Should I Tile Under My Shower Base?

Are you renovating your bathroom and are wondering if you should tile under your shower base? Choosing and installing a shower base takes some tile and is careful planning to make sure that everything fits and works well. The shower base should fit the space and work with the existing drain line. If you are thinking about tiling under the shower base but is hesitant if it is a good idea or not, we have shared tips and information that you can refer to.

Should I tile under my shower base? It is not ideal to tile under the shower base because it may not end up a level and there is a chance that it will come loose after too much weight is put into it. Moreover, grout is not waterproof and will absorb water which is not something that you want to happen under the shower. Another reason why tiling under the shower base is not ideal is that tile will not enhance the waterproofing without the use of a waterproofing layer.

The shower base is an important part of your shower because it serves as the foundation and makes sure that water will fall into the drain and not on the floorboards or basement. What do you put under a shower base? Can you put tile on a shower base? What are the different types of tile shower bases? These are some of the questions that we will answer. Read the rest of this article for more information that can help you make an important decision on whether to tile under your shower base or not.

Should I tile under my shower base
Image by banksy07 from Pixabay

Can You Put Tile on Shower Base?

You can place tiles over the existing tiled shower base or pans that you have just as long as they are intact and do not have any visible damage or leaks. Shower floors are often tiled to achieve a stable standing surface that is comfortable on bare feet and also to add a decorative look into the bathroom.

What Do You Put Under a Shower Base?

To see how stable the shower base is, you can put cardboard on it. Walk around and test how stable it is. Some installers also recommend placing a bed of mortar down the shower base to sit on. You can check out the installation instructions from the manufacturer for other options in case a mortar is not recommended.

Tile Shower Bases

The two types of tile shower bases are tileable shower base systems and tiles over concrete. You can tile the floor of your shower if you want it to match the bathroom floor tile or the walls. Bear in mind that the shower floor is mostly wet and can be slippery so you need to consider choosing a texture that is safe and not a slipping hazard.

Tileable Shower Base System

A good option would be to purchase a tile-ready floor pan. They are usually designed with chrome drains and made of composite plastic materials or fiberglass. This shower base is designed to make the drain easy to connect with your plumbing. It can also come with waterproof epoxy that will adhere to the bottom and sides of the pan and the tiles. Tileable shower base systems cost around 500 dollars minimum without including installation.

Tile Over Concrete

You can install tile over concrete for a more traditional tile installation. For this, you will need to use waterproof material to set the tiles and to coat them because the tiles and grout are not waterproof. Moreover, you may also need to set the drain in place and connect it to the plumbing. This is your best option if you want to customize the shape, size, and appearance of your shower floor. The cost for tile over concrete installation varies depending on the materials that you choose as well as the complexity and size of the shower floor. However, it is more expensive as compared to pre-made shower pans because of labor.

Do You Tile First Before Installing the Shower?

Some tile installation experts recommend installing the shower first before installing tiles on the floor. The reason for this is that tile and mortar can fall into the floor when you are working on the walls which can damage the tile floor that you have just installed. In case the tile floor is installed first, you need to cover it with a protective cloth to prevent damage while you are working on the shower. You can also check out this article that we have shared that talks about what size shower stalls come in? We have shared useful tips and information about the topic.

✅ Video – Shower Pan TILE Installation

Andrew Thron Improvements shared the video below on YouTube. It demonstrates how to set a shower drain and tile shower with mosaic tile. Watch the video below for the step-by-step process on how to complete a shower pan tile installation.

Can You Fit a Shower Tray after Tiling?

Experts recommend fitting the shower tray before tiling the walls or installing panels. By doing this, it will make sure that the sides around the shower tray are watertight and perfectly sealed. We have also written this article titled, why does tile feel colder than carpet? Check out the article for the different reasons why tile feels colder as compared to carpets.

Do You Need to Waterproof Under a Shower Base?

It is important to waterproof the corners of the shower to at least 1.80 meters up the wall from the base. Moreover, you need to waterproof around the base of the wall sheets from the sheet seal up to at least 150 mm. Applying waterproof layers between the shower base and the subfloor will benefit your shower floor. You can apply a ring of caulk around your drain and make sure that the shower base is in place. Next, seal along the perimeter where to shower base meets the drain.

Can You Put a Shower Tray on Floor Tiles?

You can put a shower tray on the floor tiles. Place the ray before you start tiling the walls. Shower trays are designed to have a waterproof lining and edge that goes right up to the studs in the shower alcove. The tile is usually brought down right on top of the edge and can extend several inches up the wall. After making sure that the tray is in place, you can start laying the tiles and use bread of caulk around the perimeter where the tiles and the tray meets. You can also check out this article that discusses why shower bases are so expensive. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

How to Install a Shower Base on Concrete Floor

Proper installation of the shower base on the concrete floor will make sure that it will not leak. You can always hire the services of a professional to do the installation. Take note that installing a shower base on a concrete floor can be difficult especially if you do not have any idea about shower base installation.

Prepare the Drainage Line

The first thing that you need to do is to prepare the drainage line. The fiberglass stall will ideally work for this type of setting. Most drains have existing pipes that you can see above the floor. In case there is none, you can create a line that will facilitate the drainage of the shower base.

Check the Drain Pipes

The next thing that you need to do is to check the drain pipes. Drain pipes can exist two inches above the concrete. If there is no drainpipe, you can break the concrete to extend the pipe. Also, you should leave at least 1 to 1 ½ inches of space between the concrete and the pipe to successfully install the drain assembly. In case it is not visible, you can chisel the concrete to have the distance that you need around the pipe.

Mount the Drain Assembly

Make sure that the drain assembly is locked tightly into the pipe and clamps to the base edge of the shower. This creates a leak-proof seal that prevents hassles when using the shower. Once you are done with framing the walls for fitting the shower into the shower bay, the next step is to lay it on its back and install the drain.

Attach the Shower to the Drain

Roll out a coil of putty and wrap it below the drainage basket flange. Hold the drain basket and position it in the drain hole then slide the washers and thread on. See to it that you hand-tighten the ring of the exterior setting. Lower the basket assembly and shower bay above the drain pipe. You can mark the pipe to determine the ¾ inches measurement under the drain basket flange.

Lift the shower bay and cut the drainpipe according to the measurement that you have marked. Set back the basket assembly and the shower bay on top of the pipe. The next thing to do is to slide the gasket over the pipe and push it down so that it sits against the lid below the drain basket. You can also check out this article that we have written titled, can you put shower doors on a tub? We have shared the pros and cons of adding a shower door to tubs.


In this article, we have discussed if you should tile under the shower base. Experts recommend not to tile under the shower base as it may not end up a level and there is also the chance that it will come loose after putting too much weight on it. We have also shared different tile shower bases that you can do for your shower floor. Make sure that you carefully plan your shower upgrade especially when it comes to the flooring. If you are not sure about something, you can always research online or ask for advice from professionals. Thank you for reading!

Recent Posts