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Old 08-08-2016, 09:03 AM   #1
Tim Stewart
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Underside of floating shower bench

Hello everyone.

I am building a new shower with a floating bench on one wall. I was wondering the best way to waterproof the underside of the bench. Complete tile job? Liquid membrane, etc?

The bench will be made of wood with cement board encased around it. The top will be tiled.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Tim
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:57 AM   #2
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I'd waterproof and tile it. I typically don't tile mine because I use the Better Bench, and the underside is metal, but f it was a wood framed bench I would. It doesn't have to be pretty, you just want to be able to clean it.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:08 AM   #3
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Tim, get the better bench. My two cents.
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Old 08-08-2016, 11:12 AM   #4
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That would be my advice as well, but the framed benches are much cheaper, and more "customizable", so you can make any size you want, if that's important to you.

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Old 08-08-2016, 12:46 PM   #5
Tim Stewart
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underside of floating shower bench

Kevin,

I looked at the better bench and it says any width over 36" needs a middle support. My will be 48". That, and the "customizable" size is why I was going to build my own.

Thank you all for the input.
Much appreciated!
Tim
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:36 PM   #6
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I hope I'm not interrupting or asking a stupid question, but:

For the underside of a wood framed floating bench in a shower, gravity is in your favor. So I wonder if a vapor retarder would be more appropriate than waterproofing? That way if any water should make its way into the wood framing, it will have a way out.

Thanks, Wayne
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:10 PM   #7
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Tim, the Better Bench does make an expandable bench, I guess you saw it, and you would buy one of their corner benches to act as the middle support.

They also have a design now that allows you to mount the bench with no support underneath, but it does require some blocking and some long, expensive bolts to hold it. However, they claim it'll hold several hundred pounds without any support on the ends or underneath. That might be worth looking into.

Another option might be to get a piece of granite that would match your tile and set it into the tile field. Since the shear force of the tile bond would support the bench and a lot of extra weight, provided your tile are installed properly, and it would be supported on three sides (I'm assuming).

Wayne, I get what you're saying, but I wouldn't have any wood inside a shower that wasn't properly waterproofed. The idea would be to keep water from getting to the wood to begin with, so it wouldn't need a way out. It's another reason I like the Better Bench so much, I don't have to bother with tiling the underside.
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Old 08-08-2016, 03:09 PM   #8
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Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your response. I'm a bit leery about the whole idea of a wood framed floating bench in a shower. But suppose for the moment that's a given.

I guess my point is that different waterproofing methods have different vapor permeabilities. For example, in a steam shower, which requires very low vapor permeability, some primary waterproofing methods are adequate by themselves. Other primary waterproofing methods have too high a vapor permeability, so they require a backup vapor barrier behind them.

So given that, would it be a good idea to use a high vapor permeability waterproofing method on the underside of a wood framed floating bench in a shower? I'm not 100% clear on what sort of assembly would meet that description, but maybe something like, going downward: wood framing, tar paper, cement board, thinset, tile. Just on the underside (or the back half of the underside).

The reason it occurs to me that it might be a good idea is that most wood framing adjoining a shower wet area will be waterproofed on one side but more or less open on the other. While this floating wood framed bench will be waterproofed on at least 5 of 6 sides, possibly all 6, so I think that could make trapping water vapor an issue.

But maybe it's not really an issue, I'm just curious.

Thanks, Wayne
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Old 08-08-2016, 04:21 PM   #9
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As Kevin points out, it's just not the best idea to use wood framing in that application at all, but if you did, you'd certainly wanna waterproof all of it on the shower side and leave the other side(s) open to ventilation. And I'd want my waterproofing to have the lowest possible permeability, which would mean a sheet membrane in my case.

I waterproof the top and front of corner Better Bench products I install, leaving only the bottom open to drying.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 08-08-2016, 04:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cx
if you did, you'd certainly wanna waterproof all of it on the shower side and leave the other side(s) open to ventilation. And I'd want my waterproofing to have the lowest possible permeability.
Hi CX,

Sorry if I'm being dense, but I thought this whole thread was about the underside of the floating shower bench. I have been taking it as granted that the top, front, and sides of the bench should be waterproofed with low permeability, and that we are just discussing the bottom.

So what exactly do you mean when you say "waterproof the shower sides and leave the other side(s) open to ventilation." Do you mean leaving the bottom open to ventilation? I can't really see leaving the backside open to ventilation, as the backside will likely be a solid member anchored tight to the wall.

Thanks,
Wayne
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:31 PM   #11
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Wayne, I would not leave any part of any wood exposed in the shower. From the discussion I think he'll have three sides that are not inside the shower.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:53 PM   #12
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I would never suggest leaving exposed wood in a shower. If my comments weren't clear and left that impression, I apologize for the confusion.

What interests me is whether in this particular application it would be beneficial to use a high vapor permeability waterproofing on the underside of the floating wood framed bench, rather than a low vapor permeability waterproofing. Part of the confusion is that for whatever reason, I was conceiving of a wood-framed bench platform installed after the primary wall waterproofing was up, so you'd effectively have a sealed six sided box with wood framing. It would have no way to dry out if it got wet (or was framed with green lumber).

However, CX's last post makes it clear it would make more sense to frame in the floating wood bench before any wall materials are applied. So the bench would be sealed on only three sides. The other three sides might well be solid wood, which I guess is vapor permeable and would allow drying into the adjoining wall cavities. I tried to look up the perm rating of solid wood lumber to confirm this, but I couldn't find any info.

Sorry for the digression.

Cheers, Wayne
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