How to level a floor for a shower base

Written by chuck brown
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How to level a floor for a shower base
A shower base must be installed on a level floor. (View of Hotel Bathroom image by TekinT from

Any shower base is only as level as the floor it rests upon. While shower bases are made of durable materials, an uneven floor underneath will allow the base to flex and give under the weight of those who use it regularly. Soon the shower base will begin to pop and creak, and it will give slightly when you stand on it. Over time and repeated stress, the shower base can crack. Other than repeatedly caulking the crack, the only remedy is to tear it out and install a new base on a level floor.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Broom
  • Damp sponge mop
  • Hammer
  • Scraper or metal spatula
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Shims
  • Screw gun
  • Galvanised flathead screws
  • Tape measure
  • Levelling compound
  • Mixing bucket
  • Drill with extension and mixer paddle
  • Float
  • Stippled roller
  • Sealer

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  1. 1

    Vacuum and clean the floor thoroughly. Knock down any high places you see or feel with a hammer. Remove any excess, hardened glue from the old shower base by using a scraper or spatula. Make sure the floor is completely smooth.

  2. 2

    Check the floor for level. Lay a 4- or 6-foot level on the floor from front to back. Check the level's bubble; if the floor is level, the bubble will be in the centre section. Repeat this process across the entire floor, roughly every 4 to 6 inches, marking the uneven areas with a pencil.

    How to level a floor for a shower base
    Use a level to make sure the floor is even. (carpenters level image by Richard Seeney from
  3. 3

    Go to the marked areas one at a time and lay down shims. Use the level to show where you should place the shims. Raise and lower the shims, with the level resting on them, to see how many shims are needed to raise the floor to level. Add the appropriate number of shims to level the floor.

  4. 4

    Screw down the shims with your galvanised flathead screws and screw gun. Recheck the floor for level, with the level resting on the screwed-down shims, and adjust them by repositioning, adding or removing shims as needed.

  5. 5

    Sweep and damp-mop the floor to remove dirt and dust. Measure and mark off the area where you will spread the levelling compound. Mix levelling compound in a bucket according to the directions on the bag, using your drill with an extension and a mixer paddle.

  6. 6

    Apply levelling compound to the shimmed floor. Pour the mix onto the floor, beginning at the shimmed areas first. Spread the mixture evenly among the shims with a float, working quickly before the compound begins setting.

  7. 7

    Spread the levelling compound flush with the shims. Allow the compound to get thinner as the shims thin down to nothing. Smooth with a roller. Use a stippled (hedgehog) roller to remove the air from the mixture, and allow it to settle.

  8. 8

    Allow the compound to dry, usually overnight. Check the floor for level; you should find it completely level.

  9. 9

    Apply a coat of sealer to the dried levelling compound. Allow it to dry completely before installing the shower unit or pan.

Tips and warnings

  • Before starting, make sure the floor joists are not causing the floor unevenness because they're in need of repair.
  • Prepare to work quickly with the levelling compound.

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