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Do I Need a Shower Pan?

Doing a bathroom remodel that includes a shower? Then you must consider installing a shower pan. If you don’t know what a shower pan is and its importance, don’t worry. We’ll walk you through all things shower pans.

Solid Surface Shower Pan

What Is a Shower Pan?

Do I need a shower pan?” To answer that question, we first need to understand what a shower pan is. A shower pan is the part of your shower that makes up the visible part of the floor. Apart from providing a comfortable platform to step on as you shower, it also directs water down your drain.

While a shower pan is sometimes confused with a shower base, the two are different. A shower base refers to the substructure upon which the shower pan is placed, and it is made of concrete. On the other hand, shower pans can be made of acrylic, stones, ceramic, or metal.

Both shower pans and shower bases help drain water out of the alcove and protect it from water damage.

Shower Pan Benefits

Installing a shower pan has many benefits that you can’t afford to ignore. Here are some of the main ones:

Protects Your Floor and Subfloor

One of the main benefits of a shower pan is that it protects your floor and subfloor from water. If water seeps through the floor into the subfloor, it could cause extensive water damage, not only in your bathroom but the rest of the house as well.

Provides a Waterproof Surface for Your Tiles

If you plan on installing tiles in your shower, a shower pan can come in quite handy. That’s because it provides a waterproof surface on which to lay your tiles. This added layer increases the longevity of your floor.

Increases Safety

Most injuries that happen in the bathroom occur when a person is entering or leaving the shower. The leading cause is a slippery shower floor. Shower pans help mitigate the risk of falling in the shower, as they are designed to make the shower more accessible. This is especially important for children, the elderly, and disabled persons.

Shower Pan Installation

While installing a shower pan is a DIY project, it’s best left to the professionals if you’re not familiar with the process. Improperly installed, a shower pan can spring a leak. Worse still, it can crack.

Here’s a brief look at the process of installing a shower pan:

  • Assemble your tools.
  • Measure and clean the place where you’re going to install the shower pan.
  • Dry fit the shower pan.
  • Fit and level the pan.
  • Attach the pan according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use caulk to seal the perimeter where the pan meets the shower wall.

If installed properly, your shower pan can last you decades, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or get a professional to do it for you.

Shower Pan Styles and Features

Shower pans come in many different sizes and designs. You also have the option of choosing the type of material you want your shower pan to be made of. Let’s quickly look at the choices you have when selecting a shower pan, shall we?


  • Shower pans made from acrylic are largely made of large acrylic sheets that have been heated and stretched into a mold. Acrylics have the advantages of being easy to maintain and durable.
  • Fiberglass shower pans are made from polyester mixed with woven glass fibers. They’re a cheaper alternative to other types of shower pan materials and are also inexpensive to repair. The only caveat is they are more susceptible to damage or stains.
  • Composites are materials made from two or more different materials. The combination of other materials often results in a more superior material. In the case of shower pans, they’re more durable and easier to maintain. The only downside is they are more expensive than other materials.

Shower Pan Thresholds

A shower pan threshold is the front edge that you step over to enter the shower. Shower pans come with different types of thresholds that you can choose from.

  • Barrier-free shower pans. These allow you to step right in and, thus, minimize the risk of trips or falls.
  • Beveled thresholds. This type of threshold allows for easy wheelchair access and is compliant with ADA guidelines.
  • Curbed thresholds. Curbed thresholds have a small curb that you have to step over as you enter your shower. The curb ranges in height from ½ inch to 6 inches tall.

Position of the Drain

Another difference you’ll find in shower pans is the position of the drain. They usually feature a center or end (left or right) drain.

Choosing the Right Shower Pan

With all these options, choosing a shower pan can be quite daunting. So, how do you choose the right one for your bathroom?


Shower pans range in price from as little as $150 to as much as $1000. One of the first factors to influence which shower pan is right for you is your budget.


Another critical factor to consider when choosing a shower pan is aesthetics. Shower pans come in different styles, colors, and textures. When choosing one, make sure to pick one that matches your bathroom decor.


Interior of stylish modern bathroom with ceramic sink and shower unit with transparent glass doors

Is accessibility a major factor in your home? Then you must consider investing in an ADA-compliant shower pan. These are designed to ensure that children, the elderly, and people in wheelchairs can easily enter and exit the shower.

Do I Need a Shower Pan?

We’ve come full circle back to our question of the day—“Do I need a shower pan?”

If you’re building and want to include a shower in your bathroom or you are simply remodeling your bathroom, you probably need one. That’s because a shower pan will help:

  • Protect your floors and subfloors.
  • Enhance your shower’s safety.
  • Provide a waterproof surface for tiling should you want to add tiles.

If these advantages of shower pans sound good to you, then make sure to check out our extensive catalog. Alternatively, give us a call at (888) 228-4925. We’ll be more than happy to guide you through this important purchase.