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replacing a leaky shower pan

The fiberglass shower pan on the 2nd floor of my 20 year old house has leaked (its now sealed with silicon around the drain gasket & this stops the leak) and I want to replace it.

From what I can see in the shower, it looks like this unit was installed with a glued-in pvc pipe connection.

The shower walls are ceramic tile and I plan to remove these tile and the wallboard underneath. Then replace the wall board with cement backer board and finally use 12x12 ceramic tile for the shower walls.

My questions are:

1) will I have to open up the drywall ceiling on the first floor below this shower pan to safely cut the old pvc pipe when removing the existing shower pan?

2) I plan to carefully use a Sawzall to slice up and remove the old pan. Is this the bed method or is there another.

This old fiberglass pan has given good service except for the leak. However, the fiberglass floor surface has picked some porosity over the years and stains easily from foot oil, soap deposits etc (it's white in color)

The home centers have both fiberglass and acrylic pans available. And can order in more substantial cast iron, or poured concrete pans.

One supplier suggested that an acrylic pan could be bedded into compound to provide a substantial heavy feel, prevent shifting under weight and generally give a more luxurious feel.

He felt that the acrylic resists staining better than fiberglass & maintains a better appearance over time but feels less substantial under foot than a fiberglass pan.

My questions are:

3) Was this good advice? Is an acrylic shower floor plan my best choice?

4)If not, what are the pluses/minuses of other floor plan materials?

This same store clerk showed me two types of floor drain connections. One type was glued into place similar to my existing floor pan. The other one used a rubber compression fitting. He stated that this type compression fitting could be pulled apart if/when the gasket material failed to be easily replace with new gasket material.

5) Is this advice correct?

I watched the TOH video on replacing floor pans and the same type of rubber gasket compression drain connection is used. But it seems as if to seat the connection by hitting it, someone must support the pvc pipe from below. That is, if you just hit it with no support underneath, you would probably crack or split your drain pipe.

Thanks for your help. I want to this job right and not have any leaks or problems to redo later.

Re: replacing a leaky shower pan

1) will I have to open up the drywall ceiling on the first floor below this shower pan to safely cut the old PVC pipe when removing the existing shower pan?

[COLOR=black]Yes, although you may be able to cut it from above when you use the sawzall to remove the pan it will have to be opened to make the new connection.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=blue]2) I plan to carefully use a Sawzall to slice up and remove the old pan. Is this the bed method or is there another.
[COLOR=blue][COLOR=black]If you are removing the tile and wallboard you may just be able to lift the pan out after you cut the drain pipe.[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=blue][COLOR=#000000]I don't favor cast iron pans in a shower because they can chip if you drop a bottle of lotion or shampoo. I have never used a poured concrete pan so I can give you no opinion on them. I personally like the fiberglass but you can not use abrasive cleansers or it will dull the finish but it seems to be less susceptible to cracking or chipping than acrylic and fells a lot more substantial.[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=blue][COLOR=#000000]I would use the compression type drain connection. That way it can be replaced if it leaks. In either case you will have to make the connection with access to the bottom of the pan when it is installed.[/COLOR][/COLOR]

I should tell you that I am not a professional plummer, but have remodeled 4 houses for myself and I do all my own work and as such the above is just my opinion based on personal experience and research.

Re: replacing a leaky shower pan. now tile choices

Jack, thanks for your answers - most helpful.

I am planning on removing the old drywall and tiles from the shower stall. These will be replaced with cement backer board and new tile.

Right now we are considering using either ceramic or porcelain tile or maybe marble tile. All of these would be 12x12" tile.
I want to minimize the number of openings in the shower wall for water to gain entry to the wall behind it by using the larger tile. And my wife and I like the appearance of the larger tile.

So far we like the look of the marble tile best - it is about 1/2inch thick & very heavy compared to the ceramic or porcelain tile at about 1/4 inch. We have also been told that the marble surface must be treated with waterproofing after installation and then retreated every few years. Also that it's a good idea to use car wax on the marble surface every 6 months to help prevent soap buildup and maintain gloss.

So, it seems like our favorite (marble tile) has some disadvantages over ceramic or porcelain tile.

The second choice seems to be porcelain tile. I think in can be had in almost a marble like appearance and it seems the most water reistant - PEI ratings of 4 or 5. And I guess it would be most resistant to impact damage from droping things onto it in the shower.


1)Does Jack or anyone else have experience with using any one or more of our tile choice materials.

2) If so, are some more easy for the amateur to install than others? And more likely to acheive a professional looking result?

2)After installation, what has been your experience after 3, 5, or 10 years with this tile choice? Does the material do well over the years.

3)Is our choice of 12x12" tile (over 4x4 or other smaller size tile) a sound one? Or am I asking for trouble using such larger wall tile?

I'd imagine their larger size and weight means using a starter board on the shower wall to keep tile from shifting as the mastic drys. But I think there are fast drying stronger mastics available to compensate for this.

(It's interesting that our present shower wall is covered in
4x4" ceramic or porcelain tile that has kept a perfect appearance for over 20 years. It's only water leaking behind the lower tiles causing the need for replacement.)

Thanks again for your help.

Re: replacing a leaky shower pan

Remember marble is sliced stone so it is porous, it 1/2" think because it's brittle but looks fantastic. While I was in Europe I saw ceramic and marble tiles that had been in for hundreds of years and still looked great. You'll also find marble used for floors in a lot of state and federal bldgs.
When installing tile do not run down onto pan, leave a little gap so water is not wicked up behind it. You may also want to look at man made materials like Corian. They come in sheets so you would only have the corner joints to worry about.

Re: replacing a leaky shower pan


Thanks again for this information about marble.

I think the porosity of marble & its weight are factors that will cause us to choose another material.

I'm going to post a fresh thread about this today.

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