Shower Base, Basin, Pan, Floor…What’s the difference?

Shower Base, Basin, Pan, Floor…What's The Difference

With a bathroom renovation your contractor and plumber might start throwing around all kinds of unfamiliar terms- like shower base, shower basin, shower pan, and shower floor- but what do all of these words mean? Are they different words that mean the same things? Are they completely different? Let’s look into it below. 

Shower Pan vs. Shower Base

These two terms are similar in that their purpose is to direct water into the drain, but that’s where the similarities stop. The shower pan (or shower basin) is the surface under your feet made of acrylic, fiberglass, stone, or metal. Depending on material and labor, these products typically cost between $100 and $3,000 to install. The shower base is the cement structure beneath the shower and can cost anywhere between $500- $800 to install. 

You will always need a shower base but a shower pan isn’t always necessary. There can be several reasons why you’ll want to install a shower pan, however: 

  • Extra protection: a shower base sometimes isn’t enough to completely prevent leaks, especially if you plan on using tile and grout
  • Easy tiling: having a shower pan makes tile installations easy. You can find several DIY methods online with a quick search
  • No tile solutions: If your design plans don’t include tile, you don’t have to use it on your shower pan
  • More customization: If your design plans don’t include tile or do include vibrant colors, there are a variety of shower pan colors you can choose from
  • Fast installation: Shower pan installs can be done in one day vs. the long curing times for traditional tile
  • Easy maintenance: Generally shower pans are easier to clean than traditional tile with lots of grout lines

Choosing the Right Shower Pan

Shower pans are typically made of one of four materials: acrylic, fiberglass, tile, and composite. Each offers its own set of pros and cons. 

  • Acrylic: Acrylic shower pans are known for being reasonably durable, easy to maintain, and usually need fewer repairs. However, when needed, they are costly 
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass shower pans are known to be an extremely cost-efficient option. However, due to the manufacturing process, fiberglass is more susceptible to damage and stains and may need to be replaced faster than other options 
  • Tile: Custom tile can provide an upscale or unique look, but they can be expensive to install in labor costs and materials. Grout lines can be difficult to keep clean. When installing a tile shower, you’ll also need to install a subfloor underneath 
  • Composite: composites are engineered materials made of two or more materials. Because of this, they are extremely durable. They can be more expensive than other options but are easy to maintain, repair, and install. Composite shower pans can last for decades.

Custom Showers in Birmingham, Alabama

If you’re looking for a truly unique shower or bathroom renovation, Casterra is your partner in the process. Contact us today for a truly luxurious bathroom that will elevate your home. We’d love to quote you and help you realize your dreams.

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