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3 Shower Base Options when you don’t want to change your drain location

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

With the right shower base custom drain locations are no problem

Updated January 20, 2019

If you’re looking to convert a tub into a shower (or remodel an existing shower) and the drain location has proven to be your enemy when looking for a shower base you’re not alone! While the price points of standard shower bases (which are most frequently made of fiberglass or acrylic) are enticing – the problem is their “standard” (non-changeable) drain locations may not match with where your existing drain hole is located. That can be a BIG BUMMER!

In this article I’ll explore 3 high quality shower base options which will eliminate the expensive plumbing costs and hassle associated with moving a drain location when you don’t have a standard size.

Option 1 – Use an Expanded polystyrene ready for tile shower base to get a custom drain location without hassle

Ready for tile shower pan with custom drain location during installation process

If you want a waterproof tile shower base which is simple to install (with the option of putting the drain in any place) then an expanded polystyrene tile ready shower base should be top on your list This base is lightweight, can be made in any shape and is easy to install (it can be thin set to a subfloor and thin set over and tile applied). In addition the design can include either a step over curb or a barrier free entry. When you want a wall like a curved glass block shower, this base simplifies the process and makes it possible (even for someone who hasn’t done this type of project before) to get ‘er done (as Larry the Cable Guy would say).

Completed Ready For Tile Shower Pan with glass block shower wall

Curved glass block shower built in prefabricated sections set on a ready for tile shower pan

Option 2 – The cultured granite or marble shower base where you can locate the drain where you want it 

What’s cool about the design of a cultured granite shower pan is they are grout free, can be custom designed in many colors, are sturdy and are hygienic as well. Since they are available in custom configurations the drain can be put in any location.  One thing to keep in mind with solid surface bases is they are heavy (which can be a concern maneuvering the base into the room). You’ll want to eat your Wheaties and call out some buddies for a steak dinner in exchange for helping you set the pan.

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Solid surface base with custom shape and drain location

Custom cultured marble shower pan in a custom NEO angle design

Option 3 – A One level wet room with a Zero Threshold entry to put your drain where you want it. 


Barrier free curbless one level wet room systems during installation | Innovate Building Solutions

A one level wet room using a shower base former during installation

If you have a family member with a disability or is sight or mobility challenged (or you just want a sleek looking bathroom) a glass reinforced shower base former can be the answer. These zero threshold shower formers (which are pre-sloped) are set directly on the joists and be rotated or cut to accommodate an existing drain hole. Once the base former is set the surrounding area is waterproofed – making a sleek one level wet room installation. These types of bases can be a fantastic selection for a roll in shower project – they not only look contemporary, but are safe as well!

Shower Base Guide Download

Zero Threshold Wet Room Shower Base

A one level wet room with a linear drain and large format tiles after completion


While there are other options besides the 3 mentioned above to use an existing drain location in a bath remodel I have found these choices provide good looking long lasting alternatives.  Please comment below or call us to learn more about these innovative shower bases, wall surrounds or glass enclosures.

On a nationwide basis call Innovate Building Solutions (877-668-5888) or for a local remodeling project call Cleveland Design & Remodeling (216-658-1270) or The Bath Doctor of Columbus (614-252-7294) or Cleveland (216-531-6085).

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Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

Comments (4)

  • Mike Foti


    Tony it is required to move the drain location (and in some cases it’s better to keep it where it is to lower your total costs). Give us a call and we can work through the specifics of your project and the types of bases you may want to consider (our 2 most popular ones are solid surface and a ready for tile shower pan – sometimes we also use acrylic bases). Mike


  • Tony Ortiz


    Hi Mike, I am removing a bathtub/shower and replacing it with a walk-in stall shower. Is it necessary to relocate the drain to the center of the new shower or can it be left where it is, which is at the end of the bathtub? Please advise.

    Thank you,
    Tony Ortiz


  • Mike Foti


    Fred – thanks for reaching out – I look forward to helping you on this project!


  • Fred Piña


    Hello Mike, I’m ready to see what you can do for me on helping with the floor plan for my shower. I’ll send you pictures of the rough part of where the shower is going to be and measurements of what size. Also I’m wanting to make it floor level entry with no barrier. I can also move the drain and want to use a long narrow drain, about 24 to 32 inches.

    Fred Piña


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