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mikeparker
05-09-2001, 11:01 AM
I'm remodeling a bathroom which will have a large shower. I really don't like the look of a 4" high shower curb. I'd like to go with just a 1" threshold. I'm unable to find any reference to what's code on shower curbs. I believe that the only code (Northern California) is that there must be 2" height difference between drain and curb. With my 1" threshold and I get another 1" sloping the floor to the drain, maybe I'm O.K.

I know there's a way to do this as many roll-in showers are built for handicapped people today. I can't pan the entire bathroom, it's too big and we'd just move the lack of curb from the shower door to the bathroom door. So, how is this done?

Mike

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John Bridge
05-09-2001, 04:43 PM
Hi Mike,

You're in luck. Among my other pursuits, I build accessible showers for a small ADA oriented firm here in Houston.

Every locality has its own idea as to how high a shower curb/dam should be. We have a code that says the curb must be three inches higher than the shower floor on the inside. You need that much if you're going to use a shower curtain.

When we build for handicapped people, though, our solution is to ignore the code and build something that works. I may go to jail for saying so, but many times we forget to pull a permit.

To build a roll-in shower, though, you need two inches of elevation to begin with, and that's minimum. In other words, the outside (bathroom)floor must be at least two inches higher than the drain flange. That's pretty hard to do in a retrofit situation.

I want you to peruse the article written by my friend Michael Byrne. Don't pay much attention to his recommendations on shower pan material, etc., but look at the diagrams. As far as shower pan installation goes, he's right on the mark. You'll see the problem, I hope, in getting the material in, on a slope, and still having room above to float the mortar up to the hair strainer.

Come back and post again after you've checked out the article, and maybe by then someone else will have posted some ideas.

http://www.jlconline.com/jlc/archive/kitchen/mortarbed_showers/index.html

[Edited by Admin on 05-09-2001 at 06:48 PM]

Unregistered
06-20-2004, 11:19 AM
John Bridge - I am a paraplegic and am trying to remodel a bathroom for a roll in shower. I have read the article, but I to do not want a 4 inch curb.

We are thinking about cutting the concrete and and then building the floor back with treated lumber and sloping it to the drain?

John Bridge
06-20-2004, 03:55 PM
I would not advise excavating the concrete. You will destroy the integrity of the slab. On top of that there is no good way to use wood that close to the ground.

Using the "Kerdi" method you can end up with just a low speed bump that you can roll over at the shower entrance. Your shower floor would only have to be built up about an inch over the level of the slab surface.

http://www.schluter.com


Please give us a name. :)

Unregistered
07-03-2004, 12:49 PM
Just for your information, the Hilton Waikoloa Village hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii has a roll-in tile shower. Walls and floor use the same tiles. These are probably about 12" tiles. Instead of using a little round drain in the center of the shower (which would make you have to custom cut the tiles to taper the floor to the center drain), there is a long covered gutter type of drain that runs along the width of the shower. The concrete must have been made to slant towards the long drain. There was a shower curtain that hung over the drain. I guess any overspray would just be wiped up. I don't remember having to wipe up any water. By the way, all the flooring in the bathroom was the same tile as the shower. This would be very nice in upscale homes. I'm not disabled am considering doing this type of shower for resale and its beauty. I don't like using small little tiles with too much grout to clean. I also want to have a large shower and the largest shower pan I found was by Jacuzzi and it was only 60x42. Plus tile is more durable than any fiberglass/acrylic base. The Jacuzzi shower pan is not meant to be roll-in. Since my husband will be doing the tile, I might even be able to do this type of shower for less than putting in a regular 5' fiberglass wall/base combination. I found some agglomerate (marble mix, less porous) marble tile for $3.66 at Lowes. So anyway, instead of coming all the way to Hawaii to look at this roll-in shower, call Hilton Hotels and see if they can locate a similar shower in your area. Hope this helps. H.S. from Hawaii

John Bridge
07-03-2004, 02:16 PM
I suppose using large tiles for the shower floor of a roll-in would be okay considering the occupant would be in a chair and not slipping around on his feet. Not slipping is the biggest single reason to use small tiles for shower floors. Sure the numerous grout joints are harder to clean, but they also grip the feet quite nicely, even when the feet are wet and soapy. :)

The type of drain you mention is called a "scupper," and it's used widely in Europe. It allows for a floor sloped all in the same direction. The floor is also a plane which makes it suitable for large format tiles.

AnotherMikey
07-04-2004, 06:02 PM
How do you plumb a scupper drain? I'm wanting to accomplish the same thing (roll-in shower) replacing a fiberglass tub/shower combo. I was contemplating reforming the top surface of the slab to slope appropriately, and not liking the idea very much. If I use the Kerdi method, how far back into the bathroom should I run the membrane? I think we can raise the floor a little -- say 1/2" -- which might help.

am

John Bridge
07-04-2004, 07:40 PM
Hi Mikey, welcome aboard. :)

I don't know of any place to get a scupper drain this side of the Atlantic. Schluter makes them in Germany for German consumption. And if if found one, I wouldn't know how to put it in. Somebody'd have to tell me. :)

The U.S. version of the Kerdi-drain won't work that way. It needs to be somewhere in the middle area of the floor.

AnotherMikey
07-05-2004, 05:25 AM
I thought you'd say that. On reflection, the scupper drain strikes me as a way to accumulate a lot more hair from my significant other as well, so I guess I'm going to go with Plan A. Once the tub is removed, I'll relocate the drain to the center of the new shower, then drill about 2,160 holes in the slab on 1" centers to varying depths, then chisel out the little pieces to expose a new properly-sloped surface at about 1/4" below where I want it. Then use brick mortar, maybe? to build up a smooth surface for the Kerdi membrane. I think this sounds simpler than it's going to be.

AnotherMikey
07-05-2004, 08:08 AM
I ran my idea by a couple of plumbers, a contractor, and an architect. None of them knew about Kerdi, but I've decided I like it, so that's a given. The slab is only 3" thick under the tub, and the unanimous vote is to cut the slab and pour a new one to the desired contour -- my carve-out-the-top scheme would have left it only about 1/2" thick at the center, even assuming my whacking away didn't break it, so there'd be little integrity left anyway. The end of the tub is at an outside wall, and we don't know (yet) how far inside the footer extends, but we'll find out soon. Still undetermined is how to make the transition from the Kerdi pan to the bathroom floor in the absence of a curb -- I'm going to chat with H. Kerdi tomorrow.

John Bridge
07-05-2004, 05:25 PM
I'll make one more plea for slab integrity. I don't think the gain is worth the loss. Using the Kerdi-drain and membrane you would onley have about one-inch high speed hump at the front of the shower without chipping into the slab. As Forrest Gump would say in the old movie, that's all I've got to say about that. ;)

cx
07-05-2004, 06:24 PM
I'm voting with JB on this one. It's not that I'm against breaking up a little concrete now and again, mind ya, I'm just afraid y'all are gonna do more harm than good. And doing any serious cutting into the top of an exterior grade beam just adds another wrinkle to my ol' brow.

Not saying it can't be done, just suggesting you not do it. :shades:

AnotherMikey
07-10-2004, 05:05 PM
Well, my problem may be solved, or I've got a much bigger problem that will be determined by a soils engineer. In any event, "slab integrity" appears to be irrelevant. This is _way_ off topic, but it's an interesting problem that John neglected to address in his book, and I'd welcome comments, advice, or condolences.

First, some background... The foot of the existing tub butts up against the south wall of the house. The house is of "jumbo" brick construction, with the brick walls resting on concrete footers that are pretty deep -- about 8" or so below grade. The floor slab -- 3" thick -- was apparently poured after the footers and at least the lower courses of the walls were laid up, and is not connected to the walls. The interior walls are of unfinished drywall, with plywood panelling applied over it.

After tearing off the panelling in the room behind the bathroom, I found the south 12' or so of the slab has tilted. There's no sign of sinking anywhere else, and the amount of sink increases linearly to about 2" at the south wall. The sill plate of the back wall of the bathroom is hanging in midair, having been yanked off the slab as the slab receded. (There are no interior structural walls; the wall and ceiling remain connected.) The slab has slid down the brick wall as it sunk; all the exterior walls are still true.

There is good evidence suggesting that this happened early in the construction process, since the lower edge of the drywall is at the "original" level, but the lower edge of the panelling is at the "current" level -- i.e, resting on the slab -- and as far as I know the panelling is original. The house was built about 30 years ago, so we suspect and hope this is an old problem. At this point I don't know the cause or prognosis, but my insurance company and a local engineering firm will be looking into things to rule out a sinkhole.

The good news, of course, is that (absent a sinkhole) once I build the bathroom floor up to level, I no longer have a problem with sloping the shower floor toward a central drain.

Returning to something remotely relevant to this forum, how do you all suggest I build up the new floor? The buildup will vary from 2" at the south wall to a feather edge about 12' away, and in total requires about 36 cubic feet of material. All finished floors will be ceramic tile.

NRCS
12-26-2004, 06:21 PM
I suppose using large tiles for the shower floor of a roll-in would be okay considering the occupant would be in a chair and not slipping around on his feet. Not slipping is the biggest single reason to use small tiles for shower floors. Sure the numerous grout joints are harder to clean, but they also grip the feet quite nicely, even when the feet are wet and soapy. :)

The type of drain you mention is called a "scupper," and it's used widely in Europe. It allows for a floor sloped all in the same direction. The floor is also a plane which makes it suitable for large format tiles.


Use UNGLAZED tiles, they look just as nice and they are much less noted for slipping. I do many ADA shower pans for NY state homes for disabled individuals. We use 2" non glazed for all our projects.

John Bridge
12-26-2004, 07:44 PM
Hi NRCS, Welcome. :)

Get thee registered and check us out in the Hangout. We'll be happy to have you. :)

bkdarvish
08-04-2005, 01:01 AM
This was a very helpful read. Thanks all. :yipee:

Anything new in this realm??

I'm well into the job (having a small 4x4 shower remodeled to make a roll-in shower for myself) , but everyone seems to scratch their heads harddier when it comes to the drain retro-fit and minimal dam build-up.....

Seems the Kerdi system is the way to go, but I still have very little room to slope from the 'speed bumb' (liked your term JB :bow: ) to the center drain, less than 2 feet since the future frameless glass door will cut accross one of 4x4 shower corners.

Oh yeah, and where do I get 'the guy' who can do this in L.A.?? All pro's and non-pro's have been stumped so far!! :bang:

Help!!

Weary-Leary Bob

John Bridge
08-04-2005, 08:18 AM
Hi Bob,

With a four-foot depth you should be okay. The speed hump consumes about 19 inches, but only 5 of those ten are heading up. The floor then heads down to the drain, which would leave you with 3- 1/2 feet inside the glass. Or did I miss something? You said something about a "corner." Put a picture up here. :)

Handy Andrew
08-05-2005, 04:36 PM
[QUOTE=John Bridge]I would not advise excavating the concrete. You will destroy the integrity of the slab. On top of that there is no good way to use wood that close to the ground.

Using the "Kerdi" method you can end up with just a low speed bump that you can roll over at the shower entrance. Your shower floor would only have to be built up about an inch over the level of the slab surface.

http://www.schluter.com


Everywhere I look online, I seem to find a link back here, so I guess this must be the right place to ask! I'm doing a downstairs remodel at my father's place, adding a bath that should make life easier as he ages.

I have the slab cuts made for the drain lines, but I've left the rebar intact to preserve the slab integrity as much as possible. This is a 6" slab with #5 rebar on a 12" grid. Given the level of suffering involved in breaking this slab up, I have lot's of incentive to preserve the existing slab :bang: . If I'm reading things correctly, you (John Bridge) have a system for putting the Kerdi shower in without ending up 2" above the slab. If this is correct, then I should be set.

What I really need is a cross-section showing where I set the drain relative to the existing slab, so I can get the plumbing lines installed correctly. I need to know this detail soon, as we're ready to go on this. A cross-section showing the shower and the rest of the bathroom would be nice too.

My other question relates to the whole curbless concept. Does the membrane extend across the bathroom floor? Up the side walls?

I'm sure I'm repeating questions that have already been asked, but your thoughts would be appreciated.

Oh, one last thing - the JLC link takes me to a general index, and I'm not sure which article you recommended.

AnotherMikey
11-03-2005, 02:29 PM
Following the usual run of delays, the bathroom is gutted and we're ready to do the DWV for the new layout. Two architects told me "the only purpose of the slab is to keep your tile off the dirt" (their words), and said to cut with abandon. The plumber concurred (turns out I found the plumber who did the original installation 30 years ago). We had to cut up a lot of slab anyway to relocate fixtures to the new layout, so we'll do all that Saturday. When the new piece of slab forming the shower floor is poured, the architects are divided -- one said to peg the new slab to the old with epoxied rebar, one said don't bother. I think I might bother. Is there any reason why I can't set the Kerdi drain directly in the new appropriately-sloped slab?

John Bridge
11-03-2005, 05:49 PM
Hi Handy Andy, ;)

You need to get out of here and start your own thread. We'll lose you for sure in this one. Make a new one, and we'll join you there. Just a couple things, though. There is a drain article in the Liberry you need to read. You can set it down almost level with the slab. Also, you might wan't to buy the Kerdi Shower ebook in our store. ;)

Mike,

Architects are there for one reason only, and that is to make pretty pictures that never seem to work out in real life. :) Also, they are not trained as structural engineers. We do have our own engineers here. If the slab were not structural, it wouldn't have all that heavy-duty reinforcing.