Installing a Shower Pan Membrane Liner for a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower
Tips on How to Install a Shower Pan Membrane Liner
By Mark J. Donovan
|One feature to
seriously consider when planning a bathroom remodeling project is the
inclusion of a custom ceramic tile shower. Nothing beats the elegance and
charm of a custom ceramic tiled shower. And surprisingly, they are not as
expensive to install as you may think, particularly if you are willing to
put some sweat equity into it.
Most moderately skilled DIY homeowners can install their own ceramic tile
shower with a little upfront education and planning. The only really
critical component of a ceramic tile shower is the proper installation of a
shower pan membrane liner.
A shower pan membrane liner is the
item that ensures any water that may seep through the ceramic tile shower floor
gets funneled into the shower drain. If installed improperly the shower could
leak and you’ll end up having to rip out tile and make time consuming and messy
repairs. The improper installation of a shower pan membrane liner on a second
floor shower can cause even more damage. So you want to make sure you get this
part of the project right the first time.
A shower pan membrane liner is made from flexible plastic material. It is
sandwiched in-between two layers of mortar on the shower floor area. The ceramic
shower floor tiles are attached to the top layer of the mortar. The mortar has a
gentle slope to it so that the shower pan membrane liner can funnel water into
the shower drain.
To install a mortar shower pan
membrane liner the first step is to install a pre-slope layer of mortar to
the subfloor, be it plywood or a concrete slab. This pre-slope layer is
designed to provide a gentle slope from the shower wall edges to the shower
drain. After pouring mortar onto the plywood subfloor or concrete slab, it
is troweled to create the proper pitch to the shower drain.
After the pre-slope mortar layer has setup the flexible shower pan membrane
liner is placed on top of it.
The shower pan membrane liner needs
to be properly folded into the corners and tacked in place to the wall studs
using roofing nails. The nails that hold it in place should be around 6 inches
up from the bottom of the shower pan. In addition, a hole has to be cut in the
shower pan to allow the adjustable shower drain to pop up through.
can then be attached to the shower frame wall studs. Cement backerboard is a
cementitious material that is ideal for fastening ceramic tiles to. It is
also impervious to water. Do not use drywall or moisture resistant drywall
in a ceramic tile shower project. Also, it is critical not to damage the
shower pan membrane line while installing the cement backerboard. Make sure
to put cardboard over the membrane liner when installing the cement
shower pan membrane liner and backerboard installed, a final base layer of
mortar is poured into the shower pan area to cover the membrane liner.
Again, the gentle slope needs to be
maintained with the second mortar layer such that water drains from the shower
wall edges to the shower drain. Use your trowel to do this.
After the final base layer of mortar has fully cured, you can then move onto the
process of tiling the shower walls and floor. Note that you should use an
alkaline resistant tape and thinset mortar to cover the seams in the cement
backerboard prior to tiling the walls.
Lastly, after grouting the ceramic tile shower walls and floor, adjust the
shower drain assembly so that it is flush with the finished shower floor
For more information on installing a shower pan membrane
liner, see the
Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation EBook
from HomeAdditionPlus.com. The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly
teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner
correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the
pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.
Ceramic Tile Calculator
information on tiling a custom ceramic tile shower, see the
How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook
from HomeAdditionPlus.com. It provides detailed instructions for every
step in the process of tiling a custom ceramic tile shower and is loaded with
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