How to Build a Custom Shower Floor


Standard shower floors are inexpensive and easy to install. The expense arises when you are working with a custom shower floor that does not match standard measurements. To waterproof and create a sturdy base, the best option is laying a mortar shower base for waterproof protection and adding your desired tile effects.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Waterproof ridge
  • Adhesive
  • Waterproof barrier
  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Drain grate
  • Tiles
  • Tile nippers
  • Wet sponge
  • Grout seal
  • Clean off the shower base surface. Most surfaces typically are either concrete or plywood and should create a completely level foundation surface.

  • Add the 2-by-2 waterproof ridge, attaching it to the base. If you have a concrete base, use wood-to-concrete adhesive to hold it firmly in position.

  • Cover the level floor with a waterproof barrier. Make sure that the barrier runs up the walls at least 6 inches to protect the walls from runoff. Cut the waterproof barrier tightly around the drain hole.

  • Mix and pour the mortar into position. Smooth the mortar over the entire floor surface, creating a 2-inch thick mortar base at the edges and slope the base down to 1 1/2 inch at the drain. This sloping ensures proper drainage. Smooth 1 inch of mortar over the wood ridge to give everything a mortar covering. Let the mortar set for 24 hours.

  • Install the drain grate so as to adjust for the tile underneath. You’ll want the grate completely level with the tile you are using.

  • Mix the tile’s quick-set mortar according to the manufacturer’s directions and begin laying the tile from the sides of the shower, working toward the center drain.

  • Trim the center tiles with tile nippers to fit tightly against the drain grate.

  • Let the thinset mortar set for 24 hours.

  • Mix the tile grout and begin pressing it into the tile spaces with a rubber trowel. Let the grout set for 2 hours.

  • Wipe away any residual grout with a wet sponge. Continue wiping until there is no more haze on the tiles. Let the grout cure for 24 hours.

  • Apply a grout seal to the grout cracks and allow to cure for 24 hours. Your base is now dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • To save time, tile the walls of the shower on the same day that you tile the floor. This way the tiles dry together.

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