DIY shower remodel and snag [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-23-2010, 07:24 PM
Hello all, i have not posted here but have been a big reader for the last few weeks trying to find the best way to go and found a lot of help here.

I will sum up. I have a Single Stall shower (fiberglass enclosure) installed by the builder. When the wife an i built the home we had them extend the wall and make a door way so that we could eventually have a walk in shower, which is what i am working on.

The area of the shower is 3 feet wide by 7 feet long (the short wall the shower head is on is 5 feet long) and the drywall is removed up to 82.5 inches high.

I am doing as much of the work as i can myself.

Demo which you see in the pictures is the first step

Install a second shower head

then backer board

then slope the floor to the drain and install new drain

Install a niche from nobal

then kerdi the whole thing

then tile

If anyone has any suggestions to anything i am all ears and willing to listen. My issue came up when i finished taking out the shower stall.

Had photos but says no links (first time poster thing?)

because of the pipes i think i need to put in a bench, but there is not a lot of room for a bench. Does anyone have any ideas or maybe some secret master tiler trick?

I am all ears, and thanks in advance for the help.

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Houston Remodeler
02-23-2010, 07:29 PM
Welcome dude. Do you have a first name? Preferred alias ? Alter ego who fights crime at night?

You can post pics. Just a limit 5 at a time, Your plan sounds good so far. Adding any soundproofing insulation?

Dave Taylor
02-23-2010, 07:34 PM
You may post pictures right at the start.... the preferred way:

Use the "Manage Attachments" button below the "Submit Reply" and "Preview Post" buttons and upload them.

Hope this helps.

02-23-2010, 07:57 PM
trying to find out how to use photobucket links since my pics are too big

the problem is that the contractor has pipes coming out of the wall and going into the foundation that are jutting out from the wall.

This would make flush tiling impossible.

So i did not know if a bench is a good idea since its already fairly narrow.

Or maybe build up a shelf from the floor and do a little ledge for leg shaving. the wife would like that.

02-23-2010, 07:58 PM
Sorry cabot, i had not thought about sound proofing, i have not read anything about it so its new to me.

02-23-2010, 08:37 PM
Entry way

Turn 90 degrees to the left

The floor

If you look to the right hand side you will see the problems these pipes

02-23-2010, 08:37 PM
mods i will fix these later with resized pics

02-23-2010, 09:22 PM
Something else i have been wondering:

What does kerdi cost per roll? and how many feet in a roll?

is there a good place to order all the stuff from the corners etc etc?

02-24-2010, 08:25 AM
One more thing i have been hearing.

I was wanting to use 1/4 inch hardi backer board but people have been telling me to use 1/2 concrete board that the hardiboard is not as good?

I am will kerdi over it so not sure what the difference will make

I would like to use 1/4 inch if i can since i would really like the drywall and the tile to be close to the same thickness at the top.

02-24-2010, 08:28 AM
If you are using Kerdi, the only thing backerboard is doing is providing stiffness. Hardibacker is the only backerboard manufacturer I am aware of that permits 1/4" board on walls.

I would rethink this. If you really wanted the drywall flush with the tile, add a layer of 1/4" drywall above the tile work. Use 1/2" drywall (or backerboard if you can't trust the Kerdi to be waterproof) behind the Kerdi.

02-27-2010, 12:38 PM
Hey gang, going to start the deck mud tomorrow to do the slope in the shower.

After breaking up the motor the old shower stall was set in, i found a hole that the drain comes up from.

the builder had filled in the hole with scrap rock and threw mortar over the top. very thin.

I dug out the hole to the start of the drain pipe, still some rock and dirt but its about 6 inches down from where the kerdi drain is gonna sit.

My question is: Can i fill in this hole with deck mud or should i mix up some concrete today to do the filling?


02-27-2010, 12:45 PM
Hi dude. Concrete would be best. I would also paint the edge of the old concrete with a slurry of thinset to bond the new mud to the old.

02-27-2010, 12:47 PM
Thanks davy.

I will make another run to the home store, this will be number 3 for today :)

02-27-2010, 12:53 PM
Yeah but you'll be able to sleep at night. :)

02-27-2010, 12:56 PM
when you say slurry

can you give me an idea what you mean?

I have not bought the thinset yet, just the portland cement and sand per the deck mud instructions by john

Brian in San Diego
02-27-2010, 12:59 PM

Please ask all your project questions on this, your original project thread. thanks!


02-27-2010, 01:03 PM
My bad brian, will do in the future.

02-28-2010, 07:40 PM
Had a good productive day , did not get the sloping done because wanted to ask a question before going ahead.

Actually a few questions.

What i got done today:
Old shower head and controls taken out and 2 new ones put in, using pex piping and sharkbite fittings, i was really impressed with these things. Really easy to use.

6 mil plastic put all the way around

Hardi backer board almost done.


When putting up the backer board i learned the walls are not exactly flush. So i have 2 resulting issues.
1. There are some small gaps from one hardi board to the next in a one spot. like a 1/8 inch gap to gone. Hoping i can just thinset over this.
2. the wall on one side is has 3 studs out about 1/8 of an inch. So there is a line of 1/8th of an inch from one section to the next. Also hoping that since i am putting kerdi on, and will use thin set for that, and then putting thinset over it to put the tile on, i am thinking it would level out if i just put a little thinset in that area to level it out both on the kerdi underset and the tile thinset.

3. those pipes in the other sections i was able to cut out the backer board. I was thinking about sloping the floor with them in place and then putting in a shelf with the backer board in does it look like this is still a good idea?

Brian in San Diego
02-28-2010, 08:38 PM

Did you put the 6 mil poly on the studs? If so, you shouldn't have. The kerdi is your vapor barrier and you don't want two vapor barriers with something like CBU in between them.


02-28-2010, 08:52 PM
Yes i did, is that really bad or just a waste of time?

I saw the 6 mil being used on holmes on homes and then kerdi, so i was copying.

Houston Remodeler
02-28-2010, 09:41 PM
You don't want or need a double layer of vapor retardant in the same wall cavity. The kerdi is your vapor retarder, so there is no need for the sheet plastic in the area with the kerdi. remove the vinyl in that area and you'll be good to go .

02-28-2010, 09:45 PM
Ok, i have already put the backer board over it. is it that important to remove it?

I would have to take off the backer board, take the plastic down and then probably get new backer board.

Is it going to be a problem or cause problems?

Brian in San Diego
02-28-2010, 11:49 PM

I wouldn't leave that 6 mil poly in place. I would fear the "moisture" sandwich. Chances are you could reuse the CBU if you put it up with screws. I do wonder exactly how you are going to cover those protruding pipes and make the whole shebang waterproof.


Houston Remodeler
02-28-2010, 11:50 PM
A bench where the pipes are? ledge for shampoo bottles?

03-01-2010, 08:33 AM
I do not know if it makes a difference but the Kerdi will only go as high as the end of the dry wall, i am not going to the ceiling with it.

03-18-2010, 07:56 AM
I have been making great progress and working diligently on the project.

I went for the schluter shower pan instead of deck mudding myself.

However, i measured over and over and used the spacers and still when i set it all the drain seems to be lower than the pan.

I think this is better than the drain being higher than the pan, but does anyone have any suggestions at this point to improve this mistake?

I was thinking layering with thinset or just tiling a small depression with the drain. I am using 4 inch tile for the floor and even thinking about going to the 12x12 mesh backed 2inch or 1.5 inch squares.

03-18-2010, 09:42 AM
I'm more concerned with the condition of your drain surface than its vertical location, truth be known. You really need that surface to remain clean until you install Kerdi over it.

Not sure just how you got that drain depressed into the tray like that (can't really see it well inna picher), but you still want your Kerdi to be attached directly to the drain surface. Any alteration needed in the shape needs to be done after that.

I can see you maybe having a problem installing the rest of the drain if the surface of the tray is a lot higher than the drain, but, again, can't see it well from here. You aughta do a dry fit of those parts now to be sure.

Raising the drain to where it belongs would be my first choice, of course. Or removing the foam tray and making a mud pan that fits the drain location if there's enough room under it for proper support.

Is the drain properly supported the way it is now?

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-18-2010, 10:02 AM
Yes the drain is fully supported from underneath, it has concrete and thinset and the foam spacers, its is perfectly supported from the bottom, save maybe a little more thinset that could go in around the outer edge.

the drain is dirty i admit that , i was working alone and fast

Its all thinset down and deckmudded in

the drain is glued in and had to be before he shower pan went in, due to the box cut out needing to be backfilled with concrete.

03-18-2010, 03:53 PM
something else is the there is an Arched Nobal niche Narrow template for kerdi?

Houston Remodeler
03-18-2010, 04:02 PM
If you are using an arched noble niche there is no need to kerdi the inside of it. Just run the kerdi over the outside edge , bond it with some kerdi fix and save yourself an hour of frustration.

03-22-2010, 07:57 PM
Hey gang, the kerdi is done, i am picking up a tube of Kerdi fix tomorrow and gonna take care of the pipes and some small taps and corners that did not want to stay down well, but good adhesion otherwise.

So i am rounding the corner to tile.

I was thinking 16 inch multicolored slate, but apparently there are some differences of opinion on the use of slate in a shower.

Also i was thinking about using epoxy grout but have no real reason except it sounds cool.

I also do not have a sealer picked out for the slate.

the floor will be 4 inch mutlicolored slate but i think its smoothed and not rough like the wall tile.


Houston Remodeler
03-22-2010, 09:29 PM
Do a fair amount of reading on slate before your buy it. If you do buy some, test a piece first by soaking it overnight in a bucket of water.

03-22-2010, 10:53 PM
Don't use slate from a box store, spend the money on some good stuff. I like Brazilian Slate for wet areas. Once you see some, you'll know why. :)

Houston Remodeler
03-23-2010, 04:57 AM
one more vote for brazilian slate. "round these parts it goes for 6 or 7 a foot

03-23-2010, 09:44 AM
yeah the slate was from home depot and its on clearance for 1.47 a sq ft for 16x16, is there a reason why this is bad?

what will i be looking for by soaking it over night?

03-23-2010, 09:50 AM
Delamination or the stone and muddy water in the bucket. Good slate will not do either.

03-25-2010, 08:01 PM
I soaked the slate tile from home depot for 2 days and nothing seems to have happened to it.

Am i missing something or is this good to use?

is there a good dry sealer to use with it? I like the idea that the sealer would last 10 years over the wet look sealant.

Houston Remodeler
03-25-2010, 11:13 PM
your tiles should be good to go.

I prefer aqua mix or miracle 511 sealants

03-26-2010, 10:49 AM
Is verabond ok to use for the slate?

03-26-2010, 12:05 PM
Yes, unless the thickness of the slate varies a lot, or if your floor isn't perfectly flat, or both. If any of that is true, use the Granite and Marble mortar. It's a mediumset mortar that allows you to use it in greater thickness than thinset.

03-26-2010, 12:21 PM
The thickness of the slate is pretty uniform and except for the slope the floor is pretty flat.

03-26-2010, 12:29 PM
Then Versabond is right for you! All you have left to do is pick the color, white or gray.

03-26-2010, 12:35 PM
I used grey for the kerdi , so gonna stick with that. I see now why the white is nice, since it looks a lot cleaner, lots of learning for my first install but the leak test held so i did something right.

03-26-2010, 12:37 PM
More importantly, white thinset looks better under your nails.:D

03-28-2010, 07:21 AM
I tiled last night till i could not stay awake any longer, how long do you have to clean thinset off the walls before its too late?

I am working on it now, just would like to know if i should quit earlier tonight and tend to it sooner. I am sure same day is preferred.

versabond is working great , holds really really well.

Brian in San Diego
03-28-2010, 08:03 AM

You want to get all thinset off the wall before you are done for the day. Once the stuff cures you could have quite a mess on your hands. Sometimes it depends on the type of tile too. Some porcelains may be easier to clean than a porous stone. It is advisable to have a bucket of clean water and a sponge at your side while setting the tile. Clean the grout joints and anything you get on the surface of the tile as you go along. It may seem like it slows your tiling rate down but it's time saved in the long run.


03-28-2010, 08:13 AM
I am on it, will keep the bucket and sponge handy today

03-28-2010, 08:14 AM
I think my save here is using verabond and its slow cure time.

03-28-2010, 06:52 PM
Tile is just about done, the thinset is cleaned up and looks good.

However, the slate looks dirty when dry. its not thinset just dirt, do i need to wait till done and thinset cures and just go in there with a hose, before sealing?

Houston Remodeler
03-28-2010, 08:41 PM
You can certainly wash it out before grouting or sealing. Just make sure its dry for a week before sealing. Once you seal, that's as clean as it will ever be.

04-18-2010, 11:31 AM
I went by home depot and the 511 impregnator sealant did not say wet look on the bottle, is this actaully wet look sealer?


Brian in San Diego
04-18-2010, 11:56 AM
Dude, it isn't going to give you a sheen that would be regarded as "wet" IMO. It'll have more of a sheen than unsealed slate but not a "wet" look per se.

04-18-2010, 01:40 PM
511 typically has very little impact on the look of slate, if any. Test a scrap piece before committing.

04-18-2010, 02:32 PM
what should i use for wet look on slate?

04-18-2010, 02:40 PM
In a shower? Water.

Anything else that gives a "wet look" is gonna be a topical sealer of some sort and not something you wanna use in a wet area.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-23-2010, 08:58 AM
Tile is as clean as i can get it and i will be sealing this weekend.

using the 551 impregnator

so i think the last question is grout.

I have a mix of grout lines from 1/16 around the large tiles to 1/4 inch around the floor tiles and a few a little larger here and there.

I would like a very dark gray color to blend well into the majority of the slate colors.

But what kind of grout? I have read that for the 1/16 i need unsanded grout but for the 1/4 i should use sanded. I would like to use the same all over and not have to worry so much about it.

also any good links and how too's on grouting method? I know the basics , but on using the foam pad and work the grout in using the pad at an angle to force it in.

Brian in San Diego
04-23-2010, 11:28 AM

You want a grout float. It isn't exactly foam. I would use sanded grout. You'll be able to force it into the 1/16" grout joints. The unsanded would be a disaster on 1/4" grout joints.


04-23-2010, 11:51 AM
Yeah grout float, i got one of those :)

Thanks Brian

04-26-2010, 08:31 AM
Ended up using the 511 and then waiting 6 hours per directions

then started the grout using keracolor charcoal , almost exactly the color i wanted.

I think i did a pretty good job, and got all the grout off, but i got to be around midnight and i had to get to work today.

so here is the question. I have this haze on the shower now, i think just from cleaning the grout and its dust for the most part, I hope?

it says to use a clean towel to wipe this off or buff it off. Is this enough or do i need to get more sponges out and keep at taking the haze/dirty water residue off?

This is it, i am so glad to be done with it all, and hope that sealing the tile before hand has prevented me from hurting anything. It really was a big help last night since i was either grouting or cleaning and then would do too much grout and have to rush to clean the drying grout. The stuff i waited just a few min longer on, really too some elbow grease but worked off.

Brian in San Diego
04-26-2010, 08:53 AM

If the clean up was done properly then you should be able to get the haze off. I really like the microfiber cloths for that task. I generally will go over with a damp cloth first and then buff out with a dry one.


04-26-2010, 09:01 AM
thanks brian , i will give that a try tonight. My other hobby is auto detailing so i have plenty of microfibers that are no longer up to standards for use on paint so i am covered there.