Building the Shower Pan
The curb for the shower pan is built using pressure treated 2 by 4′s and Tapcon concrete anchors.
The mortar bed for the pre-slope is being laid with a trowel.
The pre-sloped mortar bed is completed in the photo below.
I spoke with several plumbing contractors and most said they skip the pre-slope mortar bed. Rather they install the PVC shower pan liner first and make the mortar bed all at once. If I were to do it over, I too would skip the pre-slope bed. The reason is the 40 mil PVC shower pan liner material is quite thick and needs the weight of the mortar bed to press it down so it will lay perfectly flat against the floor and walls; otherwise you’ll get “bubbles” and the shower floor will crack or groan when stepped upon. Fortunately, I had plenty of height in my shower curb as was able to lay a 1-1/2″ to 2″ thick mortar bed on top of the pre-slope bed and PVC liner. The shower drain is threaded and you adjust the height to meet the finished level of the mortar bed.
The PVC shower pan liner is installed over the pre-slope mortar bed and about 8 inches up the shower walls. Take care to nail only the top edges of the liner to the walls to keep the shower pan waterproof. I’ve also installed 1/2 inch James Hardie HardiBacker cement board on the shower walls in preparation for laying tile using corrosion resistant screws. A hole will be cut through the PVC liner for the shower drain. For details see the Oatley shower pan instructions here.
Metal lath is laid over the PVC liner and tacked to the outside of the curb only so the mortar has something to grip. To make the 90 degree bends for the shower curb, I used a 2×4 and block to make a brake (a “brake” in this sense is device for bending metal). This worked very well with crisp perfect bends.
Another 1-1/2 to 2 inches of bedding mortar were troweled onto the shower pan floor with about 3/4 inch thick layer of mortar over the shower curb. The shower pan strainer is covered with blue masking tape to keep out dirt. The final result is in the photo below. Click on the image for a larger view.
Hope this helps.
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