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Old 02-22-2018, 05:55 PM   #1
mitchjim
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Shower Flooring Choice

I was going to use Travertine tile in my shower floor. Pan's all done, pre-sloped, etc. However, the store clerk said that I need to seal it? If I seal it won't that trap water in the pan? I thought the tiles and grout shouldn't be sealed so they can allow the pan/mud bed to dry after use?

Does 2 x 2 or 4 x 4 tiles make a difference when it comes to drying?

Should I use porcelain tiles instead?
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:10 PM   #2
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I would opt for porcelain.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:13 PM   #3
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Do I still seal the grout if I use porcelain?
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:34 PM   #4
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Does your pan have the liner on a preslope? If not, you have a problem.

There are methods to make a waterproof surface applied to the pan (and walls) of a shower. You must design for that, though, and it may not be possible to do it now depending on what you have unless you want to tear some stuff out. Most of them require a special drain.

Neither tile nor grout should be considered waterproof. Sealer mostly helps limit staining, not water intrusion. It is the liner that makes a pan waterproof. There are two very broad classes of shower builds...conventional, where there's a liner beneath a mortar setting bed, and one where the waterproofing is applied directly underneath the tile. They take different methods of construction. The former one is all they had 'way back when'. WIth the advent of new materials and methods, IMHO, a surface applied waterproofing is better, but either will work.

Realistically, very little moisture gets beneath the tile on a pan, but, if used often enough, it can build up. It needs the slope so it can slowly drain out the weepholes of the drain. With a topically applied waterproofing, first, the thinset is denser than deckmud, it's very thin, and thus, can't hold much moisture at all, and it tends to dry out in between sessions.

It depends on the type of grout you use whether it would benefit from a sealer - a porcelain tile, unless it is polished, won't be helped by a sealer. A cement based grout will be less prone to staining (if you clean it soon enough after something gets spilled on it) if sealed. An epoxy or one of the one-part (mostly) acrylic grouts will not. So, depends on what you use.
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:01 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the advice. Yes, I have a pre-slope. I saw articles that said you have to wait 28 days to lay the tile?? I can't find anything on the JB Forum that says how long to wait. Can anyone give me a timeframe?
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Old 02-24-2018, 06:22 PM   #6
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How long should mud bed dry before tiling?
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Old 02-24-2018, 06:31 PM   #7
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Assuming you used dry pack mortar above your liner, 48 hrs. should be plenty. If you were pouring concrete, the cure time (28 days) for Portland cement would be of concern, but not a concern in the case of dry pack mortar.

Not sure what sales person was referring to, but you certainly don't want to seal your mud bed prior to tile. I wonder if they could mean sealing the stone tile prior to grouting? BTW, I'd opt for porcelain too and skip the travertine.
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Old 02-24-2018, 06:42 PM   #8
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Jim, going back to post 4, Jim is wanting to make sure you have a waterproof membrane/ liner in place. The preslope isn't waterproof, it's the cement under the liner that gives the liner pitch towards the drain. I think Jim is just wanting to make sure you didn't skip an important step.

Another vote for porcelain instead of travertine.
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Old 02-24-2018, 07:16 PM   #9
mitchjim
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Yes, I've got the preslope, liner and dry pack sloped mud bed. Trying to decide whether to go travertine or porcelain. Based on these post I'm going to use porcelain. Still not sure whether the grout should be sealed?
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Old 02-24-2018, 07:28 PM   #10
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You'll get different opinions on this. Even though I have sealed many showers, mainly because the builder, designer or homeowner wanted it sealed, I don't really see it doing much good in a shower. In my opinion, sealers work best where food stains are a problem. And of course, a sealer has nothing to do with holding back water.
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:35 PM   #11
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Since a porcelain tile won't absorb any sealer...if you don't buff off any that does get on it before it dries, it's a major pain to clean up afterwards! Depending on the color and type of grout, it may or may not benefit from a sealer.
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