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Help put my shower base to bed

I purchased an American Standard 4834.ST acrylic shower base to install in my basement bath. The instructions call for the base to be set in a bedding material, to achieve a level fit and provide support. From the looks of it the bedding will end up about ¾ to 1 inch thick (after the base has been seated into a level position). I went to Home Depot and they seemed confused by what I was doing but sold me VersaBond Fortified Thin-Set Mortar. I was wondering if this was a good product to use for this application? I would like for my work to be done correctly and have a good life to it and avoid unnecessary repairs. As I have read a few articles on the subject I was also considering a layer of plastic between the mortar bed and the bottom of the shower base; to avoid a permanent bond between the two surfaces so the shower base wouldn’t get damaged if it ever had to be removed in the future.


Re: Help put my shower base to bed

Any shower base must be securely mounted and sad but true when you try to remove it it may break. The trick is to get the area as water tight as possible. If you have some doubt with it don't risk it but get a professional to help you and not a fly by night outfit. Check your local building codes you may need a permit first. Also your building inspector can ask any questions you may have in reguards to the codes in your area.

Re: Help put my shower base to bed

I use regular mortar for this.....usually.

Structolite plaster also works well and cures fast enough that you can usually proceed with installation in 45 - 60 minutes.

I place plastic sheeting both under the bedding material and over it so it's easy to remove in the future. The bedding material isn't there to secure the shower base, but rather just to give support to it so that it doesn't flex under the weight of the occupant.

Don't use concrete mix as the larger aggregate can cause problems or even puncture the base over time.

I went to Home Depot and they seemed confused by what I was doing

Wow. Imagine that. ;)

Re: Help put my shower base to bed

I have a building permit to finish my basement…No need to apply for a separate permit for each job. The plumbing was done by the builder during construction. I’m doing everything else except for the electric, drywall and carpeting. All I need to know is VersaBond Fortified Thin-Set Mortar a decent product to use? Will I have any problems with it? If so I will return it and purchase something else.

Gene :rolleyes:

Re: Help put my shower base to bed

As long as the base is stable and flat it will work. I usally put down roofing felt (not tar paper) to keep the pan from squeaking when i step in it. I learned this from Kohler and American Standard bath tub (its included). The Thin Set will work, but, is the floor going to be stable and level? Good luck. Process of elimination.

Re: Help put my shower base to bed

The particular base I have requires a bedding material to be poured under it prior to installing it. The base is to then be pressed down until level. (I have pre-marked the wall studs to identify when the base is in a level position) When the bedding material cures it will hold the base level and provide support, so when it is stood in it does not flex. The base itself is actually pretty sturdy because it is reinforced with fiberglass…all in all it will be a very sturdy structure to stand on. I’m finishing my basement so the floor is 4” of poured concrete…The only opening is a 5” – 5” hole around the 2” drain pipe coming up through the cement floor. The 5” – 5” opening is consistent with manufactures instruction. Floor stability is not a concern…Floor levelness will be negated by the fact I’m using a bedding material that will correct any unevenness in the floor.
The shower base is a single threshold, therefore it fits inside of three framed walls and will be attached to the wall studs using the provided mounting brackets…It’s not going anywhere…so the bedding material has nothing to do with holding the shower in place. I agree a plastic layer between the bedding and the base is a good idea…who wants to smash a $450.00 base to pieces if the time comes to remove it…or go through the aggravation of demolition…chiseling…pounding...and the mess…MY GOD THE MESS!. Anyway, I think I’m over analyzing the material I’m using to construct the bedding…Cement I agree is out of the question…even the instructions specify do not use cement.

Thanks for the added input,
Gene :D

Re: Help put my shower base to bed

Hey Gene,
Thin-set has the name for a reason. If your going thicker than 1/4 inch, use regular type s mortar. The two layers of plastic are a good idea if your shower is temporary but you don't see many of those except in showrooms. I see it as just another place for moisture to hide and things to grow. Believe me, I've torn out enough of them to know. I advise against it because your slab can absorb and dissipate any small amount of water and the plastic will only trap it and the science project and accompanied smell will begin or the framing will suck it in and rot or both(don't forget termites will smell it a mile away). DON'T PUT PLASTIC DOWN! Although if it has to come out, that would more than likely be because the framing rotted due to a poor surround installation or faulty plumbing. And if that was the case everything would fall apart around the shower pan and the thing would pop right up without the plastic. In addition you will probably have alot more problems on your hands than worrying about that shower pan.
Gene, Make sure that drain pipe is cut perfectly to receive the drain connection. Too short and it won't seal, too long and it won't drain. After the pan is in place fur the studs flush with the flange around the pan, that way the tar/felt paper or plastic waterproofing can cover the flange without getting torn.

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