How to Build a Shower Pan on a Concrete Floor: A Comprehensive Guide

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When it comes to bathroom renovations, one of the most critical aspects is building a solid and waterproof shower pan.

A well-constructed shower pan not only ensures proper drainage but also prevents water from seeping into your concrete floor.

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of how to build a shower pan on a concrete floor, ensuring a leak-free and long-lasting solution for your bathroom.

1. Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you start the project, it’s essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Shower Pan Liner: A waterproof barrier that will prevent water from seeping into the concrete.
  • Mortar Mix: To create a solid base for your shower pan.
  • Trowel: For spreading and shaping the mortar mix.
  • Cement Board: Provides a sturdy surface for your tile.
  • Tile and Tile Adhesive: Choose your preferred tile style and adhesive.
  • Drain Assembly: Ensure it’s compatible with your shower pan liner.
  • Utility Knife, Screws, and Screwdriver: For cutting and securing materials.

2. Prepare the Subfloor

Start by preparing your concrete subfloor. Ensure it’s clean, level, and free from any debris. Use a level to check for any uneven areas, as this will impact the stability of your shower pan.

3. Install the Drain

Place the drain assembly in the center of your shower area. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation. This is a crucial step as it ensures proper drainage.

4. Build the Mortar Base

Mix the mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spread the mortar evenly on the subfloor, sloping it gently towards the drain. Use a trowel to shape the mortar to create the desired slope. Allow it to dry completely.

5. Install the Shower Pan Liner

Lay the shower pan liner over the mortar base, ensuring it covers the entire shower area. Cut holes for the drain and any fixtures using a utility knife. Secure the liner to the wall studs using staples or adhesive.

6. Cement Board Installation

Install cement boards on the walls surrounding your shower area. Use screws and a screwdriver to secure them in place. Ensure there are no gaps between the boards.

7. Apply Tile Adhesive

With the cement boards in place, you can now apply tile adhesive to the walls and the shower pan floor. This will create a solid surface for your tiles to adhere to.

8. Tile Your Shower

Carefully lay your chosen tiles on the adhesive-covered surfaces. Ensure they are evenly spaced and level. Allow the adhesive to dry before proceeding.

9. Grout the Tiles

Once the adhesive has dried, apply grout between the tiles. Wipe away any excess grout with a damp sponge. Let it cure for the recommended time.

10. Finish with Sealer

To ensure your shower pan remains waterproof, apply a high-quality sealer to the grout lines and tile surface. This will prevent water from penetrating and damaging your concrete floor.


Building a shower pan on a concrete floor may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and a well-thought-out plan, it’s a project that can be accomplished by any DIY enthusiast. By following these steps and paying attention to detail, you’ll have a leak-free and beautiful shower pan that will last for years to come.

FAQs – How to Build a Shower Pan on a Concrete Floor

1. How long does it take for the mortar base to dry?

The drying time for the mortar base can vary depending on humidity and temperature. It typically takes 24 to 48 hours for the mortar to fully cure.

2. Can I use any type of tile for my shower?

You can choose any tile you like for your shower, but it’s essential to select one that is suitable for wet environments to ensure durability.

3. Do I need to hire a professional for this project?

While hiring a professional is an option, building a shower pan on a concrete floor can be a DIY project with the right guidance and tools.

4. Is it necessary to apply a sealer to the grout and tile?

Yes, applying a sealer is crucial to prevent water from seeping into the grout lines and damaging the underlying concrete floor.

5. Can I install a shower pan liner without prior experience?

Installing a shower pan liner requires some basic DIY skills, but with careful attention to detail and following instructions, it’s achievable for beginners.

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