How High Should Shower Base Be?

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Are you remodeling your bathroom but need help making sure everything is perfect? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done the research to bring you everything you need to know about installing a new shower base, right here in one spot. 

Shower curb (shower base) height can vary from 2 to 9 inches higher than your drain.

You can make your shower curb meet your needs by choosing the best size for your home. You’re probably wondering what the ideal shower curb height is or why someone might want it shorter or longer. Keep reading to learn all about shower curbs and how to choose the right one for you.

An elevated shower base with small tiled flooring with glass walls, How High Should Shower Base Be?

What is a Shower Curb?

The shower curb is the raised piece of the floor at a shower’s entrance. It contains water, which prevents overflow, and it visually divides the shower from the rest of the bathroom. Shower curbs are an essential aspect of the shower that is often overlooked.

What is Code for Shower Curb Height?

U.S. building codes state that the minimum shower curb height is 2 inches and the maximum is 9 inches. These numbers are set by determining the safety and effectiveness of different heights. If the curb is too low, it won’t prevent water from spilling and splashing onto the floor. Too high, and you could trip and injure yourself while entering or exiting the shower.

How To Build Shower Curb?

Building a shower curb is a precise process, but it’s not too difficult. You need to make sure that you line up the shower liner properly before cutting it. Otherwise, you risk completely wasting it. Here’s a brief step-by-step guide and a video to give you an idea of the work required for this project:

  1. Frame the curb with 2x4s or bricks.
  2. Situate your shower pan liner to ensure even spacing.
  3. Cut the liner to size at the entrance and cut the drain hole.
  4. Secure the liner to keep it in place. 
  5. Carefully secure wire lath around the sides and top of the curb.

How Many 2x4s Do I Need for a Shower Curb?

This is dependent on your desired curb height. You will need to stack the 2x4s on top of each other until you achieve your desired height. Figure out how high you want the curb to be, and then determine how many 2x4s you will need. 

What Else Can You Use To Build a Curb?

You can purchase pre-built curbs that are ready to use. These are a great option if you want to avoid extra work or cutting. Another benefit of pre-built curbs is that they are constructed in a single piece, unlike 2x4s, which have a seam that could allow moisture in.

This curb is 4 inches high, which is a great mid-size curb height. Click here to see it on Amazon.

Bricks for Shower Curb?

Concrete bricks are recommended over wood for shower curbs on concrete floors. Since concrete floors don’t absorb moisture like wood, the 2x4s could soak up any excess moisture, causing rot more quickly than it would on a wood floor. 

Can You Tile a Shower Curb?

Yes, you can use the same tile on your curb that you would use on the rest of the shower. The tiles would be applied in the same manner as the tiles in the rest of the shower.

Keep in mind that the side of the curb inside the shower will have shorter tiles than the side outside of the shower. This is because the floor inside the shower has layers of mud, mortar, and a liner.

Should a Shower Curb Be Sloped?

Yes, a shower curb should have a slight slope to catch and direct water towards the drain. A curb needs to have at least a  1/4-inch slope for the best effect. A flat curb will hold water, which will weaken or stain the material over time. 

Should a Shower Curb Have an Overhang?

The shower curb doesn’t require an overhang, but some people choose to include it as an additional form of protection from overflow and spills. Overhangs on curbs are usually around a 1/4-inch thick but can vary slightly. You can create an overhang by using a shower curb saddle on the top of the curb. 

Tenedos Store Carrara Marble Threshold

This threshold is available in multiple sizes, and it’s made from marble, making it the perfect solution for a shower saddle. Click here to see it on Amazon.

A long span shower area with glass shower walls inside a classic styled modern bathroom

Minimum Height for Shower Pan

Pre-made shower pans also follow the same building code regulations of a 2-inch minimum height. They can be found in taller models, so if you had your heart set on a slightly more elevated shower curb, you may still be able to find a pan that will meet your needs. 

DreamLine SlimLine Shower Pan

This shower pan has a curb height of 2 3/4 inches, perfect for anyone who wants a low curb. Click here to see it on Amazon.

Most Common Shower Curb Heights?

The most common shower curb heights are between 2 and 4 inches. Lower curbs are more accessible, which is beneficial for older or disabled people. Pre-fab shower liners are most commonly found around 2-3-inches tall. Homemade curbs are usually constructed out of 2x4s and range between 2.5 and 4.5-inches.

Tall curbs are relatively uncommon in residential settings but can be handy in certain situations.

High Threshold Shower Base

Showers with high thresholds can be beneficial if you have pets or lack a tub of any kind. A 9-inch curb will help contain animals during their shower and can be partially filled with water for washing larger items in the shower. Tall curbs are harder to find in pre-made bases and will usually need to be custom-built. 

PROFLO Shower Pan

This shower pan is built with 6-inch high curbs for extra overflow protection. Click here to check it out on Amazon.

Shower Curb Height for Shower Pan Liner

When applying the shower pan liner over your shower curb, you should ensure that there is enough liner material to cover the entire curb inside and out. This is a crucial step to be sure that you don’t end up with leakage or rot. Make sure to measure carefully before you cut your liner and to account for the entire curb. 

Oatey Shower Pan Liner Kit

This shower pan liner kit from Oatey is available in a variety of different sizes, so you’re sure to find what you need. Click here to see them on Amazon.

Interior of a modern and rustic inspired bathroom with stone tiles and gray walls

What is a Curbless Shower?

A curbless shower has no curb or divider between the shower floor and the bathroom floor. The entire space has the same flush floor space. This is an excellent option if you want to maximize the shower’s accessibility. Curbless showers tend to be more costly because they require more time and more expensive materials to ensure that everything is adequately waterproofed.

When to Replace Shower Curb?

When your shower curb starts showing signs of wear, rot, or mold, it’s time to replace it. If you find the tiles are losing their hold or cracking, use the opportunity to check the status of the material underneath before fixing the tiles. Loose tiles are a good sign that mold or rot has begun to grow on the wood underneath.

A small shower area with glass shower wall

Bring Your Shower to New Heights

Now that you know the basics of shower curbs, you’re ready to choose a curb height that is perfect for your needs. Installing a new shower is a moderately difficult task, so hiring a professional is recommended if you aren’t fully confident in your own capabilities. If you make even a slight mistake in measurements or angles, it could result in catastrophic amounts of water damage in your home. Good luck with your remodel, and remember to have fun.

For help with additional questions about standard shower dimensions, read our article “How High Should Grab Bars Be Installed In A Shower?”

If you are wondering how you should finish your shower once it is installed, read our article “Is Epoxy Grout Good For Showers?” for some ideas.

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