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Old 12-11-2017, 07:11 AM   #1
Evanston
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Questions re: Subway Tile & Corners

Hi All,

I've searched the archive but have not come away with a clear sense of the best way forward and am hoping for advice.

Project: Small bathroom: Corner shower and adjacent tub with pony wall between, concrete board substrate, Schluter shower system

Tile: "Authentic" period-style subway tile from Subway Ceramics / Heritage Tile.

Questions:
1. Part of the attraction of this line of tile is all the various trim pieces, including radius cove for the corners of the shower. i've discovered that our installer doesn't seem to have much experience with this (and, it's true, it is not often seen).

--Should he be using thinset on BOTH sides of the radius? We obviously don't want the tile to crack at the radius if there is any movement.

--Should anything be caulked, or should he plan to grout everything? Opinions seem to vary. My inclination would be to grout everything, and if it cracks, then deal with that later.

--Is this just a bad idea? How hard is it to accommodate any variation in wall/corner with a tight grout line?

2. In connection with the hesitancy re: #1, there has been discussion of replacing the 1x6 accent tile with marble of a similar width. The marble obviously isn't available with a radius.

Would you jettison the cove in the corner in order to accommodate the marble, or would you retain it and just limit to an inch or so on either side?

This is obviously more of an aesthetic than an installation question, but, again, I know there is a lot of of experience on this board.

3. With Kerdi behind all this tile, would grout be a better choice vs. caulk for both the vertical joint(s) and the base? The base of the wall will be 6x6 tile with a cove base. The shower floor will be 1" squares.

Thank you!
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:22 AM   #2
John Bridge
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Hi Alex,

Lots of questions. I'll take a shot at a couple of them. I grout all my Kerdi showers, but I make sure the framing, especially in the corners, is tightly screwed together. Nails won't do it.

As to any tile piece cracking, I think with Kerdi membrane behind it will act as a pretty good cushion. I wouldn't worry about cracking. The corner cove pieces have to be bedded in thinset.

Last edited by John Bridge; 12-12-2017 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:24 AM   #3
Evanston
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Thanksthanks, John. The construction is quite solid, and the location is such they there should be minimal stress on the framing. Now Iíve got to resolve the trim issue.
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:45 AM   #4
John Bridge
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I'll tell you one other thing: Setting coves in shower corners takes a good amount of skill. I think I've probably done it only 2 or 3 times in my entire career.
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:56 PM   #5
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I'm confused on what the radius pieces are and where they are being installed. Are these cove base pieces? Are they outside corners? Are they quarter rounds?

Links and/or photos would be great.
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:36 PM   #6
Evanston
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Hi Jim,

The radius cove goes in the corner of the shower, give you a curved corner where the shower walls meet. It looks great.

Unfortunately, as John commented, installing it takes great skill, and while I think my installer did a decent job, the stress seems to have spilled over into other elements of the installation, which are good, but not great. I doubt anyone will notice the flaws (most of them, anyway; we unfortunately have a few cockeyed tile and wide grout lines in eye-catching places, though most will be hidden by glass), but it is a disappointment, given the cost of the materials and the cost of the installation all for a relatively small space. Live and learn...
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