Standard shower floor pan & base sizes

If you’re looking for a bathroom renovation or a shower replacement, getting familiar with the sizes of shower floors and bases is a must. This knowledge will allow you to set up and align the drain properly. This way, you’ll be sure it works correctly with your plumbing. Being able to recognize sizing correctly for your house will also make you able to narrow down the choice. It makes it easier to focus on the visual aesthetics.

Shower base from Lowe's

There are many different sizes of shower floor pans and bases. These also come in various options, each having a slightly different function from the others. Some have drains set in different locations. Some are tilted, and some are flat. There are many variables you need to consider when purchasing a new shower. All of this can be overwhelming to an inexperienced person. That’s why we’re coming to help you- in this article, you’ll learn all about the different types and sizes of shower trays. You will also see some actual products and their typical prices. Let us begin!

What is the difference between a shower pan and a shower base?

32 x 60 dreamline shower base

First, we need to clarify the differences between those two terms to learn about shower pans and bases. Although they’re used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same thing. They possess different qualities and characteristics, and different variables must be considered when looking for the best one. 

What exactly is a shower pan?

A shower pan is a part of the installation that we stand on. It’s visible, and it’s right underneath our feet when we take a shower. It serves a similar main purpose to a shower base. It takes the water to the drain. However, the difference comes in the fact that:

36 x 60 shower base
  1. You can see the shower base
  2. You stand on it and feel it with your body.

Because of these two aspects, these parts are usually made of metal, stone, acrylic, or fiberglass. Those are materials that are aesthetically pleasing and safe to stand on. Like the base, it’s designed to be waterproof and keep all the water going where it should.

The installation process is also different in those two elements. The shower pan is installed right above the base. Then, panels from a material such as a fiberglass are installed onto the pan. It makes it a full shower. In this case, the visual aspect is much more important than any other one. When searching for a perfect shower pan, you must be sure that it matches your artistic style.

What is a shower base?

It is a part on the very bottom of a full shower. It’s not exactly a piece, as much as it is a sub-installation. It requires preparation work to function properly and works directly with your house’s plumbing system. It is also the part directly responsible for properly taking the water into the drain. When using the shower, you can neither see nor touch it, as it’s located under the pan. 

Considering this part’s characteristics, it’s important to mention that functionality is key to a proper selection. A good shower base doesn’t have to look nice- it won’t be seen either way. It’s made from materials such as cement mortar. It’s a material that’s secure, solid, and waterproof.  

Installing a shower base is also different from installing a pan. It has to be installed before anything else because it acts as a foundation for the rest of the shower’s construction. It also requires a direct connection to the house’s plumbing and thus is much harder to connect properly. In the case of shower bases, using an expert’s help is much more common. In most cases, it is also recommended. Installing it incorrectly is much more devastating than failing to install a shower pan. The removal process is much more tedious and demanding. Take into account the nature of the materials it’s made of. Like cement mortar, it’s also much more permanent and sturdy.

Standard sizes of shower trays

shower pan

Now that we know the differences let’s get to the actual sizes of these shower floors. It’s important to know that shower trays can be further divided into variations based on the drain’s location. These variations are:

  • An offset drain, with the drain on the right-center or left-center of the tray
  • An on-edge drain, with the drain on either of the edges of the tray
  • A center drain, with the drain in the middle of the tray.

Each option has unique standardized models and sizes used across all brands. Typically, center drains are done in a squarer shape. The on-edges and offsets have a more rectangular shape. This distinction is important because it determines the amount of space you need for the shower floor. It includes the exact spot you have to position it in for the drain to be properly aligned. Choosing the wrong size or shape might result in the inability to install the drain according to the plumbing. Therefore, it makes the whole installation pointless. 

These parts are installed similarly to how prefab buildings are assembled- premade pieces are put together. It starts with the bottom, going up with the walls, and then the finishing.

shower base

Most of the size models of these pieces are made in even measurements. It typically ranges from 36 inches by 36 inches to 42 inches by 60 inches. 

Here are the sizes, categorized by tray model, along with some available pieces:

Center drains

36’’ by 36’’

It’s the smallest available dimensions, making for the most compact shower. A good choice if you’re looking for a shower that won’t take up much space.

36” by 36” drain by Dreamline

38’’ by 38’’

It’s the second smallest model available. It allows a bit more space than the previous one while keeping space-saving and compact capabilities.

38” by 38” by American Standard

36’’ by 42’’

It’s the first non-square option of this drain variation. Being rectangular, it can fit into more narrow spaces and provide more standing ground. 

36” by 42” by Dreamline

32’’ by 48’’

It’s even narrower and longer than the previous option. Much more suited for longer bathrooms and installations done in the corners

32” by 48” pan by Dreamline

34’’ by 48’’

It’s a bit wider than the 32-inch version. Perfect for people who feel that 32 by 48 inches is just a bit too little. Keeps the benefits of being able to fit into smaller spaces while giving you more space to stand on. 

34” by 48” pan by Dreamline

36’’ by 48’’

Slightly wider, more square in shape. The two extra inches make it more comfortable to stand on and move around on while still being compact and space-saving. 

36” by 48” by Schluter Kerdi

42’’ by 48’’

This size can no longer be called small. Having more than a meter in length and width is your best option if you’re looking for a combination of comfort and a good price. 

42” by 48” center drain pan by Kohler

48’’ by 48’’

It’s another square model, although considerably bigger than the previous one. Its shape allows for more comfortable movement and more space while still not taking up much of your bathroom. It’s more suited for smaller-sized bathrooms. 

48” by 48” center drain by Schluter Kerdi

36’’ by 54’’

Going back to the rectangular shaping, we have this version that’s slightly longer yet considerably narrower than the 48’’ square one. The best quality it has is its ability to work better with longer bathrooms and fit into tighter corners better. 

36” by 54” center drain base by Dreamline

32’’ by 60’’

It’s even longer and even more narrow than the previous option. This one is the most non-square standard size. It’s perfect for longer bathrooms and will give you all the necessary space. This size, and all of the bigger ones, could be comfortably used by more than one person. It’s great in case you want to shower with your significant other. 

32” by 60” Well Made Forever tray by Swiss Madison

34’’ by 60’’

It’s slightly wider than the previous version, allowing for more comfort at the cost of slightly more space. One of the bigger standard sizes is better for bigger households. 

34” by 60” center drain pan by Dreamline

36’’ by 60’’

It adds two extra inches to increase the freedom of movement further. This size allows you to install a larger shower on top of it, perfect for people that seek comfort no matter the price. 

36” by 60” Swiss Madison tray with center drain

42’’ by 60’’

The second biggest standard size available, it allows for near maximum comfort. It also comes at a higher price than the previous ones, so it should be considered a more luxurious option. 

42” by 60” base by Kohler

48’’ by 60’’

It’s the biggest size available for center drain shower pans. It offers the most comfort and freedom at the cost of space and high price. It’s the most luxurious, most expensive option. 

48” by 60” tray by Tile Redi

Offset drains

32’’ by 48’’

It’s the smallest standard size for offset drain shower pans. It offers the least amount of space to benefit from spending the least amount of money. Very compact and space-saving.

32” by 48” left drain by Woodbridge

30’’ by 60’’

It’s the second smallest option available. Slightly longer than the previous one, allowing for some more space at a slightly higher cost. Perfect for smaller budgets and houses.

30” by 60” left-hand drain pan American Standard

32’’ by 60’’

It’s similar to the previous version, only 2’’ wider. Gives a bit more space while keeping the cost similar. It can be an alternative to the 30’’ by 60’’ version. 

32” by 60” waterproof offset pan from Prova

34’’ by 60’’

It’s another insignificant change in the dimensions, adding only 2 inches again. The price is only a bit bigger, in exchange for more space and comfort. 

34” by 60” left drain base by Tile Redi

36’’ by 60’’

The second biggest standard size available, although not that different from the previous one. Once again, there’s a two-inch difference in the width. It’s while the length stays the same. Naturally, the cost increases. 

36” by 60” left side drain tray by Dreamline

42’’ by 60’’

The biggest standard size for offset drain shower pans. Compared to the previous option, it’s wider by 6 inches and has the same length. It’s your best buy if you’re looking for the most amount of comfort and have a big enough budget. It’s also the most pricey option out of them all.

42” by 60” left drain pan Tile Redi

Types of shower pans & materials

Shower trays are not only categorized by size or drain placement. The material they’re made of also plays a big role. It determines the key characteristics of the floor, how long it will last, how durable it is etc. Here are the main materials used to make shower trays:

  1. Stone resin

A beautiful material that goes well with every surrounding. It will provide an aesthetically pleasing shower pan that will not stick out too much yet complete the artistic composition in your bathroom. The installation of this material isn’t hard, and it can be done in various ways. It will allow you to enter and exit the shower easily. It’s also not problematic to keep tidy. It’s very durable and easy to buy. 

  1. Porcelain

Another sturdy, beautiful material that will make your bathroom look great for a long time. It keeps the shower stable without the need to replace it so often. These porcelain trays come in different shapes and sizes and can be bought at any hardware store. Unfortunately, they tend to be expensive.

  1. Cultured Stone

This material is made of stone and resin and is resistant to hazards such as chemicals or stains. It chips off relatively easily, but it can easily be fixed. The sprayed coating adds extra waterproofing, ensuring that no leaks happen.

  1. Tile

A very standard, popular option. It is also one of the more pricey ones, due to the costs of keeping it clean and well. They can be hard to install and usually take some time. Once you’ve got them done, they will surely last you for a long time. 

  1. Molded Stone

A stylish, luxurious-looking material. It’s also very resistant to mold and mildew, which are common issues in showers. Maintenance isn’t a problem. It can be done using only natural ingredients such as vinegar. They come at a reasonable price and are easily installed. 

  1. Acrylic

Another very popular option due to its moderate costs and customization abilities. They can be cleaned easily using everyday cleaning products. They are one of the most durable materials for shower pans due to their resistance to cracks and chips. 

  1. Cast Iron

A go-to material when it comes to showers. Very durable and stable, as well as easy to maintain and modern-looking. At the same time, it’s considerably heavier than the other materials and thus is quite hard to install.

  1. Stainless Steel

One of the most secure and durable materials on the market. It’s resistant to both stains and rust and can even be antibacterial. It won’t crack or bend, and it’s easy to keep it clean. On top of that, it’s very easy to install these shower pans. 

  1. Fiberglass

One of the least expensive options on this list. Unfortunately, it’s prone to cracks, chips, and other hazards. Additionally, maintenance work is relatively hard and pricey. It cannot be cleaned with any cleaning product, as the stronger ones might scratch it. They need to be cleaned every other week, at least, to get rid of all the minerals and stains.

  1. Marble

Luxurious, prestigious, and simply beautiful are marble shower pans’ properties. Marble is a durable, chip-resistant material that can be cleaned without expensive products. It will keep your bathroom nice and fancy, albeit for a rather high price. 

  1. Concrete

It’s a durable, strong material that can be installed all by yourself if you have enough experience. It doesn’t require much maintenance work, and the price isn’t too high. It’s resistant to chips and cracks. On the downside, it doesn’t look that good, and there aren’t many customization options.

  1. Composite

A material with surprising toughness and stability. It’s made in a way that makes it easy to drain water. It’s waterproof and easy to install. The price and visual aspects are moderate- it’s a good pick for people with medium-sized budgets. 

FAQ

What is the minimum shower pan size?

The minimum standard size for center drain pans is 36’’x36’’. For offset drain pans, it’s 32’’x48’’. However, you can get a smaller, custom-made tray for a bit more money.

What is the rough opening for a shower pan?

The rough opening is an opening in the shower tray that does not include water-resistant drywall.

Can I replace just the shower pan?

Replacing only the shower pan is possible, although very problematic and pretty pointless. Showers are easier to install as a whole. This way, you’ll ensure that the artistic theme matches. 

Do plumbers fix shower pans?

Yes. Plumbers can fix your shower pan and install and remove it.