A shower pan liner is a pan-shaped waterproof barrier placed under the floor of a shower. Its purpose is to catch any water that seeps through the tile and grout. Then, it directs the water to the drain. The liner, therefore, keeps the floor from water damage, fungus, and mold.

  1. Acquire a permit

In some environments, plumbing projects require a permit to be carried out. It is advisable to comply with the law and acquire the permits. In such cases, the permit works as an insurance policy. It covers the owner of the building from crooked contractors. Once your local building inspector approves the installation project, the work kicks off.

  1. Prepare the location of the pan liner

For a shower sitting on a concrete floor, take away the concrete material between the old drain location and the new one. Afterward, remove the old trap and add a new section of a drain pipe. Then install the trap and the shower floor drain assembly at the chosen location. The work leaves behind a hole in the slab that needs fixing. If not so, it may cause grout breaks in the future.

To repair the slab, backfill the hole with the debris and sand from the relocation process. This helps to save the construction materials. The backfilling material should be below the bottom surface of the slab.

Secondly, make a batch of mortar to fill in the slab’s hole. Make a quality mortar by following the manufacturer’s recommended ratio. Finally, pour the mortar into the hole and using a trowel, shave the surface. Before the mortar dries, clean up the surface.

If the bathroom lies on a wood subfloor, you need to cut a new opening which is of the same size and shape as the original one. Use the cutout to fill the left opening after doing away with the plumbing work.

  1. Come up with the pre-slope

In the more traditional tiled shower floors, you have to create a slope. It allows all the moisture to drain thus keeping off a bad odor, fungus, and mold. According to the Tile Council of America & ANSI standards, use “slope under waterproofing membrane”. The plumbing codes also require a slope of ¼ inch per foot.

As the installer, you can create the slope in three different ways. First, you can pitch the floor framing to form the slope. You can also use a special product from manufactures that generate the required slope for you. Lastly, you can come up with a slope by laying a bed of latex-modified mortar onto the surface.

  1. Install the drain fitting flange

A flange, clamp ring, and drain barrel opening make up the shower floor drain. The function of the flange is to mount to the sewer pipe. The clamp ring on the other hand holds the pan liner in place. The drain barrel keeps the completed drain grate at the right height.

To fix the drain base in place, disassemble the drain fitting and then set aside the flange and the cap. Install back the flange bolts and using the subfloor, cut the sewer pipe. To the sewer pipe and drain flange, apply PVC cement. Finally, lay the drain flange in the opening.

  1. Buy the shower pan liner

To purchase the appropriate shower floor membrane, you should be aware of the shower floor’s dimensions. Measure the length and the width and round off to the nearest foot. Also, add at most 1 foot per wall to your measurement to be on the safe side.

  1. Create a long-lasting waterproof seam

In cases where the shower is large, you need more than one section of the pan liner to cover the wall overlap and the floor. This is achievable by using a specialized cement that is specifically designed for pan liner. This helps to glue together the membrane sections. Before you continue with the installation, break for 15 minutes.

  1. Install the pan liner on the drain flange

Kick-off by placing the liner on the shower floor at the center of the stall. To expose the drain flange, fold the pan liner into half. Be careful to drift the position of the shower membrane from the stall’s center. Apply silicone caulking 3/8inch wide on the outside perimeter of the drain flange. It provides a seal between the drain base surface and the liner underside. Unfold the pan liner and press it down with fingers to bring out the drain flange’s bolts.

Press the shower pan liner against the silicone and remove any creases. To install the locking ring, place over the bolt heads on the bigger part of the locking ring’s keyhole-shaped openings. Finally, clear the drain opening by taking away the pan liner from the locking ring’s hole in the center using a utility knife.

  1. Join the pan liner to the curb and the walls

From the wall center, work towards each wall stud. Where the wall meets the floor, make a tight fold in the pan liner using one hand. Position the membrane against the wall stud using the other hand. Join the pan liner to the wall stud using stainless steel screws and keep them at least ½ inch below the pan liner’s top.

To join the pan liner with the curb, cut the membrane carefully from the top of the curb up the wall. Ensure the shower pan liner material overlaps the curb and the seal the cuts using corner guards.

  1. Test the shower pan liner

To make your installation sure, close the drain opening using a test plug. Using water, fill the pan up to the top of the curb and let it sit for four hours. Check for any leak and repair if any. Mainly leaks are caused by poor liner-to-drain connection, stepping which creates unwanted holes or nails below the waterline.

Retest the liner to ensure it is leak-free. Once done, completely drain the water and keep the shower dry.

  1. Install the top mud bed

Once the pan liner is completely installed and tested, a top layer of deck mud is added to support the tile floor. The mud should be packed in a way it is smooth and flat as possible from the wall. This helps to drain off the floor. To dry the deck mud, let it rest for about 24 hours.

Do I need mortar under shower pan?

Most installers recommend putting a bed of mortar down for the shower base to sit on. Check the manufacturer’s installation instructions and see what they recommend in case the use of mortar is discouraged.

Does Thinset stick to shower pan liner?

No. Thinset or tile glue (adhesive) should never be applied directly to the shower pan liner.

Do you install backer board before shower pan?

It requires no mud job or waterproofing membrane, but it does require direct access to the studs of the shower. This will create a small lip at the bottom of the shower walls where tiles or an acrylic surround would bump out, leaving a gap. Therefore, the pan must be installed first.

Should cement board be embedded in shower pan?

Do not place cement board into the shower pan mortar bed.

Can you put cement board in shower pan?

Do not use cement board on its own. Your shower will leak and you will be tearing it out within a year.

What cement goes under shower pan?

The ideal mortar for a shower pan is a mix of standard cement mix with sand and Portland cement. This type of mortar creates a great water-resistant barrier that can support the weight of the shower unit.

Can I use durock on shower floor?

Installing cement backerboard is one of the more popular choices for a shower wall substrate. Cement backerboards include Hardiebacker, Durock, Fiberboard, wonderboard, and similar products. When installed properly they will give you many, many years of durable shower construction.

What is the best backer board for a shower?

Cement board is a good, reliable backer board that works well on both floors and walls. Keep in mind that most tile setters err on the side of caution and brush a waterproofing membrane on top of cement board when it is in wet areas like showers or tub surrounds.

Can I tile directly on plywood?

While tile can be laid on plywood, do not install tile directly onto the plywood subfloor itself. Use intervening layers of two sheets of plywood.

Do you have to tape cement board before tiling?

For tile backer boards such as Durock, Wonderboard, Hardiebacker, Permabase, and others the seams between the board need to be treated with 2-inch alkali-resistant mesh tape. Then a coat of thinset gets flat troweled over the seam. It helps to make the walls that are to be tile more monolithic.

What’s better Hardibacker or durock?

HardieBacker is also the go-to choice when it comes to countertops and tile. Durock is too abrasive and can damage vinyl, porcelain, and enamel. HardieBacker does not contain any course materials, so it is the preferable choice. It has a warranty that extends over the use of vinyl tile applications.

Is Hardibacker good for showers?

If you wish to build a conventional shower, it doesn’t really matter which you use, Durock or Hardiebacker. My limited experience is that the Hardie is less prone to break if you get a screw too close to the edge. It may be a little harder to cut cleanly, though.

Do I really need Thinset under backer board?

Not only is thinset a critical component underneath cement board but the other critical component is the fasteners. And you won’t have the fasteners if you are trying to install it over concrete.

How thick should a Hardibacker shower be?

Cement Board Thickness

The industry standard is to use 1/2-inch-thick backer board on wall tile installations, such as a tub surround.

Can I use 1/4 inch cement board for shower?

3 Answers. 1/4” hardibacker alone is an unsuitable substrate for shower wall tile. If it were attached to properly waterproofed drywall, plywood, or plaster it would be fine. Think about it, one wayward elbow, knee, or hip bump and you may get flexion which would cause the grout (or tile) to break.

Does Hardibacker need to be waterproofed?

Passing ANSI 118.10 for waterproofness, HardieBacker® 500 Waterproof Cement Board protects tile installations and wall cavities from moisture penetration, eliminating the need to spend extra time applying waterproof coating across the entire surface area of your wall project.

Do I need to waterproof shower walls before tiling?

Contrary to popular belief, ceramic tile and grout, by themselves are not waterproof. Water can penetrate through cement-based grout and work its way through the substrate. To prevent water damage, you must install a waterproof membrane just below the tile bonding mortar as close to the tile as possible.