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Old 09-11-2017, 06:08 PM   #1
drewbeh
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How to plumb half wall before tiling

I am going through the motions prepping my standing shower for tiling, and I have a half wall that's about 20" tall that sits below the lip of a tub. (Picture 1) I framed and attached drywall, and got a few steps ahead of myself, and now what I'm left with is a half wall that does not line up with the tub lip.

The last picture has black lines indicating the tub lip and the top of the framing/drywall of the half wall (behind the waterproofing membrane). They are flush at the corner (near the bench) but are about 1/2" separated towards the curb.

Is there a way that I can make this wall plumb such that I can apply thinset and tile to make the wall nice and flush with the tub lip? I read about possibly mixing some sand in with concrete to make a thicker mixture that would hold firm while drying.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:09 PM   #2
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:40 PM   #3
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Drew I'm assuming that you want the fiberglass lip to ultimately be flush with your vertical tile. Am I correct? This is how I myself would do it. That way the fiberglass lip also acts as your tile edge trim with a nice flush transition from tub fiberglass edge to tile face. The problem is judging by your pictures the substrate is already flush with the fiberglass tub lip on one end meaning any tile and thinset you add will be exposed on edge (not very nice looking) so you would need to use an edge trim here but that would look really ugly as now you would have essentially a step up to your tile vs a nice flush transition between fiberglass lip to tile. You could use a bull nose piece under the lip for a smoother step up transition but that wouldn't look good IMHO but it would be the easiest fix. I'm not sure how that bull nose though would intersect your corner seat/step and not look really weird and malplaced.

The only solution to do it right IMHO is to remove the drywall and reframe and square your wall to give you the correct depth for a flush tile installation. Give yourself at least 1/2" of space from substrate to tub lip assuming 3/8" tile and 1/8" of thinset. That way your vertical tile will lay flush with your lip.

The other other way to do it is to build out the wall and create a tiled tub deck on top so that you can lay some tile horizontally but that would shrink your shower and is probably not the look and design you were going for. You would want enough tiled tub deck not to have little horizontal slivers on top ie at least 4-6" of extra depth.

Either way you have some work to do on that wall. I just noticed it looks like you have your pan and corner step done and Kerdi'ed. It looks like moving that wall back would involved some substantial tear out. Maybe someone else in here will have an easier suggestion that won't compromise looks too much and not require so much tear out to correct.

Another issue that came to mind is the fact that it looks like you plan to have shower glass go over that fiberglass tub deck to seal in your shower area. Meaning water will go down the glass and hit that fiberglass tub deck which is probably completely level if not angled towards the tub. This would then become an area that may not drain water very well and in fact you might have some water pooling here. That is why generally people build out a tub tiled tub deck or pony wall that goes beyond the footprint of the fiberglass tub so that they can angle that deck/shower pony wall top to properly drain into the shower once water goes down the glass. It does look like you lack the space for that though.
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Last edited by ZZZK; 09-11-2017 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:37 PM   #4
drewbeh
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Thank you for the input. My biggest worry is the waterproofing seeping between the tub and half wall. If that wall were flush I was planning on waterproofing the corner and on to the tub a few inches where the shower door would sit.

How does this sound:
Remove drywall and add shims to make wall flush. Waterproof up the half wall and on top of the fiberglass tub lip ~6" (using 2x3" tiles), on which the shower door would sit. I have threshhold tiles on hand with curved edges for corner transitions. I made the bench flush with the tub with this plan in mind, but it feels unconventional.

Biggest downside here is making it look right, and now the shower door/tile is linked to the tub, even though that's how it was before.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:39 PM   #5
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Here is how it looked before for any perspective. The tub used to sit on just some moldy 2x4s placed vertically.
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