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How Level Does A Shower Base Need To Be?

Shower bases are an important part of a bathroom, and if something is wrong with them, then you're going to find out pretty quickly. When doing projects, they should be as level as possible, but is that true with shower bases too? We have researched all about how to level your shower base needs to be and how to level it so that you can save yourself a headache later on!

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Your shower base must be as level as possible on top of your floor. If it isn't, then it can break more easily and cause some significant issues. Learning how to level it during installation is the best way to avoid those issues.

  1. Prepare the area
  2. Check how level the floor is
  3. Place shims where needed
  4. Clean the area
  5. Apply a leveling compound
  6. Allow the compound to dry and apply a sealer
  7. Install the shower base

While making sure that the shower base is level seems to be a lot of work, it's worth it. Doing that work in the installation will save you from dealing with a lot more later on. Continue reading down below so that you have as much information as possible to get the job done as best as possible!

A worker using level bar on shower base, How Level Does A Shower Base Need To Be?

Having A Level Shower Base

The main reason why you need a level shower base is so that it doesn't break or crack. Most modern shower pans are made of flexible and lightweight material. This makes them inexpensive and light but also susceptible to warping and cracking.

If that shower base warps and cracks, then water is going to get through. Once that starts to happen, it can cause a lot of damage very quickly, especially if it goes undetected.

Shower glass with shower base and a marble tile in wall

Why Do You Have To Level Out The Foor?

It's easy to use a level and make sure that the shower base is level when installing it. Unfortunately, that only works if the base you put it on is perfectly level. Placing a shower pan on an uneven floor means it is very likely to shift and move over time. That's why making sure that the floor is even and steady first is the best plan.

1. Prepare The Area

The first step is to clean the installation area thoroughly. Make sure it is completely clean of any debris, including anything that may be stuck to the floor. Use a scraper to remove anything that a vacuum won't get. Finally, use a mallet to try and level any bumps in the floor.

Check out scrapers here on Amazon!

2. Check How Level The Floor Is

The next step is to use a large level to check the floor of the installation area. Lay the level down flat on the floor and check to see if it's level. Then, move it a few inches until the whole area has been checked. For every spot that is not level, make sure to mark so that a shim can be placed there to make it level.

Start shopping for levels here on Amazon!

3. Place Shims Where Needed

On the marked spots on the floor, place as many shims as needed to make them level. Once the shims are sitting on the floor, use the tool again to double-check that the spot is now level. When you are sure that it's level, you can score the shims into the floor. After they are secured, use the level one more time for good measure.

Look for shims on Amazon!

4. Clean The Area

Now you can sweep and mop the area to make it as clean as possible for the next step. Make sure to use a damp mop so that it dries quickly.

5. Apply A Leveling Compound

Start this step by mixing your leveling compound per its instructions. Once it is properly mixed in a bucket, start applying it to the floor in the prepared area. Start by spreading the compound around the shims with a float and work to spread it evenly before it starts to dry.

Continue to apply the mixture until all of the shims are level with the rest of the area.

Check out leveling compound today on Amazon!

Start shopping for floats on Amazon!

6. Allow The Compound To Dry And Apply A Sealer

Leave the leveling compound to settle and dry overnight. Check the floor the next day for levelness; it should be all good now. Lastly, apply a coat of sealer to the compound and leave that to dry before any installation begins. That will help give the compound an extra layer of protection so it can better do its job and keep moisture away.

Look for sealer on Amazon today!

7. Install The Shower Base

With the floor completely level and prepared, you can confidently install the shower base. Just make sure that the base is level during installation and that the manufacturer's instructions are followed. As long as it is installed correctly, it should last much longer and keep out any water!

Here is a great video guide for how to prepare a floor and lay down leveling compound!

 

Why Do You Put Mortar Under A Shower Base?

The main reason that mortar is used under a shower base is to level out the floor. However, mortar is an excellent material for this because of how solid it is once it settles and dries. There is less likely to be any sinking, shifting, or warping with the use of mortar.

How Long Should A Shower Base Last?

Modern bathroom with shower and bathtub

Typically shower bases should last from around 15-20 years. This can also greatly depend on the shower base that's used. The shape that your home and floors are in can also have an impact on this time frame. Longevity is another reason why mortar is used in this installation.

How Much Weight Can A Shower Base Hold?

The weight that a shower base can hold depends on its material. Cement and mortar bases can hold up to around 1,000 pounds. However, that does depend on the home and the placement of the shower in it. There are too many factors to give an exact amount for a weight limit. But it is generally more than will probably be in the shower at one time.

What Materials Are Shower Bases Made Of?

Porcelain shower base in a bathroom

The best and most common materials for shower bases are tile, molded stone, acrylic, and fiberglass.

Tile looks very lovely and makes for a reasonably sturdy base. However, it is expensive, has a bit of upkeep, and can be slippery to stand on in the shower. Molded stone also looks very elegant but doesn't have the maintenance that tile does, and it's a bit cheaper but still expensive.

Acrylic bases are a great middle-of-the-road choice. It's not the most expensive or the cheapest. It also doesn't look the fanciest, but it is easy to clean and fairly durable. Fiberglass is the most affordable choice, but it also looks the part. It does a good job as a base, but it isn't as durable as some of the other options, and it looks anything but fancy.

How Far Up The Wall Should A Shower Pan Liner Go?

An elevated shower base with small tiled flooring with glass walls

The pan liner should always go above the end of the shower base. There should be a minimum of six inches of the liner after the top of the base. The extra space allows for the based to be sealed and any finishes to be applied to it. It also gives some extra wiggle room for any error or last-minute additions to plans.

Final Thoughts

To wrap things up, you must make sure that your shower base is level. If it isn't, then it's going to wear out a lot sooner, and it can easily lead to water damage. It's better to take the time to get things right during installation. Level out your installation space using shims and leveling compound.

Use a level throughout the process so you can fix any mistakes. Also, make sure that everything is clean and will have the best hold possible before installation. After the work is put in, you can be satisfied with knowing that it will last a lot longer than if you hadn't!

To learn more about shower installation and upkeep, click on the links below!

How To Remove Silicone Off Shower Base Or Tiles

How To Remove A Shower Base

Should You Caulk Around A Shower Base? [Inc. Inside The Enclosure]