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Old 12-17-2010, 05:00 PM   #1
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Custom fiberglass shower pan

I just finished an shower pan for the back corner of the Globetrotter and thought I would share what I learned.

I took a paper template of the curved wall and determined the best place for the drain. I made the plug mould from styrofoam and smoothed it with drywall compound. I decided to make a simple one-time mould and put more of my effort into the finished pan than the mould.

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I covered the plug with poly and laid up the fiberglass using polyester resin. First mistake! The heat from the resin curing melted the mould causing the glass to sag in a number of places. This seems to be a new problem...many sources said this method should work fine as long as the poly doesn't leak solvent. It didn't, but the stryo still melted. I'm wondering if this is a new 'green' formula styro??? Who knows.
If I was doing it again I'd pay the extra money for epoxy resin to avoid the problem and save a bunch of finishing time.
The pan came off the plug OK . I added the front lip and sanded and bondo-ed to get a smooth surface.
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Once I had a surface I was happy with, I applied two coats of white Gelcoat and sanded up to 600 grit. I didn't polish the finish so it wouldn't be too slippery.

The final result ...Click image for larger version

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Ian
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:06 PM   #2
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looks good. What did you use for a pan? What is the front piece made out of?
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:10 PM   #3
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The pan is the part I cast in fiberglass off the mould...the front lip is a 2 x4 ripped down with rounded edges.
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting this, Ian.

I'm at the same step with mine and have been kicking this back and forth. My old pan is stainless, but would need to be reworked, and I've been thinking about making one using epoxy for the last week or so.

cheers,
steve
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:26 PM   #5
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Really nice work!

Laura
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:14 AM   #6
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Polyester resin will melt styrofoam. Sal.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noreen View Post
Polyester resin will melt styrofoam. Sal.
Effectively, yes. There's actually a solvent reaction; it's more of a dissolving action. Polyurethane foams are supposed to be ok.

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Old 12-18-2010, 04:15 PM   #8
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Impressive! Thanks.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:47 PM   #9
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Hey, I want one of those!
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Old 04-27-2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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Looks great! I might steal your method.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:06 AM   #11
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Yeah polyester resin will eat styrofoam. Wax paper is a good separator. It's not the heat of the cure, but you can cut down the heat by adding less catalyst for a slower cure. One trick for a smooth finish to the fiberglass is cover the fiberglass with an layer of wax paper until it cures.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:02 AM   #12
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I skipped the whole molding step by laminating directly into a prepared area. I used epoxy and cloth, which is a far more civilized system (IMHO) than polyester. Almost no stink, long working times, less prone to ambient temperature troubles, much more durable, costs more. Wait, that last one isn't a feature...

Anyway, my entire bathroom floor is the pan, as it's a "wet head". I also added a sump area that has a nifty cherry grate over the top. The sides were built up, and a triangular-section molding was added to ease the curve between the sides and the floor. I used a 6 oz. cloth initially, then woven roving over that. Then it's build the coats until you get the finish that you want. If you time it right, you can avoid sanding between coats by waiting until the previous coat is still slightly tacky to paint down the next coat. That way, you get a chemical and a mechanical bond. Coats should be thin, I use a bondo squeegee to spread out the epoxy.

So far, it's working to spec. Very solid foot-feel, easy to clean.

In my mind, having a pan that isn't fully bonded to the floor and walls is inviting water to seep behind it, and wreck all of the nice work that's been done. That arrangement was basically what was torn out for replacement, and it didn't work out so good the first time!
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