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Old 03-26-2003, 10:55 AM   #1
Tony A
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Post New walk-in shower construction

Hi everyone!
I haven't been on the forum for over a month. Construction on our home began Feb. 17, 2003 and that has consumed most of my time even though I'm not doing the building myself. However, as some of you may recall, I am building our master bath walk-in shower. I have a feeling this will be taking place in the near future since framing is about 100% complete and mechanicals will be starting any day.

I posted a few questions here on the forum trying to get a "feel" for what I was going to encounter with my project. I have some tiling experience but only with 3 flooring projects using 12x12 tiles - never a shower. My knowledge of shower pans, etc. comes from this forum, another web site called Ask the Builder , a book by Michael Byrnes, and various other web sites. It was agreed in earlier posts that I would wait until the project was closer to beginning before getting into the details. As I said, I have a feeling the beginning may be near and I want to take the necessary steps to do the job right. Currently, none of the shower construction has taken place and that's why I'm asking questions now. I want to be absolutely sure I don't skip anything along the way.

To see the progress of our house and view our floorplans, you can click here. To see the layout of the master bath and shower, click the "Floorplans" button along the left side then click the link to view the First Floor PDF. The master bath is in the lower left corner of the floorplan. The wall nearest the sinks will be approximately 72" tall and the remaining interior wall will be approximately 60" tall so as to "open up" the shower.

I would like to know what I should take into consideration before I begin constructing the shower. Things I'm unsure about are:

1. What does the plumber need to know and do right now?
2. Are there any special procedures I need to follow while framing the shower walls? I've read where the corners of the pan liner can be tucked away between studs if the walls are framed properly.
3. I haven't decided on what size and style of wall and floor tile I will be using for the shower. Do I need to do that before framing the shower walls?
4. I'm still undecided as far as what to use - Kerdi, CPE, or PVC (we have no code inspections where we live, so that isn't a factor). Also, we plan to live in this house for the rest of our lives so I want to build the shower as reliable as I can.
5. Finally, what major procedures of the shower construction should and should not be performed prior to drywall installation?

I know I'm asking a lot and I apologize for such a long post. I just want to be well prepared for this project.

Thank you!
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:09 AM   #2
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Hiya Tony, Welcome Back!!! I have to get to work now.But wanted to bump this back to the top. I'll check when i get home to see if you got some answers otherwise i'll address this for you. Bye for now!!
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:21 AM   #3
WilliamL
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Tony,make sure that your plumber gets the drain as close to center as possible,this will make your life alot easier.decide if your going with kerdi or a traditional pan and go from there.If you go with kerdi,you can have the drywallers go ahead and drywall the shower and save you some work and also,you will only need to float the floor once instead of twice and the drain is square so no circle cuts,kerdi is easier,I guess is what I am saying.
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Old 03-27-2003, 01:16 PM   #4
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OK work is done for the day so now i can go back to work Here
#1-Your Plumber should do all rough in work and pressure test and cap the lines,including installing valves.as william pointed out,have him set the drain as close to center as possible.Also,are you dropping your floor in this spot (shaving joists??) If so,I am going to assume you have dropped your floor about 3" and added nailers and support for your Plywood subfloor.Set your drain so you can do a preslopewith a 1/4" to the foot drop.With a dropped pan for a walk in/roll in,you will not be able to notch studs for tuckin due to floor plate material so shimming will be required.You can shim after your preslope and pan liner are in.figure about 3/8" is enough to handle folded corners.Install your CBU and then Float your pan with the same slope 1/4"- the foot.In the fore of the shower,run your pan liner over your subfloor about 12" or so before putting your CBU on rest of the main floor.Thinset and Nail your CBU to main floor area and tape your seams adding extra nails in the area where your pan liner overlaps.Now use a surface applied Membrane SAM(not to be confused with the missle)Over the rest of the bathroom floor and up the walls a couple inches.Run down into the showe a foot or so and pay particular attention to the corners leading into the shower.With this completed you can do your walltile work but be sure to protect the SAM with cardboard ,carpet pad etc.Leave your bottom course of wall tile out for now.Install your Floor tile rolling it right into your shower,Installing floor and bottom wall tile at the same time.Also installing any ceramic Basetile at the same time.Wait a day and grout walls first,then floor.

Some things to consider
#1 2x8 blocking for adding handicap bars needs to be done now.Make a note of thier location and height above finished pan.

#2 corner seats made of corian,or better bench seats need to be considered now.Size of tile is of no consequence,type makes some differance.A wall tile is easier to deal with than a floor tile for a first timer.There are some nice wall floor combinations available.
#3 given that your framing is not done,consider doubling up studs on all corners. I have noticed a definite relationship to less cornr cracking when this is done.4 studs are cheap!!!

Any additional questions for us just ask!! Have fun and we are here for you if you need us, If you need information on a Kerdi type shower, thier are several people in here with more knowledge on that particular product.Also eric From Noble company has additional products that may be interesting.To contact him under the member directory his handle is e3.
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Old 03-27-2003, 01:51 PM   #5
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Todd,does he mean a handicapped shower like without a curb?
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:06 PM   #6
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Not sure where the handicapped part came from (I can't read the printing on the plans), but with a two foot opening it's not gonna be considered accessible with or without a curb. If we're building a roll-in here, we need to back up a little.

One suggestion I always make for showers your size is to get the water controls mounted somewhere other than right under the shower heads. I like to mount at least one of them so it can be reached through the door opening without even entering the shower. Just don't think a fella aughta hafta get cold water on hisownself just to turn on his shower. Don't cost nothin' to put'em where you want'em at this stage of construction. Well, shouldn't cost nothin'.

Is this the shower that once had the door near that outside wall, or have I confused you with another, Tony?

Oh, and we should talk about the treatment of the outside of that five foot shower wall - some water gonna splash over there sometimes. Maybe the six foot one, too, actually.
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Old 03-28-2003, 11:21 AM   #7
Tony A
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Wow! I missed a day of checking the forum and look at all the info! Thanks guys!

OK, I'll try to address everyone's questions in this reply.

First of all, no dropped floors in the house. The shower will be installed on top of the subfloor. Our subfloor is 3/4" T&G plywood glued and ring shank nailed onto 11-7/8" wood I beams 16" OC. A beam made of 3 LVLs spans the basement between the master suite and great room which also runs between the shower location and the stairs. That means the joist span in the master bedroom and bathroom is just under 13 feet.

Todd - No roll-in entrance - just a 24" entrance with a curb (no door, no curtain). I'll mention the double stud corners to our builder.

Cx - I remember your suggestions on the shower control placement and yes you have the right Tony. You're correct in recalling that the entrance was in a different location. I moved the entrance after seeing one built very similar to the one I am planning to build. The owners (my cousin and her spouse) say it works great with no water exiting the entrance. I'm also convinced that I should waterproof the outside of the shower walls since they have glass block to the ceiling on their long wall and the short wall goes to the ceiling.

I'm contemplating whether I can make both shower walls about 60" tall and prevent major splashover. To prevent this, I've moved the location of the heads closer to the corner as are my cousin's. Any thoughts on that?

Our builder suggested tying the short wall to the ceiling using a post of some sort to help stabilize it. We're also trying to come up with a method to stabilize the long wall since it will be even less stabile. Any thoughts on how to stabilize these walls? Would a built-in bench on the long wall (connected to the floor) help?

I've really been reading about the Schluter products and the Kerdi shower waterproofing membrane. It seems like it would be somewhat easier considering I only have experience laying floor tile. I really like the Kerdi drain system and the thought of not having to install CBUs on all of the shower walls. Also, no PVC or CPE liner to deal with, no corner tucking into the framing, no gluing, no wall blocking to fasten the liner, no vapor barrier behind the drywall, no preslope, no worry about plugging weep holes, etc. Am I correct in assuming that the drywall installers can install the drywall directly in the shower and I can take it from there with Kerdi? Any comments?

Thanks again!
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Old 03-28-2003, 02:16 PM   #8
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Hi Tony,

Deciding on Kerdi ought to be done right now. Have the plumber simply stub up the riser for the shower drain, but don't hand over the Kerdi drain to him. Do that portion yourself. It is absolutely essential that the riser be perfectly plumb when using the Kerdi Drain.

Also, particular attention must be paid to the framing and drywall in the shower area. The drywall forms the final shape of the shower. No shimming is possible. Some sheetrockers are not into the concepts of flat and plumb.

Schluter is also coming out with a Styrofoam floor which saves you the hastle of mudding in the shower floor under the Kerdi mat. Unfortunately, the prototype is 42 inches square, so you would want to build your shower that size. I happen to have a couple of the floors out in my garage that probably won't find an application in my business. They come with Styrofoam curb sections as well.
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Old 03-29-2003, 09:34 AM   #9
Tony A
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Thanks John!

What is the size of the riser stub to the Kerdi drain? I'll make it a point to talk to our builder and the sheetrockers about the shower walls. Living in a small town, we all know one another and that helps with things like this.

Is Kerdi and other Schluter edge/joint products a good choice for this project? I've been reading as much as I can about the Schluter products and traditional shower pan construction, but I'm just not sure what application would be best.

Also, Kerdi eliminates pre-slope, right? If so, does that mean the curb wouldnt have to be quite as high? Is there a standard curb height and width?

One last question, if using Kerdi, can I create niches and a seat using framing material (2-bys, etc.) and drywall then waterproof everything with Kerdi?

Thank you!
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Old 03-29-2003, 04:46 PM   #10
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Hi Tony,

The riser size is two inches, which is common in most areas of the country.

I would use plywood for the top of the seat -- two layers. It needs to be a bit stronger than sheetrock which is fine for all the vertical surfaces.

Curbs need to be about three inches higher than the finished tile floor on the inside. About five inches to the bathroom floor would be about minimum.

Have you viewed the complete installation video on the Schluter site? They include the use of Schluter trims at all the plane changes, but it's not necessary to use them.

You can waterproof just about anything with Kerdi as long as you can accomplish a two-inch overlap at the seams.
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Old 03-31-2003, 06:53 AM   #11
Tony A
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John,
Thanks for the info!

Can Kerdi be applied directly over the plywood (seat top) or does some other material need to be used over the plywood before applying the Kerdi?

I viewed the Kerdi installation video on Schluter's web site 2 times so far -- the one where the gentleman goes through the entire process from bare floor to finished tile and trim. When I first saw the video, that's when I started thinking about using Kerdi.

Would you recommend using the Schluter edge trim and expansion joint pieces on this project, or should I look for tile with the edges I need and silicone the expansion joints? I would like to know if anyone has had any problems with the preformed edges.

The Schluter video shows some kind of mesh being laid down over the 4 mil plastic. Is this a specific type of wire mesh?

Forgive me if I sound like I'm directing all of my comments and questions to John. I appreciate replies from all.

Thank you!
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Old 03-31-2003, 01:44 PM   #12
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No help from me, but wow!

Hey Tony,

I just had to drop in and say how impressed I am with the site you built to detail your home construction. Very impressive use of technology, both in web-publishing and with the home design work.

You should be customer of the week (at least) for the publicity you are giving your GC and subs.

Warmest wishes for many happy years in your new home.
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Old 03-31-2003, 01:47 PM   #13
Tony A
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Your first shower pan will fail!
I was hoping that would catch everyone's attention. I've been calling everywhere around town (Springfield, IL) trying to find out where I can purchase Schluter products, namely Kerdi. I'll break them down to make it easier to read.

Arizona Tile:
I talked to a young guy that didn't seem to know what Kerdi was. Once he found it, he said he wouldnt sell me something that was comparable to what they already sell. He recommended using Dens-sheild instead. When I asked about the floor, he recommended a pan liner. After talking to him about installing a pan liner, he had no idea what a pre-slope was. He said to install the pan liner directly on the subfloor! That conversation ended quickly.

Dal Tile:
They can get any of the Schluter products but I have to go through a dealer. No comments on Kerdi vs. pan liners.

Keen Tile:
The gentleman told me that they could get any Schluter product but he didnt recommend Kerdi because it was "too damn thin for floor application" and the drain was "100 bucks". He laughed when I told him I was doing the shower pan myself. In his words, "don't do it because your first pan will fail". Wow! So much for a confidence builder! He said there are only about 6 experienced installers who will even attempt shower pans around here! However, he did know to install a pre-slope with a pan liner. His reason for guaranteed failure is the inability to mix the deck mud properly. Is mixing deck mud really rocket science? He warned about poking a hole in the liner while packing the final slope. Gee, I figured I would be more careful than that. Also, when I told him I had been doing my homework on the subject, he laughed again. I told him I've been frequenting a forum on the Internet with tile experts and he balked at that too! Should I avoid this guy, should I have him install the pan for me at his estimated $500 (I'm joking -- but that was his price), or should I go ahead and attempt it myself and get products through him to prove him wrong? I'm steamin'
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Old 03-31-2003, 01:57 PM   #14
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Thanks Tom!
The web site was "born" out of the frequent requests by friends and family on "how's that house comin' along? You got pictures? What's yer square footage? What kinda house ya buildin'?"..... Another idea for the web site was to enable anyone on this forum to see how the shower project was coming along and help me through this. If you read my previous post, you'll see how irritated I am right now.

I figured since my ISP already gave me the space, I might as well do something with it. I'm still learning about web page design, but I'm a programmer by day so PCs are my job and hobby. As you can see, there is much room for improvement but my objective was/is to just get something out there so friends and family could see the progress. I haven't updated it lately with photos since framing is about 99% complete and shingles are going on right now. To most, it wouldnt look like much was happening.

I thought it was the least I could do to include the builder and subs on the first page. So far, all have been a pleasure to work with.

As far as the home design goes, I spent many late nights drawing the floorplans and tweaking them. The design was based off of a commercial design but my wife and I have customized a large portion of it.

Thanks again for the compliments!
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Old 03-31-2003, 06:15 PM   #15
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That's all very interesting.

The key to not poking a hole in the liner when you're floating the floor is akin to not falling out a solo-manned sailboat in the middle of the ocean. Don't do it!

I'm not surprised that a lot of people haven't heard of Kerdi. There are a good number of so-called pros who haven't heard of shower pans. And then there is the fact that Kerdi has not made it into the Uniform Plumbing Code yet. So no, I'm not surprised.

Kerdi is 30 mils thick. PVC liners come in 20, 30 and 40 mil. In Houston we use 40 mil, but out in Arizona where I used to live we used 20 mil. Seems to me 30 will do the trick. Let's face it. The stuff will NOT degrade, so the difference between 30 mil and 40 mil is moot unless you make a hole in it.

We can help you do it either way, Kerdi or PVC/CPE.

General Info

The Home Depot retail price of a Kerdi drain kit is $106. It's plastic, but it's complex as drains go, and it comes with a stainless steel grate. It is also the only drain available that will accept a surface membrane. Under the circumstances, it's worth the price. It's available in both PVC and ABS. It's a special order item. SKU 344388. My friends at Schluter have informed me that if Home Depot is incapable or unwilling to order any Schluter product, that they (Schluter) will provide it to you directly at the same cost.

Last edited by John Bridge; 03-31-2003 at 06:22 PM.
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