Choosing a shower base may not seem like the sexiest element of a new bathroom remodeling project but it is literally the foundation of this highly used space. The reality is any cracks or leaks in the base can cause extensive damage and costly repairs. One high quality option to consider is the solid surface shower pan. Although there is no “one size fits all” solution in choosing a shower pan – a solid surface base is one option to give careful consideration to.
This article will explain the advantages, disadvantages and options in this type of base.
The principle advantages associated with a solid surface shower base are:
- Low maintenance – since this base is one solid unit there are no grout joints to hassle with.
- Custom solid surface bases can accommodate any design – If you’re looking for a custom design, solid surface and expanded ready for tile bases are by far the most flexible. Solid surface pans can accommodate angled, curved or odd shaped glass or glass block shower enclosures.
- Waterproof – solid surface bases are very durable and have no seams making them a waterproof solution.
- Different curb options– Since people have different levels of mobility the design of the curb of the shower pan is very important – and more options can create a safer showering environment. With a solid surface pan the options include full height, low profile and built in ramp entries (to create an accessible shower design).
- No finishing material is needed over the top of the base – Unlike ready for tile bases the solid surface unit is already finished – so there is no additional cost to add tile or another finishing surface.
- Drain location can be customized – In a bath remodeling project not having to move the drain can be a significant plumbing cost savings. With the custom solid surface bases you can specify a drain location.
- Fits well with high end luxury spa bathrooms – this product is a good compliment for higher end bathrooms.
Here are the most frequently mentioned disadvantages:
- More expensive initial purchase cost than acrylic or fiberglass bases – since acrylic and fiberglass bases are made in standard sizes in large quantities (with cheaper materials) their initial purchase costs is lower – however the failure rate of fiberglass units can be high.
- Heavier than other bases– these units are significantly heavier than acrylic, fiberglass and ready for tile options – this can be a challenge if you need a large base for a difficult to get into shower on a 2nd floor.
Included below are the more popular options in solid surface bases:
- Colors – with over 60 different colors there is something to match every decor.
- Grout free solid surface interior shower wall panels to compliment or contrast the base – Many people love the idea of making a low maintenance high style shower – so combining solid surface walls with the solid surface base is very popular. These walls come in over 60 different colors and 4 wall panel finishes – including gloss, matte, slate and a simulated tile look.
- Different shapes – Whether you need a straight, curved or angled shower a solid surface base can be created.
- No barrier bases – if stepping over a shower curb is a problem choose a barrier free roll in shower base to make the space safer for everyone to use.
What questions or experiences do you have with different shapes, styles and shower base systems? Please comment below.
If you’re looking for more information or an estimate on remodeling a bathroom or nationwide supply of our unique solid surface bases contact The Bath Doctor in Cleveland (216-531-6085), Columbus (614-252-7294), nationwide (877-668-5888) or Cleveland Design & Remodeling (216-658-1270). These bases can also be designed for use with glass block shower walls. This article was authored by Mike Foti.
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