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Old 01-16-2010, 10:34 PM   #1
hustont
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re-tile shower use existing pan

Looking for some advice. My knuckles are bruised and my back hurts, but I have finally have my shower down to the studs, ready to rebuild. This shower is in an 8 year old house. I tore it out, because after several attempts to regrout some sections and recaulking the wall/floor seam, the caulking was black and wouldn't come clean. While trying to remove the caulk to replace it, a couple tiles on the wall near the floor came off and it became clear that the substrate behind the tile was drywall (not cement board), which was soaking wet and crumbling. I decided to bite the bullet and tear it out and start over. So, here are my questions and some pictures to help show what I am describing.

1. I want to tile over the existing floor tile. The poured pan appears to be in good shape, solid tiles, no cracks in the grout and no leaking. We will be changing the color scheme of the shower, so don't want to keep the existing look of the white 2 inch tiles. I have done some reading and it seems like this is a reasonable idea? I plan to use one of the drain extender kits. Do you agree with this plan and what should I consider if I decide to do this?

2. I am planning on installing a vapor barrier and cement board on all wall surfaces. Is this the way to go?

3. At what point do I tile and grout the floor? Before installing the vapor barrier and cement board on the walls, or after?

4. The existing poured pan and floor tiles end about 1/2 inch from the wall studs, so there is a 1/2 inch "trench" all the way around the 4 edges of the floor. The previous set-up had the drywall sitting down in that trench. Is that the proper set-up? In other words, when I install cement board, do I put the edge down in that trench, or should I fill in that trench with cement or thinset while tiling the floor and then rest the cement board on top of the new tiled floor or leave a small gap?

Sorry for the long message, but I want to do this right. I have tiled a bathroom floor successfully in the past, so have some experience, but clearly not an expert. Please see pics below. Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:50 PM   #2
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Hi Toby, in my opinion, to do it right you need to take the floor out and replace the pan liner too.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:55 PM   #3
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What Davy said.

You went this far ... replace the pan from scratch. Also, a new mud bed will keep the lower portion of your CBU secure since you can't fasten below the top edge of the liner.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:55 PM   #4
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Toby,

Welcome to the forum. Where are you located? That can make a bit of difference in construction. In my fair city of Houston Tx, that shower liner can't have nails within 12 inches of the plywood, so that is one reason for it to go. And its already 8 yrs old. If you are dead set on keeping it, I would do a flood test first. You want the pan to hold water for 24 hours at the height of the curb. Acutally the tiles that would be laid on the curb, so no nails in the liner within 2 inches of curb height. Taking the pan out and replacing it is a fairly inexpensive procedure, it just takes some time.

I read your waterproofing method is planned on being sheet plastic behind CBU. Did you consider a surface applied liquid membrane or sheet membrane such as kerdi or noble? I am not a fan of plastic sheeting behind CBU. They just take longer to fail IMHO which is why I am a Kerdi fan. :

I like to tile the floor after the walls are tiled, some do it differently, but I would think the vast majority tile the floor after all the prep work is done. The rest are half-vast.

The trench occurs in a properly installed shower for a few reasons. Since you shouldn't put nails through the liner, how would you secure the bottom foot of the CBU? The cement floor of the shower holds the bottom of the CBU from swaying in the breeze. This is where I get to preach again. You can see how the cement base of the shower can hold water. That water migrated up your old drywall walls and destroyed them. If you build your new shower walls out of CBU with plastic sheeting behind it, the water will migrate up the cbu. It would make sense then to have the waterproof layer right under the tiles and above the cement base, no?

Some minor plumbing changes to the drain, a new faucet and you're in business.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:58 PM   #5
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poly behind CBU doesn't fail if done correctly.

I agree that surface wp is much better. (It can also fail if done incorrectly.)
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:33 PM   #6
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Welcome, Toby.

Let me pile on a bit. There are rare instances where I would agree to replace a shower pan without replacing all the walls; there are virtually no instances where I would replace shower walls without replacing the pan.

It's just not worth it. We can't see whether your pan has a pre-slope under the liner nor how the liner is treated at the curb area. Both very important considerations, even if you've not yet seen evidence of a problem.

Hate to see you spend a lot of dinero only to find you have a problem not long down the road. People who built tile-on-sheetrock showers were not known to pay the most attention to the rest of the construction.

I also agree that a proper installation of a traditional pan and liner such as you had, and a moisture barrier behind CBU walls is still a fine shower construction. I further agree that a complete waterproofing system on the interior of the shower is a better construction. But that's all up to you, too.

I'd recommend you find the Shower Construction thread in our whirl-famous Liberry and read most everything in there before you go a lot farther.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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