A Bellwether cast-iron shower receptor and Levity shower door from Kohler.

Question: Dear Ed, we're planning a bathroom remodel to include a tile shower stall. Our contractor suggested that in place of a tile shower floor we install a cast-iron shower base. I'm still not sure, and before we decide, can you please give us a little more information on a cast-iron shower base?

- Paul, South Dakota

Answer: Let's start with shower bases in general.

In place of a tile floor with a water containment pan or membrane, many contractors may choose a shower base. Basically it's a pre-made shower floor, complete with a drain hole and wall flanges.

Since shower bases are usually made from acrylic, vikrell and enameled cast iron, many colors, styles and sizes are available.

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As far as installation, because they are one-piece units, labor costs can be reduced compared to building a shower base from scratch. Many bases can accept different types of wall systems including tile, so if you are looking for a tile shower stall you can still have tile walls.

An enameled cast-iron base can be a strong choice - it's a material that has survived the test of time, and you can wash away any doubts about using it for your new shower floor.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.

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