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My shower pan, made of gel-coated fiber glass, has three cracks, as shown in the photo below. The cracks radiate fairly straight from the drain in the center at twelve, four, and eight o'clock. (All of the other white streaks are just gel-coat coloring.)

I ground away the cracks and filled them with epoxy, which seems to work okay for the time being. But I would like to know what my options are for a more permanent fix that won't significantly reduce the value.

Replacing the pan is the last thing I want to do. The pan matches the shower walls and a whirlpool bath. A lot of things would have to come out to get to the pan, and I can't imagine a matching pan replacement would be found.

I saw a video where someone had what appeared to be a process for this kind of repair. This involved what looked like an epoxied sheet that covers the entire pan bottom on the top side. I don't know what this is called and I don't know what kind of tradesman I should contact to do this sort of fix. (It doesn't seem like something that a plumber/pipe-fitter type would specialize in.) If someone can point me in the right direction for this, I would appreciate it.

Any other ideas on what I can do and what is common for addressing this sort of problem would be appreciated.

The shower is on the second floor and there is some water damage to the ceiling below. As I walk around the shower pan, I can hear some creaking, and I assume this will lead to flexing and open the cracks up again. I may need to resolve that, too, in the final fix. Does anyone have any suggestions about this?

Also, help with the tags would be appreciated.

Update

From what I have seen in the answers and comments, I need to seriously reconsider how I might remove the pan from the top, remove the subfloor, mitigate any water damage between the subfloor and ceiling below, then rebuild in reverse.

I need to understand how the pan is seated, so I have to examine the situation a little more. But I may be able (with some risk of damage) to remove the shower wall on the shower-head side and remove the short wall under the seat at the other end. Remove the glass enclosure (I did this once before, but I did a hell of a job gluing it back together :( )Without removing the wall opposite the glass door, I might be able to lift the pan out carefully. I have to disengage the drain first, and I don't know how that attaches to the pan. (Do I need to open up the ceiling below so I can get to it from there?)

This sounds complicated mostly because I'm guessing how it's all put together and how things are fastened to each other.

My goal would be to repair the pan rather than replace it.

Putting it back together, I suppose I can strengthen the pan with fiberglass on the bottom. As for dealing with irregularities that could cause it to rock, isn't there something I can bed the pan onto the subfloor with?

cracked and repaired shower pan

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3 Answers 3

You are trying to build a temple on a broken foundation. No amount of patching will fix the broken connection between the drain and the pan.

Without some type of oversize flange drain (e.g., Schluter Kerdi Drain), there is no way to transfer the water from a overlaid membrane into the drain proper, because the seal around the drain to the pan has failed.

As far as the creaking goes, once you open up the ceiling, you will see if the subfloor is intact or water damaged. If intact, some cross bracing under the pan area can be installed (2x material of the same depth as the joists, can be hung with joist hangers). The typical source of the problem is insufficient web structure under the pan, allowing flexing. Another source is too large a cut-out of the subfloor and drain movement.

AFA who, a contractor specializing in remodeling and baths. It is a blend of trades: plumbing, tile setting, carpentry, drywall.

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Based on your comment about the drain connection and the pan, plus the comments above, I'll update my question. –  Jim Jul 9 '13 at 19:40
    
+1 assessing the water damage and support structure is step one. The best way is to inspect below the pan to ensure your subfloor and structure are intact and not severely damaged. I would also say doing some investigation on how the shower was most likely installed. If I have some free time I'll look some stuff up this weekend. –  John Smith Aug 23 '13 at 18:55

You need to fall out of love with this pan - it is broke. Why would you want to go through all of this work and compromise your work with a broken pan? This is a decent size project - GET A NEW PAN. If you want cheap get a used (unbroken) pan off of craigslist. These pans are not that much compared to how much it will cost you to do this again.

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What you need is called an Tub Inlay. It consists of what appears to be a bathmat that is fused to the shower floor giving it strength.

Look for a local tub refinishing company, many of them provide this service.

Make sure you ask about the adhesive they use. You want to make sure the adhesive being used fuses the inlay to the shower pan and not just glues it down. All the DIY kits I have seen merely glue it down. This will cause problems over time.

The down side is that you will be limited in color. Usually they are bone or white.

If you need help locating someone that can help you, let me know.

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Please see the rules in the help center about promotion of products or services that you are affiliated with, specifically the requirements for disclosure. –  Niall C. Feb 12 at 15:17

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