Cast Iron Shower Pan Pros and Cons

A bathroom shower pan is just as crucial to the shower as the foundation of your home since it is the base or foundation of the shower. So, it is essential to ensure that the foundation of your shower maintains its integrity. A shower pan is probably one of the most overlooked bathroom essentials that need your attention and consideration. A cast iron shower pan is a popular choice because of its long-lasting durability and unique appearance.

different bathrooms with cast iron shower pans

Installing a shower pan prevents accidents because it guarantees that your bathroom tiles remain dry and protects your shower floor from leaks and molds. The best materials should be compact and should not crack, causing leaks or mold into the floor below.


What Is A Cast-Iron Shower Pan?

Modern high gloss shower

Cast iron shower pan, as the name suggests, has a structure coated with multiple layers of enamel, making it shiny and adhesive. Essentially, it provides a sturdy floor for your shower stall that funnels water from the shower head into the drain. 

Typically, a cast iron shower pan has a thickness of around 3/8 inches or more; today, there are products that are made with 80% recycled iron.

Recycled iron and steel scrap is a vital raw material for the production of new steel and cast iron products. – Mineral Commodity Summaries, 2012

However, if you prefer a more retro or mid-century look, vintage cast iron bathroom shower pans are also available on the market and are made with 100% recycled iron.

Cast Iron Shower Pan Pros

 • Unique look –  These pans have a unique, elegant look and match well with cast-iron tubs.

 • Durable and retains heat well – These types of shower pans are durable and do not tend to crack or chip easily. It retains heat well, and water leaks from the shower are unlikely.

Strong and sturdy – This material has a strong and sturdy structure that won’t get damaged easily.

Resistant to scratches – As mentioned, the enamel coating is fired at a high temperature; thus, it is also resistant to scratches.

• Resistant to cleaning products – The coating protects against most cleaning products with harsh chemicals.

Easy to clean and maintainMaintenance and cleaning is easy.

Cast Iron Shower Pan Cons

Expensive – Cast iron is known as one of the most expensive materials on the market.

High labor cost – Labor cost is a bit higher compared to other types of materials because of its weight and the time and effort it requires to install.

Can be slippery when wet – These can be slippery because the enamel coating tends to be slick when wet.

• Limited colors available -The colors are limited to several choices.

• Very heavy – Since these products are made of heavy iron, the floor that supports its weight needs to be strong and sturdy.

Susceptible to rust – This material can be susceptible to rust in areas that lose the enamel coating.

Is A Cast Iron Shower Pan Worth It?

Small bathroom in gray tones

Cast iron shower pans are commonly recommended by designers, especially when it comes to stain resistance and durability.

This is the same material used in those everlasting 1950s cast iron tubs, and you can’t find a more perfect and timeless material than that!

How Do You Clean A Cast Iron Shower Pan?

Bathroom with cast iron shower pan

Cast iron shower pans are timeless, luxurious, and sophisticated – until they get dirty. Here’s how to clean your cast iron shower pan properly in order to extend its life and continue using it for years to come.

When maintaining your cast iron shower pan through cleaning, keep in mind that stains, scratches, and other forms of wear and tear will actually need to be removed from the enamel coating, not the cast iron itself.

First, you need to determine which kind of stain you’re dealing with so that you can choose the proper cleaning agent. Here are some specific cleaning tips:

• Iron Stains – These are the stains that are likely the cause of high iron deposits in water that build up and then rust in the tub; they usually appear in shades of orange, red, or brown over time. Lemon juice and salt can remove iron from porcelain or enamel – it can also work wonders for removing stains from your cast iron shower pan.

• Copper Stains – This can be caused by copper pipes and fixtures that leave deposits in the water and can cause the green or blue stains you may see.

One way of cleaning these copper stains is to mix equal parts of white vinegar, flour, and salt and apply the paste to any copper stains in your cast iron shower pan. Leave it for 30 minutes, then wash it away with some soap and water.

To remove this type of stain, mix equal parts of white vinegar, flour, and salt, then apply the paste to the copper stains. Finally, leave it for 30 minutes then wash it away with some soap and water.

Using common, gentle household ingredients and products is a very good choice when it comes to cleaning a cast iron shower pan.

Using baking soda, is one of the most effective ingredients when deep cleaning your shower’s pan.

The first step is to sprinkle baking soda on the surface, then scrub the surface with a sponge, which helps release the deposits and residue on the shower pan’s surface.

Next, pour vinegar into the shower pan and onto the sponge to loosen up the deposits. Using ammonia instead of vinegar can also cut through grease and remove soap scum buildup.

Another natural cleaning solution is the combination of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon – this solution works wonders for your enamel-coated cast iron shower pan.

Apply the same steps as mentioned earlier but with the addition of lemon, which acts as a natural bleach and can freshen up both the shower pan’s surface and the drain.

What Is The Strongest Shower Base?

Blue bathroom design with marble shower

Cast iron is known for being a stronger material for a shower base than acrylic or tile, and it is heavier and the most durable option out there in the market. Read more about tile shower floors here.

An enameled cast iron shower pan can be a strong choice since it is a material that has stood the test of time. They are extremely sturdy, and their dense composition provides complete stability.

If you really want a durable, stronger, and stable material that can provide a clean and modern look, these shower bases are worth considering.

How Much Does A Cast Iron Shower Base Weigh?

It is important to know the average weight of a cast iron shower in order to determine whether your floor is strong enough to support the shower base, especially when you want to install one in your bathroom upstairs.

A cast iron shower base weighs about 115 pounds and can weigh as much as 250 pounds depending on its shape and size.

For more related content, check out this article about walk in shower designs.

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One Comment

  1. Great information on shower pans however I’ve been looking for that quarter round shower pan in cast iron or enameled steel for a couple years and can’t seem to find a manufacturer of one. Everyone seems to have gone to acrylic or other type of plastic and they all seem to crack within 10 years.

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