I have found myself in a situation where the contractor installing our walk in shower seems hell bent on installing it without a shower pan liner.

From what I can deduce he's approaching it this way (because he's had to break up the mortar once already).. 1) install the drain, 2) put mortar down almost up to the top of the drain. 3) Tile it 4) water proof it.

Everything I have read about mortar pan showers says you have to install a pan liner so that when (if) the water gets through the tile it will be caught by the liner and drain without causing mold and other problems.

I'm about to ask him to terminate the work but is his approach to installation common?

  • What does step 4 mean?
    – isherwood
    Sep 19, 2017 at 21:00
  • We just remodel our shower , removed the white plastic pan and tiled it but the contractor did not put a pan, I noticed the grout of the floor is coming out in Some areas. I m very worried didn’t use the shower for couple days then re grout and I’m planning to seal it before I use it, do you think this will solve the problem. I’m really worried .
    – Samar
    Apr 6, 2020 at 6:25

2 Answers 2


Absolutely incorrect. Traditional shower pans are built thus:

  1. using "dry pack" method, create sloped mortar bed to drain weep holes
  2. waterproof sloped floor using hot asphalt or vinyl pan liner, should extend over curb and up surrounding walls at least 2" above curb
  3. ensure drain weep holes are clear (ring with gravel and/or busted tile chunks)
  4. float sloped floor over waterproof membrane, up to edge of drain (allowing for tile height)
  5. tile
  • 1
    That is the traditional method and the new method at least has a Red Guard or Kerdi liner on the morter bed under the tile. Ceramic tile grout is NOT waterproof and will crack and leak until the water gets through the base to the wood. It may take years but you will end up tearing it out and having it re-done.
    – ArchonOSX
    Sep 20, 2017 at 16:30

I don't know if it is common but I did not use a pan . I put in 3" of concrete and set the tile on the wet concrete ( put in grout later) . No problem in 10 years. I did it because I had a non-standard space. The concrete was thick enough so that it did not crack.

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