How to Pebble a Shower Pan


"Shower pan" is a term for the square base that sits in the floor of a shower enclosure. Shower pans consist of a variety of materials, including fiberglass, ceramic and natural stone. Another option is to install pebbles in the shower pan to create a natural river rock appearance. The process is similar to installing tile, since the pebbles come fastened to a mesh backing. Installation, sealing and grouting creates a waterproof surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Craft paper
  • Scissors
  • Pebble tile with mesh backing
  • Utility knife
  • Vacuum
  • Thinset mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Grout float
  • Grout sealer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
  • Sanded grout
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Water
  • Measure the length and the width of the shower pan enclosure using a tape measure. Using scissors, cut a piece of craft paper to the same dimensions and lay it on a work surface or the floor.

  • Open a pack of mesh-backed pebbles and lay them on the craft paper side by side in rows. Pick up one of the tiles where the inside edge creates a seam with a neighboring tile. Cut out every other stone along the edge using scissors so the edge is no longer straight.

  • Repeat the process on all remaining tiles and then pull the tiles together so the irregular edges fit together like a puzzle. Cutting the edges prevents visible seams in the final installation.

  • Trim off any remaining pebbles along the perimeter of the craft paper as well. Then measure the location of the center shower drain and locate it on the craft paper template. Cut out the needed hole using a utility knife.

  • Vacuum the interior of the shower pan to remove any construction debris or dirt that would interfere with the thinset adhesion.

  • Open a tub of thinset mortar and scoop up 1 cup using a notched trowel. Place the trowel at the edge of the shower pan and drag it across at a 45-degree angle, so the material has raised ridges in it.

  • Pick up the tile sections from the paper template and press them evenly into the thinset, ensuring that you maintain the same positions as you've planned on the paper. Press the edges up closely until no gaps exist, and maintain the center opening around the shower drain as you install the pebbles.

  • Press down on the top of the pebbles using a clean grout float or other flat board.

  • Open a grout sealer and don rubber gloves. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sealer onto a clean sponge. Apply the sealant onto all of the pebbles and then wait until it dries completely.

  • Open a tub of sanded grout and scoop up 1/2 cup using a grout float. Press the grout into the spaces between the pebbles until no gaps remain.

  • Let the grout dry for 30 minutes and then gently brush the surface of the pebbles with a stiff-bristled brush. Remove the loosened grout with a damp sponge. Rinse the sponge in clean water and wring it out well. Wipe the surface of the pebbles until they are clean.

  • Examine the pebbles every 15 to 20 minutes and wipe again with the sponge until they no longer cloud as they dry.

  • Pebbles also come individually, rather than on mesh backing. Install loose pebbles by following the same procedure, but hand-place each one as close to the others as possible.

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