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Old 05-14-2004, 10:37 AM   #1
Harris
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Question Copper shower pan

I have a customer insisting on a copper shower pan for a 5x5 shower, all the showers I have done have been pvc liner. Is there anyone that can give me some advice on how the installation of a copper pan vs pvc liner. Also I have read some posts that suggest the pvc is better if done properly(I never had pvc fail in all my years)
Thanks in advace for your input
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:39 PM   #2
John Bridge
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Hi Harris, Welcome aboard.

If you can't talk them out of it, go with it. You can improve upon the copper pan, though, without getting anyone upset.

I would dangle strips of PVC pan material down the walls and let them lap into the copper pan. That's because they never make the sides of the things high enough. Likewise in the curb area, they usually don't provide anything to go over the top of the rough curb. I would augment that situation with Liner material as well.

Actually, I've never worked with a copper pan, but I've done a lot of lead pans, and the same shortcomings are present.
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Old 05-14-2004, 07:02 PM   #3
doitright
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Hi Harris

I've never had an experience with a copper pan, nor seen one. I've seen copper gutters eat away, whats preventing the same thing from happening to the pan? Is the copper going to have a prepitch below it? How will the copper react to the mud base?

Who will install this? I only know roofers and some sheet metal guys who know how to work with copper.

I've also replaced several lead pans, but no PVC or CPE liners that have been installed properly.
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Old 05-14-2004, 08:19 PM   #4
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Smile

Thanks for the replies
I have heard that the copper will decay from the lime in the portland cement and yes there will be a bed installed over asphalt paper and mesh then the pan then the final mix on top of pan. It seems to me that the copper sandwiched between the the two layers will oxodize fairly quickly .Ugh! these customers just don't get that a pvc liner is safe to use .also any more tips on the installation of this copper pan would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the warm reception
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Old 05-14-2004, 08:31 PM   #5
Davestone
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I've taken out a couple and only put mud in one,the ones i took out weren't leaking but man they looked bad.One was wrapped over a wood curb and one was centered in mud curb,i centered mine in curb,i don't even know how they were attached to plumbing.
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Old 05-15-2004, 12:37 PM   #6
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Hi Harris, welcome to the forum. Make sure they understand that one of these is probably true about copper: 1) They usually have no preslope, leading to mold problems & hastening leak problems at the drain connection, or 2) if it is presloped, there is no plumber or HVAC guy or metal man alive that will perfectly make a pan to conform exactly to the conical asymetrical imperfect preslope. It will span across areas creating voids. When you step on these, it's very difficult for 2" of dry pack to hold up long term without a solid base underneath. Flexible liners give you both preslope & solid bearing onto the floor below.
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Old 05-15-2004, 02:44 PM   #7
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Greetings,

My 1st. time here. This copper-pan discussion with the homeowners should be just that. A discussion. Leaded-in copper pan installation is probably one of the most costly and labor intensive undertakings that a tilesetter could get himself into. Thirty years ago when I was working in Lake Tahoe they were common and for the most part required. We always subbed the metal work out to an HVAC man and if they were good they could bend in the slope for drainage to the weep holes of the drain. But before we could set the pan we had to schedule in a hotmopper to apply 3 layers of felt withh 5 layers of boiling hot asphalt. And don't forget the drain had to be leaded in and then pan set in a moist mud bed for strength. Just to get to the point where now you lay down and fold in a piece of Pasco vinyl. Unless they have more time and money than God , you need to have them read this forum. Besides the amount of work involved you'll probably never find anyone these days who would even know how to build a pan for you. Times have changed for the better. It would be like someone insisting you install wood lath and plaster to studs throughout a house instead of using drywall, and expect you to charge the same. if you catch my drift.... Good Luck. Joemama: bang:
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Old 05-15-2004, 04:49 PM   #8
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Welcome Joe

Thank you!

Hang around, and feel free to share more of your expertise!

Harris,

I hope you're paying attention!

Don't let the homeowners take the control of your job. In the end, you'll regret it. If they won't bend, it would be better to pass.
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Old 05-15-2004, 05:42 PM   #9
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Joemamma, Welcome to our little group. If you've been at it thirty years you've got to be almost as old as . . . er . . . uh . . . Dave Gobis.

How 'bout giving us a first name? As you might know, I got my waterwings in Phoenix lo these many years ago.

The copper pans in question are in Mass., and as far as I know, that's the only place they still hold favor. I don't think they have ever hot mopped them in up there, although I could be wrong on that. It's a situation much like the hot mopped pans which are still in vogue over on the Coast. They just seem to have a hard time with technology on the two opposite coasts.
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:18 AM   #10
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I couldn't agree more.

Better yet Harris, have your customer do a little research after talking with them. Chances are they'll end up at this forum and see exactly what we think of copper pans and hot mop.

Whenever I run across a copper pan on a jobsite, out come the tin snips. So does the pan.

If you need help convincing them, let me know - we're just down the road.
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Old 05-17-2004, 11:09 AM   #11
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Hell-o Again

Thanks for the Welcome...

I got here completely by accident. I was on a site somewhere concerning spas and I saw this link. I picked up an old 8'x8' jacuzzi a couple years ago for free on a jobsite. The motor burned out last year and I figured since I needed to replace the motor anyway I might as well get a bigger one and install a few more jets. I was looking for some plumbing layouts. Anyone got any good info. it would be appreciated greatly.
Anyway, Yes I'm getting up there, just turned 53 yrs. old. Seems like I've got underwear older than most people I meet anymore. Been doing tile since I was 16 and now have the back and knees to prove it, so 2 years ago when I had to go in the hospital to be told my disks were totally shot that's when I ended my illustrious carreer.
I did alot of commercial mall work towards the end and it got to the point where it was better to slide around on concrete slabs for sometimes up to 20 hours a day without kneepads than with them. The straps started breaking all the veins on the back of my legs . Don't like to think of all the nights lying in bed with a stack of pillows under my knees trying to get rid of the endless throbbing of pain or going to the Dr. every week to have a horse sryinge with a needle the size of a pencil stuck under my kneecaps to draw out a pint of senovial fluid.
And , knowing, of course, that it was entirely my fault when a job was running behind schedule , so we had to work ungodly amounts of hours , 32 straight hours one time, and since we were the last subs besides the carpet guys to be there, it was our job to save the contractors ass because of his inability to plan a job right and get it done on time. Now my knees and back are paying the price.
It seemed like every big job we did, they put us in the hotbox to play catch-up for them. Being given 5-6 days to do a 2 week job and of course it must be flawless, I might add.. It was totally ridiculous all the stress you had to go through and damage you did to your body in the meantime. I swore after each time I put myself in that situation I would never do it again. But, " I Are Smart", and I would take them on anyway.. In hindsight I should have re written my contracts so we only worked so many hours a day, and they would have to pay US each and every time they hovered over us like vultures while we were working , asking us over and over again when we would be done , and whined about how much they would be fined for each day past the deadline WE worked, and OMG you're not charging us extra for that little bit of prep that we couldn't get done. Well excuse me , if it was so little why wasn't it done before we got here ?.
I think everyone here knows what I'm talking about. Think about this too. Of ALL the subs on every job We are the ONLY ones that CAN'T say, " Oh, That's good enough , the next sub that comes in will take care of it and make it look good. Not ! We are the ONLY ones that are Required to do Flawless work and we DO it no matter what the situation is that we're insralling it in. We had to be our biggest critics. If we couldn't find anything wrong with a job , no one else would, that's for sure.
There's no such thing as Scabbin'in or Throwin' in some tile as everyone seems to think. Every single job we've ever done from the start has been a challenge . We had to take every sub's work that ever worked ahead of us, no matter how bad the workmanship, or lack of was, and make it look good and let them take the credit for it. Over the years I've had 11 different custom tile and marble jobs featured in major magazines and not once did they ever mention my name. It was always the General Contractor that got all the credit.
I guess, after all this long windedness and never given the chance to say it before. I want to say this just once. The Tile trade is not for slackers, sluffers, blowhards, people trying to make a quick buck, egomaniacs looking for recognition, or wannabes. There can be NO shortcuts. You can't get away with anything in this trade. Nor do we want to. Our work , from the beginning of time has always been , more than anyone elses, gone over with a fine toothed comb, and we do it more than anyone because the word OK would never fly in our books. You Have to be an Artist and a Perfectionist to be a tilesetter. To be any other way is NOT acceptible. You can't bluff your way through this trade.
What makes us different from everyone else in the construction trades is that we look at every job as a piece of art . No two jobs, in my experience have ever been alike. Most people have no idea what we put ourselves through just in the process of laying out a job and doing it. We just make it look easy. We have to make bowed walls look straight and flat, unlevel and unplumb floors and walls look like someone used a laser when they were framing or floating out a slab, and look as if the house was built around the tile instead of the other way around. It's Our job to make everyone elses work look good, our job to mother everyone and reassure them and make them think they did a good job, and that we can fix their screwups , and we DO all the way up the line to the person who originally thought of the project in the first place.
By the time we're finished with a job we've put a smile back on everyone's faces and given them a reason to continue on with their line of work, because usually by this time they're close to giving up/.
Bottom line is we're not just lowly tilesetters, but we're also therapists, helping them regain their self esteem, making them look good again, because up until your arrival on the scene there was no light at the end of the tunnel for their poor excuse of a project, we're mindreaders , because how else are we going to know what they really want or thought they wanted, we're politicians and world leaders, we plant seeds and lead them , usually the homeowner, without them knowing it, down a road filled with tile & interior decorator & designer's moments of enlightenments, bombarding their feeble minds, that normally never think of anything other than the statement, "It'll open it right up" and the new-age, back by popular demand, exciting and mispronounced color of "mauve", so that when you finally drag them to the distributor to pick out tile, they will do a good job of it , and keep you from coming back 4 or 5 more times, and you will have made them believe that they did it all by themselves without anyones help.
And we're scientists and magicians, because we're making the impossible possible again, making it all look like all of these screwups were planned, and well thought out procedures. Something everyone can be proud of. What other trade does all of this and could say that about themselves ?
Don't ever let anyone downplay your importance as a tilesetter. They'll never see it in you of course, and there's probably a lot of tilesetters out there that have never thought about what I've just said either, but that doesn't mean it's not the truth.
Most of us haven't had the time to look at ourselves this way so we can know the truth because we spend it unselfishly thinking of others,, saving other peoples asses, getting them out of messes , and making them feel good about themselves again, and look good to everyone else.
God, I think I've got too much time on my hands, now that I can't work anymore. Someone find the power switch. This has all been for fun but I bet I've hit a lot of things that ring a bell of truth, too. Just think about it.
Thanks for putting up with my rants and taking the time to read this. Much Luck and Happiness to You, Thanks,
Joe Andre

Saw this on a bumper sticker a few years ago:


"TILE SETTERS PUT IT IN BY THE FOOT" Thought I'd Share that.

**** I hope this screwy letter hasn't been grounds for banishing me from your site. I think your forum is a real good one and much needed. Thank You
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Old 05-17-2004, 11:38 AM   #12
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Joe, we know exactly what you're talking about.
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Old 05-17-2004, 06:11 PM   #13
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Thanks Joe.

You said it all.

JD
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Old 05-17-2004, 06:38 PM   #14
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Thanks Joe!

Very well said! Unfortunetly today, people are taking shortcuts, accepted or not. I've always called it job security, but I'd rather not have to fix someone elses improper installation.

Fortunetly, people coming to this forum want to better themselves, and learn from others experience.

Thank you again for the reality check!
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Old 05-17-2004, 09:02 PM   #15
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Hang around, Joe. Quite an eloquent speech. Ever thought of writing a book?
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