New Plans and Shower Pans

Day 5 of Project Bathroom  and we have hit our first major issue.

Backing up, I had some plumbers come in to quote moving the drain and water supply to the back wall of the bathroom to create a tub/shower combo (See Layout Here). Since the old Jaccuzzi was still installed, it was pretty impossible for them to see the pipes or drains, but they just guessed everything would be ok.

Spoiler Alert – It’s not!

So after a long weekend of demo and clearing the area for the plumber, he showed up Monday at 8:30 AM and declared we can’t put a bathtub in the space. It has something to do with the height of the drain and that by extending it, we wouldn’t have the necessary angle for the tub to drain properly.

**Deep Breathes**

So left with no other option, I decided to make it a stand up shower. That would keep the drain where it is, but still move the water supply and faucets to the back wall.

In all honesty, Collin and I would both prefer a stand up shower, but we were adding a tub for resale value. I had the plumber take a look at where we are planning on adding a second bathroom (the old kitchen), and he confirmed we wouldn’t have any trouble adding a bathtub in that area instead. So it kind of worked out, but there was a moment of panic in there somewhere.

The plumber was all done around 11:30, and here’s what we were left with:


With the change of plans, I ran to Home Depot to pick up some new materials. I grabbed some 2×4’s to outline the shower base, tar paper, wire mesh and sand topper cement.

Quick Note here, we used this tutorial on the best way to do this: Installing Mortar Shower Pan Video

When I got home, I wanted to get the area prepped and ready for the first layer of cement. I installed the 2×4’s to outline the shower (30″ x 60″ inside) and then added a second 2×4 right on top, to make sure the curb is high enough that the water doesn’t go over it.

Once that was secure, I cut and installed 15lb Tar paper. I just stapled it right to the floor boards. The tar paper protects to the subfloor from sucking up the moisture in the cement.


The next layer was a layer of wire mesh stapled on top of the tar paper. I don’t have a picture of that, but just trust me, it’s in there.

Finally, we were ready for our first layer of cement. Collin mixed the cement to the consistency of a packed snowball,  not too wet. We laid the cement out and packed it down with a flat trowel. It was a laid on a pitch towards the drain:


After that cured for 2 days, we moved on to step 2 of the concrete. Collin installed some support backers around the perimeter of the shower, and some extra 2×4’s up where the shower door will go. Once I got home from work, we laid down the membrane (red) and nailed it in to the support backers:


We mixed 2 more bags of concrete and poured and packed it in, the same way as the first layer, at a pitch towards the drain.


You can see above, we trimmed the membrane and laid another piece of wood on top, to hold it in place and increase the height of the curb, so no water comes out while showering.

This has to cure for another 2 days, but in the meantime we picked out all of the tile!! Stay tuned for that, because I threw the old budget out the window and can’t wait to see the results!


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