an acrylic shower pan being installed

Shower Pan

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/10/2021

Home Depot
Home Depot

The idea of installing a new shower during a bathroom renovation may seem intriguing at first, but things can quickly spiral out of control as you uncover layers of moisture rot and mold. Sure, not all projects are going to turn out to be nightmares. But it’s good to be aware of all the possible hidden costs, such as having to replace your shower pan, before you get started. As they say, “Better safe than sorry!”


The term shower pan typically refers to a waterproof insert, commonly made from metal, vinyl, or a composite material, that is used in the construction of a shower floor. They are commonly square or rectangular in shape, but corner and custom models are also available. Prefabricated versions, made from vinyl, acrylic, or a similar material, are typically designed to cover a cement shower base and act as the floor of the shower. Metal or composite shower pans are often installed over a cement shower base, and act as a secondary barrier for a tiled or vinyl shower floor. They are designed to catch and drain any water that may seep through a tiled or vinyl floor.

What Is The Cost Of Installing A Shower Pan?

If you’re looking at installing a new shower pan, there are numerous options available in a range of designs and prices. From simple acrylic shells to complicated DIY creations, there’s something for just about any project or budget. But before you get started, you may want to consider a couple of common concerns:

  • The terms shower pan and shower base are sometimes used interchangeably. However, the shower base is a substructure under the shower floor, typically made from a cement mortar mixture. Whereas, the pan either acts as the shower floor or as a secondary barrier between the base and a tile or acrylic surface. 
  • The cost of installing a shower pan is another common concern. They can range in price from inexpensive DIY solutions to expensive designer options. And installation costs will most likely involve materials, tools, and time. Together, the total can come as a shock if not planned for from the beginning.