concrete board or green rock? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-17-2013, 03:12 PM
Trying to figure out which way to go on a walk-in shower(where a tub used to be). My tile installer said i can go either route. He said i should use Onyx(link to products: ) or we can build one from scratch with vinly liner and tile. What is the recommeded way to do by you guys and what is the benefits of each type? Labor would end up costing me around 1000.00 with me supplying materials. Again this area is now a tub with tub surround and will all be torn out. Is this a good price labor wise or is that expensive?

Also, is there anything bad about using travertine in a shower area?

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Brad Denny
02-17-2013, 07:27 PM
There are many wonderful showers out of stone, but I personally do not recommend it unless you are prepared to do the maintenance required. I suggest avoiding stone products under shoulder height in showers, but that is only my opinion. If you think that you can do a great job of keeping it clean, then by all means go for it. There are some great sealers and cleaners to keep it looking good.

As to the Onyx base, it looks like a short step up from cultured marble. I'm sure it has its merits, but I don't think you can beat the quality and longevity of a well installed tiled shower pan.

Houston Remodeler
02-17-2013, 08:47 PM
What Brad said plus;

My shower is granite, the one exception to the stone rule mentioned above.

How was the contractor fixin' to waterproof ?

02-17-2013, 11:59 PM
Your installer is going to tear out and reinstall for $1,000? Did I miss read something in your post? How long did he say the project would take?

02-18-2013, 01:34 AM
Well, he mentioned using redgard applied to the walls or me using Kerdi......i don't know much about it. i mentioned putting plastic sheeting between the concrete board and the studs and that was on me to do....good idea?

So, with granite, is granite better to use than travertine in regards to easier maintenance?

02-18-2013, 01:37 AM
Eblumer: He said it would take a couple weeks of evenings to do it all. He wants me to help with tearing out the tub and the 2 piece tub surround. Price good or bad? He is doing this for a trade type of deal. I have a brand new refrigerator that i don't need and he is basically doing it on the side for the fridge.

02-18-2013, 05:49 AM
Hi Jack,

As for granite or travertine as mentioned natural stones aren't the best choices for wet areas. They will require more maintenance over using a porcelain tile which you can get to look like a natural stone and very little maintenance but the choice is yours. I like travertine but not in a shower.

As for the cost, 1000.00 or basically trading the new refrigerator I would say that is a great price. As long as he does it right and knows what he is doing, I understand this is a side job and you are supplying the materials and helping with some aspects of the job. I think this trade is more than fair for you both:tup1:

Brad Denny
02-18-2013, 05:55 AM
I dunno about the installer, Jack. That $1000 does sound cheap, but it also sounds like you will be doing a lot of labor that he should be crediting you for.

As for the waterproofing, I wish he were taking a stronger stance on the issue. It makes me doubt his knowledge of waterproofing systems. Anyway, you don't want to use a vapor barrier behind the studs and something on the face of the CBU. You want one or the other.

02-18-2013, 11:34 AM
So, having a double vapor barrier(one on each side of the concrete board) is a bad thing? I guess i don't understand why.

Will you guys please tell me what exactly is the best methods of waterproofing the walls and floor? I want to make sure it gets done correctly.

He has installed a lot of these walk-in showers and i have heard he does a good job and seen pics that looked good. But that doesn't mean he does the best job of waterproofing which can't be seen. I am not saying he doesn't know what he is doing, i just want to know the different proper methods of waterproofing the walls and floor.

thanks for your help.

02-19-2013, 04:07 AM
posted by Jack:
So, having a double vapor barrier(one on each side of the concrete board) is a bad thing? I guess i don't understand why.

Will you guys please tell me what exactly is the best methods of waterproofing the walls and floor? I want to make sure it gets done correctly.

Jack, having a double moisture barrier with the concrete board in between we refer to as a "mositure sandwich." Overkill because if you coat the concrete board with a liquid and there are quite a few so moisture shouldn't get beyond it. Say it does get through then the barrier on the other side traps it in the cement board. Then eventually it will grow mold and that moisture will feed it.

One good liquid waterproofing over the cement board is best, follow directions to make sure you get enough thickness on the board. Usually means about 2 or three coats depending on how you apply it. You don't want to put it on thick, thin so it dries good then another coat. Hydro Ban, Redguard, Hydro Barrier..... to name a few of the liquids:)

The floor you mean the shower floor I assume? You can do liquid on the floor too but you have to give it 3 days to cure. I am assuming you are not using a liner underneath and a conventional drain. In that case your waterproofing is the liner under the mortar bed you don't put one on top.

I normally use kerdi fabric for the shower pan, that way when I do the mud bed the next day I can put the fabric on and tile same day.

Brad Denny
02-19-2013, 06:04 AM
Well, he mentioned using redgard applied to the walls or me using Kerdi......i don't know much about it. i mentioned putting plastic sheeting between the concrete board and the studs and that was on me to do....good idea?

If he were to allow you to put only a vapor barrier, i.e. plastic, on the studs, he would need to install a traditional pan liner with notched or furred studs and the plastic sheeting would need to lap over on the inside of the liner. It didn't sound like he was prepared to do that, rather just come in and coat the floor with Redguard, which would be disastrous for you if you had put up plastic. Now, if you do Kerdi and he does Redguard, that could work, but I think I'd rather flash the wall floor connection with Kerdi Band or use fabric with the Redguard. Lots of different ways to skin a cat here, but they need to be agreeable with each other. :)

02-22-2013, 06:04 AM
I think that he was planning to use a liner on the shower floor if i go with a tile floor and not the onyx shower floor.

So with travertine or granite, what would be a normal maintainence schedule for it in regards to sealing, cleaning, etc.? I guess i am asking how frequent on average would this need to be done? I would suspect the shower area would be used once a day considering we have another bathroom with a shower/tub.

02-23-2013, 10:08 AM
Anyone have some more to add to my new questions above?

Also, what do you guys think of the kerdi fabric? I heard from one local tile guy that he has seen the schluter stuff(i guess he has had to tear out some shower floors where someone had used it and it had leaked. I guess he likes to use some kind of a rubber liner) leak. I don't know much about any of the shower lining stuff. I am not disagreaing with anyones preferences i just don't know much about it. I wonder what rubber liner he uses?

02-23-2013, 10:15 AM
Jack, any shower floor can leak if the waterproofing membrane is not properly installed.

If your guy has actually torn out leaking Kerdi showers, he's torn out improperly installed Kerdi showers. We can't prevent that any more than we can prevent improperly installed traditional shower pans that leak.

But I suspect the truth is he just hasn't used the Kerdi system and is not confident about it. Lot of that going around and until he tries it he's never gonna like it.

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-23-2013, 11:31 AM
I see what you are saying. The guy i am talking about isn't the one that is doing the walk-in shower for me. The guy i am talking about is just another tile guy in the area. I really have no way to know if the guy that is doing my walkin shower knows what he is doing or not on the shower floor. I heard he does good work.....but that is all i know about it.

Anyone else have to add to this? What about the questions i had on the maintanence schedule for natural stone in a shower area?

03-07-2013, 09:09 AM
I was told that admin was a additive that you can add to cement grout to make it almost waterproof. Is this the case? If so, what is it called and what brands is there to get? I am trying to find a alternative to using urethane grout. I want to have a waterproof grout that doesn't need sealing or at least not extremely frequently.

Thanks for any help. i hope to get what i need to rounded up today.

The Kid
03-07-2013, 09:37 AM
Anti hydro would work, but it's not going to play well with modified grouts like most are. You would need to find an unmodified grout, but IMO I would still seal the grout once a year. So really, it's a wash in my opinion.

03-07-2013, 12:20 PM
So, what is this admin that he is telling me about?

03-07-2013, 12:48 PM
I have no idea, Jack. Think you need to tell us what product you're being told about and perhaps who it is that's telling you.

I do not recommend adding anything to a cementitious grout that is not recommended by the grout manufacturer.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-07-2013, 01:10 PM
Do you mean this?

LATICRETE® 1776 Grout Enhancer

Designed for use with LATICRETE® 1500 Sanded Grout and LATICRETE® 1600 Unsanded Grout, LATICRETE 1776 Grout Enhancer is used in place of water to provide a dense, colorfast grout joint that inhibits stain causing bacteria, mold and mildew growth with Microban®. Ideal for all interior and exterior grout applications.

■Inhibits stain causing mold and mildew with Microban®.
■Easy to clean—cleans easily using a minimal amount of water.
■Inhibits powdering and cracking—provides a more dense and stronger portland cement grout joint.
■Locks in grout color—reduces problems with faded or blotchy color in grouts.
■Water and frost resistant—prevents damage to grouts from weathering, frost and thermal shock.
■Reduces staining. Reduces absorption.
■Designed for interior and exterior use.
■"Extra Heavy Service" rating per TCNA performance levels (RE: ASTM C627 Robinson Floor Test).
■Improves flexibility and durability—makes grout more shock resistant.

03-07-2013, 01:11 PM
Or this?

LATICRETE® Admix and Primer

LATICRETE Admix & Primer is a latex primer for use with LATICRETE 86 LatiLevel™ and LATICRETE 84 LatiLevel . It is also used as an admix for LATICRETE 816 LatiPatch™. Product is for interior use only.

■Easy to use
■Reduces pinholes
■Allows for proper hydration of self leveling underlayment
■Increases bond strength

03-07-2013, 01:43 PM
There is no need for a waterproof grout if your shower has been properly waterproofed. Although epoxy and urethane grouts have about the same absorbency rates as porcelain tile, I know of no manufacturer that makes the claim of their grout being waterproof.

If stain resistance is your main concern and occasional sealing is a burden then epoxy and urethane are your options. Admix's and additives for cementious grouts are intended to provide stain resistance not waterproofing.

03-07-2013, 05:40 PM
I've used Anti-Hydro with modified grouts and it works just fine.

03-07-2013, 05:46 PM
Maybe it does Jerry, could you let us know what manufacturer would approve such a mixture?
If you don't want to seal, epoxy or urethane, or customs fusion are your choices.
Adding anything not approved by the grout manufacturer is asking for trouble.

03-07-2013, 06:54 PM
Waterproof grout?! Grout isn't waterproof?! Why does "non-waterproof" grout even exist?

Seriously. We tile showers with ceramic (waterproof) tiles, then tie them together with a material that isn't also waterproof? :scratch:

I can understand if this were 600 AD, but in 2013 we still have building materials that are poorly suited to the task? :shake:

The more I look at my options for my first DIY tile job, the more I'm amazed how it is not a simple task, with simple answers. Yet it should be, since humans have been using tile, longer than we have been stick-building homes.

03-07-2013, 08:52 PM
If it were just a "simple task" that anyone could do, do you really think there would be a forum dedicated to giving advice and help on the subject?? As with any trade there are many technical aspects that need to be studied, learned and applied to ensure a lasting end product.

Contrary to popular belief tile and grout are not, nor have they ever been waterproof. They do offer water-resistance but shouldn't be considered as a waterproofing layer. Even if there were such a thing as waterproof grout how are you going to ensure that there are no pinholes in the grout during application. There will be, and then water will find it's way behind the tile assembly. If you relied on the tile and grout as your waterproofing layer and didn't properly waterproof before tile installation then the tile assembly will eventually be ruined. Tile and grout are purely aesthetic-that's it

03-12-2013, 01:34 AM
I am just wondering the opinions and experiences with the new fusion pro grout from custom building products. I was using quartzlock2 urethane grout for my showers and thought about trying the Fusion pro, but i wanted to get some insight on it.

03-12-2013, 03:59 AM
Jack, here is the thread started on Fusion pro.

A mod will move and combine this thread.

Jack I also got your PM and will get you that info.

03-12-2013, 08:07 PM
My tile guy says we can either use wonderboard and thinset for the bathroom walls(main walls, we will be using wonderboard and thinset in the shower)or we can use green sheetrock and mastic. What would you guys do? The sheet rock would be easier to cut and put up, but i want what is going to last the best.

Also, my guy says he prefers wonderboard or durock over hardiebacker in a shower and on walls. What do you guys think is the best?

03-12-2013, 08:14 PM
In a non wet area (outside shower) sheetrock is fine.
Mastic would work to although thinset is cheaper and better.
In the shower cement or hardi is fine, whichever you prefer.
how is he,planning on waterproofing your shower?
Tile nor thinset are waterproof. cement boards are water resistant but not waterproof?

03-12-2013, 08:17 PM
Jack, it'll help if you'll keep all the project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered. We can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one. :)

Are you talking about walls outside the wet areas in this bathroom when he suggests "green sheetrock"? If so, that would be fine except I see no advantage at all in using the MR Board (greenrock) instead of regular drywall.

In the wet areas, what is he suggesting as a water containment system either on or behind the suggested CBU walls?

"Best" CBU is usually the one more easily accessible and/or the one preferred by the guy who hasta install it. They all work.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-12-2013, 08:33 PM
Yes, i am talking the regular walls. I just thought that maybe concrete board would be stronger and longer lasting than using sheetrock and mastic. He plans to use redgard. If that works good. Are you saying you can use thinset on the sheetrock? I thought you had to use mastic on sheetrock?

03-12-2013, 08:34 PM
Thinset mortar on drywall works just fine in dry areas.

That's how Kerdi works, eh? :)

03-12-2013, 08:45 PM
Oh, i thought that the extra moisture in the thinset would cause problems being used on sheetrock and would make it fall apart. Is there a trick to using thinset on sheetrock?

What did you mean about the kerdi comment? I don't know much about

03-12-2013, 08:56 PM
No trick at all, just do it. Good idea to wipe the surface with a damp sponge first, but that applies to CBU as well.

I probably should have left off the Kerdi comment. My point was that the manufacture specifies drywall as a backing material and thinset mortar as a bonding agent. Works just fine.

03-23-2013, 06:54 PM
The shower area that we are doing is 32" by 60" and is going to be a walk in shower with a onyx one piece floor. So the tile area will be 2 walls at 32" by 80" and the other wall at 60" by 80" and we are using wonderboard. Would a gallon of the redgard be enough to water proof the concrete board? My tile guy says it is enough, but the container says 35 to 40sq foot of coverage. Wanted to get some input from you guys on this.

03-23-2013, 07:07 PM
My wife won't let me have a credit card :shake: but someone said that Redgard needs to be about credit card thick. I do know that if it's transparent after spreading it, it's too thin. I think you will need another gallon, maybe 2. Are you going to use Redgard for the shower pan too?

03-23-2013, 07:18 PM
Just want to add, to use Redgard as a waterproof membrane, it needs to be in 2 coats and 30 to 35 mil thick when it's dry.

Bodie Powers
03-23-2013, 07:29 PM
Jack, the Redguard on-line tech data sheet doesn't specify coverage but I checked a bucket in my shop and it says 1 gal will cover 35-40 sq ft at 93 mils combined wet thickness (~2 coats). Your dimensions add up to 51 sq ft so you would need 2 gallons to do your walls, with some left over for the floor if needed.

Custom Bldg Products doesn't require reinforcing fabric for changes in plane and cracks <1/8", but they do comment that it will enhance the installation. I always use the 6" wide fiberglass reinforcing mesh at changes in plane and gaps < 1/8".

03-24-2013, 05:39 AM
The floor is a onyx one piece floor. It is a man made stone floor similiar to the man made granite tops. I am not sure if they put any quartz in it or not. I went that route for a much easier maintence schedule for the wife.

So, you guys think that with just needing to waterproof the shower walls and not the flloor that I will still need more than one gallon? The reason that i am trying to get a close idea is because the gallon at home depot is like 46.97 but the 3.5 gallon is 135.00 which is 9.00 a galon cheaper or so.

Is there any other practical uses for this redgard? Any other practical uses in the bathroom besides the shower?

03-24-2013, 09:26 AM
Jack, you still need a waterproof receptor in that shower, one-piece onyx floor or not. I don't see what was your final decision on that.

If you're trying to go the least expensive route, I would recommend you go back to your original plan to use a moisture barrier behind the CBU walls. That'll work just fine and is a whole lot less expensive than a bonded waterproofing membrane on the interior.

If you had a shower small enough for one gallon of RedGard to cover it per the manufacturer's requirements, that shower would likely be too small to meet building code requirements. :)

RedGard can also be used as an anti-fracture membrane for other tile installations. Or for incidental waterproofing applications if you should have any such.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-24-2013, 10:00 AM
I would prolly chat with the manufacturer of the man made onyx floor to see what they recommend. Not sure how they could make it water tight at the walls and at the drain. I've seen cultured marble floors made in one piece but I still like a pan liner under them. I wouldn't trust a bead of silicone to hold the water out.

03-24-2013, 09:51 PM
Is using the redgard a better solution than the plastic behind the concrete board?

Also, can i tile in the shower area all the way to the ceiling without tiling the ceiling? Or would that be considered tacky? I was thinking about putting some slate chair rail where it meets the ceiling. would that maybe look good?

03-24-2013, 10:20 PM
1. Different solution, but either will work just fine.

2. Technically you can do that just fine. You'll hafta axe Mrs. Jack how it will look.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-24-2013, 10:40 PM
How thick of mil does plastic need to be if i go that route?

03-25-2013, 07:27 AM
The minimum requirement for common materials in that application is 4-mil polyethylene or #15 roofing felt.

03-25-2013, 09:02 PM
I was going to use porcelain tile in the shower area and natural stone in the rest of the bathroom. We chose a golden colored(yellowish colored) limestone for the bathroom walls and brownish marbly looking tile porcelain tile for the shower but my tile guy thinks it won't look "awesome" when we are done. He thinks we should continue the golden limestone from the main walls of the bathroom into the walkin shower and keep the same look through the shower area. What do you guys think? I know not easy without seeing the tile and the room....but maybe you can give some thoughts.

What is the maintence schedule for a limestone in a shower area? Or what about granite or travertine or marble if i found something that would flow with the golden limestone? Is any type of stone any easier to maintain in a shower area than another type of stone? What has to be done when you reseal stone tile after it has been sealed before and needs resealed?

03-26-2013, 10:54 PM
Anyone have any input on the natural stone questions above?

03-31-2013, 04:06 AM
Well, i guess we aren't using the limestone now. The color won't go according to my tile guy. Now i hope i can sell this 100sq foot off to someone.

Now, as for using a granite or travertine or marble or if i find a different limestone, what is the maintanence schedule normally for a shower area? It will likely be used not more than 2 times per day with times of once or not every day. We have another bathtub/shower that will get used as well.

I just want to know what i am getting into with a natural stone shower and what not to use and the maintence of it. I love the look of natural stone and my tile guy thinks i should use the same tile for the main walls as i use in the shower area.....but i want natural stone on the main walls of the bathroom.

Please give me some input... i need to get this planned out soon. thanks

03-31-2013, 11:38 AM
Plenty of people use natural stone in showers and are happy, but I never would because I don't want to have to be that careful. Most stone is more water absorbing than porcelain, and more fragile, and some like limestone or travertine can have pits that will collect skin and soap scum. Using a towel or squeegee after every shower will help (I do that with my porcelain shower), but you will still have to reseal every year or so. And you will need to monitor what products are used. Some shampoos and cleaners can stain or etch sensitive stone.

John Bridge
03-31-2013, 11:54 AM
What Wendy said. :)

Limestone, particularly, is usually very soft. It is stone that hasn't morphed into something harder. If you are using it in a wet area it should be sealed regularly. In fact, using it anywhere it should be pre-sealed before grouting, or you'll probably end up with grout you can't get off. :)

04-02-2013, 10:23 PM
What is the process for sealing natural stone tile after it has been sealed before? Do you have to strip/clean it with a tile cleaner to get any old sealer off before sealing again, or do you just clean it with a mild cleaner and reaseal?

I really want this bathroom to look killer and i know that stone is what will make it look awesome. So, is it a major nightmare on the maintence?

If i do go with natural stone in the shower, how do you know what shampoos and cleaners that is ok to use and won't hurt the tile?

Houston Remodeler
04-03-2013, 06:50 AM
The one exception to the natural stone debate is granite. I have a nice dense granite in my shower and being not-the-bestest- housekeeper in the world hasn't made a dent in the granite.

1- Depends on the stone and sealant. Got some hints for us?
2- See #1
3- See #1 and the pics of my bathroom below, which looks nice to me (at least)
4- See #1

04-04-2013, 12:07 AM
Thanks Houston. Anyone else have some expert input to add to this? Anyone able to answer my questions on sealing a already sealed natural stone and grout when its time to reseal?

Houston Remodeler
04-04-2013, 07:35 AM
We still need to know which stone you'd be using.

The beige granite in my bath needs sealant. The black does not. The grout is CBP unsanded and gets sealed. If I were doing it today I'l use Fusion grout which never needs sealing.

04-05-2013, 10:41 PM
Well, i really want to use travertine i think. Probably honed and filled.

I plan to use quartz lock 2 grout in the shower area. And with that, i understand that you can't use a solvent based sealer once it has been grouted....that is what they told me at bostich. But, my cousin works for a building restoration company and can get me a gloss n guard sealer that is industrial grade for outside application on stone. It makes it more shiny and also beads water off extremely well. It is supposed to last a long time as it is used for outside applications. The supplier told my cousin it would be ok to use inside in a shower area. I am certain it is solvent based. If i use that, is it ok to use it if i seal all the stone prior to grouting and allow the sealer to completely dry for a few days prior to grouting with quartz lock 2 urethane grout?

Please advise on all above. thanks for all the help

04-06-2013, 07:29 AM
Jack, Bostik's instructions ( call for the use of a water-based sealer if you seal your stone before grouting. If you want to deviate from that requirement, you'll need to get approval from the manufacturer. If you want to be sure about the acceptability, get it in writing.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-06-2013, 07:54 AM
I may be misunderstanding this thread, but Ive got a big RED Flag. I for one do not tile over another mans Pan, waterproofing or Prep. Too man degrees or separation as far as culpability is concerned. Leaky shower and everyone pointing fingers at someone else and you are left holding the bag. The installer should take it from Soup to Nuts or.... If the rip out was done, the install should take it from there to completion. Unless of course you wanted to try your hand at the tile portion and just have the installer give you a completely water proof shower shell.

04-06-2013, 07:57 AM
As far as the quartz lock, I find that it has a tendency to sag on the wall application. Might consider Mapei, Proma, or Latacrete epoxy instead.

04-07-2013, 12:22 AM
My tile guy is doing the whole thing including setting the tile. I am just trying to get the materials together. So, what do you mean about the "sagging " with the quartz lock? I guess i don't know what that means. I used quartzlock2 in our other shower/tub area and i didn't see any problems, although i don't know what the sagging thing means. It was done by a different tile guy, but he had never used a urethane grout or a epoxy grout. He only had used cement grout prior to it. he wasn't a tile only guy, he did all aspects of contracting work with tile work as one of them. The guy that is helping me finish this other bathroom is pretty much strictly tile only in his line of work.

i was hoping to use this sealer that i talked about since i figured it would last a extremely long time being a industrial grade....

04-07-2013, 08:49 AM
Jack, I'm not familiar with a sagging problem with the Bostik urethane grouts, either.

And I'm not at all sure what "industrial grade" might mean in a penetrating sealer for ceramic or concrete. Might be just an advertising word, might mean it better than average, might mean it's their least expensive (cheapest) version, or might mean something else. Might help if we knew the actual name of the sealer in question.

At any rate, I'd say if you're fixin' to use the Bostik grout, you should stick with the Bostik sealer recommendations.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-08-2013, 10:02 PM
Here is a link to the sealer that i am talking about: . I also ended up getting honed travertine for the shower area. I hope i didn't make a mistake. I am up for any advice on how to maintain this properly in the shower and also any advice on additional installation advice that could be good for me to know.