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  • 1.  question re: solid surface shower enclosures

    Posted 04-24-2020 05:33 PM

    I have a residential project for which I want to specify solid-surface side walls, and a solid shower pan. Anyone have a recommendation? I've never used these products before and the choices are many. It's also nearly impossible to go to shops to see the products. Thanks.


    J o h n  V.  D o w n i e   |   A r c h i t e c t


    285 Auburndale Avenue  |  Newton  |  Massachusetts  |  02466


    617.548.8037  |


  • 2.  RE: question re: solid surface shower enclosures

    Posted 04-27-2020 08:51 PM
    John, I recently oversaw the installation of solid surfacing for the walls of patient room bathrooms in a regional hospital and offer the following based on my experience:
    1. Consider this material as you would for large format tile that is not fully bound to the substrate. Provide a tile backer substrate with properly treated substrate joints and fastener heads. If you use cementitious tile backer, the manufacturers recommend a MRB behind the tile backer.
    2. The panels are adhered to the substrate with intermittent dabs of silicone sealant. This results in a small vertical gap between the back of the panel and the substrate. This gap shows up at penetrations like the holes cut for plumbing. Seal the gap around the perimeter of all holes & penetrations between the back of the solid surface panels and the substrate.
    3. The solid surface panel joints depend on sealant for waterproofing - don’t trust sealant as the waterproofing. The primary waterproofing barrier is your tile backer substrate.

    Can’t help you with the solid surface shower pan. No experience with this product for that application.

    Jim White AIA
    Watts A&E
    Buffalo, NY
    Sent from my iPhone

  • 3.  RE: question re: solid surface shower enclosures

    Posted 04-28-2020 05:33 PM
    The best thing about solid surface shower pans is that they don't leak. They come in standard sizes; not all sizes offered meet code for the required floor area even if they are 30" wide, so check to make sure yours does.

    As far as I know, you can get solid surface plastic ones, like Corian or Swanstone, or terrazzo stone ones by Florestone. If you want the walls to match the floor, stick to the same manufacturer for both.

    I have not watched an installation, but I know you need a solid, flat, completely debris-free substrate.

    Some manufacturers have certified installers, which may be reassuring.

    Judith Wasserman AIA
    Bressack & Wasserman
    Palo Alto CA

  • 4.  RE: question re: solid surface shower enclosures

    Posted 04-28-2020 01:13 PM
    Hi John,

    I'd recommend looking at which is a solid wall panel for wet rooms.  Kohler also has an option but is much more limited.  By solid shower pan, I'm assuming a one-piece receptor.  Off the shelf choices are either cast iron, fiberglass or acrylic, but there are lots of custom ways to direct water to a floor drain.

    Gregory Holah, NCARB
    HOLAH Design + Architecture
    Portland, Oregon 97232

  • 5.  RE: question re: solid surface shower enclosures

    Posted 04-29-2020 07:34 PM
    Edited by Elmer Lin, NCARB 04-29-2020 07:36 PM
    Unless you are looking for a proprietary system offering wall and floors, you may still need to have separate products for each.  a prefab shower we've used on a few occasions where the subfloor was flat with the rest of the bathroom from Infinity Drain:  Its nice because it has an integral leg that goes up the base of the wall and can accommodate their square drain systems.  then you just drop your Schluter Kerdi board in front of it and tile.  You can install this over a rolled membrane coated floor and bottom 16" of the walls.

    San Francisco CA

  • 6.  RE: question re: solid surface shower enclosures

    Posted 04-30-2020 05:25 PM
    I've used precast terrazzo shower pans from Stern-Williams on many projects. They don't have that hollow sound that fiberglass pans do. limited color selection, but they last forever. Flange allows for Corian installation 

    Carl J. Handman, AIA
    A      R      C      H      I      T      E      C      T       
    98 East Walnut Street  Kingston, PA 18704      

    P: 570-287-1717                            F: 570-287-7368