Here’s our concrete shower floor design guide including pros and cons, what kind of concrete to use, installation steps and waterproofing.On the subject of ideal shower floor materials, besides aesthetic appeal, there are several other variables that should be given just as much, if not more, attention.
Where to start? With concrete shower floors. Say hello to one of the most reliable materials you can count on for your bathroom shower floor revamping.
Can You Use Concrete For Shower Floor?
The short answer? A resounding “yes”! But perhaps it’s the “why” of it that you should understand. Why use concrete for your bathroom shower floor? What are its benefits? And as it has been around since the 1800s, why does it remain a constant in shower flooring construction?
Our experts have narrowed down buying with a design guide to help you finally make the right decision for switching to concrete.
Concrete Shower Floor Design Ideas
A concrete shower floor can be used in a variety of bathroom styles, but it is particularly popular in modern and industrial-style bathrooms. The clean lines and minimalistic design of these styles complement the sleek, low-maintenance nature of a concrete shower floor.
However, with the ability to customize the color, texture, and pattern of the concrete, it can also work well in other design aesthetics such as rustic or contemporary. A concrete shower floor is a durable and versatile option that can be adapted to fit any bathroom style with the right application, and customization.
Here’s a few of the popular methods for using concrete for your shower floor:
Concrete Everything. The seamless flow of the industrial stone effortlessly creates an impactful shower area and works well with almost any bathroom style. But for modern bathrooms, the humbling material together with that sleek glass division showcases a sophisticated look.
Seamless Concrete Flooring. With a clever drainage system, it creates that curbless design eliminating the visual boundary between the wet and closed areas in the bathroom. Install a concrete sloped shower pad and hide away the linear drain with custom concrete tile.
Encaustic Cement Tiles. When looking for a variety of encaustic cement tiles is a great option. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns and is made from cement, pigment, and other natural materials. The cement tiles are durable and water-resistant.
Black and White Concrete Combo. These neutral colors are perfect for injecting creative geometry without overwhelming a space while effectively establishing the mood and style. Pair light concrete with dark to create a checkered pattern to create a transitional, art deco, contemporary or vintage aesthetic.
Use Microcement. For a concrete shower floor without a major renovation, use micro cement or micro concrete. The cement-based coating can be applied thinly on an existing substrate. The thickness will depend on the surface but will usually have a thickness of around 2 to 3 mm.
Concrete Shower Floor Pros And Cons
Water Damage Resistance – Many are unaware that concrete does not easily let water seep through it. As long as concrete surfaces are installed and maintained well, the likelihood of them incurring water damage is low.
With the aid of the best flooring specialists, you can have concrete floors regularly checked so that cracks and fissures are quickly pointed out, covered, and patched up. This will strengthen the affected area and curb the build-up of moisture.
Durability And Longevity – Aside from resilience against water damage, concrete has been proven to be durable. It can withstand abrasions, chemical exposure, and weathering elements. That, all while maintaining its structural quality and integrity.
A reason behind its durability, and ultimately, longevity, is how it houses low levels of organic content. Fewer organic content equals a slower rate of deterioration caused by reoccurring natural elements found in the environment.
Cleaning Convenience – Concrete is fairly hassle-free to clean. In fact, dust and dirt will require little effort from dry-mopping to sweeping, and vacuuming. Every now and then, you can even use a wet mop for deep cleaning concrete.
Concerning cleaning agents, be sure to ask your supplier about which products will work the best. There are tons of commercial cleaning agents which contain chemicals that discolor concrete and these should definitely be avoided.
Economical – You’d think that something as durable as concrete flooring materials would equate to hefty price tags. Nevertheless, this isn’t so. Concrete is so cost-effective, it’s considered one of the most economical, in the context of construction materials for flooring.
Concrete is comprised of simple substances, mainly aggregates (commonly referred to as “rocks”), air, and paste. The “paste” is generally made up of a blend of water and Portland cement.
All of these are naturally sourced and thus do not entail expensive extraction and manufacturing processes. This makes them ideal for large walk-in shower designs.
The Right Surface Finish – The point of the matter is that hitting that “right” concrete finish is usually attainable only with the assistance of expert contractors.
If you’re thinking of DIY-ing this yet have no experience regarding concrete pouring and layering, you might end up with a shower floor that’s either too coarse or too slick to be trodded upon.
No Sealant Means Hello Staining – Although concrete floors can be cleaned without complications, they can incur staining. And not the artful sort of what we imply by “staining”. But don’t worry as there is a solution to this— sealants.
What Kind Of Concrete Do You Use For A Shower Floor?
Just as the term implies, a “sand mix” is a combination of cement and sand. The latter is what allows “sand mix” that unique appearance and texture. A kind of beautiful grainy finish.
Barring this, sand lets the mortar gain volume. More volume means higher density, which directly translates to physically expanding the product further.
Thinset is the preferred pair of cement foundations particularly for reinforcing tile fittings. After your shower floor’s concrete has been laid, Thinset is the next layer to be spread before tiles are put down and arranged. This type of cement is often used for installation of pebble tile shower floors.
Portland cement is among the most common type of industrial resources utilized in both residential and commercial spheres. It is also very frequently a material included in many other categories of concrete, mortar, etc.
Concrete Shower Floor Installation
Here are some of the steps that revolve around a basic design and installation guide for your brand new shower floor.
A rubber membrane should be spread evenly on the floor surface, with its edges stretching a tad beyond the floor’s diameter.
You can use studs to affix them securely on the form board. And a pro tip— leave at least 8” starting at the bottom of the board.
Drain Hole Cutting Plus Drain Plate
With a utility knife or a similar instrument, cut the drain hole out. Take care that you cut it in the right size. Not-too-large is good enough.
The purpose for this is for it to act as a funnel for those rare instances when water seeps through and needs an outlet to be drained from the flooring.
Subsequently, fasten the drain plate along with the drain. A 1 ¼” allowance is recommended to give the concrete mix ample space to settle.
Mixing the Concrete
Now comes the mixing of the concrete. This may vary according to the type of concrete material you choose.
By and large, you can pour it in a basic bucket and fill it up until about a third of the receptacle.
Afterwards, alternate pouring water and a bit more concrete, and combine them until they acquire a smoothie-like texture. Likewise, don’t forget to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for this task.
Pouring And Curing Concrete
The concrete can be distributed via a handheld mortar mixer or a trowel. Follow the aforementioned 1 ¼” leeway closest to the drain. Gently spread out the moist concrete until it is even and smooth.
How Do You Waterproof A Concrete Shower Floor?
Sealers… In Multiple Coats
Sealers can be sprayed on concrete floors and serve as a protective film against water seepage and moisture accumulation. On several occasions, epoxies are coated on cement, and sealers are distributed as the final overlay.
A Final Tip For Slip-Resistance
It will be beneficial to lightly roughen your shower floor to prevent slippage. An alternative is to purchase a grit-filled floor supplement as it will work the same way as roughening concrete.
How to Install a Concrete Shower Pan
A concrete shower pan is used as a shower base and there are ready-made shower pans available in the market but an experienced DIYer might want to try to install a concrete shower pan for a customized fit.
- Measuring tape
- Substrate – The typical thickness is 5/8” plywood, cement board) For concrete floors no need for the substrate.
- PVC liner or waterproofing membrane
- Drain Fixtures/Hardware
- Concrete mix
- Utility knife
- Rubber gloves
- Protective goggles
Shower Pan Installation Steps:
Take the Needed Measurements. Measure the shower area to determine the size of the shower pan you need to make. The shower pan should be slightly larger than the drain assembly.
Install the Subfloor. Install the plywood or cement board on the subfloor using nails or screws. Make sure the surface is at a level.
Clean the Subfloor. Remove any dampness or debris on the subflooring.
Cover any Cracks. Tape off all cracks and holes so the self-leveler does not leak through. Small gaps can lead to leaks so make sure that no cracks are left uncovered. A penetrating sealer like a water-based polyurethane is effective in sealing cracks.
Assemble and Install the Drain. Install the drain assembly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Cut and Fit the PVC liner. Cut the PVC liner or waterproofing membrane to size using a utility knife. The liner should be large enough to cover the entire shower pan and extend upward to the walls by at least 3 inches.
Install the Liner. Place the liner over the subfloor and press it into place, smoothing out any wrinkles or folds. Cut a hole in the center of the liner for the drain assembly.
Create the Base. Fill in the shower pan with a layer of sand, followed by a layer of gravel. Tamp the gravel down firmly to create a stable base.
Mix Concrete. Mix the concrete according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter. The basic ratio of the concrete mixture is 5 parts sand to 1 part Portland cement. Quikrete’s Floor Mud and Topping mix are great options for assembling a concrete shower pan.
Pour Concrete. Pour the concrete into the shower pan, smoothing it out with a trowel. Make sure the surface is level and slopes gently toward the drain. Allow the concrete to cure for at least 24 hours before removing the forms.
How to Install a Shower Base Video
Do you have experience with a concrete shower floor in your bathroom? Share your thought on this material in the comments section below. For more related content visit our gallery of wet room bathroom designs.