The durability of any bathroom flooring depends on the effectiveness of the waterproofing mechanism. Though ceramic tiles look great and are easy to clean, they can lead to excessive water accumulation and/or water leakage. In order to avoid such problems, a shower pan liner is usually installed underneath the tiles.
It serves the main purpose of directing spilled water towards the drainage pipe, thus preventing deterioration of the subfloor. Shower pan liners are available in various materials, of which polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyethylene (CPE), and lead sheets, are the most commonly used. Here are some useful tips to install a shower pan liner.
How to Install a Shower Pan Liner
Whatever be the type of liner material (PVC, CPE or lead sheeting) or subfloor (concrete or plywood), the steps for installing the liner are similar.
- For installing a shower pan liner, first measure the dimension of the bathroom floor accurately.
- Select the material of the liner as per your budget and requirements. In comparison to PVC, CPE liner is highly flexible but a bit costly too. Ensure that the thickness of your chosen material is not less than 40 mm. Also, ensure that the size of the liner is more than the size of the bathroom floor.
- The next step is to set the drain properly. For effective drainage and waterproofing, the bathroom floor should be leveled to meet the height of the drain. Installing the drain much higher than the bathroom floor would obviously lead to accumulation, and ultimately destroy the whole purpose of a liner installation.
- In case of a concrete subfloor, you can directly install the shower pan liner, provided that a gentle slope is already present.
- For a plywood subfloor, it is essential to build a sloping mortar bed prior to installation of the liner. You can consider creating a slope of about ¼ inch per foot. Since you are laying a thin mortar bed, add a latex additive instead of water while preparing the mortar mixture. This ensures greater strength and creates a perfect base for installing the liner.
- According to the planned slope, lay a thin layer of mortar bed on top of the shower pan. Leave the mortar to dry, it should take about a day to dry completely. After the mortar bed has completely dried, you can lay the shower pan liner.
- Allow the sides of the liner material to partially rise up against the walls (about 8 - 9 inches). Do not cut the liner, but fold it at the corners in case you think it's too long. Locate the drain and cut a hole as per the size of the drain; do not cover the weep holes of the drain.
- Once the shower pan liner is appropriately placed, you can use a staplegun or a tack hammer and nails to fix the liner to the sides. Following this, you can lay another layer of mortar bed on top of the liner like you did in the previous step (retain the planned slope). Again let the mortar dry completely.
- Lay the tiles over the mortar bed, starting from the center and working your way towards the sides. Grout the spaces between the tiles, and apply a sealant for to avoid seepage.
Voila! Your shower pan liner is successfully installed. Time to say bye-bye to drainage problems.