Tiny House: Shower Pan Extravaganza

The shower. This is the last big project left to do. It’s not so much that the materials are super heavy or that it covers a big area (the shower is only 2×3), but it’s involved.

You can’t put in the tile before you pour the mortar shower pan, but that has to dry and it has to be waterproofed…which also has to dry.

But first…the frame.

Until last weekend, the bathroom was just a box.  In order to have the shower that I want (ie. the shower that would fit), I had to build a frame for the shower pan. I literally could not find a pre-made plastic shower pan that had the dimensions I needed. That is by far the easiest way to go, but since I couldn’t find it I had to figure it out my dang self.

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Most of my ideas start on a sticky note.  I work out all the measurements and make sure I have enough wood, then have at it with the saw.  The shower goes in the corner (obviously) and the box-looking thing will be the cabinet for my composting toilet!

Next…the drain.

We needed to connect all the pieces (literally glue with black sticky stuff) and bolt it down.

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Oh, and that white stuff? ^ That’s the spray foam insulation.  I used what was leftover underneath the trailer.  It expanded so well that it sealed the flange to the floor and we had to pry it up.  Be careful with that business.

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Buuuut it turned out when we finished the process, the bottom flange ^ stuck up from the floor about 1/4 inch.

Not to worry!  All that can be fixed with scrap plywood.

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See?  🙂 So much of building is on-the-fly and creative problem solving. Whoever said construction is for those who aren’t smart probably thinks changing a light bulb counts as manual labor.  But I digress.

Then on to the waterproofing.

One major “take away” from this project is WATERPROOF ALL THE THINGS. Whether it’s caulk or spray or thick, intertube-esque sheeting, when in doubt, seal water out.

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Pictures make it look so fast. But Nooooooo.  This was quite a wrastling match.  The sheet is thick like an intertube…the black ones that are used for tires and sometimes floating down the river.  It DOES NOT want to cooperate, especially in the corners. Speaking of which, that bottom right corner is bugging me.

The edges are screwed to the wall – above the curb level which is important – to make sure it stays in place.  I left the size pretty much as it came out of the package. I’ve watched some professional tilers on the Youtube who cut it all pretty with very little excess. But I’m not professional.

There’s grace for that, right?

Now we’re on to the bigger stuff…the mortar bed.

First let me say, concrete is surprisingly heavy. It’s super fine like baking flour or powdered sugar, but HEAVY. Especially once you get it wet. Again the Youtube guys were all “oh just get it a little wet, enough that it will hold together when you squeeze it then smooth it out with a 2×4.”

So that’s how I started mixing in the wheelbarrow.  Just a liiiiittle water.

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But oh my word~! I could NOT get this stuff to move in to place. I struggled through 3 bucket-fulls of mortar before I was over it and dumped some water on top of the “only-a-little-wet” mortar in my soon-to-be shower.

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That worked MUCH better. Actually, it was a lot like pottery class. I ditched the 2×4 and used my left hand (that’s the good one for now…the one without the stupid router bit gouge) to smooth it around.

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And I’m happy to report it is perfectly unlevel….sloping from the right down to the left hand drain 🙂

This is far from done, but I think the major part is over. If you’re wanting to install a shower pan, I learned from watching this guy:

He builds a demo on a smaller scale so you can see what’s happening.  I also used his direction for building the curb and more waterproofing…but that’s for later 🙂

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