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Old 01-03-2010, 01:08 PM   #1
pjbofnyc
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wicking during kerdi water test

All,

I was testing my first kerdi shower install, and found a lot of wicking between the kerdi band around the base and the floor sheet.

Picture is attached.

The construction is kerdi drain, mud floor, kerdi walls were in
place before mud floor, then kerdi corners, then kerdi band,
the floor sheet, and then the curb sheet. Thinset was Ditraset for all of it, and mud floor was as per the mud calculator with sand added to topping cement. So the floor sheet is on top of the kerdi band at the edges of the floor.

The picture shows the right side and rear of the shower showing
quite a bit of wicking under the floor sheet, this was after 20 minutes or so. The wicking appears to have made it within 1/4" or so of the edge of the kerdi band, at which point it would be getting to the mud floor.

Around the drain flange seems to have wicked about 1".

I terminated the leak test, so I don't know if I would have lost any water over 24 hours, but I'm thinking this wicking is unacceptable and needs fixing.

Should I

- overlap with another strip of kerdi band?
- get some kerdi fix and caulk the seams with it?

Thanks for your advice in advance!
-Phil
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:25 PM   #2
ceramictec
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As long as you have the proper 2" overlap you will be fine.
Remember you will have tile and grout over this and the kerdi wont see flooding like this on the Kerdi again, some water will absorb into the thinset during flood test but wont go further.
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:15 PM   #3
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Yep, what Brian said. However, if it makes you feel better you can apply KerdiFix to the seams.

How much time between laying the Kerdi and starting the leak test?
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:45 PM   #4
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From the picture, it appears you didn't get great adhesion of the thinset to the Kerdi. IF so, that is the reason it wicked as much as you've seen. It looks like there are bright orange and duller orange (and more bright) on the bottom sheet. If your thinset was too dry or you didn't embed it well, it is hard to get great adhesion and the full waterproofing at the seams, and your Kerdi isn't embedded as well as it should be. Normally, if it is done as good as it can be with full contact, it won't wick more than 1/4" or so. You're still probably okay...see what the pros think.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:02 PM   #5
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We had a major family discussion when we installed the kerdi, my hubby thought that if we go the way you did, there will be a leak/wicking... so we did a whole wall/pan sheet (since it is a roll) and then corners and band. We also made sure that the seams are overlapping to the downside of the slope - yours seem to be overlapping the other way. Not that this will help you in any way...we never tested for leaks, but I am thinking that even if there is a bit of wicking where the drain is, it shouldn't be that much of an issue, since the drain is sloped. As for the other, I would put a band just to be on the safe side, but then again, I am just a newbie, one shower doesn't really qualify me for giving out advice.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:21 PM   #6
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It was 2-3 weeks between completion of the kerdi and the leak test.

Thanks,
Phil
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:35 PM   #7
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Are those gaps between the Kerdi Band and the floor on the right side? Did you peel corners of pieces / sheets back to make sure you had proper coverage during installation?
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:05 PM   #8
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Hi,
No the right hand side doesn't have a gap, that's just the schluter label down the center of the kerdi band and maybe some sharpie ink.

The coverage seemed good when doing the kerdi... used the kerdi trowel... when the notches are all pushed out and thinset is squeezing out with no bubbles/bumps, I took that to mean full coverage was achieved. I didn't systematically pull up edges or sheets to test.

Perhaps the thinset was slightly too stiff... not sure. It squeezed out from under the kerdi relatively easily.

Thanks,
Phil
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:34 PM   #9
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Even during flood testing properly done seams shouldn't get more than 1/4 - 3/8" of penetration under the most extreme conditions. If it were me, I'd want more Kerdi Band overlapping the floor / wall seams at a minimum. I'd buy or cut wider strips and go over anything suspect. Maybe just goop it up real good with Kerdi Fix or similar. Sounds like maybe the mortar wasn't loose enough. If so, then those seams that show the most penetration need some attention IMO.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:46 PM   #10
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I agree with Dana.

I think about Schluter's testing with the column of water that had much more water pressure than what we're looking at here, and there was only 1/4" of penetration into the overlaps.

Also thought of their cardboard box at the Schluter class. How long would it have lasted with water getting through to this degree? Not very long, I think.

Having said that, there won't be that much pressure with normal use in the shower, but I still think there's a problem here that needs to be addressed.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
I think about Schluter's testing with the column of water that had much more water pressure than what we're looking at here
that would be called "head pressure".
there wont be any once the Kerdi is covered with tile & grout.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
that would be called "head pressure".
there wont be any once the Kerdi is covered with tile & grout.
I agree. That was the point of my last sentence. But with that much wicking under only a few inches of water, I wouldn't want the life of my shower depending on tile and grout. It probably would hold up for quite some time, but we all know a small leak can cause a big problem.

There's no better time than right now to thoroughly check out this issue and make sure it's not going to cause a problem later on.

I would be tempted to get with the local Schluter rep and let him look at the pics and get an opinion.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:37 PM   #13
pjbofnyc
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Thanks all.

I think I'll need to call Schluter. To me it is not obvious what I could have done differently, other than perhaps use a looser mix of thinset. Even if I tore up the whole floor area of kerdi and re-kerdi'd it, it isn't clear to me it would turn out better the second time.

When Schluter does their water column tests, do they use DitraSet? Or something modified over wood/cardboard?

Thanks,
Phil
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:39 PM   #14
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:11 AM   #15
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Phil,
would you please post what the outcome of the conversation with Schlutter rep is? I am feeling very uneasy about my shower after seeing your pictures and like you said, even if I had to redo it, I wouldn't know what to do differently.
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