If you're remodeling your bathroom and replacing or installing a shower, a shower receptor (or base) is a key element of your new fixtures. This piece, which is typically considered the "floor" of the shower, consists of a square or rectangular piece of material with a drain, with short sides that keep the water from overflowing. The shower receptor can be made from a variety of materials, including acrylic, cast iron, fiberglass, plastic, terrazzo, or a polymer.
The cost of a new shower receptor ranges from approximately $160 to $1,600, depending on the size and material you desire. While standard sizes are typically less costly, you may need to have a custom receptor made if your shower is an irregular size. If you're replacing the floor of a pre-existing shower, you'll likely need a standard size. Durable and attractive options are available at all price points.
Common manufacturers of shower receptors include Swanstone, Fiat, Americh and American Standard. Your salesperson can advise you on the best brand to fit your individual needs. Many shower receptors are a solid, neutral color, but decorative designs are also available. You may also want to choose a non-slip material for safety, particularly if older adults will use the bathroom.
For those familiar with basic plumbing techniques such as pipe joining, it is relatively easy to install a new shower receptor over a weekend. First, place the receptor flush with the wall studs, and mark the location of the drain hole. When you've marked the location, cut through the subfloor and add a bed of mortar or plaster solution to ensure that the shower is watertight and will not leak. Place the pipe, align the shower receptor over it, and cement the pieces together. Then, if necessary, patch your floor with plywood. If possible, purchase a drain kit along with your shower receptor to simplify this process. For best results, choose a shower receptor with a drain position that matches your old shower, to avoid the work of remapping the drain.
Once your shower receptor is installed, it should require little to no maintenance. Cleaning methods and solutions vary based on the material used for the receptor, but typically store-bought products like Lysol are sufficient. If you notice a leak or if any part of your shower is cracked or damage, you should immediately have your entire shower, including the receptor, examined by a professional. If water is allowed to gather, a mold problem will develop, which is difficult to repair and cause damage to both your home and your health.
As with any home repair, replacing or installing a shower receptor may be best left to the professionals if you have no experience with this type of project. But by selecting the ideal receptor for your needs and consulting with an expert, you'll soon have a beautiful new shower in your home. While upgrading your shower or bath is a relatively small investment on the home improvement scale, it greatly increases the attractiveness and comfort of your bathroom.