Home & Garden

Ask a plumber: A cast-iron shower base can be a strong choice

A Bellwether cast-iron shower receptor and Levity shower door from Kohler.
A Bellwether cast-iron shower receptor and Levity shower door from Kohler. TNS

Q: We’re planning a bathroom remodel to include a tile shower stall. Our contractor suggested that in place of a tile shower floor we install a cast-iron shower base. I’m still not sure, and before we decide, can you please give us a little more information on a cast-iron shower base?

Paul, South Dakota

A: Let’s start with shower bases in general.

In place of a tile floor with a water containment pan or membrane, many contractors may choose a shower base. Basically it’s a pre-made shower floor, complete with a drain hole and wall flanges.

Since shower bases are usually made from acrylic, vikrell and enameled cast iron, many colors, styles and sizes are available.

As far as installation, because they are one-piece units, labor costs can be reduced compared to building a shower base from scratch. Many bases can accept different types of wall systems including tile, so if you are looking for a tile shower stall you can still have tile walls.

An enameled cast-iron base can be a strong choice — it’s a material that has survived the test of time, and you can wash away any doubts about using it for your new shower floor.

Master contractor and plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call” and the host of TV and Internet shows. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com.