How To Build A Curbless Shower On Concrete?

Building a curbless shower on a concrete floor can enhance your bathroom’s accessibility and aesthetic appeal. This comprehensive guide will take you through the process, ensuring a seamless, modern look. Verified Builders can help you with all your bathroom remodeling needs.

Materials Needed

  • Shower pan
  • Waterproofing membrane
  • Tile
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Sealant
  • Drain assembly
  • Self-leveling compound
  • Plywood (if needed)

Tools Required

  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Tile cutter
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk line
  • Caulking gun

Preparing the Concrete Floor

Proper preparation is crucial for a successful installation:

  1. Assess the Concrete Slab: Ensure it’s flat and structurally sound. Repair any cracks or irregularities.
  2. Create the Slope: Use a self-leveling compound to achieve a slope of 1/4 to 1/2 inch per foot towards the drain.
  3. Determine Drain Location: Choose between a center or linear drain, considering layout and efficiency.
  4. Adjust Plumbing: Cut into the concrete to reposition plumbing as needed.
  5. Mark the Footprint: Clearly outline the shower area to guide waterproofing.
  6. Clean Thoroughly: Remove all debris to ensure materials adhere properly.

Installing the Waterproofing Membrane and Shower Pan

Waterproofing is essential to prevent damage:

  1. Lay the Membrane: Roll out the waterproofing membrane and cut it to size. Secure it with adhesive and/or tape.
  2. Position the Shower Pan: Place it on top of the membrane and seal it with silicone sealant.
  3. Overlap Seams: Ensure the membrane overlaps by at least 2 inches to prevent leaks.

Installing the Drain

A properly installed drain ensures efficient water removal:

  1. Select the Drain Type: Choose between a linear or center drain.
  2. Position the Drain: Align it with the shower floor slope.
  3. Secure to Subfloor: Integrate the drain with the prepared subfloor, ensuring a watertight connection.
  4. Connect to Plumbing: Attach the drain to the existing system, ensuring proper alignment.
  5. Test for Leaks: Conduct a flood test before tiling.

Tiling the Shower

Tiling provides a durable and stylish finish:

  1. Measure and Cut Tiles: Ensure tiles fit the shower area precisely.
  2. Apply Thin-Set: Use a thin-set adhesive to secure the tiles.
  3. Check Level: Regularly use a level to maintain the correct slope and even surface.
  4. Grout and Seal: After tiles are set, apply grout and sealant for a watertight finish.

Ensuring Functionality and Safety

  1. Install Anti-Slip Tiles: Choose tiles with a slip-resistant texture.
  2. Place Controls Accessibly: Position shower controls near the entrance to minimize movement.
  3. Add Grab Bars: For safety, especially in ADA-compliant showers.

Challenges of Building a Curbless Shower on Concrete

  1. Slope Precision: Achieving the correct gradient on a concrete slab can be tricky.
  2. Concrete Thickness: The slab may need to be thickened or reinforced.
  3. Plumbing Adjustments: Integrating the new drain location without significant reroutes.
  4. Barrier-Free Transitions: Achieving a seamless look while maintaining functionality.

Steps to Build a Curbless Shower on Concrete

Step Details
Assess Concrete Slab Ensure flat, structurally sound slab; repair cracks.
Create Slope Use self-leveling compound; aim for 1/4 to 1/2 inch per foot slope towards drain.
Determine Drain Location Choose between center or linear drain; consider layout and efficiency.
Adjust Plumbing Cut into concrete for plumbing adjustments; ensure integrity.
Mark Footprint Outline shower area for guidance.
Clean Thoroughly Remove debris for proper adhesion of materials.
Lay Membrane Secure waterproofing membrane with adhesive/tape; ensure overlaps.
Position Shower Pan Place on membrane, seal with silicone.
Install Drain Select type, position, secure to subfloor, connect to plumbing, test for leaks.
Measure and Cut Tiles Fit tiles precisely; use thin-set adhesive to secure.
Check Level Maintain correct slope and even surface.
Grout and Seal Apply grout and sealant for watertight finish.
Install Anti-Slip Tiles Choose slip-resistant texture.
Place Controls Accessibly Position controls near entrance.
Add Grab Bars Ensure safety with ADA-compliant grab bars.

In-Depth Questions

What are the benefits of a curbless shower?

Curbless showers offer seamless entry, making them ideal for those with mobility issues. They create a modern, open look and can make small bathrooms appear larger. Additionally, they’re easier to clean and maintain due to the lack of barriers and crevices.

How do I maintain a curbless shower?

Keep the shower clean by regularly wiping down surfaces to prevent mold and mildew. Ensure the drain is free from debris to maintain efficient water flow. Periodically check the waterproofing membrane and tiles for any signs of wear or damage.

Can I retrofit a curbless shower in an existing bathroom?

Retrofitting a curbless shower requires significant modifications, especially to the plumbing and floor structure. The concrete slab may need to be cut to adjust the slope and install the drain. It’s advisable to consult with professionals like Verified Builders to assess feasibility and plan the remodel.

What is the importance of waterproofing in a curbless shower?

Waterproofing is crucial to prevent water from seeping into the floor and walls, which can cause structural damage and mold growth. Proper installation of a waterproofing membrane and ensuring all seams and joints are sealed can prolong the lifespan of your shower and maintain a healthy bathroom environment.


Building a curbless shower on concrete is a worthwhile investment for both functionality and style. With careful planning and execution, you can create a bathroom that is both beautiful and accessible. For professional assistance and expert advice, contact Verified Builders. Enhance your home with a modern, curbless shower and enjoy the benefits for years to come.

For more tips on bathroom remodeling, check out our guides on how to make a small bathroom look bigger, what is a vessel sink, and how to remodel a small bathroom.

This guide ensures that your curbless shower is built to last, offering both aesthetic and practical benefits. For any further questions or personalized advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to Verified Builders, your trusted partner in home improvement.


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