If you want to install your own shower, whether it is tiled or a shower pan, you will need a cement shower base. The cement shower base provides a stable, solid, and water resistant barrier between the shower and your wood flooring.
Many types of cements are available today for your shower base, choosing the right one will make you installation a success.
The most common type of cement used in homes today, it has been around for centuries it seems, and is one of the best types of cements for a shower base. Portland cement is water resistant when it hardens, smooth and easy to trowel onto the floor, and available everywhere. It also has various drying times, simply by adjusting the amount of calcium sulfate in the mixture.
Tip: Use a fast drying Portland cement to set a better taper, slower drying if you have less experience using the material.
The term sand mix refers to a mixture of sand and cement forming a grainy concrete mortar that feels more like beach sand than cement. While all mortar is mixable to various consistency, sand mix is a pre-mixed cement available in bags at your home improvement store. The grainy substance is very easy to taper, so it is easy to build a sloped shower base. Sakrete makes a decent sand mix, it comes in a yellow and black bag.
Quikrete is a brand of Portland cement and available at most stores. Your salesperson will be able to point you towards a batch of quikrete for your shower base.
Thinset is a different type of mortar made from Portland cement and an adhesive product. This type of cement is better suited for tile installation on top of a cement base. Use this when installing tiles in your bathroom on your cement shower base.