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How to repair a shower tray that bends or moves

Why your shower pan is moving or bending?

Identifying the cause of your moving shower pan is almost as important as the repair itself. Once you know the cause, you may be able to make minor repairs that will stabilize the tub or protect delicate drain fittings.

Normal level of flexibility

Few prefabricated shower pans feel as rock solid as a tiled shower pan. If you already know what a tiled shower plate is, you’ll feel the difference immediately. The hollowness of shower pans can be perceived as a weakness, but this is not necessarily the case. A small amount of deflection is to be expected. This is not a problem as long as there is no water leakage.

Thin or poorly braced shower pan

With all plumbing fixtures, there are a number of quality standards, and shower pans are no different. Some prefabricated shower pans have thinner bottoms or less substantial support ribs under the pan. This results in a floor that is still functional, but more susceptible to deflection. Any inadequate shower pan that rests directly on the subfloor will likely flex underfoot.

Heavy use

Shower pans have weight limits. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the weight of the shower pan. Do not exceed the recommended weights. Very heavy use can cause cracking and pulverization of the mortar bed, which can result in structural failure.

Improper installation

There are two types of prefabricated shower pans: those installed in a mortar bed on the floor and mortarless pans that lie flat on the floor.

If a mortar bed is not installed in a shower pan that requires a mortar bed – even higher-end tubs – the shower pan will not be adequately supported underfoot. The tub will move and flex when you shower. The condition will worsen over time. For this reason, it’s better to call a real professional to do the job.

Add new plastic shims

A sagging shower pan that rests directly on the floor without a mortar bed may need to be better supported along the length of the support ribs underneath. This can be difficult to do if you already installed the tub. It may be possible to access the floor of the shower pan from a space below the shower. Be sure to use plastic shims to avoid the possibility of wood rot.

Install a flexible faucet

Plumbers who expect the shower pan to bend or move often install a special flexible drain fitting in the drain pipe under the shower.

The fitting will accommodate the bending and deflection that occurs with prefabricated tubs. A flexible fitting acts as a type of rubber shock absorber that compresses and springs back when the shower pan bends around the drain opening.

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