DIY Shower Mud Pan {Home Renovation}

This renovation has turned into a complete disaster. In the world of Harry Potter (which serves as the muse for this mess of a renovation we are undertaking), we’re at the point in the Goblet of Fire where Voldemort kills Cedric and it takes another 4 movies to feel happy again.


Those are long movies y’all, and I feel like that’s how this renovation is going to feel. We’ve been gutted for about a month now, and in that month we’ve had a local plumber come quote us about $1400 to move a drain 6 inches (“if they don’t hit a pipe”) and we’ve had 2 local tile setters stand us up for appointments, and we’ve had 1 electrician not call us back 3 times and another can’t and won’t fit us in until June.

OH MY GOD. Am I blacklisted or something? Did they google me?

Now, I know if you’re reading this, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why didn’t she line up these people BEFORE she gutted her bathroom?”

Fair enough. And honestly, I tried to, and so many of them were like, “Call us when it’s gutted” or call us when you’re ready kinda stuff…so I did and now here I am. I thought if I was ready to go, they’d be ready to go.


No pros lined up to do the work I need done. NEED.

Somedays, I cry about it. Other days, I start telling myself that I have no option but to move forward.

I’ve recently joined the John Bridge tile forum and started a thread about my issues with finding a tile setter for my shower. The first thing I’d like done is the shower, because I feel like without a shower I just can’t mentally make progress on this bathroom. We’ve decided on a Kerdi shower with a mud pan/tiled base. I was all for the pre-fab fiberglass base until the plumber said it would/could cost upwards of $1400 to move the drain to the perfect spot…6 inches away. Now I feel like it’s best to leave the drain as is and build a simple, sleek shower using what we got.

The first step in feeling confident to move forward with this shower thing is to be able to build a level, perfectly sloped shower mud pan. Starry eyed and full of optimism, I dragged my hubby to go buy the mere $20 in supplies we needed to try it out.

Oh boy. We failed miserably.

Here we built a mock-up shower floor. It was roughly about 24×30 inches.


Here’s my unsuccessful attempt to create a level perimeter/screed.


Here’s me checking to see if it’s all level.


And then we packed stuff in the middle, tried to get it to slope and it was just not good. It was lumpy and hard to work with. I don’t think we added enough water to the sand/concrete mixture.

I then proceeded to cry some more, and then dusted myself off as usual because in all honesty, this method simply has to work. So, we’re going to give it another try and see if we can make it work. A good amount of people (some even girls!) have successfully made their own mud pans, so I know it can be done. Whether or not I can is the question.

Now I basically am at the point I am in all my DIY adventures where I think to myself, “What have I done?”

Except that in this instance, I’ve gutted a whole room.

What have I done?



  1. Emily
    March 21, 2012 / 8:00 pm

    girl you are way braver than I am – I don't think I could EVER take on this kind of reno. I am sure it will all work out and turn out beautifully!

  2. Carolyn
    March 21, 2012 / 8:02 pm

    We SO need to live near each other. I could help you with your bathroom and you can help me with my kitchen. We are going to do our bathroom ourselves but we don't have plumbing to move. Actually… my husband WANTS to move the plumbing but I put my foot down and said no. As soon as we pick out a new sink cabinet, I'm starting my demo.

  3. TheNextMartha
    March 21, 2012 / 9:05 pm

    but you tried! You can order custom pans. And honestly? I would not try to make something myself that could result in future water damage. Trust me. I have a whole first floor ceiling to prove it.

  4. Kassi @ Truly Lovely
    March 21, 2012 / 9:21 pm

    What the heck?!? You'd think in this economy people would be excited to get work… I mean, I'm glad I have my job! Maybe tile/shower/plumbing people aren't like that…

  5. Pathpounder
    March 22, 2012 / 10:28 am

    If your using the Kerdi system use the performed base also. I've had it in my shower for 6 years so far and no leaking. The way this system is built, it can't leak. First shower I ever built.

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    June 4, 2012 / 5:26 am

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  7. Mickey James
    September 16, 2013 / 10:07 am

    Hi, just desired to let you know, I enjoyed this blog post. It had been funny. Carry on posting!

  8. Leona james
    September 17, 2013 / 11:34 am

    Well this is a kind of adventurous work you have done yourself by making mud pan but I am not going to give it a try as I dint have the needed stuff.Septic Tank Pumping Clinton