Two affordable porcelain-on-steel shower bases from Bootz – starting at $159 at Home Depot

shower baseAre you looking for an appropriate retro or midcentury shower base — but (1) don’t have a big bathroom, (2) need to fit a shower base into the spot where an original tub was, and/or (3) are budget-conscious? At KBIS 2016 we spotted a new, porcelain-enamel-on-steel shower base aka shower pan from Bootz. It’s just 30″ wide, and just $159 at Home Depot. Continuing our research, we discovered they also have a slightly bigger version that’s 32″ wide — a little more elbow room if you have the space for it — and it is listed as $215 at Home Depot.

The 60″ x 30″ Bootz ShowerCast model

Showercast_lineBoth widths look like they have similar features. The 30″ ShowerCast seems like it has an additional coating on it. From all the specs for this design on the Bootz website:

Porcelain Enamel 60″ x 30″ Shower Base With SynIron™2 Backing

  • Porcelain enameled steel encased with SYNIRON™2, an engineered composite material designed to improve heat retention, reduce noise, and prevent handling and transportation damage.

  • Easy access low 4″ tall threshold

  • Weighs less than 45 lbs. for easy transport, handling, and installation.

  • Full-length noise-absorbing support pad for added strength.

  • Available in left or right hand with slip-resistant bottom.

  • “The Affordable Alternative” to cast iron.

And the press materials include:

All Bootz plumbing fixtures are proudly “Made in the USA” and comply with the following standards: ASME A112.19.1/CSA B45.2 Enamelled Steel Plumbing Fixtures, ASTM E162 Surface Flammability, ASTM E662 Smoke Density, ASTM F462 slip-resistant bottom for safety, and the Buy American Act.

Since 1937, Bootz Industries has strived to become the industry leader in the manufacture and delivery of “porcelain-on-steel” bathtubs, lavatories, and kitchen sinks. Careful attention to detail includes: on- time delivery, product quality, handling and carton design.

Contact your nearest plumbing wholesaler or Home Depot Store.

The 60″ x 32″ Bootz ShowerCast Plus model bootz showercast plus

 

The ShowerCast Plus model is two inches wider. It does not have the SynIron™2 Backing, althought that would not stop us from going for the extra elbow room, if we had the space in our bathroom design for it. Some specs on this design from the Bootz page:

Porcelain Enamel 60″ x 32″ Shower Base

  • Porcelain enameled steel shower base, made 2″ wider.

  • Designed for new and remodel applications where easy-access and roomier width is desired.

  • Constructed of one-piece heavy gauge seamless steel with acid-resistant, high-gloss, sanitary, and stain-resistant porcelain finish.

  • Same length as industry-standard 5′ bathtub, and wider for luxuriously spacious shower experience.

  • Shares similar drain hole placement as standard bathtub for easier installation.

  • Weighs less than 45 lbs. for easy transport, handling, and installation.

  • Full-length support pad provides added strength for better durability, a flat base for ease of installation, and noise-absorbing capabilities for peaceful showering.

  • Available in left or right hand with slip-resistant bottom.

ShowerCastPlus_lineI offer these additional thoughts, though:

  • The good news about these two shower bases is: These are compact. They can fit into existing tub alcoves or in bathrooms where space is at a premium.
  • The bad news is: These are compact. Elbow room is limited by overall dimensions once a shower door is installed. You’d have more elbow room if you put in a shower curtain rather than a glass door, but then you risk splashies outside the shower.
  • If you want more width, have the space, and can afford it, see our stories on Kohler cast iron shower bases. You could also go with something like a preformed terrazzo shower pan (not sure if this can still be obtained and at what sizes) or with a wider base made with a material like Swanstone or fiberglass. That said, I think I really prefer the idea of the porcelain enamel steel or cast iron bases, or the terrazzo — for historical authenticity. Of course, this latter stuff can chip if you drop something sharp on it. A solid surface material may be able to be sanded down. Decisions. Decisions.
  • Hey, remember my video that went viral when I first published it? I talk about my Swanstone base and why I wish I’d gotten an even wider one.

How to install a Bootz tub or shower base — fun video!

Howdy, hudee!

Okay, so now a funny story, in case there is anyone left reading this far. Kate and I walked the floor at KBIS and that’s when we discovered this shower base. I was quite excited to see this product, and we went up and talked to the team that was running the display.

porcelain enamel shower base

The shower base at KBIS

We introduced ourselves, and explained how Kate had just installed a Bootz sink with a hudee ring. The Bootz team perked up right away — they said that they had heard me on the microphone (the Wilsonart display was right next door) talking about hudee rings when I gave a media presentation about our new laminate collection with Wilsonart. [I say ‘howdy, hudee’ a lot.] Well, you can imagine how pleased we were to talk hudee rings with the pros at KBIS. We feel so… retro geeky insider! Howdy, hudee!

Link love:

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Comments

  1. Carol says

    Of course we are still reading that far! I found this website 2 years ago and have always read the articles to the end, even if it didn’t strike my fancy. I almost always wish they were much longer. We are a grateful bunch of “retro geeks”. Design and architecture, DIY and fun in one place everyday. This is as good as chocolate. Thanks.

  2. Jay says

    I read to the end of every post no matter how tired I get, just kidding ( I’m channeling Carroll O’Connor on All in The Family who commented that he watched PBS shows to the end no matter how tired it made him). Seriously though the idea of having more shower room makes me laugh, mine can’t be bigger then 30″ x 30″ with the front entry cut on an angle so it’s not even a complete square; as it’s in an alcove.
    The tub in my hall bath is porcelain on steel ca. 1957 and the interior finish is still in good shape so no reason a shower pan would not hold up if it has a solid coating.

  3. ineffablespace says

    One thing that you have to keep in mind is that while it’s a good thing that it’s $159 for budget, the reality is that this item can retail for $159 when a cast iron pan is $725, Swanstone is $500-800 Vikrell is $300, and whatever American Standard’s material is runs $600. for the same sizes.

    I don’t know if the American Standard shower pan is Americast, but when I was comparing AS Americast (enameled steel) bathtubs to Bootz (enameled steel) bathtubs, the American standard were quite a bit more expensive.

    I went with a Bootz bathtub in my basement bathroom because American Standard had discontinued its 4-foot tub right as I was ready to order–because I needed the small size, which no one else offers anymore, not because of budget.

    It is okay, but it’s loud (if that’s the sort of thing that bothers you) and I am on the second tub. The first one got a big chip in in when the assistant electrician dropped something in it. They replaced that bathtub because they were responsible, but I think they also replaced it because it was cheap enough to absorb the cost easily. The second one actually ended up with a series of small scratches in one spot where grout got under the protective tarp and ground in. This spot started to rust immediately.

    So if I were going to use this bathroom daily, this could present a problem. As it is we just dry everything off with each use, and when the upstairs bathrooms are complete, the bathtub will be an occasional use item. But compare this to the cast iron in my father’s bathroom that developed a small rust spot near the drain after 40 odd years of daily use. (And the bathtub in the hall bathroom that looks brand new after 45 years).

    So yes it is a great option if you are on a budget, but I wouldn’t expect to create the time capsule of 2050 with an enameled steel tub or shower pan that cost $150, because you will get $150 service out of it. If you tread very lightly on things, perhaps, but with typical use, I would be skeptical.

    • pam kueber says

      I had porcelain-enamel-on-steel tubs and sinks in my original bathrooms. They were in good shape after 50 years except where, clearly, sharp heavy stuff had been dropped on them and chipped them. Also, yes, where anything sharp had scratched them – for example, I kinda unwittingly used the downstairs bathtub a lot to clean the metal pans that hold paint trays. I kinda scratched that one up bad. But I think the scratching would have occurred if it had been cast iron, too.

      Also, don’t use ANYTHING abrasive to clean any of this stuff. Yes: Wiping it down after every use is the best — it’s the stuff in our Water that’s left as residue that is “dirty” (and of course our feet). As far as I know; I am not an expert.

      We did not reach out to Bootz to ask about the thickness of their coating. Nor have we done so with Kohler. We are not Consumer Reports… Anyone truly interested in these issues: Contact them and scope these issues for yourself!

      As much as anything, I was interested in this story because: Hooray for these sizes! I looked for these sizes when I did my bathrooms – couldn’t find them.

      • ineffablespace says

        They definitely have their place among the options. I don’t want to discount that. Almost nobody makes anything in this size anymore, particularly the smaller bathtubs. As it was for my small 3/4 bath, which is 41 in one dimension I had to go custom for the shower base.
        In the scheme of things not a huge expense, but ten times the cost of the Bootz. Not necessarily what you would want to spend in a small secondary bathroom

          • Jay says

            Yeah, $$ for the labor and time. I had to have mine tiled because of the small stall shape and size. The tile guy I hired did a tub surround in my last house so I didn’t hesitate to use him but I think building a stall shower was a little out of his element. The end result is so so, tht entrance was not square so it precluded having a glass door. I wonder how long the job will hold up. So was swanstone the custom material?

            • ineffablespace says

              The custom material in this case was Corian, in “Silver Birch” which has a terrazzo like appearance. The fabricator made a shower base which has one corner clipped out of it, and an asymmetrical drain, two big reasons I could not use an off-the rack receptor.

              Subsequently he has fabricated a vanity top, which is installed in an alcove and has a short, coved tiling lip around three sides and a matching sink, and a shower shelf all in the Silver Birch. Then he made me a custom waste-basket that fits into a spot in the vanity in white. The hardware on the vanity is white Corian from Rock Solid

              This bathroom is tiny which is why it required a number of custom things, but the work is so nice, I am considering more of the same in the hall bath, which starts next.

              Corian is soft and can scratch, and I would probably not use it in a bathroom where people dyed their hair, but scratches can be buffed out and the entire surface reconditioned if necessary.

        • pam kueber says

          Up until about 2007, Eljer (I think it was) still had a receptor! They dropped it just as midmod started getting hot. Not that I think they would have sold a lot. But still. Maybe we can get Bootz to bring that back, too! I’m not holding my breath….

            • pam kueber says

              More keeps coming back to me. When I was redoing my bathrooms circa 2003, I tried to get shower bases this size, in porcelain-on-cast iron or steel. There was one company. European. Had a base in the U.S. BUT when I got into it with them: Their drain pipe hole thingie specs would not work in the U.S. market.

              I ended up with Swanstone. Even that was a drama. I wanted solid surface Swanstone. “Swanstone.” My plumber didn’t understand. Ordered fiberglass by Swanstone. Was an off size. Had to reorder. Set the whole project back, like two weeks, one day after gut. Shoot me more. You gotta CHECK EVERY DETAIL with your contractors and subcontractors to make sure they order the right things. EVERY DARN DETAIL. There was more drama after this, with other aspects of the remodels. It was a bad few months.

              • pam kueber says

                Oh I’m remembering more. It was even worse. The plumber DIDN’T order the bases ahead of the job. Thought he could just pick them up. When I called him before the gut started, to check that he had everything ready to go, he was in Aruba. Then, when he got on the job, found that the weird sizes I wanted weren’t in stock. Had to wait to few weeks. First big delay.

                Then, after they came in… after they were installed… I noticed: They were not Swanstone. They were fiberglass Swanstone. Drama ensued. The contractor replaced one of them. Wall is still crooked to this day where he had to pull the wrong one out and put the right one in. He hated me by this time. Downstairs, we just kept the fiberglass. Contractor dropped a tool on it and chipped it before the job was done. Oopsy, he said. I let it go, I needed this project done and these people out of my house. SHOOOOOOOOT me.

                By they way, this wasn’t the current contractor I now use, who did my kitchen and office. KEVIN is a dream!

                Renovation and remodeling is super stressful.

                • Kate says

                  Yes! An this is why I try to do as much as I can myself. Because contractors sometimes are not careful enough and cause damage while they work! When I do the work myself, it may not always be exactly perfect, but I only have myself to blame if it isn’t!

                • Jackie says

                  That’s why if I want something “unusual” installed, I buy it myself and tell the contractor to put it in. I’ve found out just by talking most have NO IDEA what midcentury is, and can’t fathom why anyone would want a room to look 60 years old as opposed to putting in the newest and trendiest.

  4. says

    Yay! Just what the house doctor ordered!

    The POs pulled out the original bathtub in the single bathroom our tiny beach cottage and hastily installed one of those horrible tin-box showers; the reason is why is unknown (but undoubtedly because the tub plumbing was clogged/rusted through or because the floor underneath was ready to collapse.)

    These shower pans look to be a just-right size and an appropriate period material- for pooty cheap- my favorite!

  5. ineffablespace says

    I think in the decision matrix you have to decide where you are going to spend or save.

    If I am going to use a really budget-friendly materials I consider the reversibility of the installation, how easy it is to retrieve whatever it is, how easy it is to replace it.

    Inexpensive sink, sink faucet —easy to replace as a DIY.
    Inexpensive toilet–easy to replace as a DIY.

    Inexpensive bath tub–harder to replace, requires removal of at least two rows of tile, new water proofing if it also has a shower, and retiling.

    Inexpensive shower valve or shower pan/receptor–essentially requires a gut job, and not easy, even for a plumber to retrofit into an old build.

    Just something to think about.

  6. Joe Felice says

    This would worth considering for an old fart like myself, who someday, won’t be able to step over and into a tub. Following the diner, I’m NOT eager to begin any new projects however. All the disappointment and cost overruns just take all the fun out of it.

  7. Melanie says

    Wow! Thank you for this post and info!
    This is the missing piece for my proposed bathroom remodel. Hubby is going to need a walk in soon and I’ve been scratching my head about what I want to do about a shower pan. This is IT. Currently living in 500 sq ft home that was built in 42. Was a rental for many years, so has no character left. I’m trying to take it back on a tiny budget.

  8. Lynda says

    Great find for a budget and a DIY job. About 12 years or so ago we used a 32″ x 60″ acrylic base by Americh. It was the smallest width we could find to replace a cast iron tub. I think the acrylic is a nice material. It has held up and still looks nice. The fiberglass is not a good choice, in my opinion. However, I would have used the above base or the Kohler cast iron base if they had been available at the time. Thanks for the info, I will pass this along to remodeling friends!

  9. RangerX says

    Have been trying to purchase the Bootz ShowerCast plu 60″ x 32″ now for several weeks with no success. Special ordered thru Home Depot here in Boise Idaho (who carries the Bootz in 60″ x 30″) and after three week of being told the shower pan is on it’s way… was just informed that this item is not available!???! Tried calling the sales rep for this area and got the same response.

    The contractor who is doing may bathroom remodel has been on hold now for several weeks waiting for this shower pan to arrive and now we must go with another option.

    A shame because Bootz is made in America (Evansville IN) and I really wanted to go with their steel pan (the 60″x 30″pan is just too small for a big guy like me).

    Not sure when Bootz started making this larger size shower pan, perhaps it is so new no one carries it yet.

  10. Sweetbriar says

    This is a Wonderful list! I want to take out my bathtub and put in a walk in shower in the same footprint. I expect to stay here forever and sitting in the tub will probably never happen again. It looks like the Bootz is just right for me.

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