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Old 01-24-2008, 12:03 PM   #1
unakahuna
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floating SQUARE shower seat

Need some help folks - all the tile guys and tile suppliers I spoke with do not know how to build a square corner seat that would "float". Triangles they say are easy (there is a SS prefab on the mkt), but all are dumfounded how to do a floating square seat. The photo attached(hope it's there) is taken from a book. It seems that there may be 4 circle estucians that are fastened to the wall. My guess is these hold rods about 3/4-1" dia. maybe the seat is concrete and then tiled? If so what would be your guess at the weight if this "cube" is 16" square and 3.5" thick? Help is appreciated!
Paul
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:26 PM   #2
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If I had to make that I'd do it like they do the floating stairs with invisible brackets. You would need some extra large iron or steel L brackets, say 3" wide, 1/4" thick. One leg of the L would be the length of the bench and one leg the height you want the bench off the floor. You need 2 brackets. Each of these get laminated with polyurethane glue and through-bolted to bare studs on either side. The legs that extends into the shower then need to be laminated & bolted to the box framing for the seat. I would use double layer plywood instead of any dimensional lumber in there at all.
With steel or iron in the shower, you would want to waterproof all sides of the seat & underneath & all the way up above it so that the metal is completely outside the moisture envelope (I'd use Kerdi).
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:56 PM   #3
flatfloor
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Better Bench makes a form http://www.innoviscorp.com/better-bench.php tell 'em we sent you.
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Old 01-24-2008, 01:18 PM   #4
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They're an awsome product Jim, but they really only make triangles. Their one long rectangle bench is made to go all the way across the shower - it needs 3 walls of support.
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:58 PM   #5
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Oh! A minor detail.

Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:50 PM   #6
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Paul, concrete is roughly 145 - 150 lbs per cu. ft. Those dimensions work out to .52 cu. ft, so 75 - 80 lbs. That's just concrete. Reinforcing steel, tile, thinset, and grout are a bit extra. Don't forget to add the human; they're the heaviest part.

The moment (tipping) forces on that front corner are going to be your biggest problem, a worse problem than the weight, but Tom's suggestion sounds strong enough to me.
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:54 PM   #7
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Hi Paul,

On a mud shower you could just set the concrete block into the wall and mud and tile it in. I don't think you'd need any rods or brackets for something that small.
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:11 PM   #8
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Or a corbel support...
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:15 PM   #9
unakahuna
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Thanks All - Just the feedback I've been looking for. Tom, I'm picking up what your laying down, with the exception of the bracket installation. The brackets would be quite visible, not sure how they would look? I understand about the tipping forces (somewhat),but I don't understand when John says setting the block into the wall. Does that mean to cantilever, or notch out the stud? BTW - this will be a steam shower tiled in 12x12 soapstone and I do plan on using the Kerdi system. I actually went to a Kerdi/Ditra seminar (after reading some postings in the forum) and was hooked immediately! This floating permanent bench will match up to a fold-down teak bench, that when up in place will be 6' long and when down will provide ample shower space.
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:39 AM   #10
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Paul John is talking about a mud shower, where you could leave out the mud for the bench portion, so the concrete bench is pushed back towards the wall and can sit back in a recess in the mud. In a similar way as cut-in corner caddies are recessed into the tile. I do disagree with him though that it's adequate. You need to be able to stand up on that outside corner, too much weight & tipping force IMHO.

I'm talking about fully hidden L brackets. The lower vertical leg is hidden in the wall & bolted to the studs, & the horizontal leg in the shower is hidden inside the wood framing of the bench (double layer plywood for most of the framing: top, sides, bottom). No concrete in bench. Hollow wood framing. No brackets showing. Completely invisible supports like in your picture.
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Old 01-25-2008, 01:03 AM   #11
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I have installed a lot of better benches. The load on the outside of this pic
has me concerned. I think most triangle better benches claim to have a 600
pound limit. I would be skeptical about the extra corner there. It would be
wise to contact the manufacturer and get their technical stats. My better
instinct would be to put a leg of some sort on a bech like this.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:28 AM   #12
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Paul,

that seat you show in your pictures is attached with pipes coming out of the wall,
you can see a escussion to the right of the seat and see that it is off the wall be
at least 2 to 3".

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Old 01-25-2008, 07:06 AM   #13
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Not the first time Tom and I have disagreed.

As long as the bench itself can bear the weight, the mud walls surely will.
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:05 AM   #14
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Structural Support for Cantilevered Bench

A cantilevered shower seat, outward from the shower wall, is an excellent approach from the end user perspective. It can easily and reliably be constructed with a couple of strong, stiff internal metal brackets.

This is easier done than you might think by constructing a pair of welded support brackets. The brackets can be made inexpensively from carbon steel (or stainless) by any welding shop in a matter of 30 minutes or so.

By way of illustration, I have constructed a "cantilevered" shower part-wall using this approach. It was especially important in my situation to ensure adequate resistance to wall "rotation" (i.e. 'tilting') because a grab bar is to be placed on the opposite side of this wall adjacent to a toilet. I wanted to make sure that any loads placed on the grab bar would not cause the wall to bend - and thus crack the shower tiles.

Figure 1 shows the location of the steel support within the wall. Figure 2 shows the bolting of the support to the floor structure.

In the case of a shower seat, a pair of welded steel "T-supports" or a pair of "L-supports" would be required. The vertical sections of these supports would be adhered and bolted to vertical studs. The horizontal sections would be concealed within the seats. Steel tubes of about 3" by 3" square by 1/8" wall would be adequate.

Of course, if partly exposed (as in the photograph at the beginning of this thread), the horizontal sections of the supports could be made of round stainless steel tube or pipe, 2.5" to 3" in diiameter.

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Old 01-25-2008, 09:33 AM   #15
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Michael is describing exactly what I've been trying to.

John,
Quote:
As long as the bench itself can bear the weight, the mud walls surely will.
it's not so much a question of just bearing the weight, because of course mud can do a lot of that. There is kind of a "tipping force" involved where there is nearly as much stress going up (in the one very back corner) as there is stress going down (at front cantilevered corner).
Every time that very outer corner bears someone's weight, the whole seat rocks on a pivot point, or "daigonal hinge" spanning diagonally between the two outer corners touching the wall. The far back corner goes up, the 1 cantilevered corner goes down, and the two middle corners are caught in the middle with an incredibly amplified grinding force on the mud in that area. The exponetial power of leverage is applied as those corners grind away your mud support in that area and loosen up over time.

The other question is not the support, but the concrete itself. Do you know how to make a concrete block that big, but only 3" thick that is strong enough to cantilever out that far on it's own without cracking? Regular concrete is not even in-the-ballpark strong enough to support a grown man standing on that corner.
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