Advice needed for a new Shower Job [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-02-2017, 03:21 PM
Hi All

Been a while since I have checked in. I have started a master bathroom remodel which includes ripping out the old shower/tub surround and floor. I tiled my guest bath floor 6mos ago and it came out very nice so now have the confidence to attempt this. I have been researching a ton but had a few specific questions/advice Id like to ask the experts here (attached are before and current shots of the area). Already put in new drain, new valve, and had a hot mop guy come out (in CA here) -

1. Im using hardibacker for ease of installation and for a more flush tile look (previous job was mud/lathe over greenboard and tile stuck out from walls). I was going to shim the studs so the backer is plum with pan. I read to go down to 1/2" of pan liner but the board curves too much if I do so. Is it ok to just bring it down level with top of curb, and if so, do I just mud in the void space when floating my pan? Do I need to be concerned with water wicking? should I tape from board to pan or seal it in any way?

2. I know either is acceptable but whats the better option for me between redgarding the backer vs vapor barrier behind? The bathroom is open to the bedroom but there is no fan, I don't want mold issues once glass enclosure goes in so im leaning toward redgard. But I have read on here that adhesion to hardi can be an issue too so not sure which to choose.

3. My biggest question - I pretty sure im going to have to mud/lathe the entrance curb, will I also have to do so on the 2 foot wall/curb going to the tub? I know I don't want to puncture the hot mop but I don't have any mudding experience up to this point. Do people staple the lathe to the hot mop? If I do mud, do I tape the seam between this curb wall and the backer wall? Redgard over the mud or no?

4. For the tub surround do I need to remove greenboard, backer/redgard just as im doing in shower or is it OK/acceptable to tile over greenboard? Not sure if this is considered a wet area or not since its above the tub and shouldnt get wet unless someone is splashing like crazy (also i have never used the tub).

Ill post more questions as they come. Appreciate it!

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01-02-2017, 05:49 PM
1. What do you mean the board curves?
The board does need to come down close to the pan, don't think curb height would work.

2. I prefer the redguard if I had to choose between those two. You really need an exhaust fan in there.

3. No experience with hop mop

4. Depends on you're area and whether you care about code. Some places consider it a wet area, some don't.

01-06-2017, 10:49 PM
I have a waterproofing question with regards to the corners where the backerboards meet. Is the correct process to-

a. thinset and use 2" fiberglass mesh tape per the hardibacker instructions, then redgard directly over that, or

b. brush redgard into corners, apply 6" membrane fabric tape, then brush over it again per redgard instructions, or

c. apply both the mesh tape and fabric tape

I cant figure out if its one or the other, or both. Id think both would make the corners pretty thick but dont want to miss a step.


Houston Remodeler
01-06-2017, 10:52 PM
Straight from the manufacturer

Click here (

Scroll down to ANSI 118.10

01-06-2017, 11:22 PM
I understand redgard states to use the 6" tape for corners greater than 1/8", but then would that mean I would ignore the hardi backer install instructions to tape and thinset all joints prior to tiling, or am I supposed to do both?

Houston Remodeler
01-06-2017, 11:47 PM
red guard and mesh + thinset for the flat areas . I thought you meant to use the mesh tape for the red guard. Use the red guard + fabric for the changes of plane.

01-07-2017, 12:01 PM
David, it'll help if you'll keep all your project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered.

Installing the CBU and installing your waterproofing membrane are two separate and distinct operations. Install your CBU per that manufacturer's instructions, then install your waterproofing membrane per that manufacturer's instructions.

The only time that would be different would be if you were using a sheet-type membrane that is installed using thinset mortar. In that case you can eliminate the separate treatment of the CBU joints and seams.

My opinion; worth price charged.

01-28-2017, 11:31 AM
Hi All

I have a question about putting in a shower niche. Ive read you don't put them into exterior walls, but I believe (correct me if Im wrong) the main reason is due to lack of insulation?

I'm in Southern CA, the coldest it gets is 35-40 degrees F at night during the winter for a few weeks (50 during the day), and 100 degrees in the summer. This exterior wall is on the north side of my house, almost always in shade. Studs are 2x4's so I can't put 2" of insulation or foam behind it. Is there any other reason to NOT do it? I have a corner shower and my only other option is to put 2 narrow niches in the wall where my valve/shower head are. I'm hesitant to do this for 2 reasons, one, the studs are narrow (8.5" and 9" of space between them so the niche wouldn't fit much) and one of them has an electrical box/wiring stapled to the stud for the light switch on the other side of the wall, would be a pain to notch blocking around it), and two, having everything on 1 wall (valve, shower head, 2 niches) might look too busy.


01-28-2017, 12:45 PM
David, you can put the niche anyplace you want. Temperature control is the primary reason for not installing them in exterior walls.

If you'll put that geographic location into your User Profile it'll remain permanently in view to aid in answering some types of questions. If you don't, the information likely will be lost before we leave this page. :)

01-28-2017, 12:58 PM
I tiled my kids bathroom almost 40 years ago and I installed a niche on the exterior wall. I don't see it being a problem in sunny Southern Cal. :)

03-10-2017, 07:55 PM
So I just want to give respect to all of the mudders out there. I just completed my first mud job (curb and tub ledge wall) and have to say I hope it was my last. It actually came out pretty well, I got it plumb, flat, and sloped the top toward the shower, but it was challenging, frustrating, and I sweated a LOT.

I kind of have a unique shower because I wanted to use CBU, but I scheduled a hot mop before I really did enough research. If I had to do it over I would have notched the studs first or even better, just have done a pan liner myself. I was too timid initially but not anymore.

What I learned about mudding-
-its all about confidence, just keep moving and get it up quickly
-how much water you use is key, too much and it doesn't hold its form, too little and it comes off in chunks as you trowel and screed.
-its hard to not want to keep touching it up and making it more perfect while its drying
-if I hadn't done the curb first, no way could I of done the tub ledge. A little practice went a long way.
-its messy, cleaning up isnt fun, and im tired.

Houston Remodeler
03-10-2017, 08:25 PM
Congratulations and welcome to the club.

If this was easy, we wouldn't have jobs. :gerg:

04-16-2017, 07:43 PM
Hey Everyone. I am ready to begin tiling now as soon as I add my waterproofing membrane, but was hoping to get some quick tips on layout from the pros before I begin.

I am using 6x24" tiles. Most video's Ive watched show people starting with the second row from the bottom and working up. Because I have the tub wall continuing from the shower, however, it would leave an unsightly sliver of tiles as the bottom row around the tub. If I move everything down a couple inches I would have exactly 2 tiles surrounding the tub as drawn on the wall (pink lines). I have no bullnose options, im using schluter trim throughout. So, Im thinking I should start at the tub, then work both up and down, but concerned I will have issues with sagging tiles and uneven grout lines if I work downward. What is the correct way to approach/best spot to start?


Houston Remodeler
04-16-2017, 07:57 PM
Sounds like a good plan to me. We often do that. You can start one row down from the tub with a little careful measuring.

04-16-2017, 09:12 PM
I would start the layout on the face of the tub with a row of full tiles along the top where it meets your Schluter edging. Then put the cuts at the floor. Let that line of tiles flow right around into the shower. Since the shower floor is a different height than the bath floor, the cut size will be different. It's possible this is what you were planning, I can't see your pink lines.

In my opinion, once the glass is up, the tub will be the first thing you'll see when walking in.

04-17-2017, 06:29 AM
Are you going to cover that hardiboard with Redgard or any other waterproofing material??...

04-17-2017, 01:28 PM
That is an excellent idea Davy, I will play with that and see if I run into anything. My only initial hesitation is the next row up along the shower wall and tub back wall surround. it might leave a 1" gap at the lip of the tub, that was my main worry. We'll see. Worst case I suppose I could move the tiles that surround the tub along the back wall down and the grout lines wont match between the tub back wall and shower back wall, but the glass enclosure could hide that. (BTW my pink lines were on the back wall, they dont show up so well in the resized image)

To Lawingnutz: Yes as mentioned I plan on a waterproofing membrane before I start the tiling. I've been working on the floor too and waiting until I know for sure the dust accumulation is done before I start.

04-17-2017, 06:06 PM
Yeah, you kinda have a bad situation there with the mud 1 inch higher than the tub deck. It's a little late now but It would have been better to have the mud ledge about 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the tub. It looks like you'll need 1 inch cuts from the Schluter trim down to the tub.

If you're not going to line up the tub splash tiles with the shower wall tiles, try to break it where the glass hits the wall. Not the best situation but not sure what else to do there.

04-21-2017, 11:13 AM
Against the better advice of all the experts out there, I am going with a natural (lime)stone shower floor, we just really like the way it looks and cant find a 2x2 porcelain mosaic we are happy with.

(exact mosaic if it helps:

I don't have any problem with staying on top of sealing and cleaning, its only a 3x3 floor. My question is which grout to go with? I am leaning toward an epoxy grout as they seem to have good stain and sealing properties, never used one before. Would that be the best choice for me? Also are there a couple "best" products out there that anyone could recommend to me or is that not allowed on this forum? I have a home depot, Lowes, and several tile stores near me. Fusionpro and Mapei epoxies both seem to get mixed reviews. Am leaning toward Spectralock but may have to order online if I cant find it locally.


04-21-2017, 12:43 PM
I'll say it too, limestone would be a poor choice for the floor. Alright now I have that out of the way, epoxy is a good choice. I would stick with Ardex wa or Laticrete. Do not use fusion pro in a wet area.

04-21-2017, 12:50 PM
Well, you'll get different opinions on which grout to use. I would rule out the plain jane Custom's polyblend, myself even though we have used it for years. If you're going to go with a cement based grout, I would step it up and use the Customs Prism.

I would avoid Fusion for a shower. In my opinion, the Spectralock is the best epoxy grout although there are others out there that work well. The Spectralock is the most popular. Spectralock includes the sponges and powder that you add to the water, the Mapei doesn't.

04-25-2017, 01:25 PM
Hi All

Just a couple more quick Q's before I actually start already. These may be nuances but I thought about them and wasn't sure. I do know the general recommendation is to do the shower floor after the walls, then the bottom wall row last so the shower floor slips under the wall. For my situation:

1. Should I do the same thing for the knee wall and curb? Do the horizontal surfaces first, then have the wall tiles sit on top?

2. Same for the bathroom flooring. Should the shower outer curb wall and tub surround tiles sit on top of the floor tiles (like a baseboard would) or should the floor tiles butt up against the vertical tiles.

Maybe im overthinking everything...

04-25-2017, 01:32 PM
1. You can do the floor first if you want, I usually do. Then cover and protect it while working over it. As for the knee wall and curb, it will not affect the waterproofing since tile is just the decorative layer but I like to do the horizontal surfaces first then the walls.
2. Same here, floor first then outer curb on top.

04-25-2017, 05:37 PM
There's no wrong or right on which goes first. I do my floors last, that way I don't have to protect them while tiling the walls. Which ever way you decide, do it the same on all walls and the curb on the inside. if the outside of the curb is the opposite way, not a big deal to me.

05-13-2017, 08:43 PM
I just thought I would share my experience using Spectralock on a stone shower floor, as I wasn't able to find a lot of people who have.

1. The grout went a lot further than I thought it would. I ordered a full kit (4 mini's) just in case, mixed up half of it thinking I would do the floor in 2 sittings, but ended up doing the whole thing (36"x39") and had some leftover. Estimate it needed 1.5 mini's. I'll use the rest on the walls.

2. I sealed the stones with Stonetech Bulletproof beforehand. Made a HUGE difference. I would be hating life if I hadn't.

3. The stones have a flat top, but are not perfect, so it took a while to clean them off and not disturb the grout joints. I had to scrap many stones with a fingernail, follow with course side of sponge, fix grout joints lightly with finger, repeat. Spent probably an hour doing this as the grout firmed up. But once done, there seemed to be no need to do a second wash, no hazing issues.

Overall I highly recommend this grout. This was my first stone job but i've used normal grout many times, I didn't find the epoxy grout to be any more difficult or annoying. I'm looking forward to see how it holds up against stains.

05-14-2017, 11:11 AM
About 5 years ago I tiled the master bath shower for a guy and we used epoxy grout. Then about 2 years ago they called me back to tile their kids bathroom. While I was there working in the kid's bath, the homeowner said he wanted to show me something. He took me into the master bath, opened the shower door and pointed at the grout in the corner. He said that the epoxy grout that I charged extra for and bragged about wasn't doing so well. He said, look at it, it's covered with soap and grime. I had to tell him that it's pretty much stain proof but not maintenance proof. I could tell he was embarrassed when I told him that you still have to clean it. I guess he thought since we used the epoxy grout, that he didn't have to do any cleaning.

So, don't expect miracles, it's grout that will need to be scrubbed now and then. I think most folks understand that. :)

05-14-2017, 12:23 PM
Absolutely good points. I plan on staying on top of maintenance for those stones too.

05-21-2017, 09:06 PM
Hi All

I started putting up the wall tiles and the thinset is giving me some trouble. I'm using Ardex x77 as I can get it for a good price locally and read its good stuff. I mixed a ratio of 1 part water to 2 parts powder per the label, used a drill paddle mixer. It feels very workable and nice on my trowel when I spread it, its light, almost like cool whip. The problem is when I trowel it with the notch side. It seems to curl on me and doesn't make nice smooth lines. The next day I tried mixing it just a bit wetter, but after 30 minutes it started doing it again. It is making it difficult to get 100% coverage. I am backbuttering as well, but find I have to remove the tile and add extra thinset in low spots and reapply. Its taking a while. Just as an FYI I am using 6x24 tiles and a 1/2" square notch trowel.

Any advice here? Should I go even wetter? Are 1/2" trowels just a lot more trouble to use? I wasn't able to find a 3/8" trowel in a store, only 1/4". I haven't had trouble like this when using versabond on the floor in the past.

05-21-2017, 09:30 PM
David, are you flat-troweling the thinset into the wall before combing it out? Is the surface clean and free of dust? A contaminated surface is usually what causes what you're describing, but if there's excess water on the surface that's also a problem.

05-21-2017, 09:35 PM
Hi Kevin

Yes I flat trowel thinset first . Surface is pretty clear (Aqua defense walls as seen in above photos)

05-22-2017, 02:53 AM
Then the only thing I can think of would be that the thinset is too dry. Double check your measurements on powder and water, and make sure you're stirring thoroughly for the recommended amount of time.

05-22-2017, 06:35 PM
When you spread thinset on walls, especially with a large notch like you have, it takes a lot of thinset to make solid, continuous notches. Keep plenty of thinset along the edge of the trowel when spreading. Spread upward as much as you can to avoid dropping any thinset. You can spread it sideways but I like to make the final path in a upward motion with extra thinset on the trowel. That will leave solid grooves in the thinset without any skipping or voids. Then skim coat the tiles with the flat side of the trowel.

06-11-2017, 01:50 PM
Hi guys,
Kind of a weird post, but I just bought another bag of thin set I was going to use today. When I purchased it, I thought it seemed light for 40lbs, and had more air than The last one I bought. Well this morning I decided to weigh it and its 6-7lbs lighter than 40lb sure enough. Tile store is closed today, is this something I should care about or is it normal to be off by this much? Should get a replacement or contact ardex? Its not cheap and I feel a bit ripped off.

Shady at Best
06-11-2017, 02:21 PM
Ardex is known to have lightweight thinset. Does the bag say 40 pounds on it? One of their selling points is that you will get the same amount of square fiit coverage out of that bag as you would a competitor.

I read the ardex website. I would complain to someone. You will probably get a free bag of thinset

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06-11-2017, 02:21 PM
Not normal, I'd be pissed especially if you pay anywhere close to what I do for x77. I'd take it back if you can wait.

06-11-2017, 02:25 PM
Yes it says 40lbs on the bag and it is supposed to go as far as competitor 50lb bags. So will go exchange it, I can wait until next weekend I have a bit left of the first bag. The main reason it bothers me is that I think I can finish the job with 2 bags but it will be close. if I had to buy a 3rd bag for the final 10 sq ft I'd be quite unhappy.

11-18-2017, 07:42 PM
Hi All,

I just wanted to find out which specific brands of caulking you professionals recommend for showers?

The tile store near me carries Mapesil (100% silicone) and Keracaulk (Sanded siliconized acrylic). I could also order Latisil online if it is better, but its pretty expensive and id have to wait for it.

-Should I stay away from the siliconized acrylic in a shower?
-Grout is white so matching shouldn't be as big of a deal, I just want the best performing product and not have to worry about mold or difficulty in replacing it for a while.
-How do you guys deal with replacing caulking lines for changes of planes after glass is installed? (curb and knee wall)

Thanks! Getting so close to being done!

11-19-2017, 09:21 AM
Hey, the siliconized acrylic is definitely more user friendly and forgiving than 100% for the less experienced. However, it doesn't come close to the performance of 100%. The acrylic tends to be eaten away rather quickly in a shower. It's fine for tiled cove base or kitchen backsplash if need be but you'll do your future self a huge favor by snatching up some tubes of that 100%.
I'd type silicone into the search bar here. There's already some great info. Then, practice a bit on a mock up tile section or something. Blowing through a practice tube (or even two) is a small sacrifice. You'll enjoy seeing a nice and mold free inside corner every morning. Mastering silicone or at least getting close is quite satisfying. Have fun.

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11-19-2017, 09:22 AM
By the way, Mapei everything basically is great.

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12-06-2017, 02:18 PM
OK, got some Mapesil, just one more questing before starting the sealing -

I have a few little areas with larger (1/4-3/8") gaps - Between curb/wall, knee wall/wall, and pebble floor/wall) - I will stuff some backer rod in those spots before caulking.

However for the rest, I did a pretty good job of keeping my change of plane gaps around 1/8" in the shower. For these, do you guys still stuff in 1/4 backer rod first or do you just caulk and call it a day? i ask because although the gap is only 1/8", the depth is a good 1/2"+ when you factor in thick tiles and thinset. Not sure if the backer rod adds any significant stability or if I am over-analyzing.

Houston Remodeler
12-06-2017, 05:33 PM
No backer rod with 1/8" gaps as the caulk holds itself.

12-06-2017, 06:35 PM
David, the photo below shows the optimum installation of your flexible sealant. The backer rod not only limits the depth of the material, it helps to shape it and keep it from being bonded to anything but the two sides of the joint, which is the objective.


The optimal thickness ratio is that the material be half as thick as the width of the joint, but with smaller joints such as you have in the shower, a ratio of 1:1 is usually acceptable to the manufacturer.

It's pretty uncommon to find such joints caulked correctly, but that should still be the goal if you want the sealant to perform per the manufacturer's specifications. Mostly you do the best you can, but if you can find some suitable backer rod for those 1/8th" joints, I'd certainly use it to reduce that 1/2" depth.

My opinion; worth price charged.

01-14-2018, 10:40 PM
Well, it took much longer than I am happy to admit, but I am done. Glass guy is coming tuesday and the wife is happy we can finally start using the master shower again. Just wanted to give a big thanks to all of the active members/pros on this forum, its without a doubt one of the best diy forums I have seen, great group of helpful guys that answer the same questions over and over for those too lazy to search, and never give any attitude about it. I wouldn't have had the confidence to attempt this otherwise, and couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out for me. Final photos to finish off my thread.

01-15-2018, 08:07 AM
Looks great! It's a great feeling to finish that up!