use the blue in the bath area but not in the shower area thats where you need cement board and from my understanding blue is thicker then green board just like reg drywall only mold and moisture resistant but you dont put that in the shower/bath arear use the cement board for shower/bath area then water proof membrain then tile

Bob Mariani 04-27-2009 06:33 AM

right blue board is the replacement/upgrade to fix the exact issues I mentioned to be aware of with the greenboard. Just do not use behind the shower walls unless you are using a kerdi membrane for the walls also.

jon#391u 05-13-2009 10:18 AM


I would seriously consider moving the drain before I would ever build up a mud shower again. I did this about two months ago and it a lot of work. I used mud because my shower was something like 46 1/2 X 40 and none of the prefab shower kits would fit. Since your shower is already 36x36 just go with the prefab. They are a little more money but worth it. Consider this, to build a non prefab you need to first do a prefloat with cement, then install a plastic (for lack of better word) liner, then do your mud pan. Each consists of 2 to 4 inches of cement. You need to float these layers so that it drains correctly and you don't get water puddles. And even after you do all this work there are so many places where you could have made a costly mistake. I don't think I made any but only time, and shower use will tell.

Good luck!

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