How to Replace Shower Pan Without Removing Tile?

Do you want to permanently fix your leaking shower pan but wondering if you can replace it without removing tiles? Then, this post is for you.

Here, you will learn how to replace your old or leaking shower pan without removing tiles.

replace shower pan without removing tile

How to Replace a Shower Pan Without Removing Tile?

First, it is important to know whether or not you can replace a shower pan without removing tiles. This gives birth to the question, “can I remove a shower pan without removing tiles?”

Yes, you can remove your old shower pan without removing tiles, especially if the pan is caulked to the tiles.

However, this largely depends on the kind of shower pan and form of installation carried out on your bathroom shower.

For instance, if the bottom tiles are laid on top of the shower pan and sealed with silicone for waterproofing, the answer is no.

While it’s possible, it’s a very tricky task and you need to be very careful to avoid damaging the tiles.

Normally, you should remove the bottom tiles to be able to remove the old shower pan and fix the new one. However, if you don’t want to remove any tile, follow these step-by-step shower pan replacement guide:

Step-by-Step Guide to Replace A Shower Pan Without Removing Tile

Being a tricky and difficult procedure, you would need the following tools:

  • A pair of pliers,
  • Screwdriver,
  • Pry bar,
  • Utility knife,
  • Hammer, and
  • Reciprocating saw.

Step 1: Remove Any Material from Around the Shower Base

To remove the shower pan, you must remove any material around the shower base that may affect the removal procedure.

This involves opening the base of the shower wall just above the shower pan.

To expose the edges of the shower pan, you’ll have to remove the baseboard, ceramic tiles, and drywall. So, this part is unavoidable if you want to get access to the shower base.

If your shower pan has a baseboard above it, remove the baseboard with a pry bar.

If the tiles are set on the edges of the pan, you’ll need to remove them also with the pry bar.

Well, I totally understand that you wanted to not touch the tiles but if they come in the way, there is no way other than temporarily removing them from their position.

Only remove the first row of tiles that may stop the removal of the shower pan. If you don’t remove those tiles, it will be pretty hard to lift the pan out of its position without inflicting any harm.

Also, completely remove all layers of drywall around the base of the shower wall using a pry bar. You may need to first remove all of the screws holding the drywall to the studs on the pan.

Step 2: Clean Up Dirt and Debris

You will have caulks, broken drywall, and perhaps broken tiles (if you aren’t careful enough) lying around the shower base.

Clean up the debris to have a clean working area and to avoid tripping and accidents.

Step 3: Loosen the Old Shower Pan

Once you’ve properly cleared the debris, it’s time to loosen the old shower pan. Using a hammer and a chisel or pry bar, gently tap around the edges of the old pan to break the caulk and cement.

Check if there are any screws holding down the pan. If any, unscrew them using a screwdriver.

If there are any nails holding down the pan, remove these with the pry bar. The old shower pan can now be removed without stress but don’t remove it yet. Instead, move to the next step.

Step 4: Disconnect the Shower Drain

The shower drain is still connected to the base and holding down the pan. Using a suitable tool, gently disconnect the drain from the shower base to prevent causing damage to the drain pipe.

The method of disconnection varies by model. Some methods involve removing the metal drain guard and unscrewing a clamp around the drain pipe.

Other shower drains are attached to the pan using a screw. You may need to carefully study how to disconnect the model of your shower drain to prevent causing damage.

Step 5: Remove the Old Shower Pan

Now it’s time to remove the old shower pan. Check if there is a sealant still holding down the shower pan. You may need to apply heat to break the sealant to make the pan removal easier.

Using a pry bar or chisel, carefully lift up the shower pan out of its position, starting from the corner. The shower pan can be heavy, so you may need to apply some effort to lift it out. Take help from any family member if you feel the shower pan is too heavy for you to lift alone.

Removing a shower pan without removing tiles is complex but possible if you carefully follow the steps above. Now that you can remove a shower pan, let’s dive into how to replace the old shower pan with a new one.

Step 6: Fixing the New Shower Pan

Make sure that the new shower pan is the same size and shape as the old pan. Otherwise, it won’t fit into the hole and you may need to make serious adjustments that could’ve been avoided.

Also, clear off any debris or sealant and clean the hole before placing the new pan.

Carefully read the manufacturer’s instruction manual for requirements and installation procedures.

Depending on the model of your new pan and method of installation, you may need to remove a row of tiles to accommodate the pan.

If that is necessary, carefully remove a row of tiles from around the base. You may also need to remove a section of tiles from around the drain.

Next, place the new pan gently and properly in the right space, noting the following:

  • Make sure that the shower drain cutout is well-positioned to connect with the drain pipe.
  • Make sure that the new shower pan sits properly, aligning perfectly with its space.
  • Add caulk or cement around the new shower pan to hold it down if necessary.

Once you have perfectly placed and fixed the new shower pan in its place, reconnect the shower drain assembly.

Step 7: Closing Up the Walls Around the Base of The Shower Pan

Finally, it’s time to cover up the walls around the base of your new shower pan.

Normally, the walls shouldn’t be damaged if you’re careful enough during the removal procedure.

However, if you damage the walls, you’ll need to do some work restoring the walls to their original shape.

Replace any broken tiles as well as the row of tiles you removed to remove the old pan.

Don’t forget to apply silicone sealant around the base of the walls where they meet with the pan to prevent leaking.


Replacing a shower pan without removing wall tiles can be a complex task and must be handled carefully.

It involves removing the walls around the shower base, cleaning up dirt and debris, and loosening the old shower pan.

It further involves disconnecting the shower drain, removing the old shower pan, and fixing the new shower pan.

After this, the walls around the base of the shower pan must be closed up to prevent leaking.

With the knowledge you’ve acquired from this post, you should be able to replace your shower pan without removing tiles.

However, this is not an easy DIY project. If you don’t have some plumbing skills, we recommend that you consult a professional to avoid expensive damage to your property.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to replace the shower pan?

It can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to replace a shower pan. The cost will depend on the size and materials of the new pan.

If you have a professional install it, expect to pay around $1,000. If you do it yourself, you can save on labor costs.

Can you put a shower pan over the tile?

Yes, you can install a shower pan over tile, but it is important to make sure that the tile is in good condition and that the surface is properly prepared before you begin.

It is also important to choose the right type of shower pan for your project. There are several different types of shower pans available on the market, so it is important to do your research and choose the one that best fits your needs.

Can I replace just the shower pan?

A shower pan is the bottom piece of a shower. It is usually made of fiberglass, acrylic, or tile. The pan rests on the floor of the shower and directs water towards the drain. If your shower pan becomes cracked or damaged, it can cause leaks.

In some cases, you may be able to replace just the shower pan. However, in other cases, you may need to replace the entire shower unit. If you are unsure whether you can replace just the shower pan, it is best to consult with a professional.

In most cases, you should be able to replace just the shower pan by removing a few surrounding wall materials which will need to be replaced after the pan replacement is done.

Can you replace just a shower floor?

You can do that but that’s a complex project. You’ll have to remove the floor materials and then scrape any residue before applying the new shower floor.

While this doesn’t seem to be much work, this is actually a huge DIY task for a homeowner.

Unless you have experience and the right tools with a couple of days of free time, don’t attempt this.

Do plumbers install shower pans?

Yes, plumbers are able to install shower pans. This type of installation is typically done when a new shower pan needs to be put in place, or when an existing shower pan needs to be replaced.

In most cases, the plumber will first measure the area where the shower pan will be installed. Next, they will place the drain and supply lines in.

Finally, they will connect the drain and supply lines to the shower pan before securing it in place.

If you need a new shower pan installed, or your existing shower pan replaced, then you should contact a licensed plumber for assistance.

How long does it take to replace a shower pan?

There is no definitive answer to this question since it can vary greatly depending on the specific situation.

However, in general, replacing a shower pan can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.

It is important to note that the time required for this project may also increase if you need to make any repairs to the surrounding area before installing the new pan.

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