INSTALL A PREFORMED SHOWER BASE

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
Completion Time: Week-end project

Whether you are replacing an existing shower or installing a new one, using a preformed, acrylic shower base is the fastest and easiest way to a new shower. Shower bases can now be purchased in many colors and styles. It can become the focal point for any bathroom renovation colour scheme.

The style of shower base that you install depends on many different considerations such as the location of the bathroom and how much clearance there is underneath.

Because they provide an almost instant solution to a problem, this is a perfect do-it-yourself project. This project details the installation of the base only allowing you to use a variety of wall covering such as ceramic wall tile or marble tile.

TOOLS

  • Drill
  • 3/16" bit
  • 6" hole saw bit
  • Hammer
  • Level

  • Tape measure
  • Wrenches
  • Reciprocating saw with 6" blade
  • 14" X 14" notched trowel
  • 4 ½ gallons pre-mixed mastic or sand-mixed

MATERIALS

  • Framing studs
  • 1 ½" stainless screws
  • Pipe, pipe fittings and pipe assembly material
  • Plastic shims
  • Drain components

  • Plumber’s putty
  • Anti-mould silicone caulking compound
  • Construction adhesive
  • Rock wool insulation
BEFORE ASSEMBLY
BEFORE BEGINNING THE PROJECT

  • Make sure that the unit is the right model, size and color before installation and check for any signs of damage. Even a hair-line crack could cause problems down the road. Also, check the dimensions of the shower base and the shower doors of the unit to be installed.
  • Make sure that the basic plumbing is up to code. If replacing an old shower stall this is made easier because the drain and water inlets pipes will already be positioned. If starting from scratch hire a licensed plumber to get the utilities into position.
  • Check to see that the framing is up to the specifications required by the manufacturer. For example, some companies suggest 12" spaces between the studs to support their shower stalls rather than the usual 16".
  • Protect the interior surface of the shower base during installation by using thick cardboard or a packing quilt.
  • Having the preformed shower base set in mortar is preferred because the weight of people who use the shower may cause the base to flex and cracks form between the base and wall panels. With a firm foundation there is no chance that the drain or side panel joints will leak because none of the parts will move.
  • Cement board is the best product for subfloors when the shower base is being set into mortar. It holds the mortar firmly and will not warp, rot, attract mold or deteriorate when wet.

STEPS
1.1 Cover the drain pipe with a proper ABS cap or stuff with a clean rag.

1.2 Measure and level the floor to accept the fibrocement board to go over the subfloor.

1.3 Cut and install fibrocement board to fit and cut the opening for the drain with a 3 ¼" hole saw.

1.4 Glue the fibrocement board to the subfloor or adhere it with construction glue.

ATTACH THE FIBROCEMENT BOARD TO THE FLOOR 
2.1 Insert the main drain body (5) through the hole in the shower base with the threaded side extending below the shower pan.

2.2 Apply plumber’s putty between the shower base and the top lip of the main drain body.
Make sure there are no gaps.

2.3 Insert the rubber gasket (6) over the threaded end underneath the shower base and push up until it is snug with the shower base. (Some manufacturers recommend putting a bead of silicone between the rubber gasket and the bottom of the shower base.)

2.4 Place the fibre gasket (7) over the rubber gasket and then screw the nut (8) on until it is snug. Tighten ¾" of a turn with a pipe wrench but do not over-tighten.
Some drains have fins on the bottom so that the nut can be turned by pushing a screwdriver head against one of the tabs.

2.5 Coat the end of the drain body (5) and the drain pipe itself with dishwashing liquid to allow for an easier fitting when the shower pan is put in place.

ASSEMBLE THE DRAIN 
3.1 Dry fit the shower base to make sure the drain lines up with the hole.

3.2 Level following manufacturer’s instructions and place shims underneath where necessary.

3.3 Mark the studs to the position of the upper lip of leveled shower pan.

3.4 Remove the cap or rag from the drain pipe and cut the excess drain pipe with a reciprocating saw.

3.5 Re-cover the drain pipe with a plastic bag and fasten with a zip-tie to hold it tight.

LEVEL THE FLOOR 
4.1 Coat the area where the shower base is to be placed with 1" of pre-mixed mastic or sand-mixed concrete.
Make a border around the drain so that the plastic bag can be removed without getting any adhesive mixture in the drain.

4.2 Press the shower pan into place being careful to line up the drainpipe with the drain body protruding below the shower pan. Make sure that the top of the pan lines up with the leveling marks on the studs.

4.3 Screw the base into the wall studs using the pre-drilled holes in the shower base lip. Some manufacturers supply clips that are fastened to the studs.

4.4 Let the masonry compound set for 6 to 8 hours before continuing.

 INSTALL THE SHOWER BASE 
5.1. Coat the neoprene ring (4) with a silicone lubricant and insert it into the top of the drain (5).

5.2. Screw threaded ring (3) into the drain (5) and tighten using the bar tool (2) provided.
This will compress the neoprene ring into the drain for a water-tight fit.

5.3. Clean out the drain and check for any foreign matter and then snap on the drain cover (1).

PLACE THE DRAIN UNIT