What Type of Concrete to Use for Shower Pan?

When you want to build your shower from scratch, it’s essential to choose the right concrete mix for shower pan installations.

So, what’s the best type of concrete to use for shower pans? The best concrete mix for shower pan installations includes Portland cement and a sand-based mortar mix. This creates a water-tight barrier for your shower floor. Quikrete’s Floor Mud is an excellent example of what to use for your DIY shower project.

Although the concrete mix for shower pan installations may seem like a straightforward process, there are a lot of details that you can miss if you don’t know the ins and outs of bathroom remodeling projects.

Using the Best Concrete for Shower Pan Installations

You can make your own concrete mix. Combining basic mortar mix with Portland cement and sand results in dry concrete that will lock out moisture. This results in a water-resistant barrier that protects your shower tiles and floor. 

To build a shower for a tiled floor, you first have to build a pan. The shower pan sits under the tile and slopes to direct water toward the drain. It’s vital to get the right angle to avoid leaks, standing water or puddles in the shower. Therefore, a well-made pan forms the foundation of a properly functioning shower.

You can buy pre-made pans. However, designing and installing one for your bathroom can give you a tailored fit and customize the look. To do this correctly, you need the right concrete mix for shower pans. Quikrete has two products that are ideal for this application. One is called Sand/Topping mix, and the other is called floor mud. Either of these products works great for shower pan installations. 

Quikrete Floor Mud is made of Portland cement. It’s also used for leveling slate, travertine and marble floor tiles. It packs and forms smoothly, allowing you to shape the pan at just the right angle for optimal drainage. 

Quick Crete floor mud comes pre-blended, so you don’t have to measure out ingredients. This makes it easy to use. Open the bag, mix and begin your project. This makes it easy to work with for DIY projects.

You can mix the Quikrete in a bucket, wheelbarrow or mixing tray, adding more water if needed. Typically, the right combination is 4 quarts of water for 80 lbs. of Quikrete. 

This creates a strong mix that can support tiles of all types, including heavy natural stone. It can also be used in interior or exterior showers. 

Benefits of Using Quikrete For Show Concrete Mix for Shower Pan

Quikrete products result in a durable shower pan that can withstand up to 5000 psi after curing for about a month. You don’t have to wait for the concrete to cure before using the shower. This convenient way to customize your shower pan gives you the opportunity to create beautiful tile flooring in bespoke patterns or create a solid base for your shower.

If you decide to use Quikrete Floor Mud, keep in mind that it may be a little harder to find. Lowes and Home Depot don’t carry it regularly. You can probably find it at a nearby tile store or order it online. If you can get it, it may be the best product for concrete for shower pan installations. 

Also, Floor Mud only comes in large bags of 80 lbs. or more. That’s more than you probably need for a shower pan installation. However, if you don’t mind lugging around the larger bag and using the rest of it for other projects, Floor Mud could be your best option for this DIY project. Otherwise, consider going with Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix.

It has Portland cement and other ingredients, including commercial-grade sand. It comes in a lot more sizes than Floor Mud. I’ve bought sizes such as 80, 60, 40 and 10 lb bags. This gives you the option of getting a larger bag if you have other projects or buying a smaller bag to complete your bathroom renovations. 

Quikrete Sand/Topping is easy to mix in a wheelbarrow, bucket or tray. Add the right amount of water, mix it up with a hoe, shovel trowel, and you’re ready to go. You can use this product to slope the shower pan appropriately and add customized designs if you so desire. It forms a smooth and strong floor.

Importance of Building a Strong Shower Pan

When you build your own shower pan, you can tilt it at the angle you choose. This can prevent water from puddling in the shower, which can happen with shallow commercial shower pans. A handmade concrete shower pan is a great solution to get the angle you want for proper drainage, so you don’t have to stand in puddling tilt. 

The primary purpose of the shower pan is to protect your flooring and walls from damage. If the shower pan isn’t correctly made, water can leak through the concrete through cracks and fissures. This can create a moist environment that can damage the structure of your home. 

Even tiling your shower floors and walls won’t help if you don’t have a well-built shower pan. This can lead to expensive damages, and you could end up spending a lot of money getting the shower fixed. So, it’s important to So, it’s important to know what you’re doing. Otherwise, it may be better to leave the installation to the professionals.

When you install a shower pan, you’re creating a barrier between the moisture and water and the substructure of your bathroom. Premade shower pans often include a plastic layer, but you can build your homemade one to be sturdier and last longer. 

By slanting all sides of the shower pan to point towards the drain, you can help direct water runoff. You could create the slope at a slightly deeper angle for more rapid drainage. However, keep in mind that you want the shower to remain relatively flat so that it’s easy to stand inside without slipping. 

What Type of Sand Makes the Best Shower Pan?

Using the right kind of sand helps ensure an effective concrete shower pan. We recommend sharp sand mixed with Portland cement add a ratio of 5:1. Adding water gradually helps the sand and cement form a consistent mixture that will form a long-lasting shower pan.

As mentioned previously, ingredients for the concrete mixture are essential. Sharp sand made from crushed stone leads to the best results for shower pan installations. You can also use masonry sand if you cannot find sharp sand in your area. 

Mix the sand and cement mixture thoroughly until it attains a uniform color. You may need to add additional sand or water to achieve the desired consistency. Choosing suitable sand can help ensure that you are Portland cement mix set properly and lasts for years to come, giving you the best concrete for shower pan installations.


1. What is a shower pan bevel?

You need a bevel or slant of at least 1/4″ on all four sides of the shower. This keeps water flowing to the drain. 

2. How much room should I leave from the center of the drain to the edge of the shower pan?

Leave at least 4.5″ to 5″ on all sides of the drain when designing your DIY shower pan. 

3. Do I need to add blocking before pouring the shower pan?

Yes, add blocking before pouring the concrete using plywood. You should also cover the plywood with tar paper to help block out moisture. 

4. Do I have to level the subfloor prior to building the floor pan?

Yes, building your shower pan on an uneven floor will make it more challenging to get the desired shape and angle. 

5. How can I prevent corner leaks?

Fold the protective sheeting to overlap instead of cutting it to size. 

6. Should I clean the area before pouring the shower pan?

Brushing out dirt and debris can prevent pockets from developing that can later form leaks. 

7. What should I use to mix the concrete for the shower pan?

You can use a trowel or automatic mixing paddle to create a consistent concrete mix for shower pan installations.

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