Q. Which method is better neoprene membrane or the hot tar method?
A. For remodelers, and the do-it-yourself home owner or tile contractor, neoprene works just fine, and I believe there is some cost savings if you do the work yourself. As long as you're careful not to poke a hole in it from installation to the finished tile installation of the project it will effectively hold water. However, the majority of contractors in the Sacramento, L.A. and S.F. Bay area use hot tar due to it's proven ruggedness and durability. Hot tar pans are often subjected to severe treatment by the trade contractors that come in after the shower pan has been installed. This may include sheet rock installers, electricians, insulators, and tile contractors. Each trade can potentially damage the shower pan. Sheet rockers consistently drop nails on the floor and then step on them. Electricians sometimes need to wire a fan vent or light and put their step-ladders in the shower area. Tile contractor will then come in and drop hammers, chisels, levels, and heavy tile. They also apply mortar to the walls and floor using flat-trowels worn sharp from usage that could easily cut through Neoprene. Hot tar shower pans however, stand up to this kind of abuse easily. Experienced contractors know this to be the case and will use hot tar shower pans instead of running the risk of one or more sub contractors puncturing a neoprene membrane installation.