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How to design a solid surface shower pan

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


A corner two sided low curb and low profile solid surface shower base and wall panel system - Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 9, 2019

Is stepping into your existing shower pan an experience you’d like to avoid? Dirty grout, cracked tile shower bases and fiberglass surrounds which have yellowed and cannot be cleaned are just some of the challenges owners have with their old shower pans. If you have these problems upgrading to a solid surface shower pan can be the solution. Solid surface is a stone-like material formulated with specialized crystals and resin which provides a rock hard surface which looks beautiful and is built to last. In the article below explore 5 ½ tips to design the right solid surface shower pan for your project.

Tip 1 – Design the entry of your cultured stone or solid surface pan 

A shower base is useless if it doesn’t serve the needs of all family members (from grandchildren to grandparents). Towards that end solid surface (or cultured stone) options can include roll in entries for those with mobility challenges, low threshold curbs (1 ½” high) for a sleeker contemporary design, mid-height curbs (which are 2 3/4″ tall) or standard full height curb (4 ½” high) which is a popular option for smaller spaces like corner enclosures. Note – even if you think you may need a roll in shower down the road you may want to use the low-profile curb because you can always add a separate ramp up curb extension down the road.

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A custom angled solid surface and cultured granite shower pan | Innovate Building Solutions

A custom angled solid surface and cultured granite shower pan


Tip 2 – With a solid surface shower pan you can choose your shape – and have a waterproof base

One huge advantage of solid surface over acrylic, fiberglass or tile pans is the ability to create any design while maintaining a low maintenance grout-free surface. These bases are available in standard sizes and shapes (including squares, rectangles, NEO angle shapes) and also custom layouts with offset curbs, designs for curved glass block shower walls, angles of even round shapes. Don’t think just because you have a custom sized shower you have to put up with having your scrub brush be your constant companion with a tile shower!

Solid surface and cultured granite shower pans can be round angled or even have an offset design for a walk in shower | Innovate Building Solutions

Solid surface and cultured granite shower pans can be round angled or even have an offset design for a walk in shower


Tip 3 – Determine your drain location and drain shape – whether you’d like round, square or even a linear drain 

Using a standard sized shower base can be cost effective if there are not major costs associated with moving the pre-chosen drain location of a standard base. If moving your drain will be costly given the structure under the shower pan (moving a drain in a concrete floor can be costly and difficult to do or sometimes the location of existing floor joists can make it tough to use a standard pan) then having a shower pan made which allows you to use your existing drain location can be smart. With custom solid surface shower pans any drain locations (or even a cool looking wider linear drain) can be used.

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Solid surface shower base with a custom drain location for a glass block walk in shower | Innovate Building Solutions

A cultured stone – solid surface shower pan with a custom drain location

Now you can even get a stylish linear drain with a cultured granite or solid surface pan.

Tip 4 – Select from a matte or high gloss finish for your cultured granite or solid surface shower pan 

– In solid surface (or cultured granite) bases you can choose between a high gloss finish (which can really stand out) or opt for the understated look of the matte type finish. Irrespective of what finish you choose all of these bases have a textured bottom surface for safety and traction control, although the safest option is the matte finished base.

A cultured granite shower pan with a curved curb shaped for a walk in glass block shower | Innovate Building Solutions

A cultured granite shower pan with a curved curb shaped for a walk in glass block shower


Tip 5 – Select your color…and it doesn’t have to boring and white

It’s always nice for interior decorating purposes to have lots of color options. Solid surface pans come in over 50 different colors so there will be a choice for most any décor. It’s also nice to know you can express your individuality and not have to settle for boring white or beige.

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SCultured stone low profile shower pan with a curved glass block wall | Innovate Building Solutions

A cultured stone shower pan can be curved to follow the contours of this prefabricated glass block wall


Tip 5 ½ – Don’t forget shower walls and vanity countertops are made from the same materials 

While the shower pan is the “foundation” of the shower matching the base with grout free and decorative solid surface shower walls and vanity countertops can tie the entire bathroom together and reduce maintenance.

One piece cultured marble vanity top in a modern farmhouse bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #VanityTop #ModerFarmhouse #CulturedMarble

One piece cultured marble vanity top in a modern farmhouse bathroom

For questions or a design consultation on how to select solid surface shower pans, walls or countertops comment or call the numbers below.
For nationwide solid surface pan, wall and countertop supply call Innovate Building Solutions (877-668-5888). For bathroom remodeling contact The Bath Doctor in Cleveland (216-531-6085), Columbus (614-252-7294) or Cleveland Design and Remodeling (216-658-1270).

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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


    Scott – yes – you can get a 16″ x 16″ drain location for most solid surface pans – in most cases. Some manufacturers have small manufacturing tables which limit the drain placement than others though. Call us and we can go over your specific situation. The number to reach us is 877-668-5888. Mike


  • Scott


    I have a corner shower and the drain is in the left corner (16 x 16) from corner I’m looking for a rectangular pan that I could install to fit that drain


  • Mike Foti


    Jeff – it was nice to talk to you yesterday about your project with solid surface shower panels and a glass block premade wall. I will look forward to getting your rough sketch and then pricing your job! Mike


  • jeff inman


    Hi Mike ,I am reaching out to you today because our company is working with a customer that wants to remove a older whirlpool tub and replace it with a solid surface walls and shower pan.Instead of having a door or curtain they would like to have glass block with just an opening to enter. the size would be 36 x 60 a plus on the glass block would be if the top edge would curve down a little towards the opening . Our Phone # 330-442-7389
    Thank you!
    Jeff Inman


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