Is a Shower Base Better Than Tile Flooring?

Eddie Talbot

Showers bear the brunt of watery wear and tear in a bathroom. They get soaked down multiple times a day, require regular and frequent cleanings, and can take hours to dry between uses. Yet, we still want them to look fresh and clean, inviting and stylish. One of the big decisions in shower design is whether to tile the shower floor or install a shower base.

Tiled Floor Versus Shower Base

Waterproofing is the most important element of a shower floor. In a shower, the surface beneath our feet must be impervious to water and send it safely down the drain. Both tiled floors and shower bases do that, but they do it differently.

  • For tiled shower floors, the bathroom floor must be waterproofed before it is tiled. This usually involves ensuring sturdy underlayers are installed to the proper height and slope and installing waterproof membranes or liners that will catch any water that makes its way through the tile, grout and thin-set cement. All corners and joints associated with the shower floor area must be sealed to prevent leaks. Once the floor area is prepared, the tile can be laid in thin-set cement, grouted and sealed.
  • Shower bases are single, all-in-one formed shower components that serve as both the shower floor and the waterproofing. They can be installed directly on the subfloor and typically incorporate all the requirements for slope, a drain, side walls and a threshold in one preformed piece.

While the tiled floor that you see is just the top layer of a complex series of layers that work together to form a waterproof surface, shower bases represent the compression of all of those layers and processes into a single shower floor component.

Benefits of a Shower Base

The simplicity of a shower base offers a number of benefits over a tile shower floor for homeowners.

  1. The use of a shower base does not preclude the use of tile for the rest of the bathroom floor or the shower walls. Simply install the shower base first. Then, lay the surrounding or adjacent tile around the shower base.
  2. Installing a shower base can actually be a do-it-yourself project that is geared for success. Unfortunately, many DIY attempts to lay shower tile—especially for shower floors—fail due to anything from misalignments in height and slope to thin-set and grout consistency issues.
  3. Even if you decide to have it professionally installed, a shower base will be considerably less cost- and time-intensive than a tile floor. Even if the rest of the bathroom is tiled, the shower base can be a cost-effective and time-saving measure.
  4. A shower base is easier to maintain than a tile-and-grout shower floor. Shower bases eliminate the issues of grout and having to keep grout lines clean, stain-free, mold-free and crack-free. Instead, you have a smooth surface that is usually designed to repel dirt, stains, mold and mildew.
  5. Shower bases offer a clean, modern style that can work beautifully with many other decorative materials to give you a look you’ll love. Pair it with custom tilework on bathroom walls and floors, or opt for a matching surround that completes a sleek, streamlined look. Use the base to match, contrast or complement other colors or textures.

The right shower base can offer a stylish, durable solution to the high-stakes issues of a shower floor—waterproofing, cost, time and durability—while still allowing all of the options for the rest of the shower or bathroom.

MTI Cosmopolitan Shower Bases

MTI is a manufacturer of high-quality hand-crafted tubs, shower bases, sinks, counters and vanity sinks. Its Cosmopolitan Collection features mineral composite freestanding tubs, sinks and shower bases designed to let you have a beautiful, clean bathroom you can enjoy.

Like the rest of the collection, MTI Cosmopolitan shower bases are made of a mineral composite—a combination of “ground natural elements and high-grade binding agents, with a tough, state-of-the-art chemically-bonded luxe finish specially formulated for MTI.” The cast-engineered stone results in a polished, nonporous waterproof base that remains beautiful use after use while offering lots of advantages.

  • Cosmopolitan shower bases come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors and natural stone textures. The Centrar offers a covered center drain, the Lado has a covered end drain, and the Artesa features a hidden trough end drain.
  • Solid one-piece construction means there’s no grout to apply or seal. The base is like one giant tile or slab. Simply measure the space, level the floor, and fasten the base into place. The factory-installed flange makes waterproofing simple.
  • Because the Cosmopolitan base is a solid slab tile, it offers an equally solid, secure feel beneath your feet while showering.
  • All Cosmopolitan bases are “multiple-threshold.” If you want to use a glass enclosure, simply specify on your order whether the base will be accommodating glass on one, two or three sides.
  • Since Cosmopolitan shower bases are low-profile, the base can be recessed into the floor for a seamless zero-barrier installation.
  • MTI’s nonporous mineral composite surface is impact-, ultraviolet-, mold-, mildew- and stain-resistant. It’s a surface that will retain its inherently glossy appearance with minimal care.

MTI’s Cosmopolitan line of shower bases gives a shower a sleek, clean, upscale look while also making entering and exiting your shower easier. With the option to add matching vessel sinks or a freestanding tub from the same line, what isn’t there to love about MTI’s Cosmopolitan Collection?

If you’d like to explore your options for a shower or bathroom that you’ll love, it’s time to visit your nearest Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom. Let one of our professional design consultants show you just how beautiful and versatile MTI’s Cosmopolitan Collection of shower bases, tubs and sinks really is.