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Old 02-22-2017, 04:21 PM   #1
MisterJJ
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MisterJJ Shower with a Newb!

Doing a Shower remodel and I have so many questionsÖ sooooo many...

The Intro:
Iím a fairly experienced DIYer and Iím an engineer. But Iíve always avoided doing tile work because I tend to be a perfectionist and I donít think that works too well with doing tile and Iím afraid I will be forever unhappy with the results. SoÖ Iím doing a complete shower remodel along with the tub next to it! Go big or goÖ well, Iím already home. So Iím a noob as far as shower and tile goes. Forgive any noobishnesses that I may utter.

After much research and back and forth between traditional shower base, Redguard, and Kerdi, Iíve decided to go with Kerdi pre-fab shower kit to make it easy and also to keep the floor and curb as low as possible without cutting into the floor. I will do traditional vapor barrier and cement board around and in front of tub, which is never used.

Hereís what the shower currently looks like:

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The layout:
Proposed layout shown in picture below. Only real change is to a smaller/shorter curb. This is on second floor and the floor is ĺĒ flakeboard with no access from underside. I measured 18Ē between the I-beam joists.

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The design:
Pebble tile pattern on floor and 12Ē ceramic tile on walls, up to ceiling, with accent stripe around shower. Shower panel will be installed so washing machine style outlets will be installed in wall. Will also add tile corner shelves and a small footstool in corner. Frameless glass will be between shower and tub with tile between glass and top of tub.

The Plan:
Check level/plumb of floor and walls. Build alcove for shutoff valves for shower panel. Leave drain location slightly off center and cut Kerdi shower pan to size (I know there will be slight mismatch in hard to see corner). Install drain. Install shower pan. Cut curb down to size and install. Install ĹĒ cement board on walls up to existing drywall. Tape cement board seams and cover walls with unmodified thinset. Build footstool from leftover curb material and install. Sand painted drywall area at top of shower. Install Kerdi over cement board and painted drywall, then tile, and install enclosure/door. Simple, right?

The Questions:
1. Will floor be okay to put shower pan onto without additional support? I know unmodified thinset goes elsewhere with Kerdi but I think modified should be used for connection to flakeboard floor.

2. How do I do the Kerdi at the Tub and pony wall? I.E. does it go under tub edge, on top of pony wall or does it go over top of tub edge and down wall?

3. What do I do at the top edge of the tile against the ceiling? Is it just a grout line at the top against the ceiling? Seems like there would be a high potential for it to pull away from the ceiling eventually.

4. One concern I have is that I will start with a level row of tile near the bottom and by the time I get to the top of the nine foot ceiling the tiles will get closer or further away from the side wall and I will have an uneven grout line up the corner. Would it be better the draw a vertical line and lay vertical rows of tile, working out from corner? Or do you just build from bottom and make tiny adjustments as you go up if needed?

5. I could rip out the top drywall and use cement board all the way up to the ceiling but there doesnít appear to be any compelling reason to do soÖ unless someone gives me such a reason.

6. Kerdi protects the wall from water intrusion, while tile/grout/thinset is not a barrier to water intrusion. I have a hard time accepting that water doesnít seep through the thinset which is used between layers of Kerdi at seams and corners but Iíll accept that the space is so small that it just works. However, what is to prevent water from wicking along the thinset to the outer edges of the tiling area? This can, and did, happen with the original tile job. I imagine that it will be less of a problem because itís just grout and thinset instead of an inch of mortar, but it still seems like it could cause problems. Specifically, this sketch shows potential water seepage paths between tile and Kerdi.

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7. Is it possible to order glass shower walls and door now or do I have to wait until tile is complete for final measurement? Any recommendation for source? (I.E. Lowes Depot, specialty B&M, online)

8. Whatever question I havenít asked but would know to ask if I knew more about what I donít know.

So much thanks!
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:46 PM   #2
rmckee84
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1. Yes. You'll get instructions with the shower pan, read that and watch the videos available on the website.

2. Kerdi should cover everything in the wet area including on top of tub deck and surround.

3. I use color match silicone if it needs it.

4. Not sure I follow. If your walls are plumb and your rows of tile are level it should stay the same. Build up from the bottom. Use hard plastic spacers and wedges, the rubber ones can compress and cause problems.

5. Whatever you choose to do. As long as you start with flat, plumb walls before install you're good.

6. As long as you follow the directions and keep a minimum of 2" overlap at all seams it will not leak.

7. Its best to wait most enclosures have very little wiggle room, measurements need to be pretty exact.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:42 PM   #3
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Much thanks! Sounds like I'm mostly on the right track then.

Regarding #4, I guess it's just the engineer in me that sees a potential problem. I'm thinking that +/- 1/8" is about the best you could expect to get for walls being flat and perpendicular. So if I'm off level by just 1/16" on my starting row I could be off by 3/16" by the time I get to the top and then add in that the walls could be off by 1/8" and it's very significant. But I'm sure I'm overthinking this. The difference from one row of tile to the next would be minuscule and not noticeable.
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Old 02-23-2017, 08:57 AM   #4
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Tile is almost never perfect when made so at times you have to fudge one way or another. I use a combination of hard plastic spacers and wedges to keep my install running level.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:05 PM   #5
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OMG, I wish you hadn't mentioned tile wedges!

I had to google that... which led to tile leveling systems... which gets my little perfectionist heart pounding.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:14 PM   #6
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I use MLT which is a little expensive for a diy type, wedge systems are nice to have as well. It really comes down to the tile you're using. They aren't the be all end all, but rather a good tool to have.

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Old 02-28-2017, 02:30 PM   #7
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Tile Pattern Opinion

Just hoping for an opinion or two on my planned tile pattern for the shower/tub.

I think it is better to start the pattern in the corner, like shown, or should I start with full tiles at the edge and have smaller pieces in the corner?

Here's the plan, with only the back wall shown. The accent strip isn't clear but it is four rows of 1/2" x 1/2" tile (I think... but it may be 3/4").

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Here it is with glass:
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Here's more what the accent strip should look like:
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Shower floor will be a medium pebble pattern (kinda hard to model).
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Old 02-28-2017, 03:52 PM   #8
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I think on the top pattern I would start with a full tile on the left working my way to the corner.
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Old 03-01-2017, 03:40 PM   #9
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Shower Floor Strengthen

So tile like this then (I added the angled section to other wall only, just to show pattern):

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Next question... My deflection is okay, joist-wise, but when I stand on the OSB I get visible deflection between the joists. Since I'm installing the Kerdi foam shower pan I'm afraid it won't be strong enough to support the weight of one person and... uh... sometimes the weight of two people, without flexing. My goal was to keep the shower floor low but I think I need to add 1/2" ply to the bottom to make sure. Or am I being too paranoid? Is there a way to reinforce the floor without adding height? This is second floor with no access from below.
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:32 PM   #10
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1. That's most likely how I would do it.

2. What is your subfloor currently? Is it tounge and groove? If you feel it isn't sufficient and you don't have access from below your options are limited. It's either add another layer, or cut out the footprint of the shower floor add blocking and either reinstall the piece you pulled up or find something thicker. I would just install another layer of 1/2" if it isn't ok as it sits.
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:39 AM   #11
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Thanks rmckee84. I feel like you're being my person remodel consultant.

The subfloor is tongue and groove OSB but there are seams in both directions in the shower area. So I'm gonna add some 1/2 plywood on top. I think I want to mate the plywood to the existing floor pretty well but not sure if I should use modified thinset or construction adhesive or something else.

The good news is that I'm finally wrapping up the demolition. The exterior wall has a large bow in the two center studs that I'll have to plane down. The plumbing wall is out of plumb by 1/2", among other issues, so I'll just sister to the studs. That'll be fun, hauling 10 foot studs in my little car.

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The bad news is that the insulation stuck to the felt paper under the exterior stucco and pulled away easily. The felt paper feels more like wet cardboard. I'm thinking I can fix this by covering the area with a fresh piece of felt paper and sealing the top and sides with roof patch. Near the bottom, just above the horizontal bare wood, is a metal flashing for a short roof section the juts out from the side of the house between floors. I figure that I can tuck the bottom of the felt paper behind the flashing and I'll be good.

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Old 03-03-2017, 10:21 AM   #12
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If the felt paper (more likely some sort of impregnated Kraft paper) in in tact, I think I'd just leave it alone and install new un-faced batt insulation.

You don't wanna try to glue anything to your OSB subfloor. Install your new layer of exterior glue plywood with mechanical fastners. I prefer screws for that application, but you can use deformed shank nails, too.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:27 AM   #13
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1. I would just screw it well, unless you do a full spread glue adhesive it can create voids when you screw the layers together.

2. While it is best to have full length studs, if you are just sistering to get it plumb they dont have have to be solid 10's.

I'll admit the exterior wall has me a little up in the air for suggestions. Hopefully others can offer their thoughts on that, but if they don't just roll with your idea. Is it actually wet?
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Old 03-03-2017, 11:17 AM   #14
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Screws only for the subfloor then. I figure 6" spacing.

Yeah, I guess that stuff is Kraft paper and it is torn away in some areas. The light gray areas are the back of the exterior stucco. And yeah, it was wet but I'm not sure if it was residual from the shower leaking or because a few days ago we got 7 inches of rain in one day (worst drought ever!).
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:46 PM   #15
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The black should be the second layer of moisture barrier behind the stucco if it was installed correctly. Up to you whether you try to repair the inner layer. Certainly can't hurt if you can do it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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