How to Install a Mortared Shower Pan
Follow our step-by-step instructions to custom-fit a shower enclosure with a mortared shower pan.
A mortared shower pan allows you to custom-fit a shower enclosure. The key to a successful installation lies in the use of a chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) or PVC membrane, tough but flexible plastics that form the pan of the enclosure and make the floor waterproof. Over the membrane, a mortar bed floor supports the tile. Smaller tiles work best to conform to the slope.
This thick-bed installation relies on a troweled mortar mix, which when properly mixed is like a sandy clay. Floating a thick bed takes two steps: floating the sloped sub-base for the membrane and floating a reinforced top floor that follows the slope of the sub-base. Because of its considerable weight, you should install it only on a slab or properly supported wood subfloor.
You'll need to devote two to three days to frame the enclosure, float the floor, and tile and grout the interior. Before you begin, strengthen and repair the subfloor. Also make sure you're comfortable with basic framing, mixing and floating mortar, setting tile, and grouting.