Going Green: How to Install a New Acrylic Shower Pan Going Green: How to Install a New Acrylic Shower Pan
An acrylic shower pan may be twice the price of fiberglass shower pans, but it is worth the expense. This type of shower pans is much more durable and scratch resistant than other shower pans and, because of these qualities, will last much longer. Furthermore, Acrylic shower pans usually require less maintenance to keep in good working order than other types of shower pans. Installing acrylic shower pans is not any more difficult than installing a fiberglass pan; simply follow the instructions below.
Step 1 – Level the Area
Because acrylic shower pans are pre-molded, the floor they will rest on must be level before they are permanently installed. First, use a level to check two or three different spots on the floor where the shower will be. In new buildings, the floor may already be level. If the building is old, there is a good chance that a floor leveling compound may be needed. There are two types of floor leveling compounds: self-leveling and trowel on. Either type may be used, but depending on the size of the area and the amount of filling that needs to be done to make the floor level, one type might work better than the other. Remember to stuff a sponge or rag into the drain before beginning to ensure that no debris or leveling compound falls into it.
Step 2 – Install Blocking Around the Base
Blocking, which consists of short 2 inch by 4 inch pieces of wood, should be attached at floor level between the wall studs that surround the shower pan. Check to see that the acrylic base fits between the studs of the area chosen for the shower. If there is not enough space between the studs, a new, smaller pan must be purchased. If there is too much space between the studs and the shower pan, shims may be used in some areas to extend the frame to meet the shower pan. It may be wise to connect part of the drain assembly to the shower pan now while the base remains unattached. Simply fit the top part of the drain through the hole in the pan and screw the bottom part of the drain onto it from the other side, sandwiching a rubber washer and the pan itself in the middle.
Step 3 – Screw the Pan to the Studs
Once it is certain the base will fit into the desired area, line up the drain with the hole in the pan. Then, using a drill, bore pilot holes for the screws that will be used to hold the shower pan in place. Although acrylic shower pans are more durable than fiberglass, if pilot holes are not made before screwing the base to the studs, the pan will likely crack and break. Once the pilot holes are drilled, screw galvanized screws through them and into the studs and blocking behind.
Step 4 – Finish Assembling the Drain
Remove the sponge or rag from the drain. Finally, connect the drain assembly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Usually this entails connecting the shower pan drain to the drain pipe with a compression gasket and finishing the drain by screwing on a strainer.