Should A Shower Bench Install Be Before Or After The Pan?

When installing a shower bench, there are two schools of thought - should it be done before or after the pan?

Whether to install a shower bench before or after the pan depends on your priorities and the specific design of your shower. If precision and waterproofing are top concerns, installing the bench before the pan is better.

Conversely, if you prioritize flexibility and are willing to invest extra effort in waterproofing, you can install the bench after the pan.

Modern bathroom interior with glass shower wall and a shower bench

Regardless of your choice, meticulous planning and execution are essential to achieve a functional and aesthetically pleasing result.

Don't worry; this article will provide you with the insights you need to make the right decision for your shower bench installation confidently.

Understanding Shower Benches

Shower benches are a popular addition to many bathrooms. They provide a comfortable place to sit while showering and can also be used for storing shower products.

Just be sure to consider the type of bench you are using and any additional factors, like sloping, to ensure a safe and secure installation.

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The Importance of Shower Pan

A shower pan, also known as a shower base or tray, is typically a waterproof component that forms the base or floor of a shower enclosure. It is designed to collect and channel water toward the drain to prevent leaks and water damage.

The term "shower pan" is commonly used to refer to the structural component of the shower floor. A separate system typically achieves waterproofing beneath the tile or finishing material.

Without a properly installed shower pan, water can seep through the grout lines and into the subfloor, causing it to rot or warp. This can lead to expensive repairs and even structural damage to your home.

In addition to protecting your home, a shower pan ensures your shower is safe and comfortable. Without a pan, water can pool on the floor, creating a slippery and potentially hazardous surface.

Installing Shower Bench Before Pan

If you're considering adding a shower bench to your bathroom, you may wonder whether installing it before or after the shower pan is best.

Pros of Bench First

One advantage of installing the shower bench before the pan is that it allows you to customize the size and shape of the bench to fit your specific needs.

You can build a bench that is wider or narrower than standard sizes, or you can create a unique shape that complements the design of your bathroom.

Another benefit of installing the bench first is that it can guide the pan installation. Setting the bench in place ensures the pan is level and properly aligned with the drain.

Cons of Bench First

One potential downside of installing the bench before the pan is that it can make the pan installation more difficult.

You'll need to work around the bench to install the pan, which can be time-consuming and require more precise measurements.

Another consideration is that installing the bench first may require more extensive waterproofing. If the bench is not sealed correctly, water can seep through and cause damage to the subfloor or framing.

Related Post: How To Build A Shower Bench With Concrete Blocks?

Installing Shower Bench After Pan

If you are considering installing a shower bench after the pan, there are pros and cons to keep in mind. Here are some things to consider:

Pros of Pan First

One of the most significant advantages of installing the shower pan first is that it provides a level surface for the bench.

This can be especially important if the shower floor has a slope. Installing the bench after the pan ensures it is level and won't wobble or shift when you sit on it.

Another advantage of installing the pan first is that it gives you more flexibility regarding the bench design. You can choose a freestanding bench or anchored to the wall, depending on your preferences.

Cons of Pan First

One potential disadvantage of installing the pan first is waterproofing the bench can be more challenging. If you install the bench after the pan, you can use a waterproofing membrane to seal the bench to the pan and prevent water from seeping underneath.

If installing a freestanding bench, you may need to drill into the pan to anchor it securely. This can be tricky, especially with a pre-fabricated pan with a textured surface.

Planning Your Shower Bench Installation

Before you begin the installation process, careful planning is crucial. Here are some steps to consider:

Determine Bench Location

Decide where you want to install the shower bench. Common locations include against a wall, in a corner, or as a freestanding bench. Consider factors like your shower's layout and personal preferences for the best placement.

Choose the Bench Type

Various shower benches are available, such as built-in, fold-down, or wall-mounted options. Select the one that suits your space, style, and needs. Ensure it's made from waterproof and durable materials like teak, plastic, or tile-friendly options.

Measure and Plan Dimensions

Measure the available space carefully to determine the appropriate bench size. Ensure that it doesn't obstruct the shower's functionality and that there's enough clearance for comfortable seating.

Check Local Building Codes

Research your local building codes and regulations to ensure safety and installation requirements compliance. Some areas may have specific guidelines for bathroom installations that you must follow.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Compile a list of tools and materials required for the installation. Typical items include screws, anchors, a level, a saw, and waterproof adhesive or caulk. Having everything ready in advance will streamline the installation process.

Executing the Shower Bench Installation

Once you've completed the planning phase, it's time to move on to the actual installation. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Mark and Measure

Use a level and pencil to mark your bench's desired height and location. Ensure it's level and secure.

Prepare the Shower Wall

If you're installing a wall-mounted bench, make sure the wall is sturdy and can support the weight of the bench and the person using it. Reinforce the wall if necessary.

Assemble the Bench

If your bench requires assembly, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Ensure all parts are securely fastened.

Mount the Bench

Secure the bench in place using appropriate anchors and screws. Ensure it's level and properly aligned with your markings.

Seal Joints and Edges

To prevent water leakage, apply a waterproof sealant or caulk around the edges of the bench where it meets the wall and floor. This is essential for maintaining a watertight seal.

Test for Stability

Before using the bench, test its stability and weight-bearing capacity. Ensure it can support the intended load without wobbling or flexing.

Final Inspection

Inspect the installation to confirm that everything is securely in place, and that there are no visible defects or issues. Make any necessary adjustments.

Final Words

Whether to install a shower bench before or after the pan depends on your personal preference and the complexity of your shower design.

Remember to consider the size and location of your bench carefully. A too-small or poorly located bench can be uncomfortable and impractical.

On the other hand, a bench that is too large or in the wrong spot can make your shower look cluttered and cramped.

Also, make sure to use high-quality materials and follow proper installation techniques to ensure the longevity and safety of your shower bench.

Moisture-proofing and pan liner installation are crucial to prevent water damage and mold growth.

Finally, don't hesitate to seek professional help if you are unsure about any aspect of your shower bench installation.

A qualified contractor or plumber can provide valuable advice and ensure your shower bench is installed correctly and efficiently.

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