3 shower pans in enameled cast iron from Kohler

Here are three fantastic additions to our choices for bathroom renovations: Enameled, cast-iron shower receptors (aka shower pans or shower bases) from Kohler. I am kind of crying, because I looked for these when I did my own bathroom renovations seven years ago and swear I couldn’t find them. I used Swanstone (a saga is involved), which are okay, but golly I much would have preferred enameled cast iron. I think it is much easier to keep clean — and that glossy finish, yummm.

There are three Kohler models available:

1. The Purist cast iron shower pan comes in a handy 48″ x 36″ size, and has very nice looks. It comes in 19 colors and prices start at $850+. These shower receptors are all “tile-in.” See that little flange/edge all the way around? The tile comes right down past that to seal in the pan and protect what is underneath from water.

2. The Kathryn cast iron shower base also is simple and sleek… same size, 48″ x 36″. Seven colors, starts at $850+.

3. The Salient cast iron shower receptor is sized the same as most standard bathtubs — 60″ x 30″. You can get the drain center, left or right. 20 colors, prices start at $637.

A few thoughts on shower pan sizing. I’m not a professional bathroom designer, but I’ve paid a lot of attention to this issue based on my own renovation experience:

  • I think that if you have the space, it is wise to get at minimum, a shower pan that is 48″ wide and 36″ deep. Width for stretch room, 36″ depth for elbow room.
  • I don’t think the 60″ x 30″ shower pan sounds like a good idea if you plan to install glass doors — to be sure it would be fine if the shower pan is open to the rest of the bathroom, like in a spa / steam setup. 30″ works in a tub with a shower curtain because your arms and elbows still have stretch room. Hey, every hotel now has those arching-out shower rods for just that reason. If you plan for glass shower doors, get 36″ depth so you can truly linger langour in the shower.
  • That said, the one reason I still may have ended up with Swanstone is that they offer many more sizes. The two bathrooms where I put showers are both long — the shower runs horizontally on the same wall as the vanity. In one spot for sure I know that I could not go deeper than 34″ because of an adjacent door — and that’s the depth of my Swanstone base. In the other bathroom, I possibly could have handled the extra two inches in shower depth — but it would have taken away from the space from the toilet. It would have been a tough decision. In addition, in that second bathroom, I specified a 54″ long shower base. Swanstone gave me that versatility.
  • Finally: Remember terrazzo shower bases, too. I have not seen these live, but I think they look like additional superb alternatives.

Bottom line: These Kohler cast iron shower receptors — Purist and Kathyrn, especially, along with the terrazzo shower bases from Crane/Fiat or Stern Williams are my top choices for shower bases, if you don’t want to go the route of unglazed tile.


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  1. Jason says

    My grandparent’s cottage had a terazzo shower pan WITH an enameled steel shower enclosure! Very retro but also very cold when you brush against it! A few summer cottages had them, I guess it was a predacessor to the plastic or fiberglass shower stalls.

  2. Darlahood says

    Awww man, I SOOOooooo needed this when I tore out my FL room bathroom shower 5 years ago. DANGIT! I had the whole shower stall custom tiled and it looks like sh!t now. Boo 🙁

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