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How Much Does a Shower Pan Cost?

Shower pans can play a key role in the overall look and feel of your shower. Shower pans act as the base of your shower. The costs will of course vary on size and desired material. The materials range from acrylic, metal and enamel, all providing unique pros and cons to your shower. Read below to get the cost breakdown for all shower pans.

The Costs

  • Maximum average cost of shower pans: $700

  • Minimum average cost of shower pans: $200

Shower pans vary in cost primarily based on their size, the material used in their construction and any applicable warranty they might carry. 

Larger shower pans are invariably more expensive. Those intended to cover large showers suitable for multiple people tend to cluster in price on the higher end of the scale. It is important to have a shower pan suited to the size of one's shower. This means that it isn't possible to save money by purchasing a smaller shower pan.

The materials utilized make a difference, and there are a number of different options in this regard. Acrylic shower pans take up the lower end of the price scale. The more expensive shower pans are made with metal, enamel or more advanced polymers.

Shower pans can be found with warranties guaranteeing their usefulness for a certain period of time. Shower pans tend to wear out over the course of years, making warranties like this a good idea for homeowners who do not intend to sell their home in the near future. Warranties are difficult to find in excess of 20 years.


A variety of materials are used to make shower pans. The most common shower pans were made of lead for a number of years. It isn't uncommon to find a shower with a lead shower pan in an older home. However, lead is no longer used in shower pans as it wears down much more rapidly than modern materials, greatly reducing its utility. Lead shower pans need to be replaced regularly to prevent water damage to the frame of a home.

Modern materials for shower pans include acrylic, metal and enamel.

Acrylic shower pans are made of the same kind of material that is used in bathtubs. They are much more resilient than the lead shower pans of the past. However, acrylic is less durable than both metal and enamel. Acrylic shower pans are thinner, flimsier and subject to damage from impact against the floor of the shower and from small earthquakes. They are also subject to the gradual development of mold and mildew; the edges of an acrylic shower pan can wear down and create gaps in which mold can take root and grow.

Metal shower pans are typically made of steel. This steel is often coated in a secondary substance for greater water protection, but steel can be rendered waterproof with appropriate treatment. Steel is much more resilient to impact when compared to acrylic, and it will last far longer. However, it can share similar difficulties to acrylic if its edges are damaged, nicked or scraped during or after installation.

Enamel shower pans can be something of a misnomer. In some cases, an enamel shower pan is primarily made of metal and only coated with enamel. Enamel shower pans are the most resistant to breakage and the formation of mold, giving them the longest life expectancy when installed as compared to other shower pan materials.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The primary shower pan advantages to look for are:

  • Longevity

  • Energy efficiency

  • Hard water resistance

The longevity of a shower pan will matter to homeowners in direct proportion to how long they plan to remain in their home. Those interested in selling their home who need to replace the shower pan to render their shower functional or eliminate mold may find that their purposes are served by a low-end acrylic pan. However, those who intend to remain in their home for quite some time will be better-served by a more durable enamel or metal pan.

Energy efficiency can be a concern with shower pans, and some are better at it than others. Shower pans have the potential to draw heat from the shower through the shower tile. Enamel pans will generally be the most efficient in this regard, and preserve as much thermal energy as possible, keeping whoever uses the shower warmer. A well-chosen shower pan can actually make a substantial difference in the comfort of shower use, even though it will never be seen or physically touched through the floor of the shower.

Finally, hard water resistance is an advantage conferred by higher-end pans. Hard water can leave mineral deposits on some shower pans more easily than others. This can reduce their efficacy over time. Enamel pans are the least susceptible to this process, and some other pans will be rated as resistant to hard water on their packaging, making them more ideal choices for homeowners who suffer from hard water.

The primary disadvantages to be concerned with are:

  • Inferior materials

  • Susceptibility to mold

  • Difficulty of installation

Some shower pans are simply made of cheap materials. While they may be useful in the short term, they will not last nearly as long as higher grade pans. If not replaced, a defective or worn shower pan can allow water to seep into the structural supports of a home, which can cause long-term damage.

Some shower pans, particularly less-expensive ones, can be susceptible to mold growth. Mold can cause unpleasant odors in one's shower, and it can also damage the interior structure of a home if allowed to spread. It's important to make sure that this isn't a possible issue with a shower pan before purchases are made. Generally, this is best done by checking reviews or consulting with contractors.

Shower pans are not always easy to install. It depends heavily on the construction of the shower. Sometimes it is as simple as removing and replacing tile. Other shower pans are more heavily integrated into the structure of the shower, demanding the partial removal of wall tiles. This will be most noticeable as a disadvantage if the shower pan is being chosen for an older home, particularly if the pan already installed doesn't adhere to modern proportions. Irregularly sized showers may require significant work to admit a proper modern shower pan.

Last updated on May 13, 2016

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