What Type of Shower Base is Right for You?
If you’re midway through a bathroom remodel, you maybe browsing the Web for shower bases. When it comes to shower bases, there are many different types – each with their own unique pros and cons. Some of them are easy enough for an amateur to install, while others should be left to the professionals. From pre-cast to acrylic shower bases, here’s what you need to know in order to choose the right shower base for your bathroom.
Pre-cast Shower Base
This type of shower base comes in various shapes and sizes, and is ready to install right out of the box. Neo angle bases are designed for corner showers, and come with a curb, tile flanges, and a built-in drain pocket. Easy enough for even the most novice DIYer to install, most manufacturers will make custom pre-cast bases that are sure to fit almost any size, shape, and drain location. Note: before you begin installation, read and review the manufacturer’s installation instructions and tips. The entire success of your project depends on a good installation of the base – don’t install them out of level or you’ll be reprimanding yourself later on down the line.
Custom Tile Shower Base
While a custom tile shower base can be built from scratch or built from a kit, it’s time consuming and can be tedious. If you wouldn’t consider yourself a handy person and don’t have a ton of patience, choose the pre-cast base, as custom tile shower bases aren’t the easiest to put together. Made by framing the outline of the shower base with standard 2 X 4 construction, many municipalities will require an inspection before you can install a custom tile shower base. The pros include the freedom to make the shower base any size you’d like, while the cons include having to seal and clean the grout often so as to avoid leaks and mold.
Acrylic Shower Base
Made by thermos-forming acrylic over a fiberglass substrate, acrylic is an extremely lightweight shower base option. Not only is it light and easy to install, but it comes in a variety of sizes and colors. If your old shower base was especially scratched, an acrylic shower base may be the right choice – the color goes a long way through the material so, if you do scratch the surface, it won’t be a different color than the rest of the base. A con to keep in mind: most household cleaners are especially caustic and can cause significant damage to the finish. Since acrylic is more expensive than fiberglass, it’s important to clean your shower without using harsh chemicals.
Fiberglass Shower Base
While fiberglass may be lightweight and less expensive, it still has an attractive gloss finish. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many choices for sizes and colors for fiberglass shower bases as there are with the other options. Since a thin gel coat is sprayed onto fiberglass shower bases, the thickness of the finish may vary from base to base. Additionally, the color is only as deep as the gel coat so scratches and nicks will reveal a color that’s different than the finish. Over a period of time, the finish tends to wear and stain and, once stained, is difficult to clean.