The Cost to Install a Shower Base + Cost Factors

The moment you decide to upgrade your shower, the first thing that rings in your mind is how much it will cost. You get lost when you get to the shower base because there aren’t clear estimates of the options.

The average cost for a shower pan installation is about $1,500 for labor and materials. Depending on where you live, the type of materials you choose, and other factors, the costs can range from $1,000 to $2,000. This task is best left to an expert, although it can be a DIY project too.

Rectangular Shower Pan

How much does it cost to install a shower base?

The cost of installing different shower bases is as follows:

Shower base typeInstallation cost
Poured mud shower pan base$300 to $700
Hot mop shower base$200 to $500

1. Poured mud shower pan base

The cost of installing the mud shower pan base is influenced by the size of the pan and the labor costs charged around that area. The exercise can take more than a day, depending on the area to be covered.

Additionally, the contractor requires enough time to treat the base. It also takes time to create the top layers. A poured mud shower pan base is the conventional way of doing your shower base. It takes more time and human labor to finish. However, when done properly by professionals, it will serve you long enough before the need to rework it arises.

2. Hot mop shower pan base

Hot mopping makes your shower pan watertight. And when done right, it can last up to 20 years.

The main costing factors include the size you want to be covered and the labor cost per hour in your locality. You must also factor in the additional work to complete the base. Hot mopping is more like groundwork to ensure the pan is water-resistant.

The finishing will also add up to the total costs. For example, you may want to match floor and wall tiles in the bathroom.

Shower Pan Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing a shower pan is as follows:

Shower pan type Average cost
Tile$900 to $3000
Custom$900 to $3500
Pre-made$500 to $1600

1. Tile shower pan

Several costing points affect the total cost of installing a tile shower pan. For instance, you need to evaluate the cost of the type of tile you want, whether ceramic or porcelain.

Secondly, the pan size will influence the total cost of the pan setup. Finally, you will need to know whether to go for the mud-poured or tile-ready pan.

Tile pans are preferred as they can hold extra weight from the users. They are flexible, and it’s easier to remodel in the future. You can also experiment with different shapes with tiles.

2. Custom shower pan

The main issue for a custom shower pan is whether the underlying base is poured mud or a hot mop shower pan. Poured mud comes in handy in preparing the surface for proper tile installation.

A hot mop shower makes the pan watertight, so the water doesn’t get logged on the pan. Water drainage in the shower ensures that the area doesn’t get slippery. Remodeling is expensive, so the shower pan must be installed first.

3. Pre-made shower pan

Pre-made shower pans can be made from different materials. The materials determine the cost attached. Here are the costs of pans from different materials:

  • Stone makes the best pre-made shower pan. If you are looking for a pan that will last long and give your shower that elegant feel, stone is your best bet. Its durability makes it among the most expensive options ranging from $200 to $1,000. 
  • Acrylic makes a good option as it lasts long, doesn’t rust, and has a wide variety to choose from. You can experiment with several designs and colors that suit your preference with acrylic. The average cost of an acrylic pan ranges from $200 to $700.
  • Cast iron remains the most classic option for a pre-made pan. It’s hard, long-lasting, and can’t leak. It’s a high-status option, making it the most expensive option ranging from $700 to $1300. 
  • Fiberglass also works in making pre-made shower pans, but it’s not the best option. Scratches are visible from a distance. It’s light in weight, breaking easily, but easy to maintain and repair. Fiberglass is among the most affordable options ranging from $150 to $500. 

In addition to these costs, you need to add the installation charges applicable in your locality to arrive at the total cost of installing a pre-made shower pan.

Cost factors to consider when building a shower base and pan

Here are factors that will influence the cost of your shower base:

1. Materials

The material you choose for the pan greatly affects the final cost. For instance, if you choose the pre-made option, cast iron, stone, or marble are the most expensive. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is more affordable.

This will also go as far as the tiles or the material used for the bathroom tiles. Travertine or marble, for example, can be used in combination with other materials chosen for the shower pan materials.

2. Design

A shower base that comes in extraordinary sizes and shapes affects the cost. If you go for the standard options, the cost may be minimal. However, you will have to pay extra for custom-made designs where you want unique shapes.

The complexity of your chosen design also influences the time it will take to install the pan. Labor hours may also rise, making it more expensive.

3. Drain location

If you don’t want the base and pan to cost more, settle for one with the drain placed at the center. Special requests to have the drain on the side will add costs as the gradient will need to be altered and new settings are done.

As you alter the drain’s location, consider the slope of your bathroom as it may affect the free flow of shower water.

4. Type of finish

You may want a shower pan that aligns well with your existing bathroom designs. If that’s you, you need to pay the extra dime. For instance, if you want a matte or marble finish, be ready to fork out more than a glossy finish.

Don’t feel guilty, though, as it’s not a routine; you can do it once in twenty years with proper maintenance.

 5. Weight

The heavier the pan, the more expensive it will be to install. It will need to be reinforced further, with the reinforcing materials adding up the costs.

Cast iron, marble, and stone are all quite heavy, and you will need to reinforce them by setting a subfloor beneath. You also need professionals to oversee the installation, which means you’ll pay extra.

Shower Base Features to Consider

For a shower pan to be fully functional, it needs to feature the following:

1. Drainage

The pan needs to drain water properly, and this will be made possible by having a well-set-out slope that allows the water to flow freely.

Ideally, the drain should be square to allow easy unclogging in case of an accident.

2. Accessibility

A good pan should be easily accessible to people of all sizes. It should also be accessible for the disabled in wheelchairs.

3. Non-Slippery

The floor of the pan should have the right grip to avoid bathroom accidents. Slippery pans are a health hazard, especially for the elderly and children.

Check out a pan whose finishing is rough to avoid slips and falls in the shower. Slipperiness in the pan is accelerated if the water doesn’t flow linearly and soap rests on the surface.

4. Large Tiles

The large tiles are ideal for a pan as they allow water to drain properly, as it’s easy to set the slope.

You don’t want small tiles filling your floor, as it’ll be hard to level the slope. Stagnant water on a pan can pose a major health threat to the users.

5. Accessories

Let the pan have proper accessories to allow optimal functionality. Get a professional to do the plumbing work to avoid costly mistakes that can have you remodeling the entire work. 

For instance, imagine a case where you are done with the installations, then on testing by draining water, you realize the water is not draining, as the slope was poorly done.

Cost of Hiring a Professional to Install a Shower Base

Once you engage a professional to install a shower base, the quoted price includes:

  • The labor charges for all his workers
  • Any professional fee necessary
  • Insurance for his workers
  • Protective gear for the workers
  • Transport cost to and from the site for the days the project will run
  • Tools to be used in the project

The quoted price doesn’t include the following:

  • Materials cost
  • Insurance for the site
  • Pour mud
  • Subflooring cost (ask the professional if this was included)

In case you have any doubts about the cost items included in the quote, you are at liberty to request for clarification to avoid misunderstandings along the way. Knowing the cost of installing tiles in the shower is the main starting point for this project.


Shower pans are a great addition to your bathroom as they enhance your bathroom look. They are less slippery, making them ideal for preventing common bathroom accidents. And a shower pan is hardy and durable. When well-fixed can last up to 15 years.

The cost of installing a shower pan depends on various aspects, but the good thing is that there is an option for every budget. 

Maintenance of the water pan is easy and inexpensive since all you have to do is keep them clean. The shower pans can hold more weight from the users with ease.

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