Another question about shower mud bed [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-03-2017, 04:16 AM
I am doing a whole shower for the first time and everything went well except for the shower curb and the shower mud bed. I did my pre-slope and liner and after getting the mud bed done it is all off. Lots of valleys, and high points. I should have used hardie to do the curb but I ended up doing lathe with some concrete to build the curb and it is all wonky. I am thinking of just cutting it back since I have a reciprocating saw blade and an angle grinder with a diamond wheel. Here is a picture of the curb and my issue...

<Well I was going to include a picture but can't? Makes showing the problem kind of difficult.> <jgleason>>You can, just use the paperclip icon to attach an image. This uploads it to the forum where you can insert it into your post. I added the two images from your inactive imgur links.

Also here is the shower area I'm working with, one of the sides of the shower is really close to the drain so I wasn't sure how steep to make the pitch to the drain. So I am wondering if I should tear it out and start over or if I can somehow just get it workable to lay down the floor tile? I am in a bit of a time crunch since the house is being sold in a month and I still have some other big projects to complete. Thank you for your time and any advice is appreciated.


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03-03-2017, 01:16 PM
Ah, thank you! I didn't realize I could insert the images in that fashion. Any ideas on trimming the curb back, or if running a whole tile down the half wall will look alright?

03-03-2017, 05:01 PM
Hi John. You're gonna have a hard time tiling over a curb that's not inline with the wall. You have it sticking out way past the wall.

Also, you say you installed a liner. That's all we recommend as a moisture barrier. The paint on membrane over the mud wasn't needed.

Yes, a grinder would cut the mud back but you'll have a dust cloud over your house in no time. This is something you shape before it sets up.

03-03-2017, 05:06 PM
Yeah I already started cutting some of it back and the amount of dust was insane, lol. I have a filtered dusk mask but I had to leave the house while the dust settled. Yeah I tried to get it to form a nice square curb but I took too long with the material I believe, or it was too dry and I just couldn't get it done. I'm thinking I will just cut along the top and chip it down and hit it with some thinset to fill the gaps and have it flush against the half wall. Ah I didn't realize the liner would have been sufficient. Now I don't feel so bad chipping away some of the curb because I thought I would have to buy more moisture block and paint it on again.

03-03-2017, 05:09 PM
Yeah, as long as you don't cut the liner with the grinder.

If the mud isn't very hard, you can rub on it with a rubstone. They have very course stones that have a handle and you can grind away a little at a time to get the shape you want. If the mud is real hard, the stone is probably too much work.

03-04-2017, 11:27 PM
Hello, I am having trouble figuring out how to do my tile layout for my shower. I am using 24x12 inch tiles and I plan on using 3/16" spacing for grout. I also have a border tile I will be using that is 12" but I was planning on breaking it in half and using it at a 6" border around the shower. I am not sure how to go about laying out the tile. I know I don't want to have really small tiles on the first row near the shower floor, but I am unsure how to tile around the foot rest in the shower without having a small tile in one place. I modified a picture to give measurements of each area and was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. Thank you so much!


03-05-2017, 12:04 AM
It's hard to tell with just one pic. A few questions;

1. Do you have any bullnose tiles and if so, what size are they? If not, how do you plan to finish off the edges?

2. What pattern are you wanting with the 12x24's?

3. If you are wanting a broken joint pattern, what stagger do you want?

4. If you're wanting a 50% stagger, are the tiles flat enough to allow it without too much lippage?

03-05-2017, 12:07 AM
I often layout in Sketchup. With the height of your bench at 17" I might use top of bench as a grout joint so you'd have approximately split tile at floor and ceiling.

You could make up a couple of story sticks to include tile+grout joint and step around in the actual shower to see what works.

I'm assuming you're offsetting courses?

03-05-2017, 12:11 AM
I was going to stagger the tiles and I read that with 24x12 staggering a 1/3rd of the tile is usually recommended. I can get some more pictures up to help understand the size of the room and where tile is going to lay. I don't have any bullnose tile and I have a border around the interior door where I was going to end the tile and all the other tile terminates at the walls. Let me grab a few more pictures. What are story sticks?

03-05-2017, 12:18 AM
Here are some more pictures...




03-05-2017, 12:21 AM
Story sticks are simply a stick with tick marks representing actual tile and grout joint spacing. You make them by laying tile on floor with spacers, stick up against the tiles and mark lines.

With big tiles story sticks can become a little irrelevant, but might help in your vertical layout. Horizontal could be just one tile+grout line. Think of it as a fixed length measuring tape.

03-05-2017, 12:27 AM
1. What's up with the floor? Is it as rough as it looks or just photo?

2. What sort of drain are you using?

3. Is everything that's covered in waterproofing getting tile? Looks like I'm missing one wall in my drawing.

4. What's happening at the doorway...casing?

03-05-2017, 12:37 AM
Yes, the floor is extremely rough. I had a really tough time working with the mix. I tested it quite a bit though and it drains but there is one large valley that I was going to try and fix. I really don't want to tear it all out.

I have two drain options, one is the circle kind 2" from Home Depot and the other is the Oatey 2" square from Lowe's.

Yes, everything that is waterproofed is getting tile. The 4th wall is set back a little bit and it is apart of the painted and drywalled area.

The doorway is going to get some 1x2" trim to cover the jamb all the way around. I can get a better picture of that if it is required. So above the door will get tiled.

03-05-2017, 01:24 PM
Hmmm, I think the best method for you to layout might be to sketch the tiled wall planes individually, you're got a lot to be conscious of. Transitions, intersecting trim, etc. Going to be some head scratching trying to keep from skinnies someplace. There's really not a shortcut or some trick-of-the-trade. Best to know how you'll finish everything before you start setting tile.

I've got to say I have some concerns about your shower floor.

1.Did you put a vinyl liner under the mortar we see there?

2.How does your waterproofing interface with drain? Is it a conventional weeping drain?

Topical membranes usually require bonding flange drains.

03-05-2017, 01:38 PM
Welcome, John. :)

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. We can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one.

If that floor is as rough as it looks in the photo, I'd really suggest you take it out, call it practice, and do another one. Mud's cheap, labor's free.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-05-2017, 01:46 PM
I would run the water, looks like you may already have, and check for puddles. Looks like you may have one just to the right of the drain but not certain.

If you redo the mudbed, I would leave off the paint on membrane like Peter said. That is if you have a pan liner under it. The top membrane you have won't tie into the drain and water will seep around it and into the mud bed. I'd have one membrane and trust it.

03-05-2017, 03:37 PM
Carbidetooth - I will get a more accurate sketch going and just work the numbers until I find a nice pattern that works. I definitely understand the concern about the shower floor.

1. Yes, I built a preslope, put down a liner, and then did the mud bed.
2. I believe it is a traditional weeping drain, here is part of the description from where I bought it. "Designed for use on built-up shower bases of tile or marble, where a shower pan liner is used" - I don't know how helpful that is though.

cx - Ah I see, I'll keep my questions relegated to this thread. I tried chipping away some of the mud bed from the drain area and it is tough. I ended up taking my diamond blade angle grinder to it. I believe this bed has been curing for a good year, lol. I see your point about the cost of materials and labor but tearing it out isn't an option for me. Especially if I end up damaging the liner and then imagine having to take everything out including the curb. So since it drains and there is just one valley that is less than a 1/4" I was going to hit it with some thinset and then tile over it.

Davy - You nailed it, there is one puddle that is to the right of the drain from that picture and everywhere else drains perfectly. I definitely won't tear out the mud bed, lol. Ah I see, would scraping away the membrane from the bed help with that issue?

03-05-2017, 05:15 PM
I would pull up the membrane that's on the floor. Then I would grind on the mudbed until you get enough pitch. Adding thinset may not do the trick, that might just back the low spot away from the drain even more. I would remove mud between the puddle and the drain. A little mud may have to be removed at the drain to allow the grate to screw down lower if need be.

03-05-2017, 09:43 PM
Perfect! Thank you, I will do that and see how it goes.

03-05-2017, 10:12 PM
Especially when working with mosaics, you won't be able to do any buttering up to get a flat floor. Getting the surface exactly like you want it will save you grief when setting the tiles. It's worth the extra effort that it takes to get the substrate in good shape.