Need a shower base? Consider Corian Silver Birch — a customizable proxy for terrazo

terrazzo look alike dorianResponding to our story spotlighting Fiat terrazzo shower bases in 30 sizes and shapes, super-commenter ineffablespace shared this tip: Do you like the look of terrazzo but can’t quite find the right size in a prefab shower base? Consider having a custom shower base fabricated for you out of Corian ‘Silver Birch.’

Corian shower baseIneffablespace writes:

If by any chance, they (Fiat) don’t have the size you need, you need something that weighs a little less, or you need something with a particularly customized shape, Corian Silver Birch makes a decent stand-in for the typical shower pan appearance – just more dark grey rather than black particulate. The price differential looks like it wouldn’t be much, depending upon the fabricator. I sent these pictures to the fabricator to show the work installed: Shower pan — walls are vertically coved as well. This is the entire width of the bathroom, 48″.

Corian countertop with bevel

Cove detail repeated on vanity top — the wall tile here is also coved vertically. (We will be putting in a rubber gasket to conceal the frame of the cabinet at the bottom of the grommet hole. The faucet is Kohler Taboret (discontinued 2015), designed in the 1960s or 1970s. You can see, since the cove is fabricated, not poured, an area where the particulate is not the same. This doesn’t really read that much when you look at the top in person.

We love the look of the Corian shower base — and that you made the vanity top with integral sink matchy-matchy — and oooooh, those coved pieces of tile in the corners of the shower and sink — genius! Mega thanks for the tip and the photos, ineffablespace!

CategoriesShower Bases
  1. Elizabeth says:

    Wanted to pop in thank ineffablespace for the tip on Corian. I found a fabricator and installer for shower bases just 45 min from our house. He is working up a quote now. I am also going to talk to Fiat from an earlier link to spec out their product too.

    We have purchased a 1959 home from an original owner with a2 bathrooms – 1 is a master bath pink striped bathroom and the other is a hallway pink & Ming Green bathroom (complete with perfect condition pink glitter formica vanity!). The pink bathroom tilework is STUNNING but the shower floor (terrazzo) is lovely but major cracks. We don’t use that shower, but I would love to because the pink is wonderful.

    In talking to quite a few pros, the bottom row of pink tile in the shower will need to come off to get the terrazzo base out, so I am trying to source pink tiles (some sample times from Claysquared are due to come in today!). This will be a long process, yet thoughtful to keep with the house design since we are in no rush.

    Thanks again to everyone!

  2. What a great product for showers that need special sizes. So many of the projects we do require unique shower base sizes, this will be a nice solution to fix that issue in the future.

  3. CJ says:

    This is a great alternative to terrazzo. We are looking at building a bathroom in a second story addition – so I like the idea of a lighter shower pan. The one bathroom we have now has terrazzo tile on the floor, a solid engineered stone shower base (pretty darn heavy), and a Corian vanity (in Glacier White) that essentially matches the shower. We ended up liking the Corian so much that we used it for our window sills. I know that may sound odd, but it turned out to be the perfect solution for us – and very customizable. I use something called “Clean Encounters” on the Corian, and it seems to do a good job.

  4. ineffablespace says:

    I am going to stick my neck out and say that granite, particularly active patterns, Almost never look appropriate in a house built between the mid 1940s and the mid 1970s, If the house has a strong identity from that period.

    There are exceptions, it works well in houses built during the period with rustic elements, certain types of ranchers and California contemporaries, and it works in newer houses that don’t have a strong singular identity but are more eclectic or transitional like they started building in the 1980s. The first use of granite in kitchens that I have seen in time capsules seems to date from the late 1970s or early 1980s in very contemporary kitchens–thin slabs, and speckled granite.

  5. ineffablespace says:

    “It makes me sad that Corian is so unfashionable right now, because it’s a great material.”

    I think the place where the “unfashionable” aspect is being pushed is television-based design and remodeling shows and certain types of magazines that have an agenda that can include product placement of the newest, latest, supposedly greatest.

    Dupont Corian and other solid surface manufacturers are regularly introducing *more* styles, colors and applications, not less. I don’t think they would be bothering to continually develop a product if it wasn’t being used. I think these materials have a market with designers, particularly in the commercial arena and for those designing very contemporary spaces.

    If you look at magazines like Interior Design (trade journal available to public), Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Dwell–you are likely to see a whole array of countertop (and other surface) materials, not just quartz and granite. Actually, I think if you look at those magazines the material you are Least likely to run across is Granite, while some corners are trying to convince people that granite or quartz are the only things going.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Didn’ you hear: Granite is now out; quartz is in.

      I laff and laff and laff at the fickle fingers of Fashion and how they aim to Pick our Pockets!

    2. Virginia says:

      That’s a very good point! My daughter and I are addicted to home improvement shows, so we see all those people demanding granite countertops (or occasionally quartz). But I don’t often read design magazines. That will change, of course, if and when we start planning another remodel!

  6. Virginia says:

    This is a great idea. It makes me sad that Corian is so unfashionable right now, because it’s a great material. My 20-year-old Corian kitchen countertops look almost as new as the day they were installed — there are a few barely visible stains that I’ve never bothered to sand out, but I know I could. And there’s not a single chip or ding in them. If and when we remodel, I might bow to fashion and go with quartz — but I might just stick with Corian!

    1. Jukesgrrl says:

      Do you have the integral sink with your Corian countertops? I never hear anyone complaining about Corian used as a counter material, just when it has the sink included. Have you had issues with yours. I’m thinking about Corian.

      1. Virginia says:

        Our kitchen sink is a drop-in, but we do have an integral Corian sink in our kids’ bathroom. It’s 15 years old and still looks great. A few years ago I noticed that the pipe had somehow disconnected from the overflow drain, so we had to get that fixed — but I would imagine that was a problem with the installation, not the sink itself.

        What problems do people complain about with integral Corian sinks?

    2. Lisa says:

      So true, Virginia. We had Corian walls surrounding our tub and, in the master, a Corian base and Corian walls in the walk in shower. Still looked like new when we sold the house 30 years later. No leaks, no mouldy grout to clean.

    3. Lisa says:

      And used Corian for the kitchen and bath counter tops in our new house because, like you, the ones in our old house looked like new after 25 years

  7. Linda says:

    I wish I knew this a few months ago. I couldn’t find anything to replace the terrazzo. I ended up with Bath Fitters, which looks great but the old terrazzo is still underneath and I would have preferred to keep it like the original shower base. Great article and hint!

  8. CB says:

    I used a cast iron shower base because I don’t like the built up tile jobs. A tile store owner told me they get complaints about them leaking all the time. This is a great alternative.

  9. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Wish we’d known about all these beautiful shower base options when we built our addition with the 1970s style bath. But if we ever do a re-do, we will know what to look for.

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