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Old 05-14-2009, 08:44 PM   #1
Frank_Cummings
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Tile a fiberglass shower pan?

Hi,

First post here. Not sure this is the right forum for this question. Here is my situation. Renovating my master bathroom. Basically all gutted out and rebuild. Bought one of those fiberglass (?) shower pans from Home Depot. Then remember hearing that you can't tile these pans. I really, REALLY, want to have the shower floor tiled also b/c I bought these gorgeous porcelain tiles for the walls. My contractor says he can do it. He will pour Level Quick on top of the fiberglass pan and then tile it. Is it the way to go?

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:55 PM   #2
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In my opinion, in the fiberglass / plastic pans of the type you mention, they are to flexible to tile. Ive never seen it recommended. Hammy

From their website: APPLICATION
LEVEL QUICK can be troweled on using a broad knife,
cement trowel, or screed. Although LEVEL QUICK is not
self-leveling, when mixed to a thinner consistency, it can
be poured on and troweled smooth.
For maximum bond, a scratch or slurry coat is
recommended, first. When dry, apply a 2nd or 3rd coat,
which should be flat troweled, or screed to the required
thickness. If applying LEVEL QUICK thicker than 1/4",
apply the material in layers to avoid surface shrinkage
cracking or crazing. If shrinkage cracks or crazing occurs,
apply a thin, final slurry coat to fill-in or use All Deck
Patching Compound to fill-in and smooth-out the surface
before proceeding with coating or flooring installation.
LEVEL QUICK can be applied from a feathered-out,
disappearing edge to several inches thick. During
application, dip trowel in clean water to prevent material
build-up. A 1/16" thick application will firm or harden twice
as fast as a 1/8" or 1/4" thick application. Discard unused
material.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:52 PM   #3
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Too flexible ... that's reason I heard for not tiling fiberglass pan. When I asked my contractor about it, that's when he suggested pouring Level Quick on top of it. He said after that, the pan will not be too flexible any more and that's why he can then tile it.

(The pan had already been installed when I remembered to tell him I want the shower floor tiled ... so, really don't want to have to take the pan out again and probably break some new tiles he has already put up.)

So, my question is then, "Is Level Quick the fix for my situation?"
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:57 PM   #4
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Welcome, Frank.

Why would your tile guy want to use a self leveling product on a shower floor that needs to be sloped? What...don't answer that...that'll take us off track.

Short answer is no, unfortunately. While there's no problem getting the tiles to stick to the pan with a $30+ bag of thinset, there is a big problem with excessive movement in terms of the pan flexing. It's too flexible for a brittle tile assembly to hold up over time. If you really want a tile floor, you'll need to mud a pan (pretty inexpensive and not difficult for a DIY'er), or buy a pan that's intentionally made for tiling over. But I gotta warn you, the pan is expensive and the setting material is difficult to work with.

And I'll move this thread over to the Tile Advice Forum for other DIY'ers to see and benefit.

EDIT: we were typing at the same time, Frank. NO, the self leveling cement is not the answer to structurally stiffen the pan. You want tile, you must tear the bottom 12"-ish inches of the shower and start again. Sorry.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:58 PM   #5
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Level quick spread as thin as directions noted, I personally do not believe it will add any strength to the pan. It will still flex in my opinion. If it were mine, I would not do it. If a customer asked me to do it. I would have to tell them I believe it will fail. Does the manufacturer recommend tiling over their pan? There are a few pans out there which are tileable, but they come with a pricetag. Hammy

Edit: Tonto is quicker than I
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:59 PM   #6
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Hey Frank,
The short answer is no.

As Hammy has stated it is too flexible. Pouring level-quick, or any type of concrete mix, on top of it is not going to make it less flexible. Think about a piece of plywood supported by two sawhorses. If you pour level-quick on it and stand in the middle after it's set, it will still crack out the concrete. Not only will you be cracking out concrete, you'll be cracking tile and grout as well. The fiberglass pan needs to come out and a regular mudbed installed in it's place.

Send your contractor over here if he doesn't believe you. We got us some guys that'll convince him right well.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:24 PM   #7
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I am sure the pan my contractor bought for me is not one of those tile ready pans ... it's under $200 bucks. So, man, now we have to tear it out! What a headache.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:22 PM   #8
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wow good response roger. puts a picture in your head and explains it perfect
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:46 PM   #9
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Frank,

Either it's a "headache" now by replacing a part of this unfinished project...understanding the failure to come, or it's a "nightmare" later on that costs even more money, time, and materials to correct. The glass really is "half full".
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:35 PM   #10
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Frank, something else your contractor doesn't know, the cement under the tile needs to be drypack. Water travels through drypack easily. Any other type cement will soak up the water and become saturated. When that happens, it will start to wick up the walls. Similar to having clogged weepholes in a standard 3 piece clamping drain. I wouldn't do it. Unless it's a huge shower, a pan liner and cement to do it right would be way less than 200 bucks.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:07 PM   #11
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one other thought

while it's not a recommended installation, I have seen it done.

Ultra-set the tile and grout with quartzlock flexible grout.

Even with that nutso installation you'l have a lip at the drain

so, a traditional mud job is the best way to go at this point

unless your desperate . . .

stephen
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
My contractor says he can do it.
He will pour Level Quick on top of the fiberglass pan and then tile it.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pooky
...while it's not a recommended installation, I have seen it done....
Stephen, you're absolutely welcome to discuss any method/experiment/hypothetical you'd like to talk about in the Pro's Hangout. But in the shallow end of the forum (Tile Advice Forum) geared at DIY'ers, we strictly adhere to TCA or manufacturer's recognized methods that will virtually guarantee them success by following them.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:50 PM   #14
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okie dokie

pardon the intrusion
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:59 PM   #15
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Definitely not an intrusion.
You're offering your creative solution to others and shows how much you care. Thanks.
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