Irregular shower pan size - new construction [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-09-2004, 09:24 PM
New construction: I need some advice on shower pans. Yesterday I was talking to a plumbing supply rep and he seemed quite knowledgeable but since we didn't know anything about building a shower, I'd like to hear some of your opinions. Our two showers are kindof odd shapes and not standard sizes.

One is 3'8" x approx. 5' with a diagonal door (i.e. one wall is approx. 5' and the opposite wall is approx. 2-1/2'). The other one is about the same size and shape.

He says there is no vinyl or fiberglass pan that will fit exactly. And he says he does not recommend lead and that not all subdivisions allow lead. We're having the walls tiled with probably the same large ceramic floor tile but he says not to use tiles on the shower base because water will seep through the grout lines. Now I'm a complete idiot when it comes to this. He kept talking about leakage and how important the proper installation is. He was trying to sell us a preform fiberglas pan even though it won't fit wall to wall. I didn't understand what he was saying about what to do with the area the pan doesn't fit in (you know, where it falls short?). None of this makes sense. I've never seen a prefabbed shower pan in any of the model homes we've been to.

Anyway, you might disregard all of this and just tell me what we need to do, what kind of shower pan to get for a non-standard size and what to look for and what to expect of the plumber when installing it. (He also said NOT to put in a bench seat, which the architect designed in mine, because water would get under it - he said to make a wooden bench by building up the tile vertically on both sides of 2-3 planks of wood to form legs so that the water will drain down.)

Someone in Gardenweb just recommended Jetta Stone - that they can pour it into any size I need. I went into their site and love the look and it sure beats little tiles. They say they can make any custom-size pan but I don't want to give them dimensions and then find out the framer cut it a little short or big and now it won't fit exactly. Her fabricator said he could pour it to any size shower. Do you know anything about Jetta Stone and whether it could be done on site?
:confused: :confused:

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03-09-2004, 09:33 PM
Hi Susan. The guy you were talking to doesn't seem to know much. A regular PVC pan can be used under the tile and will last a long time, longer than those poured pans. Also, a seat can be built not to leak out of concrete blocks and tiled over. As with everything, it all must be done right.

03-09-2004, 09:37 PM
Hi Susan...

The rep was right in some respects. It is essential that a shower pan be done properly or it will leak. It's not something you trust to any old handyman ( or plumber rep)

Around here we recommend, support, guide, and practice the tried and true practices of a custom shower pan ( with and w/o benches). If you want a tile floor. We can tell you how. If you want a bench we can tell you that also.

There is an article in the "liberry" section of this forum that tells you how shower pans are properly constructed.

Basically, a flexible liner is placed over a sloped floor. Mud and tile then sits atop the liner. Water will, in fact, travel through the tile / grout floor but it will reach the liner. The slope floor beneath will force the water ( on the liner) to drain through weep holes in the shower drain.

Heck...John B is in your neck of the woods...I'm sure he'll be along soon and chime in


03-09-2004, 09:46 PM
Hi Susan, Welcome :)

The plumbing rep was only knowledgeable in one thing. This application you want requires a custom pan. The best way to do this, is to build it on site and tile it. You can also utilize a tile or natural stone bench with no fear.

I couldn't find Jetta Stone on the web, so I don't have a clue what it is, or if it would work.

Who is going to do your work? ;)

03-09-2004, 10:03 PM
Thanks, guys.

doitright, the website is Please go there and tell me what you think.

The plumbing supply rep says they can build it. I don't really know. When you're building a new house, does the plumber usually do it?

03-09-2004, 10:55 PM
This is from a plumbers point of view> I think all you need is a good tile man to do your shower. Your design does'nt even seem that odd to me. I see and perform plumbing surgery on some of the strangest showers nowdays as anyone. I did the plumbing in an octagon shower with 3 shower valves, diverters,6 sprays ,handheld, 2 shower heads at different heights, one of the rain type heads coming out of the ceiling,a steamer,2 benchs and it was in a turrett looking structure overlooking a lake, and it also had glass blocks in 3 of the walls. All it needed was one of those rotating scrubbers that go up and down like you see at the car wash to be complete. So I think your plumbing guy is a little off. Just look at some of these tile dudes work on this site,anyone of them could hook you up. Search for someone with references and check the references out. See if they are happy with their tilesetters work. David

03-10-2004, 06:40 AM
Hi Susan :)

I looked at the website. Thanks.

It appears to be a good product. There are companies around here that will do the same. By the time you figure in cost, lead time, and color restrictions, (for a custom unit), you're better off to have one made by the tile setter (as David suggested).

Hi David :)

Thanks, I couldn't have said it better myself! ;)

John Bridge
03-10-2004, 07:14 AM
Howdy, Neighbor. :)

I need to verify that you are in fact building a custom home. :)

Production builders are pretty much going to do things their way.

If you have the choice, a well-done mud-built ceramic tile shower will serve you well.

Depending on whether you're in a city or out in the country, you may not have a choice on shower pan liners.

So, where you be, Susan? ;)