Installing a shower base can be a daunting task. Still, it can be relatively straightforward with the right tools and materials. One key decision you will need to make is choosing the right type of mortar to use as the foundation for your shower base.
The type of mortar to use under the shower base should be thin-set mortar. Thin-set mortar is strong and durable and dries to a hard, waterproof finish. It is also resistant to cracking and chipping, making it suitable for wet areas such as showers.
In this article, I will discuss the different types of mortar available and provide tips on choosing the right one for your shower base installation project. I will also discuss the importance of proper installation techniques and provide some general tips for a successful shower base installation.
Is It Necessary To Put Mortar Under Shower Base?
Using mortar under a shower base is essential for ensuring the strength, stability, waterproofing, and durability of the shower system. It is an important step in the installation process that should not be skipped.
In the following section, I will delve deeper into why mortar is used under a shower base.
1. Strength and Stability
Mortar is a type of concrete used to create a strong and stable foundation for a shower base.
When applied beneath the shower base, it helps to provide additional strength and stability, which can be especially important if the shower base is installed on an uneven or unstable surface.
There are several ways that mortar can help with strength and stability in this context:
- Mortar is an especially sturdy material that can be used to reinforce the shower base, preventing it from shifting or moving over time.
- Mortar can help to evenly distribute the weight of the shower base across the surface, which can help to prevent the base from sinking or settling unevenly.
- Mortar can help to fill in any gaps or voids beneath the shower base, which can help to create a more solid and stable foundation.
Mortar can help waterproof a shower base in several ways.
- It creates a solid, stable foundation for the shower base. This can help prevent water leaks caused by shifting or settling of materials under stress.
- The mortar creates a water-resistant barrier between the shower base and the floor beneath it. This can help prevent water from seeping through cracks or joints in these surfaces.
- The mortar can help seal any gaps or cracks in the shower base itself, further helping prevent water from leaking.
Mortar can help with customization in a few ways.
- Using mortar as a foundation for a shower base can help to ensure its proper alignment and functioning. When the surface on which the shower base is being installed is uneven or irregular, it is especially important to have a stable and level foundation to support it. Mortar can provide this foundation, making it easier to install the shower base correctly.
- Using mortar under the shower base can allow for more flexibility in terms of the size and shape of the shower base. Since the mortar can be spread and shaped to fit the desired dimensions of the shower base, it can be used to create custom-sized shower bases or fit them into irregularly shaped spaces.
- Using mortar under the shower base can also make it easier to customize the look of the shower base by allowing for the use of different types of tiles or other materials on top of the mortar. This can give homeowners more options for creating the desired aesthetic in their shower space.
Using mortar under a shower base helps to increase the durability of the shower system by providing a strong and stable foundation.
The weight of the shower base and any users are distributed evenly across the floor, which helps to prevent the base from shifting or settling over time.
This, in turn, helps to reduce the risk of cracks or other damage to the base, which can compromise the overall performance and lifespan of the shower system.
Mortar can also help to protect the shower base from moisture damage.
Its waterproofing properties can prevent moisture from seeping into the base, which can cause the materials to deteriorate or break down over time.
By preventing moisture from entering the base, mortar can help to extend the life of the shower and keep it in good working condition.
Type of Mortar To Use Under a Shower Base
It is important to use a type of mortar suitable for use under a shower base, as the area will be regularly subjected to moisture and water.
Some options for shower base mortar include thin-set, epoxy, and mastic mortar.
Here is more information about each type:
1. Thin-Set Mortar
One option is to use thin-set mortar, a cement-based adhesive mixed with polymer additives to improve its bonding strength and water resistance.
This type of mortar is commonly used for installing ceramic tiles but is particularly well-suited for use as a mortar under shower bases.
Thin-set mortar is a reliable and cost-effective choice for installing a shower base, as it provides the following advantages:
- Ease of use
2. Mastic Mortar
Mastic mortar is a type of adhesive used to construct and repair buildings.
It is a thick, pasty substance that bonds building materials, such as tiles, bricks, and concrete blocks.
Mastic mortar can be used under a shower base, but it may not be the best choice for this application for various reasons.
- Mastic mortar is a relatively weak adhesive compared to other options, such as thin-set mortar or epoxy. It may not provide sufficient bonding strength for use in a wet area such as a shower.
- Mastic mortar is not as resistant to water as other adhesives. It may break down or become damaged over time when exposed to the constant moisture and high humidity levels in showers.
3. Epoxy Mortar
Epoxy mortar can be used under the shower base, but it is not a commonly used material for this application.
Epoxy mortar is an adhesive made from a mixture of epoxy resin and a hardening agent.
However, epoxy mortar has several characteristics that make it less suitable for use under a shower base.
- It is difficult to work with, requiring precise mixing and application.
- It has a relatively long curing time.
- It is also more expensive than other adhesives, such as thin-set mortar or mastic mortar.
Related: How Much Does Epoxy Grout Cost?
Importance of Proper Shower Base Installation Techniques
Proper shower base installation techniques are important, as mistakes or shortcuts can result in costly repairs or a complete tear-out and redo of the shower base.
Here are some key reasons why proper shower base installation techniques are important:
- Waterproofing: A shower base must be properly installed to ensure it is fully waterproof. This is important to prevent water damage to the surrounding walls and floor and prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Durability: Proper installation techniques will help ensure that the shower base is durable and will last a long time. The base may crack or break over time if it is not properly installed.
- Safety: A properly installed shower base will be level and stable, which is important for safety. If the base is not level or is unstable, it can be dangerous for users, especially elderly or disabled individuals who may be at a higher risk of falls.
- Aesthetics: Proper installation techniques can help ensure that the shower base looks clean and professional, which can improve the overall appearance of the bathroom.
- Cost: Correct installation techniques can help you save money in the long term by avoiding expensive repairs or replacements.
General Tips for a Successful Shower Base Installation
Here are some general tips for a successful shower base installation, especially for DIY projects:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: It is important to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as each shower base may have unique installation requirements.
- Check the subfloor: Ensure the subfloor is level and in good condition before installing the shower base. If the subfloor is not level or is damaged, it may need to be repaired or replaced before the shower base can be installed.
- Use a waterproof membrane: A waterproof membrane is crucial in ensuring that the shower base is fully waterproof. The membrane should be applied to the subfloor and extend up the walls at least 6 inches (15 cm).
- Install the base level: Ensure the shower base is level during installation. If the base is not level, it can cause problems with drainage and may be unstable or unsafe to use.
- Install the drain properly: Make sure the drain is properly sealed to prevent leaks.
- Test for leaks: Once the shower base is installed, it is important to test it. This can be done by filling the base with water and checking for leaks or moisture.
- Use the appropriate tools and materials: Make sure to use the appropriate tools and materials for the shower base installation. This may include a level, a drill, screws, silicone sealant, and other materials recommended by the manufacturer.
- Follow safety precautions: Follow all safety precautions when installing a shower base, including wearing protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a dust mask and following any instructions provided by the manufacturer or local building codes.
- Consider hiring a professional: If you are not confident installing a shower base properly, it may be worth considering hiring a professional to do the job. This can help ensure that the base is installed correctly and can save time and money in the long run.
If you enjoy tackling DIY projects, the video below can assist you in installing a shower base. The video, provided by Bunnings, outlines the necessary steps for preparing the floor, mixing the cement, and laying down the base to ensure a successful installation:
There are many types of mortar to choose from, each with its own unique properties and characteristics.
To ensure a strong and durable foundation for your shower base, it is important to select the appropriate type of mortar.
Thin-set mortar is a good choice for shower bases, although epoxy is also an option, despite its higher cost.
When deciding on the best mortar for your project, consider the specific requirements and research the various options available to determine the one that best meets your needs.