How To Install A Shower Base On A Wooden Floor

You're ready for a new shower in your home, and you are considering doing it yourself. If you do not have any experience in this area, you'll need a few pointers before getting started. Luckily, we've already researched the topic and have the answers you seek. You can see our findings below. 

Installing a shower base on a wooden floor is a bit different from installing one on concrete. Instead of mortaring over the wooden subfloor, follow these steps:

  1. Trace and cut a hole in the floorboards.
  2. Install the waste pipe and drain.
  3. Fit shower base into subfloor.
  4. Seal around edges with silicone. 

Now that you know the basics of installing a shower base on a wooden floor, it's time to delve deeper into the process. Keep reading as we discuss installation in greater detail and answer popular questions, including how to waterproof the base, how to install a shower base on plywood subfloors, what is needed underneath the pan, and much more. 

worker is installing a metal profile of the shower cabin just above the shower base. How To Install A Shower Base On A Wooden Floor

How to Install a Shower Base on a Wooden Floor

Installing a shower base on a wooden floor is a bit different from installing one on concrete or tile subfloors. You don't want the wood to rot; therefore, you will need to make sure the shower base is not sitting directly on top of the wood. Instead, you will remove the wooden subfloor.


1. Trace and Cut Floor

For this process, you will need to lay the shower base in its proper position. Using a pencil, trace around the edges. This will give you a visual to follow when cutting.

Now, using a circular saw, you will need to cut the floorboards precisely where you put the markings. Be careful not to cut into the floor joists below. 

2. Install the Waste Pipe and Drain

Next, install the waste pipe and drain. The drain should be even with the top of the floor joists. If needed, you can place a piece of wood underneath the drain pan to make it even with the joists.

At this time, it is a good idea to add extra support along the wall between the existing boards. To do this, use adhesive to glue additional boards to the wall, horizontally between the existing joists. 

3. Secure Shower Base into Subfloor

Finally, it's time to secure the shower base into the subfloor. Apply adhesive along each joist, pressing the shower base firmly into place. You will see screw slots on the base. Screw it into place, then apply more adhesive over the screws.

Check out this waterproof adhesive on Amazon. 

4. Seal Around Edges with Silicone

Lastly, apply silicone around the edges of the shower base, securing it firmly to the wall. Clip the drain cover into place, and you're done. Now, you can tile over the tray if you desire. 

Check out this YouTube video for a step by step tutorial:

Do I Need to Waterproof Under a Shower Base?

The shower base actually refers to the subfloor beneath your shower. The part you stand on, which we just referenced installing, is called a shower pan.

You do not waterproof under the shower base; however, it is sometimes necessary or beneficial to waterproof under the shower pan. In the above scenario, there is no need for a liner because we used silicone to prevent water from seeping below the pan. 

See this shower pan on Amazon. 

What do I Put Under a Shower Base?

If you find yourself needing to waterproof under your shower pan, the best thing to use is a waterproof liner. Before placing your pan into the subfloor, you will secure the liner tightly to prevent leaks. It should go over the subfloor and up the wall. Make sure to cut a hole for the drain tray. 

See this shower pan liner on Amazon. 

Do I Need Mortar Under Shower Pan?

When installing a shower base, your subfloor needs to be level. If the subfloor is not level, you will need to apply a layer of mortar.

If the floor is already level, there is no need for it. In the above-mentioned process, mortar is not necessary because your shower pan is resting on wooden floor joists. 

View this mortar on Amazon.

Additional Questions

How Do You Put a Shower Base on a Wood Floor?

When installing a shower base on a wood floor, you don't want to set the pan directly on top of the wood. Instead, you will need to cut the floor leaving the floor joists intact.

Make sure to install your waste pipe and drain, ensuring it is level with the top of the floor joist. Then all you have to do is glue the pan into place, add some screws, and you're done. 

Installing Shower Pan on Plywood

When installing a shower pan on plywood, you will need to also install a shower liner. First, make sure the plywood subfloor is clear of any debris. Next, cut a hole and install the waste pipe and drain. Apply sealant to the drain, and place the liner on top of the plywood. Make sure you have a hole cut in the liner for the drain. 

Staple or drill your liner into place, making sure to go up the sides of the wall. Snap/screw the top piece of the drain into place. Now, it's time to add the mortar. Get your mixture ready. Using a trowel, spread the mortar across the top of the shower liner. 

Use a leveling tool to make sure the mortar is level, then press your shower pan firmly into place. Once you let it dry for approximately 24 hours, you are ready to install the shower encasement. 

This YouTube video gives a good demonstration:

Installing Shower Tray on Chipboard Floor

The first step when installing a shower tray on a chipboard floor is to make sure the floor is free of debris. Next, ensure it is level. Now, lay the shower pan into place, and use a pencil to trace around the edges. Don't forget to also trace the hole for the drain. 

Remove the tray, and cut a hole for the plumbing pipes. Paint the floor with a waterproof sealant, or install a shower liner. Allow the sealant to dry, then apply mortar.

Now, it's time to press the shower tray into the mortar. Check to make sure your pan is level. Apply a sealant in the cracks between the tray and the wall, and you're done. 

Watch this YouTube video as a visual guide:

Can I Make My Own Shower Tray?

There are plenty of great options for shower pans. However, if you are on a tight budget, you may be wondering if you can make your own shower tray. The answer is yes! 

If you are installing the pan on a plywood floor, make sure it is clean. Then apply a layer of paint in your choice of color. Mix your epoxy and apply to the plywood. Don't forget to cut a hole and install the plumbing beforehand. After the epoxy is coated, you can use paint once again to create designs in the epoxy before it dries. 

If you would like to use a shower liner, simply follow the steps to install the liner; then, apply the epoxy over the liner. You may even want to put the epoxy coating over your mortar instead of the traditional shower pan. It's really just up to you. 

This YouTube video will walk you through the process:

You can even use concrete mix instead of mortar and use an acid stain to design your shower floor. The possibilities are endless!

What Kind of Wood Should I use for a Shower Floor?

If you plan to use wood as your shower floor, you need something that won't rot. For this reason, many people use teak in their showers. Not only does teak resist rotting, but it is also water-resistant, durable, and repels pests. 

modern bathroom with gray tiles and wooden theme. How To Install A Shower Base On A Wooden Floor

In Closing

Installing a shower base on a wooden floor is different from installing one on a concrete subfloor. Instead of laying the shower pan and mortar directly over the wood, you will need to remove a section of the wood and install the pan onto the floor joists. It is a fairly straightforward task that many DIYers can handle. 

If you need more information on installing shower bases, read these other informational posts on our blog. 

What Do You Put Under a Shower Base?

How Much Weight Can a Shower Base Hold?

How to Replace a Hole or a Crack in a Shower Base?

One comment

  1. i live in a mobile home and my floor joists are different from a regular house,can i place a liner directly to the plywood flooring for the shower pan?Or would i need to add adhesive to the liner to hold shower pan in place?If so what would be the best adhesive to utilize?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *