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5 Best Shower Floor Options and Materials

Shower Floor Options
When either redesigning or constructing a shower, the floor is an important piece to think about. Picking the right choice from the many shower floor options can make or break your shower. Taking a look at the main things to worry about, and the options available will let you make the best decision. Your shower floor is something that you need to make sure you do right to avoid having mold problems later on.

Ignoring the problems will make the situation even worse. If you pick the wrong material water will seep through and ruin the subfloor and cause a mold problem that can take thousands of dollars to fix. There are some obvious bad choices that should go without mention but we should mention them anyways. Carpet anywhere near your shower is a horrible idea and should be avoided at all costs. Wood is only slightly less of a bad idea, even with proper sealants wood will eventually break down.

When choosing, keep these things in mind

Moisture:

It almost, but obviously doesn’t, go without saying that moisture is the main consideration when choosing the right material. No other floor in your house is constantly exposed to moisture. This means that there is a very limited set of materials that will work in this area. Your shower floor must be completely sealed from the subfloor and maintain this seal through the lifetime of your shower.

Cleaning:

The ability of your shower floor to hold up to the constant cleaning is also important. The shower floor is one of the spaces in a home that often requires harsh chemicals and rough cleaning materials. This means you have to think about how well a material will hold up to these aspects. Your shower will have to be cleaned from mold and mildew and soap deposits, pick a material that you know can hold up to the stress of constant cleaning.

Visual Appeal:

Of course the visual appeal of the floor has to fit into the look of your shower. You need to ensure that even though your other worries are satisfied that it has the visual appeal you are looking for. Just because it needs to be something that holds up well, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fitting into the look of your shower.

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Your 5 Best Options

Tile ($2.50-$10.00/sq foot):

The most common shower flooring material is tile. Tile has a host of good things going for it. It is relatively inexpensive to start with and comes in a wide variety of options. Tile also gives a surface that is safer as it is broken up by ground lines. The grout lines give better footing than a solid surface does. Ceramic tile is easy to clean, and the grout holds up to the chemicals needed to remove mold and mildew.

Tubs ($400 and up):

Although not often talked about in a lot of renovation shows most houses still have a tub and shower combination. This turns your tub into your shower floor. When thinking about this try to choose a tub that is large enough to serve for the purpose. While some tubs may look cute or amazing if they don’t work as your shower floor you have killed half of the intended purpose.

Prefabricated Pan ($140 – $1000):

A prefabricated pan is usually constructed of fiberglass and is just set into place. The benefit of this approach is that it is ready to go as is. Since it is seamless this means it is easily cleaned, and the prefabricated material holds up well to cleaning. This is one of the options that looks the cheapest though, and this is a concern for many home owners.

Tile Ready Pans (Approx $600):

There’s an option for those who don’t want to do the intensive labor of lining up tile and getting the subflooring correct. A tile ready pan allows you to put the pan into place with a minimum of work on the subfloor. This ease of installation is something that costs though, and using a tile ready option can increase the cost a lot. Tile ready options can also have some issues connecting to existing drains, as the premade option and the existing drain may not match.

Concrete ($4-$6/sq foot):

Properly sealed concrete can serve as a great flooring option. The biggest concern is that it has to be sealed. Untreated concrete is a porous material that will soak up water from your shower. Concrete can be a great option if it is properly sealed though. There are many different options for finishing your concrete in a way that will work for a shower. The main drawback is that it will require resealing and maintenance unless the concrete is sealed with epoxy or a similar solution.

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References
http://www.theflooringlady.com/shower_floors_000756.html
http://www.mcclurgteam.com/blog/bid/64502/3-Design-Options-for-Today-s-Walk-in-Showers
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/departments/taking-issue/seven-sins-of-bathroom-design-waterproofing-materials-tile-natural-light-location-layout.aspx
http://homerenovations.about.com/od/bathrooms/a/artbathflooring.htm
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/create-stained-concrete-shower-floor-49135.html