Why are Shower Bases So Expensive?

One of the questions asked by homeowners when planning their bathroom is why shower bases are so expensive. A shower base serves as the foundation for your shower and makes sure that the water falls into the drain and not on the floorboards or basement. There are various options that you can choose from when it comes to shower bases. However, with the costly materials and installation, you might wonder if it is worth it to have one in your bathroom. To help you make a decision, we have shared useful information below.

Why are shower bases so expensive? The price of shower bases varies according to the material, size, and design. Shower bases are expensive because you are not just paying for the material but also for the shower base to be installed which includes any underlying construction to be done.

Regardless of what type of shower base you opt for, bear in mind that this part of the shower serves an important function. Shower bases will make sure that water will drain into the plumbing and will not drip through floorboards. What are the different types of shower bases? Is a shower base better than tiles? What is the difference between a shower base and a shower pan? Check out the rest of the article below to find out more about shower bases.

Why are shower bases so expensive
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

What is a Shower Base?

A shower base, which is also commonly referred to as a shower pan, shower floor, or shower receptacle, is a single-piece unit that makes up the floor of a standalone shower. The shower bases serve as the floor of the shower which channels water into the drain. It is properly sealed during the installation to make sure that no water will leak underneath the structure.

What is the Difference between a Shower Pan and a Shower Base?

The shower base is the substructure underneath the shower floor and is usually made of mortar and cement. It helps channel water to the drain while protecting the shower alcove. On the other hand, shower pans are the composite or acrylic installed on top of that substructure. Shower bases are often referred to as shower pans. While both channels water into the drain, there is a difference between the two.

How Much Does a Shower Base Cost?

Various things determine how much the installation of the shower base may cost. This includes the material from which the base is made and the size of the unit. Besides, if the shower base is heavy, it may need the services of more than one professional for the installation which can increase the cost. The average cost of materials to install a shower base is around 300 dollars per basin with a range between 200 to 500 dollars. Moreover, the total price for materials and labor per basin is around 700 dollars with a range between 500 to 800 dollars.

Different Types of Shower Bases

The common types of shower bases that you can choose from include fiberglass, acrylic, molded stone, cast iron, and cultured marble. Let us take a closer look at each of these materials below.


This is the most common material used for shower pans and bases. It is made up of one continuous piece of material. Fiberglass panels are more affordable and seldom leak when properly installed. However, it is not the best choice when it comes to longevity. Shower vases made from fiberglass will eventually wear and discolor.

Cast Iron

This material is similar to fiberglass but is more durable. If you do not want a metal look on your shower floor, the good thing is that you can paint cast iron into various colors. Cast iron is well known to hold heat very well and can provide comfort on your feet when you step on it especially during the cold season.


This material is also similar to fiberglass but is easy to install and affordable. The cost ranges from 300 dollars for small units and 900 dollars for large units. Acrylic comes in various colors and can easily be fitted into the floor and sealed with the use of caulk. On the other hand, acrylic can easily scratch and is not the most durable option.

Cultured Marble

This material is made from a piece of delicate stone that is cut to fit your shower unit. Because cultured marble is fragile, the labor cost is higher as compared to other shower bases. However, cultured marble is more durable as compared to acrylic and fiberglass. While this material is a bit pricey, it is a good investment for your bathroom. Cultured marble provides a luxurious look and can also last for a long time as compared to synthetic materials. The downside to this material is that it is a porous stone so it absorbs quickly. Moreover, marble can pick up a tint when not properly treated or sealed.

Molded Stone

This material is a combination of synthetic plastic and natural stone. It is durable, stylish, and provides a high-end feel into your bathroom. Moreover, the molded stone is mold and mildew-resistant. The price starts at around 800 dollars for the material only. Molded stone is easy to install and clean.

Is a Shower Base Better than Tiles?

Shower bases are better than tiles for many reasons. Installing tiles is labor and time-intensive. The average tile job can take longer as compared to installing a shower base. Moreover, tiles are also more expensive to install because of the labor that is required. Aside from that, tiles are also high-maintenance. Over time, grout can crack and fall-out which will not only create an unsightly appearance but will also make your shower floor unsafe. A lot of people will agree that grout is hard to maintain because it is also prone to discoloration. Lastly, tiles can easily crack and can be hard to replace.

What is the Best Shower Base to Buy?

The best shower base will mostly depend on your preferences and budget. There are different things that you need to take note of when purchasing a shower base like the size, shape, material, and installation. How much you spend is mostly determined by your goals for your bathroom. 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 – How to Choose and Install a Shower Base

PEX Universe shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to choose and install a shower base. If you are thinking of renovating your bathroom and adding a shower base, you can watch the video below for tips and ideas that you can follow.

What Type of Shower Base is the Best?

There are different factors that you need to consider when looking for the best type of shower base for your bathroom like the size, material, style, shape, and price. If you are looking for a moderate price and customizable solution that is also easy to maintain, acrylic shower bases are among your best choice. On the other hand, if you are looking for a luxurious feel that will match the theme of your shower and bathroom, you can consider marble or molded stone shower bases.

How Much does it Cost to Replace a Shower Base?

The cost for repairing a chipped or cracked shower base is more affordable as compared to replacing the whole shower base. A new shower base can cost up to 6000 dollars depending on the size and material that you choose. Aside from that, you also need to consider the time that it will take to replace the shower base. Repairing a crack can be easily done in a day while replacing the whole shower base can take a couple of days. You can also check out this article that we have shared titled, should I tile under my shower base? We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Different Shapes of a Shower Base

Shower bases are available in various shapes with rectangles, squares, and corners as the most common ones. Other shapes that you can choose from include pentagon, oval, round, and semi-circle. Nowadays, manufacturers are getting more creative and provide customized shower bases that will perfectly suit your shower. When choosing a shower base, see to it that the shape matches the shower enclosure so that no gaps will result in water leakage. We have also written this article that discusses how much water 20-minute shower use. You can check out the article to learn more about the topic.

  • Rectangular – This shape provides a comfortable space for a spacious shower.
  • Square – A square shower base is a versatile choice that can suit many door styles and is ideal for small bathrooms.
  • Corner – This is your best choice if you are looking for comfort and to save space in your bathroom.

Can You Fix a Cracked Shower Base?

You can easily fix small chips and cracks on the shower base with a simple patch job. It is easy to fill and refinish the crack on your own. On the other hand, when you are dealing with large cracks or a series of small cracks, it can be a sign that your shower base is not properly supported or need to be replaced. Call the services of a professional for shower base replacement.

Why Do Shower Bases Crack?

Shower bases withstand a lot from the pressure of water that falls on them to the amount of movement on the shower which can make them crack and chip. Moreover, if they are not properly installed or do not have sufficient support underneath, they can crack under pressure especially if they are used more than a few times daily. Below are some of the reasons why shower bases can crack.

Faulty Installation and Poor Support

If the shower base is not properly installed, there is a chance that it will not take too long until you see some damage. Faulty installation includes poor support under the shower base to hold it in place. Some shower bases are susceptible to cracks when a lot of weight and pressure is placed on them and without proper support underneath.

Pressure and Weight

Another reason why shower bases tend to crack is because of pressure and weight. If used more than a few times daily, a lot of traffic and pressure from the water can cause the shower base to crack especially if it is not properly installed in the beginning.

Toxic Cleaning Products

Using bleach and other toxic chemicals in cleaning your shower base will eventually weaken it. Over time, it can lead to cracks and chips.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses why shower bases are so expensive. Different factors affect the price of the shower base which include the material, style, size, and installation. Some shower bases are more affordable as compared to others. To find the one that is best for your bathroom, you need to consider your preferences and your budget. Compare one shower base to another so that you can get the best deals. Thank you for reading!

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