The shower base is the ground that you stand on when taking a shower and where the water collects, ideally to go down the drain. This base can be made out of various building materials, some of which are bought for their appearance and others of which are built for their cheapness. You want your shower bases to have high durability and also resist water seeping through the shower base.
Bathtubs as Bases
Some showers are also bathtubs. You stand in the bathtub and the shower sprays water down on you and into the bathtub when you want to take a shower. However, you can also use the bathtub as simply a bathtub.
Shower pans are part of the base of the shower. The pan has edges to discourage water from running onto the floor. Located within the base is a shower receptor, where the water travels to the drain. The entire shower pan must have a waterproof barrier so that water does not splash on the the floor next to the shower or seep through the floor. Inside the base is a drain hole where the water travels.
Shower bases come in various sizes and shapes. If the base does not fit the intended bathroom, you can have the shower base custom made. However, the custom made shower base can be a lot more expensive than the standardized shower bases sold at hardware stores.
Corian is commonly used for both sinks and shower bases because the material has high durability and can handle scratches very well. You can also purchase corian in a broad range of colors and styles.
Copper is a metal that appears in household bathrooms. This material has natural antibacterial properties, ages well, and cuts down on maintenance.
Acrylic is the least expensive material to make shower bases out of. However, the acrylic doesn't last as long as other shower base materials. You can also have shower base made with fiberglass, which can strengthen the acrylic and increase the shower base longevity.
There are two main types of stone used for shower bases: stone resin and cultured stone. You can find stone resin at lower prices because the resin is actually stone that was ground, molded into a useful shape, and then hardened. Cultured stone is the most expensive shower base material because it must be cut from a naturally formed stone with the right size and properties. Manufacturers typically use granite, marble, onyx, and limestone.
Tile is one of the most commonly used shower bases. Tiles are inexpensive for the do-it-yourself types, but more expensive when hiring labor. Purchase an unfinished shower base and buy all the materials needed to tile the base. But buy extra tiles so that you don't run out. Tiles are relatively durable but can chip if hit by a heavy blunt force. Fortunately, you can repair the chips.