2017 Shower Renovation [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-19-2017, 11:01 PM
Hello all,

First a disclaimer that I'm a newbie here, but I haven't seen this discussion elsewhere, and I've searched for a while now, so I'll ask here. I am converting my shower/tub combo into a walk in shower in the basement on a concrete slab. This is the first time doing this type of project, so it is a learning experience. After demoing the entire bathroom and taking the existing space down to the studs, I have installed the rough in for the shower valve, and I have installed the curb. I chickened out of moving the drain (which was in the front of the shower, and only 1.5 inches) by myself, and decided to call a plumber to do it for me. I got a very good recommendation from a friend, and he moved the shower drain from the front of the shower to the center, which will make my tiling life much easier. He also converted the drain from a 1.5 inch drain to a 2 inch drain. After doing this, and when it came time for the concrete to be poured back in, he did not level it off. Thus, my subfloor is seriously uneven. Currently, the concrete, on the one side of the drain flange comes up to the top of the flange where the pre slope should be. On the other side, it is just below the flange, which seems to me to be more proper as this allows room for a preslope.

My question is whether I need to level the concrete and if so, how to do so? Right now, I think that I cannot do a pre slope because the concrete, on one side, is coming up to the flange. This seems to me to leave no room to put builder's felt on the floor. Am I seriously off base here? Does it not matter and I'm just freaking out for no reason? I am kinda ocd about evenness and things of that sort, so maybe I'm just freaking out. If so, feel free to say so. Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

Also, as an aside, I'm brand new to this forum and I'm trying to figure out how to get pics down to the required size so that I can upload them. I will be uploading pics as soon as I figure that out!

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01-19-2017, 11:15 PM
So I take it you will be going with a traditional pan using a preslope, liner, and final mud bed? Have you researched other options? If you're new to all of this I encourage you to check out some of the surface applied membrane type waterproofing systems.
If you are needing to remove some of the concrete a diamond blade on a grinder to make kerf cuts then a hammer and cold chisel to bust it off. Or using a diamond cup wheel on a grinder to knock it down.
If doing a preslope it needs to pitch towards your drain, and if doing a traditional receptor a preslope is a must.

01-19-2017, 11:44 PM

You are correct that I wanted to do a traditional pre slope, liner, mortar bed, and then tile it. I haven't really looked into the other options that you suggested, but I will do so. I have attached pictures that will hopefully help. Do I need to grind the concrete down is my question. Or does it look okay?

01-19-2017, 11:52 PM
Is the top level? If it is, on a slab, you can get by with a preslope that thin, but if it were on a wooden subfloor, it would need to be higher.

One of the advantages of doing a mudbed over a pre-formed pan, is that it doesn't really care if things are flat or level underneath (except the top of the drain!). You'd want to do a bonded mudbed...either a slurry of Portland cement, or fresh thinset just prior to placing the mud and shaping it.

01-19-2017, 11:54 PM

That is just the slab, not the top level. I'll look into a prefab one, but I really wanted to do a pre slope, liner, mortar bed. I may have to settle though! :)

01-20-2017, 02:21 AM

There seems to be some confusion between posts 4 and 5 in this thread. I may add to the confusion, but I'll attempt to clear up some points.

Jim wrote:
Is the top level?
and you replied
That is just the slab, not the top level.

Jim was referring to the top of the drain in your pictures. Place a level on the top of the drain. Is it level? Turn it 90 degrees. Is it still level? If yes to both, good news.

Jim wrote:
One of the advantages of doing a mudbed over a pre-formed pan
and you replied:
I'll look into a prefab one, but I really wanted to do a pre slope, liner, mortar bed. I may have to settle though!

I'm guessing here, but I think changing a couple of words in Jim's quote will clear this up. Change "over" to "instead of". So the sentence would be: One of the advantages of doing a mudbed over INSTEAD OF a pre-formed pan ...

So you are good here. You don't need to look for a prefab or pre-formed pan. You can do the pre-slope, liner and final mortar bed like you want.

Also, in your initial post you reference "builder's felt" under the pre-slope. This is not needed when installing on concrete. Instead, you will do as instructed by Jim in the following:
You'd want to do a bonded mudbed...either a slurry of Portland cement, or fresh thinset just prior to placing the mud and shaping it.

Pre-Slope on concrete:

Liner over pre-slope:

Something you can do to help get an answer to your original post regarding the concrete being poured too high on one side of the drain: remove the top part of the drain and then loosen the four bolts so that you can turn and remove the clamping part of the drain. Take some pictures of the concrete next to the drain in the area that you are concerned about. Post the pictures so we can see exactly how high it is and if you need to take a little off before you start. At a minimum, I would think that the concrete on the top of the drain part that is embedded into the concrete will need to be removed.

01-20-2017, 11:37 AM

Thank you very much! You cleared up a lot of my confusion. Yes, it is the top of the drain. I unscrewed the barrel, loosened the clamps and removed the clamping ring. The base is now exposed. I then took a level to the drain. As it turns out, the drain is not quite level...as you can see from the photo. I think I'm gonna have the plumber come back and fix this as it is really not done well.

Also, thank you for pointing out that you can use thinset.

On my original question, I have attached pictures of the drain base here. I hope that helps to figure out whether I need to grind down the concrete a little bit or whether I can go ahead and do the pre slope as it stands currently. Do these pics help or is there another pic that you guys need?

01-20-2017, 02:51 PM
While you can live with the drain being slightly off, it's not ideal. Sorry about the confusion...if the surface is not level, you cannot really use a preformed pan, and a mudbed is the ideal thing. You can get quite thin with a bonded mudbed, but it's still better to have it a bit thicker than the height of your drain will allow. I can't say exactly how thin you could get it, and what you have is probably okay. I'll leave that to others that do this every day! Industry does want it a bit thicker there, though.

02-18-2017, 02:30 PM
Hey everyone,

So in keeping with the rules of the thread, I am posting a new question to the same thread. I'm finished with my pre slope, I've attached my liner. I went to cut the liner, and I noticed that there was deck mud in the drain. I'm not quite sure how this happened as I kept it covered the whole time. Is there a way to get it out? Could I find like a mini vacuum attachment and suck it out? Do I need to start over is always the question on my mind too! :)

Also, when I'm fully finished with the liner, I'll post a picture to get the up or down vote on it.


02-18-2017, 09:25 PM
A lot would depend upon just how much mud you have in the drain, David. I'd certainly try vacuuming it out first. Then evaluate your options.

02-19-2017, 10:40 AM
Thanks cx! It wasn't a lot. It was just a small patch of debris that I vacuumed out with a shop vac. I think I was overreacting. I'm not sure it ever would have been a real problem.

02-19-2017, 10:21 PM
It's good to be aware of any debris in the drain! Don't use it to dump your wash water for cleaning up your thinset bucket or grout, either! If you do find any left there, you could pour some vinegar in there and let it sit in the trap...over a day or so, it will dissolve any of the cement and the sand that's left will wash out.

02-20-2017, 09:12 AM
Another question...I installed my shower liner, but there is a pretty bad crease at one corner of my curb. The issue is that my brick curb sits about a quarter inch inside the 2x4 where the liner is attached to. This, I cannot get it fully smooth because there is nowhere to put the excess liner. Is this a problem? If so, are there any suggestions on how to fix it? I have attached a picture. Also, is there any way that I can get a more general title for my thread? Like 2017 shower renovation or something?

02-20-2017, 04:25 PM
I can see a few possible solutions and none of them are very good.

1. Leave it.

2. Try to cut the brick at the end of the curb with an angle grinder and give myself enough room to put the liner past the brick and behind the 2x4.

3. Cut the liner from the top of the inside corner to the bottom and use x15 glue to snake it around the bottom. I'm loathe to do this as I don't want to cut the inside corner of the liner.

4. Nail the liner to the inside corner of the 2x4, but does it need to go around the outside?

Any other suggestions?

05-02-2017, 01:40 PM
So I fixed my earlier problems, I did my preslope and I got my liner down, but the drain is now really off level. I posted a picture to show you what I'm talking about. Is there anything that I can do? Could I put like a piece of hardiboard down underneath to make it level? Also when I took it out just now and screwed it back in, it became significantly more level. The barrel portion of the drain seems to have some wobble in it once I screw it down to 1.5 inch height, which allows for it to get off level. Is this appropriate? I'm not quite sure what's going on here. Can anyone help?


05-02-2017, 02:36 PM
David, you need to set that level up on one of its edges to get an accurate reading.

Is the top flange of the clamping portion of your drain level?