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Shower Pans and Permits  

We have been at odds for a good many years with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County regarding the installation of shower pans

The code does not address the same issues the manufacturer requires completed to install the pan in a funnel like manner that would allow the water to go down the drain instead of holding water or allowing it to puddle under the tile floor.  When the water does not leave the cement under the tile and above the pan, the pan is compromised and the drywall on the walls begins wicking, causing damage to adjacent walls as well as the shower itself. Mold and mildew and termites are all by-products of this malfunction.

Plumbers are the responsible party in new construction, requiring a permit.  That trade does not pitch the sub floor as the manufacturer requires. For this reason, we are replacing showers in new homes that are not yet 4 years old. We pitch the floor and install the pan correctly, but we are not plumbers.

We must be prepared to pull permits if someone chooses to enforce the permit issue. This could increase the cost of your installation as much as $100 and add days to completion because it will require an inspection by a building department with inspectors understaffed and often unresponsive to your time line. 

If a problem occurs, you the homeowner can pull your own “Homeowners” permit if you have the time, or we have a plumber to pull it for you. This permit issue will arise only in the event that a disgruntled plumber or nosy neighbor makes a phone call.  Most plumbers do not pull permits for replacement of an existing shower. It is unnecessary and useless but it is on the books. It is a mere formality.

The choice is yours.  If we replace your shower, it will be done according to the manufacturer’s directions and will be guaranteed.  If a plumber installs the pan, it will be done in the same manner as new construction and will not function as intended causing extensive damage.  That is also guaranteed.

Click on Diagram to Zoom and Print


The diagram to the Top is the method taught by the Tile Council of America and is the method we use to reconstruct a concrete shower, including the installation of the pan. The diagram at the Lower Right is the method specified by the pan manufacturer, Composeal, and following those specs makes the project meet local and state codes. The methods are basically the same.b_inst_front.JPG (18223 bytes)

Notice the difference in the height of the pan at the wall compared to the drain.  The sub floor should be pitched to the drain (the formula is ¼” per linear foot) prior to the installation of the pan. This is very necessary to ensure the water that is absorbed in the concrete between the pan and the tile floor drains thru the concrete and out the weep holes in the main drain. A shower pan usually does not come into play before a year or a year and a half after installation, depending on the usage. It should be installed without using nails or cuts.

We use concrete blocks for the curb and dens shield for the walls with mud and lathe on the bottom of the shower walls.


Leaking Shower Symptoms




Paragraphs pertaining to shower floors and pan as described in the


Provided to us by Carl Conte

General Manager, Inspectional Services

Hillsborough County 813-635-7330

As of 4/28/04 and Revised 10/05  

417.5.0     SHOWER FLOORS AND RECEPTORS:  Floor surface shall be constructed of impervious, non-corrosive, non-absorbent and waterproof materials  

417.5.1    SUPPORT: Floors or receptors under shower compartments    shall   be laid on and supported by a smooth and structurally sound base. (There is no mention of providing a slope to enable the water to drain from the pan, per the manufacturer’s specifications, hence the water backs up and puddles and the pan does not drain. There is also no mention of the large hole, open to the dirt that generally surrounds the rough- in shower drain that occurs at the time the slab is poured. It is never filled in (This is finally addressed in the revised code underlined in the paragraph below.)  

417.5.2   PANS: Floors under shower compartments, except where prefabricated receptors have been provided, shall be lined and made water tight by the provision of suitable shower pans of approved materials.  Such pans shall turn up at least 2 inches (51mm) above the finished threshold level. Liners should be recessed and fastened to an approved backing so as not to occupy the space used for wall covering and shall not be nailed or perforated at any point less than 1 inch above the finished threshold. Liners should be pitched ¼ unit vertical to 12 units horizontal (2 % slope) and shall be sloped toward the fixture drains and be securely fastened to the waste outlet at the seepage entrance, making a watertight joint between the pan and the outlet. (The above underlined italics reflect the changes that took effect October of 2005 FINALLY.)  


1.  Floor surfaces under shower heads provided for rinsing laid directly on the ground.

2.  Shower compartments where the finished shower drain is depressed a minimum of  2” below the surrounding finished floor on the first floor level and the shower recess is poured integrally with the adjoining floor. (This allows the absence of pans in recessed floors thus allowing the shower water from the showerhead to wick up the surrounding 2x4’s on the floor and ruin shower walls as well as adjacent walls.)