Menu Close

what concrete mix to use for shower pans banner pic

What Concrete Mix To Use For Shower Pans

If you’re building a shower with a tile floor then you’ll need to build a pan. Shower pans are the part of a shower floor that sits under the tile. They’re sloped in a way that directs water into the drain. You don’t want standing water, leaks or puddles forming in your shower which is why a well made shower pan is vital. You can buy shower pans pre-made in a number of sizes, but if you want a custom one, then you’ll have to build it yourself. This is where a good concrete mix is important. The best concrete mix for shower pans is made by Quikrete. They make two products, the first is called Floor Mud, the 2nd is their Sand/Topping mix. Both work great for building a shower pan.

Just like other types of concrete mix, there are DIY options. Combining a basic mortar mix with sand and Portland cement will create a good dry pack concrete. All of these mixes create a strong water resistant barrier for your shower floor and tile.

Ahead we’ll discuss each option in more detail.

Quikrete Floor Mud

QUIKRETE Floor Mud is a concrete mix made primarily of Portland Cement. It’s a dry pack mix that’s designed to be an underlayment mortar for leveling travertine, slate, marble floor tile, and building shower pans. The mix can easily be packed and formed to run into a drain. When formed, the surface is tight and smooth with makes it water resistant and a great base for tile.

QUIKRETE Floor Mud is pre-blended which means you don’t have to do any measuring of ingredients. Quikrete has done all the figuring for you, just open the bag, mix it up and start working. It’s very easy to mix and work with.

Pour Quikrete into a mixing tray, bucket or wheelbarrow and add the required amount of water. Generally the mix requires 4 quarts of water per 80 lb bag.

Benefits include:

  • It’s a very strong mix that can even support heavy stone tile
  • Exterior or interior use
  • Exceeds 5000 psi compressive strength after curing for 28 days
  • Easier to use than DIY mixes because all the figuring is done for you
  • Easy to form into and floor shape and slope

Quikrete Floor Mud is the best concrete mix for shower pans. The only drawback to using it is that I’ve never seen it sold in Home Depot or Lowes. We buy ours at a tile supply store. If you don’t have around you then the mix can be hard to get. But as long as you can get it, it’s a great product for building shower pans.

Another small point that might be considered a negative is that Quikrete Floor Mud only comes in 80 lb bags. I don’t mind because I only buy 80 lb bags and typically need more than a single bag to form a shower anyway. But if you only need a very small amount of mix or like carrying lighter bags, you should consider using Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix.

Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix

QUIKRETE Sand/Topping Mix is a mixture of Portland cement, commercial grade sands and other ingredients. It’s a great concrete mix for shower pans that comes in a lot more sizes. You can buy 10 lb, 40 lb, 60 lb, and 80 lb bags. The variety makes it a little easier to buy exactly what you need. It’s also carried at most Home Depots which makes it easier to get compared to the Floor Mud mix.

Quikrete Sand/Topping mix is very easy to mix in a bucket, tray or wheelbarrow. Just add the correct amount of water and mix it with a trowel, shovel or hoe.

It’s easy to spread, pack and form the mix into a shower pan of any design or slope. When done right, the shower floor will be very strong and smooth.

The great thing about building your own shower pan is that they’re water resistant and can be sloped at any angle you want. If you don’t want puddles, standing water or leaks, or you want a custom sized shower, then a hand made concrete shower pan is a good solution.

DIY Concrete Shower Pan Mix

When it comes to concrete, you can either buy a premixed bag or make your own. Concrete is a simple thing to make. It’s basically just Portland Cement, Sand and an Aggregate like gravel mixed with water. By altering the levels of each ingredient you change the strength and function of the concrete. Shower pan concrete doesn’t have gravel so it’s just sand and cement.

DIY mixes are a great option for a few reasons. They’re a little cheaper if your mixing a lot of concrete and customizable. With Quikrete, the mix is made for you. You can include in some additives but most people just use it as is. But with a DIY mix, you can vary the ingredients however you want. Although I recommend just going with the standard ingredients and ratios like Quikrete uses.

The DIY Concrete Shower Pan Recipe.

  • 1 part Portland Cement
  • 5 parts fine sand

That’s it. Just two ingredients mixed with water. For an 80 lb bag worth of concrete you need about 4 quarts of water.

Making this DIY shower pan mix is just a few simple steps.

First, measure out your cement and sand separately. Second, place the ingredients in a concrete mixer, tray or wheelbarrow and mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with a hoe, shovel or trowel. Finally, add in water and mix until you have a finished concrete.

While mixing your own shower pan concrete can save you a little money, it does add more work. You have to buy each of the ingredients separately, measure them out and mix it yourself. With a premixed Quikrete bag all that’s done for you. Unless you need some sort of custom made mix, or need a ton of concrete, I recommend buying Quikrete. In my opinion, the savings to do just a single shower isn’t worth the extra work.

Consistency

No matter which of the three options you choose, the consistency and mixing method are the same. In the end you should have a semi solid mixture that’s fairly dry. You should be able to pick it up with your hand and form it like a snow ball. If the mix won’t hold shape or feels to wet you need to balance it out with more dry mix.

The ball should hold shape but release some water when squeezed. If it does both of those things, your mix is ready to be used. Even though you want a very dry mix, there’s still moisture content inside.

In general, an 80 lb bag of dry mix needs 4 quarts of water. Mix in the water slowly. I like to start by adding just 2/3 of the water. Mix it up and then add as needed.

Shower Pan Mix Comparison

Deciding which of the three choices we’ve discussed is best can be a tough choice. So we’ve created a simple chart to make things a little easier for you.

Type of Mix Price Availability Sizes Ease of Use
DIY Concrete Shower Pan Mix $5.00 per 80 pound batch. Available anywhere that basic concrete materials can be bought. Any size you need. Medium. You have to measure the ingredients yourself.
Quikrete Floor Mud $7.00 per 80 pound bag. A little harder to find but available at flooring suppliers and Ace Hardware. 80 pound bags. Easy, it’s a pre-made mix.
Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix $8.00 per 80 pound bag.
Available almost anywhere. 10 pound, 40 pound, 60 pound, and 80 pound bags. Easy, it’s a pre-made mix.

As we can see from the chart above, prices are almost exactly the same for each product. Saving a few dollars by mixing your own batch doesn’t seem worth it to me unless you need a lot of concrete.

My favorite is the Quikrete Floor Mud but the Sand/Topping mix is great too. If I’m at a Home Depot and don’t feel like making a separate trip to the tile store or Ace Hardware I’ll use it. But if I’m at the tile place already I use Floor Mud. I almost never mix my own batch. I just don’t see the point of doing the extra work to save a couple dollars a bag. If I want something special in the mix I just add it to the premixed Quikrete bags.

Summary: What Concrete Mix To Use For Shower Pans

If you’re building a shower with a tile floor then you’ll need to build a pan. Shower pans are the part of a shower floor that sits under the tile. They’re sloped in a way that directs water into the drain. You don’t want standing water, leaks or puddles forming in your shower which is why a well made shower pan is vital. You can buy shower pans pre-made in a number of sizes, but if you want a custom one, then you’ll have to build it yourself. This is where a good concrete mix is important. The best concrete mix for shower pans is made by Quikrete. They make two products, the first is called Floor Mud, the 2nd is their Sand/Topping mix. Both work great for building a shower pan.

Just like other types of concrete mix, there are DIY options. Combining a basic mortar mix with sand and Portland cement will create a good dry pack concrete. All of these mixes create a strong water resistant barrier for your shower floor and tile.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

Related Posts

SUBSCRIBE

Get Notified About New Articles, GREAT DEALS on Home Goods, Videos & Product Reviews.

We Update Weekly & It’s All Completely FREE.