Do you hate grout?

Do you want a clean, modern look for your shower?

Consider using large tiles on your shower pan! With the right tileable pan and the right tile, your shower base can have minimal grout lines and maximum style.

Why are small tiles used on shower pans?

Our customers always ask us, “Do I have to use little mosaic tiles on my shower pan? Can’t I use larger tiles?” It really depends on what type of shower pan you have.

An old-school tiled shower pan is sculpted out of cement, wire mesh, a rubber liner, and other materials; this pan is known as a mud pan.

Mud pans are like a flattened bowl shape, sloping in from the sides to the center. Because they’re sloped by hand, they are curved and uneven. Larger tiles don’t sit neatly on this surface; only little tiles under 4” will sit smoothly on the curving surface of the pan, with 2x2” squares being the most common mosaic size used.

Use a preformed pan instead of a mud pan!

Mud pans take many steps and a lot of time to build properly; it’s a messy process and very easy to make a mistake.

Fortunately, there are now a number of premade tileable shower pans available. With perfect engineered slope, all you have to do is glue the pan down to a level, stable subfloor and start tiling. We recommend the HydroBlok, Wedi, and Schluter Kerdi shower systems for sloped, tileable shower pans.

Another major benefit of preformed pans: you can use large tiles on them! The pans are made up of four triangles sloping from the sides to the drain. You just need grout lines at the diagonal lines from drain to corner, and your tiles will sit flat on their individual sloped planes.

Tile Lines Tip: the slope on the shower pans is subtle, at least 1/4” of elevation difference per linear foot, so it’s hard to see with the naked eye. We recommend drawing lines on your shower pan with permanent marker from corner to center of your drain. That way, even if you trim the pan to fit your space, you’ll know exactly where the change of plane is.

Slippery when wet. And soapy. Get a non-slip tile.

Each grout line gives your foot something to grip on to. If you have a tiny polished marble mosaic, all of the grout lines will give you a highly textured floor, even though the tile is polished.

When you use larger tiles, you have fewer grout lines, and as such there’s less slip resistance than a small mosaic. Add soap and water to the tile, and you could have a slippery, hazardous floor!

Fortunately, there are plenty of tiles with enough friction for the best non-slip shower pan.

Some porcelain tiles are modeled after heavily textured natural stone, such as slate and sandstone. These feature a surface with lots of highs and lows for your feet to grip on to. Other tiles look smooth, but have a rough enough texture that they’ll keep you from slipping.

Usually, you can tell by touch how slick a tile will be. However, porcelain tiles come with various ratings to indicate where they can and shouldn’t be used.

Some tiles are available with the R11 Anti-Slip finish. To be certified as R11 Anti-Slip, a tile must pass an internationally recognized analysis showing that a person can maintain balance while standing on the wet tile at an incline of up to 27 degrees.

Ask for a tile’s DCOF rating (dynamic coefficient of friction, or how much traction your foot will have on the tile as you’re walking).

If you’re interested in the technical side of things, read the Tile Council of North America’s bulletin on tile Dynamic Coefficient of Friction.

Consider a line drain with a single slope pan.

HydroBlok, Wedi, and Schluter also make single slope pans that work with linear drains. This is a great option if you want to tuck your drain against a wall or under a floating bench.

Going curbless? Think about your lines.

Continue your bathroom floor tiles into your shower pan: this helps the bathroom look bigger, as the room isn’t visually divided into “shower” and “bathroom.”

When setting your tiles, we suggest starting at the line where shower pan meets bathroom floor. You’ll need to have a grout line here anyways, so why not have it fall naturally at the seam? If you continue the bathroom floor pattern into the shower, it will further camouflage the seam between them.