Considering redesigning your shower space, or building a new one? In that case, one of the critical decisions is choosing the right type of shower pan. Without prior knowledge, it will be quite tough for you to decide on the one that fulfills your needs. That’s where this article can help.
Well, there are multiple types of shower pans on the market. Based on the type of material used, you will find acrylic, tiled, cast iron, fiberglass, concrete, porcelain, and stoned shower pans. Each of these pans has its pros and cons.
Further, in this article, I will cover all these shower pans in detail; I will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each one. After that, you can decide the one which suits your needs.
What is Shower Pan?
Every shower space contains a shower pan at its base. It is the platform/floor on which you place your feet after entering the shower. This water-resistant barrier prevents moisture and water from getting into the floor. Moreover, it contains a drain channel, through which the water leaves your space and enters the drainage line.
A shower plan is extremely important because it contains water within it and doesn’t let water damage the floor and other non-waterproof components of the shower space.
8 Types of Shower Pan
Shower Pans come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The size must be chosen based on the type of shower enclosure, you want to install. It can be rectangular, cubicle, or curved. Apart from that, the major classification of shower pans is based on the material used for making them.
You will find a shower pan made of tiles, cast iron, acrylic, porcelain, fiberglass, concrete, or any composite materials. Each of these types offers its own advantages and downsides. Let’s take a look in detail, at what each type has to offer.
1. Tile Shower Pans
Tiled Shower Pans are custom designed based on the size of the shower space. One of the benefits of using this pan is that you have control over the appearance, design, and shape of the pan. You can create the pan with the tiles matching your bath space. Moreover, if your shower space is such that it won’t fit a ready-made shower pan, then a tile shower is one of the best options to choose from.
However, there are some downsides as well. Custom tile showers are expensive to build and then difficult to maintain. Since the tiles have grout lines that easily get filled with dirt and grim, regular cleaning of these pans is required.
Tile Shower Pans are also available in ready-to-install options. However, they too are quite expensive. For instance, a pre-made tile pan can cost around $500-2000.
2. Cast Iron Shower Pans
If you are looking for a sturdy and strong option, then cast iron can also be an option. Moreover, it is also quite stable and easy to clean.
The only downside is its weight. A cast iron pan is quite heavy and its installation is somehow difficult to other shower pans.
3. Acrylic Shower Pans
Acrylic shower pans are quite common due to their affordable price. They are lightweight since they are made from plastic; this makes their installation easy and simple.
They won’t crack or chip easily. And are available in a variety of design and color options to choose from. The maintenance is also quite simple, you can use household chemicals to clean.
4. Fiberglass Shower Pans
Like acrylic Shower pans, fiberglass shower pans are also durable and less prone to cracking. The glass fabric and polyester resin make them quite tough. Mostly, shower tubs are made from this material.
They are usually cheaper than acrylic ones, however, there are some drawbacks. Fiberglass is prone to change its color after a while. Moreover, you will have to be careful with its cleaning. It can easily get scratched with the use of abrasive cleaners.
5. Porcelain Shower Pans
Porcelain is another sturdy material for making shower pans. The mixture of clay, water, and organic chemicals when heated under pressure, they give out a solid porcelain pan. They are quite durable and can last very long up to 10 years.
The smooth shiny surface is resistant to scratches, however, it is slippery. Moreover, the pan can chip due to hard impact. It is durable and long-lasting but that makes it a little expensive just like tile shower pans.
6. Composite Material Shower Pans
Composite means a mixture of two or more materials. The commonly used composite in the pan-industry is plastic and fiberglass. The pan comes with epoxy which makes it waterproof.
If you are planning to buy this kind of shower pan, do remember that it’s installed before tile installation. Speaking of cost, it’s easily available for $500.
7. Stone Resin Shower Pans
If you are looking for something elegant and stylish, then you can go with a natural stone shower. The mixture of synthetic plastic and stones gives it a luxurious feel, which goes with all types of setups.
Since grouting isn’t done, the cleaning process becomes easy. You can use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to clean. Moreover, as it is a pre-fabricated kit, the installation is very quick. However, it’s usually available in black or grey shades. And you can expect it to buy between $500 to $700.
8. Concrete Shower Pans
If you are in search of a life-long shower panel, there is none other than the concrete shower pan. You can create a custom pan of your size. No chipping nor cracking, and very little to no maintenance. However, one of the drawbacks is the range of colors. It is only available in black, white and grey.
Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Shower Pan
Now that I have explained some of the types of shower pans, still some people find it difficult to choose, here’s a checklist you can use to decide the one.
Shape & Size of your Shower Space
First, the thing you need to keep in mind is the shower space you have; is it square, rectangular, or circular curvature? Then, measure its dimensions. Compare them with the standard sizes in the market.
If the size is available in standard ones, you have a wide variety of shower pans to choose from. However, if the size is not standard, you may be left with custom tile and concrete-made pans.
Some people are interested in budget-friendly options. However, tiled or porcelain can be costly in this regard. If you are tight on budget, one of the cheapest options with a wide range of colors is acrylic or fiberglass shower pans.
Looks and Durability
Some prefer looks, while others prefer durability. However, looks are purely subjective, someone can say natural stone or tile showers look great, while some may like concrete shower pans.
If you ask me, I would say tile ones are great. And in terms of durability, there is none comparable to custom concrete pans.
Shower pans are the base of your shower space. They not only contain the water inside but also protect the underneath structure. With multiple options available, choosing one can be hard. However, with the points mentioned above, I hope you can make an informed decision.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.