What Concrete Mix to Use for Shower Pans


If you’re looking to save money while renovating, repairing, or redoing your bathroom, pouring your own shower pan is a great place to start. Shower pans are the area of a shower under the vinyl or tile that redirects stray water into the drain, meaning it is vital in building a shower.

The best DIY mix for a shower pan is a combination of a basic mortar mix with sand and Portland cement added in. This unique mix creates a supportive water-resistant barrier for your shower. The best strong and supportive commercial mixes are Quikrete’s Sand/Topping Mix or Quikrete’s Floor Mud.

If you are wondering how to make the best DIY shower pan mix or why these commercial mixes are the best and where you can get them, read on!

DIY Shower Pan Mix

When you are renovating your home, there are always two routes to take: hiring a contractor and doing it yourself.

If you’re reading this article, I’ll assume you have chosen the DIY route when it comes to who will be building your shower pan (you), but you are uncertain if you should make your own mix or if you should buy one commercially.

DIY mixes are a great option for many reasons. They’re cheap, customizable, unique, and work exactly like their commercial counterparts if you do them correctly.

To ensure you do your DIY shower pan the right way, we have found a great shower pan recipe that you can do yourself!

  • 1 part Portland Cement
  • 4-6 parts of fine sand (5 parts is a safe place to be)
  • Enough water to turn your concrete into a clay-like substance (it should hold a shape but be able to have water squeezed out of it)

To make your DIY shower pan mix, take the ingredients above, place them in a concrete mixer (or hand mix with a bucket and a trowel), and mix until combined.

Once all the ingredients are combined, take a handful of the concrete and mold it into a ball.

This ball should hold shape but release water when squeezed. If it is able to do both of those things, your mix is ready to be used.

Commercial Mixes

If creating a DIY mix sounds less than appealing to you, don’t worry! There are plenty of commercial mixes that are great for creating shower pans.

Two of the most popular are both mixes by the company Quikrete.

The first mix that is recommended is Quikrete Floor Mud. The description of this mix as found on Quikrete’s website is:

QUIKRETE┬« Floor Mud (No. 1548-81) is a Portland cement based underlayment mortar designed for leveling travertine, slate and marble floor tile, and for shower pan applications.”

Source

This mix is specifically designed for shower pans, among other things. The only downfall of this product is that it comes exclusively in 80-pound bags, meaning construction outlets often do not carry it in-store.

The second mix is a much more common one, and it is called Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix. According to the Quikrete website,

QUIKRETE┬« Sand/Topping Mix (No. 1103) consists of a uniformly blended mixture of portland cement, commercial grade sands and other approved ingredients.”

Source

This mix is very similar to the DIY mix that we provided in the section before this one, being just a bit more focused on general use than Quikrete Floor Mud.

If you are thinking about buying this product, you are likely in luck. Most construction based stores will carry Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix in one of its available sizes as it comes in 10 pound, 40 pound, 60 pound, and 80-pound bags.

Shower Pan Mix Comparison

By now, you may have made a decision as to which type of mix to use: DIY or commercial.

If you have, congratulations! But if you are still deliberating, do not fret- we have created a chart outlining the pros and cons of each of the three recommended mixes (DIY, Quikrete Floor Mud, and Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix) to help make your decision a bit easier.

Type of MixPriceAvailabilitySizesEase of Use
DIY Shower Pan MixVaries on material, but expect $10.00 per 60 pounds.Available anywhere that basic concrete materials can be bought.Any size you need it to be.Easy, but you need the space to mix the concrete.
Quikrete Floor Mud$103.53 (source) due to its rarity. Very difficult to find; rarely sold in stores.80 pound bags, though some sites claim they sell 60 pound bags.Easy, as it is a pre-made mix.
Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix$7.56 for a 60 pound bag.Available almost anywhere.10 pound, 40 pound, 60 pound, and 80 pound bags.Easy, as it is a pre-made mix.

As we can see from the chart above, each mix has pros and cons, but they are all great mixes to use.

Whether you decide to take a risk and make a DIY mix for your shower pan or if you decide to play it safe and buy a pre-made mix, we wish you luck on your project!

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