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Building a mud-set shower pan

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The common shower is made up of several component parts; the pan, the walls and the door. Although all parts must be impervious to water penetration, the pan is the most essential. The reason is simple, gravity pulls everything down, which means if there is a leak in the pan, it will always create a serious problem. The purpose of the pan is twofold; collect the water and carry it away, and provide a comfortable and safe platform to stand on while showering. And just like the walls and door that must be waterproof, the pan must be able to withstand the daily wear and tear of being walked on (unlike the vertical surfaces), as well as having the proper slope to direct the water towards the drain. Because showers introduce open water in the house, it's critical to design and install the pan correctly.

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The two most common types of pans are the pre-molded (such as polyester or acrylic) and tile. The advantage of the pre-molded type is the lower cost and foolproof water resistance qualities (due to it's one-piece construction). The tile pan, on the other hand, has to be fabricated piece by piece on site. This labor intensive process coupled with the cost of stone or designer tiles is the reason for its higher cost.

The popularity of tile and stone is a testament to the viability of the material being used in a shower. The material not only provides good water resistance, but also offers a beautiful way to add character and design to a space. When used on the floor of a shower, you can create custom sizes and shapes to make the bathing experience unique. This is not possible with pre-molded pans. It's important to note that there are different ways to build a tile shower. In the slide show, we're going to demonstrate an old, but tried-and-true method called mud-set. When done correctly, this type of system will last the lifetime of the house. As a seasoned craftsman applies his touch to the process, the pan not only provides a specific purpose, but adds beauty to the bath. The only reason tile pans get a bad rap is because of poor installation or design. This is why you must follow a strict method of installation, or hire a professional.