If you have a shower base at home or planning to install one, a question that will likely pop in your head is how much weight this bathroom fixture can hold. This question is valid, especially if you plan to install heavy stone tiles or several occupants at the home tip the scale over the right side. So, does a shower base have a weight limit, and how much weight can it properly support?
The amount of weight that a shower base can hold will depend on several factors. In general, a cement shower base will handle 1,000 lbs. and above. The actual weight capacity will depend on factors including the strength and age of the subflooring and the shower base material used.
But what about if the shower base is not made from cement? We will take a more in-depth look at all the factors concerning this particular topic below. Please continue reading to learn more about all the elements that can affect the weight capacity of the shower base and the details about the shower base in general.
Difference Between the Shower Base and Shower Pan
A common misconception is that the shower base and shower pan are similar. This is not the case as they are pretty different from each other. The shower base is the structure underneath the shower, while the shower pan is the shower floor.
Speaking of the shower base structure, it is best to set the shower base with mortar instead of a concrete cement mix due to the stones in the latter will keep the bottom away from the floor, which might negatively affect its stability. With a mortar, you get a smooth consistency and, when evenly spread, will provide excellent stability.
As for the shower pan, you can typically expect it to have a lifespan of more than a decade with proper maintenance. Also, we highly recommend you go with shower pans that measure around 1,900mm, which provide a more than adequate space when showering.
Are Shower Pans Essential?
Shower pans add another layer of protection from water, which is always a welcome element in the bathroom and shower. As such, while not precisely mandatory, we do recommend you consider installing a shower pan as well, especially if you have a tiled bathroom floor.
Even if you do not have a tiled floor, there is nothing wrong with adding an extra layer of waterproofing to your shower stall.
What is the Standard Shower Base Size?
Now, what about how extensive the shower base should be? In general, a standard shower base will measure at around 32 x 60 inches, while larger ones will have a dimension of 48 x 60 inches. You can also find slightly smaller ones around 32 to 48 inches.
Shower Base or Tiles – Which is Better?
The main advantage of using the shower base is that it is more cost-effective than tiles. However, your shower stall must fall into the standard size required to ensure that the shower base will be a compatible fit. On the flip side, go with tiles if you have the extra cash and your goal is a more customized bathroom floor aesthetic.
Different Types of Shower Bases
There are four types of shower base being used today. Which ones offer the best results when it comes to functionality? Let’s take a look.
Tile Shower Base
The most commonly implemented is the tile shower base. Not only is it a durable option, but it can also add some unique aesthetic flourishes to your bathroom interior décor. The downside here is that it can get quite expensive depending on the type of tile you use. Grouting is also time-consuming and mandatory, so you can’t circumvent that step.
Stone Shower Base
The second option is the stone shower base. This type is usually molded to fit perfectly into the shower at the cost of being the most expensive option on this list. That said, if you are looking for a high-quality, high-end, and luxurious aesthetic – a natural stone shower base is the way to go. Additionally, this type of shower base can increase the overall resale value of your home in the future.
Acrylic Shower Base
Acrylic is a highly flexible material found in other sections of the shower stall, such as the panels. This material is known for its flexibility, water resistance, and corrosion resistance. In addition, acrylic shower bases are pretty affordable as well.
Fiberglass Shower Base
The last type of shower base is the fiberglass variant. While durable in its own right, it is not at the same level as the previous entries. Fiberglass shower base is also more prone to cracks and breaks than acrylic. Another disadvantage of the fiberglass shower base is its low scratch resistance. Alas, fiberglass shower bases have been left behind by acrylic in terms of functionality.
Which Shower Base Type Should You Choose?
Choosing the suitable shower base must always center on its primary functionality, which is to protect the floor underneath from water damage. In addition, proper installation of the shower base and the pan is vital to ensure that it will not warp or be susceptible to mold and mildew stains, leading to expensive repairs down the line.
Never be stingy when it comes to your budget for the shower floor, as going for cheaper alternatives increases the risk of problems in the future. For example, the fiberglass shower base is exceptionally cheap relative to the other options, but it is also the least durable. So you may be saving money right now, but you will be finding yourself burning through cash due to repairs in the future.
If you are going for a more luxurious bathroom aesthetic, you cannot go wrong with either tiles or molded stone shower base. However, the acrylic shower base is still the best option for a more well-rounded and practical approach.
Shower Base Buying Guide
If you are new to the whole shower base market, then do not fret as we got you covered. There are several factors to consider when purchasing your shower base, which we will explain below. Consider the following aspects to ensure you get the best shower base for your bathroom.
The first and most crucial factor is the dimension of the shower base. The standard shower base will usually have a dimension of 32 x 60 inches. Check the measurement of your shower stall floor space carefully to determine what size you will need.
The next vital factor to check is the shower base’s durability. For maximum durability, go with either stone or resin shower bases. For a mix of toughness and affordability, acrylic is your next best bet and is the most popular option in the market today. Tiles are also excellent options and will provide a more versatile aesthetic.
If you plan on using an acrylic or PVC shower base, make sure that you incorporate mortar support to provide it with the best foundation underneath.
The people who will be using it and how often the bathroom will be used are important factors. Also, it would be best if you considered who will be using the shower. For example, if there are elderly, installing a shower pan that does not feature barriers to ensure ease of access might be best.
If there are family members considered heavy-set, you should probably avoid using fiberglass shower bases as they might not offer a suitable weight capacity.
Easy to Clean and Maintain
Another factor to consider is whether the shower base is easy to clean. This aspect is doubly crucial for homes with families and children. An easy-to-clean shower base is made from acrylic or natural stone such as marbles. Unfortunately, tiles tend to be the most difficult to clean and maintain due to the grout.
It is best to go with the highest quality available when it comes to shower base. If on a budget, the acrylic shower base is the best option with its excellent durability, waterproof, and mold and mildew resistance. The molded stone base will deliver that luxurious vibe in spades for those who want that high-end appeal.