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Old 11-29-2017, 10:28 AM   #1
wadevcamp
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shower bench question

I am planning a shower redo, and have read the post by John Bridge on building shower benches (i.e., install membrane, then build up bench using concrete blocks and mortar, then float pan).

I'd like to let the bench dry before I float the pan.

My question is do I need to do anything to prep the portion of the bench where the pan mud will meet it? I.e., do I need to be concerned that "cold joint"?

Also, I intend to put up the CBU walls after I float the pan -- I read that current best practice is to leave a 1/4" gap between the CBU wall and the pan mud, and to fill this with silicone caulk to prevent water wicking up the CBU wall. Is this the right approach?
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:08 AM   #2
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update

I just read the article on this website that says there is no need to worry about water wicking up the CBU, so scratch that part of my original post.

My question still remains: is there anything wrong with building the bench on top of the floated pan?

ANd, whether I build the bench before or after floating the pan, do I need to do anything to ensure there is a good bond between the one I do first and the one I do second (presumably after the first has dried)?
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:27 AM   #3
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Wade,

Welcome to the forum.

A- Its easier to set the block for the bench before floating the pan for a couple of reasons; 1- You can use mortar to level and plumb the blocks a bit easier, and the big reason- 2- the perimeter of the floor will be level in front of the bench as opposed to behind it.

B- Don't worry about a cold joint. Curious though, what kind of engineer are you?

C- the liner should run up the walls to at least a few inches above the top of the bench.
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:49 AM   #4
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Houston,

When you say
Quote:
the perimeter of the floor will be level in front of the bench as opposed to behind it
, I either don't understand or I don't agree. I plan to put in a pre-slope (at 1/4 inch per foot), then the membrane, then a 1.25 inch layer of mud for the pan. Therefore, the membrane will be sloped because it is over the pre-slope. SO, whether I put in the bench before or after the final mud (over the membrane) there will be a slope from the back of the bench base to the front of it.

Can you please clarify?
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:51 AM   #5
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Also, I'm not an engineer (although many decades ago I got an engineering degree that I never formally used). Why do you ask?
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:21 PM   #6
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Its preferred to have the perimeter of the mud bed be level all around, and in your case, including in front of and next to the bench. If you place the bench after the final mud layer, the mud layer will be slower at the front of the bench than at the wall.

Did that help or make things worse?
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Old 11-29-2017, 01:29 PM   #7
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Welcome, Wade.

I'm gonna disagree somewhat with Paul's recommendation for the perimeter height of your pan liner. Industry standards and building code require the liner to rise a minimum of 6" up the shower walls or 3" above the top of the curb, whichever is higher. Behind your bench your moisture barrier behind the CBU or your waterproofing membrane over the CBU walls is sufficient protection behind your "monument" bench.

And I agree with Paul that you wanna build your bench before placing your final mud bed so your shower floor can be level all the way around.

If you plan to bury your CBU in your final deck mud you must be sure you're using a true CBU and not a Fiber/Cement board such as Hardiebacker.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:11 PM   #8
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I mentioned that method of the tall liner because the OP was going to do the walls later.

CX's method will work if the walls and wall waterproofing are installed before the mud bed goes down.
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Old 11-29-2017, 04:46 PM   #9
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If you don't mud up against the bottom of the cbu, and since you can't put fasteners that low beneath the top of the curb, it's really hard to lock that lower section in place. That can only be done with a 'real' cbu, since the fiber-cement ones do NOT allow you to embed them in the pan. The fiber-cement ones are the ones that must be kept off the mudbed. FWIW, the 'fiber' in HardieBacker is cellulose (essentially wood fibers, or at least made of the same thing) from their datasheet.

A monument bench inside of the liner is likely the least expensive way to do this, but if you wish, there are foam ones and if a floating one might work better for you, the ability to make one out of one of the foam boards or to use the Better Bench product. I prefer the floating one as you can use the foot space underneath if you're facing it.
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Old 12-17-2017, 07:15 PM   #10
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worried about sturdiness of shower knee wall

I am designing a shower with a curved wall that is a combination of glass block and 2x4 stud construction. It is anchored on only one end (tied into another wall), but it is 7 feet high and I'd rather not tie any of it into the ceiling. Top view is below. Note that the glass block portion sits on a 24" high 2x4 knee wall. I am concerned that by not tying it in to the ceiling it may not be stable enough.

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Old 12-17-2017, 07:28 PM   #11
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Hi Wade, a question or four.

1. So, just to make sure I'm understanding correctly, the wall on the right side of the drawing is the 7 ft high wall, correct?

2. How high will the glass block go?

3. I see the niche wall but how high will it go?

4. Where's the door going to be ?
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Old 12-18-2017, 07:40 AM   #12
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Hi Wade,

Since you are apparently adept at glass block laying, I suggest using 4x8x16 in. concrete blocks for wall construction. That's the only way I've ever been able to get a wing wall to hold still.
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Old 12-18-2017, 12:45 PM   #13
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Davy, yes, I should have added additional detail.
The wall on the right is a floor-to-ceiling wall.
The glass block wall is 6 ft high, but the bottom 2 ft is either 2x4 construction or, as John suggests, concrete blocks.
The wall that will house the niche will be 6 ft high as well (but contains no glass block).
There will be no door per se. The entry is on the left of the "niche" wall.
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Old 12-18-2017, 01:43 PM   #14
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If the wall in question is the curved one that appears to be hand-drawn, then it looks to me as if it's connected on both ends.

I'm probably confused, though.
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Old 12-18-2017, 01:49 PM   #15
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The wall(s) in question is the glass block wall (blue segmented lines) AND the wall with the niche in it. Both of these are 6 ft high (not [currently] designed to tie into the ceiling).

My question is whether or not I must tie the "niche" wall into the ceiling to provide stability for both the "niche" wall and the glass block wall (the bottom 2 ft of which are not glass block).
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