How to Build a Shower Pan on Plywood Floor

Are you looking to update your bathroom with a new shower pan but don’t know how to get started? Have no fear! With some basic DIY skills, you will be able to create an attractive and durable shower pan that is sure to turn heads.

How to Build a Shower Pan on Plywood Floor

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through each step of the process of how to build a shower pan on plywood floor so that building your own shower pan on a plywood floor can be a fun and rewarding project.

From obtaining the proper supplies and materials, creating the base frame for support, waterproofing it appropriately, tiling it correctly, and adding decorative trim as the finishing touch – this guide has everything you need for constructing your perfect shower pan. Read ahead if you want to find out more about what’s involved in making this viable!

Tools and Materials You Will Need to Build a Shower Pan on Plywood Floor

  1. Gloves
  2. Safety glasses
  3. Tape measure
  4. Trowel
  5. Hammer
  6. Chalk line
  7. Leveler
  8. Circular saw or jigsaw
  9. Lumber (2x4s)
  10. Plywood sheets
  11. Cement board sheets
  12. Waterproof membrane and sealing tape
  13. Thinset mortar

Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Build a Shower Pan on Plywood Floor

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Before tackling any construction project, it’s crucial to prepare your workspace and gather all the necessary materials. Make sure you have a clean, level, and well-ventilated area to work on. Put on your safety gear – gloves and safety glasses – before you begin. Preparing for the project well in advance can save you time and hassle later on.

Using a Tape Measure

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Plywood

Using a tape measure, determine the dimensions of your shower pan area and mark them out on plywood sheets. Then using a circular saw or jigsaw, cut the boards to size. You will need two pieces – one for the bottom layer and one for the top layer. Make sure to leave room for the slope you will create in later steps.

Step 3: Build the Base Frame

Using your lumber (2x4s), build a frame that fits perfectly within the dimensions of your shower pan area. This frame will serve as support for your plywood layers. Secure it with nails or screws, making sure it is level and properly aligned. While constructing the frame, remember to leave a slight slope towards the drain for proper water drainage.

Step 4: Install the Bottom Plywood Layer

Place the bottom plywood layer on top of the frame and secure it with screws or nails, making sure the edges are flush with the frame. Double-check that there is still a slight slope towards the drain. While installing, also keep in mind the location of your shower valve and drain.

Step 5: Water Seal the Pan

Before installing the top layer of plywood, it’s essential to waterproof the pan. Apply a waterproof membrane over the bottom layer, extending it up onto the walls by at least 6 inches. Make sure to overlap seams and corners with sealing tape for added protection against leaks.

Step 6: Install the Top Plywood Layer

Apply a Waterproof Membrane

Place the top plywood layer over the waterproofed pan and secure it with screws or nails. Double-check that there is still a slight slope towards the drain. Use a leveler to ensure that both layers are even and flush. This layer will provide the base for tiling. Make sure to leave a gap of 1/8 inch between each board for expansion.

Step 7: Install Cement Board

Cut cement board sheets to fit within your shower pan area and install them over the top plywood layer with thin-set mortar. Make sure to leave a small gap (1/8 inch) between each sheet for expansion. Use screws to secure the cement boards in place. If you have a shower bench, make sure to install a cement board on it as well.

Step 8: Tile the Shower Pan

Follow manufacturer instructions to mix and apply thin-set mortar onto the cement boards. Lay your chosen tiles over the mortar, ensuring even spacing between each tile. Use tile spacers for accuracy. Once all the tiles are in place, allow them to set for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Step 9: Grout and Finish

Using a grout float, apply grout between the tiles. Wipe away any excess with a damp sponge. Once the grout has dried, use a tile sealer to protect it from water damage. Finally, add any decorative trim or finishing touches you desire to complete your shower pan.

Following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful and functional shower pan on your plywood floor. Remember to take your time, be precise with your measurements and cuts, and always follow manufacturer instructions for the best results. With some patience and effort, you’ll have a stunning shower pan that will last for years to come! Happy DIY-ing!

Use a Tile Sealer

Additional Tips and Tricks to Build a Shower Pan on Plywood Floor

  1. To ensure that your shower pan is completely waterproof, consider using a tile membrane over the plywood floor before installing the shower pan. This will provide an extra layer of protection against water damage.
  2. When installing the shower pan, make sure to use a waterproof adhesive and seal all seams with waterproof silicone caulk. This will prevent any leaks or water seepage from occurring in your shower.
  3. Allow for proper drainage by ensuring that the slope of the floor towards the drain is at least 1/4 inch per foot. This will ensure that any water that collects in the shower will be directed toward the drain and not pool on the floor.
  4. Use a level to ensure that your shower pan is completely level before securing it in place. This will prevent any unbalanced weight distribution and potential cracks or damage to the pan.
  5. Consider using a pre-fabricated shower pan instead of building one from scratch. This can save time and effort, and also ensure a more precise fit for your shower.
  6. Before installing the shower pan, make sure to properly prepare the plywood floor by cleaning it thoroughly and removing any debris or dust. This will ensure a smooth surface for the adhesive to bond to.
  7. Take your time when applying the waterproof membrane, adhesive, and silicone caulk. Proper application is crucial for a successful and long-lasting shower pan.
  8. Consider adding a layer of mortar over the plywood floor before installing the shower pan for added stability and support. This can also help create a better seal between the pan and the floor.
  9. If you plan on tiling your shower, make sure to install the shower pan first before laying down the tiles. This will ensure that the tiles are properly aligned and avoid any uneven surfaces.

Following these tips and tricks can help you build a shower pan on a plywood floor with confidence and ensure a durable, leak-proof shower for years to come. Remember to always follow manufacturer instructions and consult a professional if needed. Happy building! # No termination phrase is necessary as additional content is related to the general topic discussed in the document.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Shower Pan?

A shower pan, also known as a shower base or shower tray, is the waterproof floor of a shower that directs water to the drain and protects the underlying structure from moisture damage. It is an essential component of any shower installation and serves as the foundation for the tiles or other finishing materials.

Why Do I Need to Build a Shower Pan on Plywood Floor?

Plywood is a commonly used subfloor material in bathrooms, and building a shower pan on top of it provides a sturdy, stable base for your shower. Additionally, plywood is more cost-effective compared to other materials such as concrete or fiberglass, making it a popular choice for DIY shower projects.

Can I Build a Shower Pan on Any Type of Plywood?

No, not all types of plywood are suitable for building a shower pan. It is essential to use exterior-grade plywood as it is more resistant to moisture and will hold up better in the wet environment of a shower. Marine-grade plywood is an even better option as it is specifically designed for use in wet areas.

Not All Types of Plywood Are Suitable

How Do I Build a Shower Pan on Plywood Floor?

Building a shower pan on a plywood floor involves creating layers of waterproofing materials, including a sloped mortar bed, a waterproof membrane, and tile adhesive. The steps can vary depending on the type of shower pan you are building but generally involve measuring and marking the area, creating a slope for proper drainage, and applying waterproofing materials.


With the above outlines, you can easily learn how to build a shower pan on plywood floor. Remember to use exterior-grade or marine-grade plywood, follow proper measurements and slope guidelines, and use appropriate waterproofing materials.

Building a shower pan on a plywood floor is an achievable DIY project that can save you time and money while providing a stable base for your shower. So why wait? Get started on creating your own custom shower today! Happy building!

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Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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