Will's first floor small 3/4 bathroom project [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-15-2017, 02:59 PM
I wanted to see if someone here could set me straight as to exactly what I need to install and when on my flooring I plan to put in. I want to use Warm Tiles from Menards:


I've read through the instructions, but it leaves me a little uncertain about underlayment. I am comfortable working with HardiBacker, and I'll be using 1/2" hardibacker on the hallway outside (yes I know so often 1/4" is recommended, I'm using 1/2" to match up with adjacent flooring...)

I'm installing over new 3/4" OSB subfloor with Daltile 18x18 ceramic tiles.

Reading through the directions they describe that you have to embed the wire in a layer of mortar, let that dry, then spread mortar and apply tile as you normally would.

So what I'm wondering, should I go ahead and put down a 1/4" layer of HardiBacker, then the wire, then the embedment layer, then the tile setting mortar and the tile? Or is there something I should do different?

Asking now before I buy the flooring materials. I'm still working on framing the walls and rough plumbing that goes in the walls at this point. Planning to do a big buy on materials this weekend so I can open a credit account and get the 10% discount on my materials purchase.

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08-15-2017, 05:38 PM
Welcome back, Will. :)

Your link shows only a programable thermostat. Perhaps a link to the actual warming wire system would be more informative.

Such systems usually don't require the use of any sort of underlayment, but I hesitate to comment without knowing what you plan to install.

08-15-2017, 08:18 PM

08-15-2017, 08:25 PM
Once the mats have been fitted to the area in which they are being installed, they can be affixed to the floor with the adhesive side
of the mesh. The mats are then covered with a uniform scratch coat so that it just covers the heating cables. For ease of tiling, the
scratch coat is applied evenly over the entire floor area. When the scratch coat is dry, the tiles can be set in the usual manner. This
method will result in a floor height increase of about 5/16 higher than without any floor warming system installed.

above is right from the instructions.

you lay the backerboard, then stick the cable mats down with the adhesive backing. then lay a scratch coat of mortar. once dry, mortar then tile.

the thickness of your base bakerboard will be determined by how solid your flooring is (how much deflection), and how high you want the finished flooring to be. if your flooring is solid and no deflection, then you can get away with quarter inch backer.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
08-15-2017, 08:28 PM
If it's the stuff that's linked to above then you want to install your Hardibacker, then the heat wire, then flat coat over it with thinset mortar to embed it and protect it. Then tile over that. You'll get some uneven areas where the heat mat stops.

I don't know if self-leveling is ok over that. It might be that the mesh interferes. It might be that there's no practical way to prime it also.

08-15-2017, 10:10 PM
the thickness of your base bakerboard will be determined by how solid your flooring is (how much deflection), and how high you want the finished flooring to be. if your flooring is solid and no deflection, then you can get away with quarter inch backer. Not correct, Mike. The subflooring requirements are the same regardless the thickness of CBU chosen. The CBU manufacturers recommend their thinner quarter-inch material for all floor applications unless additional finished floor height is desired.

08-16-2017, 06:18 AM
I thought that's what I said, well it's what I was thinking

08-16-2017, 06:33 AM
I'm actually using the cable system, which is here:

This bathroom is going to be fairly small, overall it's 5'9 by 6', so by the time you put in a vanity, a neo angle shower and a toilet, it's not really very conducive to using a mat, I really need the flexibility of a cable system.

This is my second tile installation since discovering these forums and I've gone through the structural work to ensure good deflection numbers.. And I'm framing this bathroom in a manner that reduces the unsupported span for the floor joists above, looking ahead to the existing bathroom which will be my third tile project.

08-16-2017, 06:45 AM
Somehow I anticipate some might point out that my problem is too much reliance on big box stores, and I'll just say it is what it is... I like the convenience of being able to walk in to a store, look at a few choices and walk out with what I need... Setting that aside...

For my current project, I polled my family and we're going with a color scheme that uses light blue walls and gray tiling. My house ended up mostly white with mostly original oak hardwood floor and beige carpet upstairs, I'm going room by room and things are going to be more colorful, but I also ended up with blue in the kitchen, I'm hoping for more variety in other rooms....

Okay getting to my point though. Looking at what is available in stock, I've noticed that if I want what I thought was a pretty standard 12x12 tile, if I want gray the closest I can get is slate tile. Otherwise, it's a special order. I have a few choices in 6x24 or 12x224 and I'm likely going to get 18x18... But I'm not especially thrilled with the larger sizes.

My house was built in 1926 and my floor joists are not by any stretch of the imagination straight. I'm doing my best to make up for that with sistering new 2x8's and installing new subfloor, but I'm one man, and I can't pretend I'm going to get a perfectly flat level floor when my starting point is sagging an inch lower in the middle and my newly framed walls are 1.25" different on one end compared with the other.

I'm just wondering if the bigger tiles is some kind of trend and if there's some reason for it? If I should be shopping somewhere else, I'm open to recommendations in the northern suburbs of Detroit (Oakland county).

08-16-2017, 07:39 AM
did you read the instructions? its pretty much the same thing. First secure the backerboard, then you screw a strapping to the ground spaced apart and thread the cable through it. Scratch coat of mortar over it. Let it dry, then tile.

08-16-2017, 08:20 AM
This for the bathroom with the floor heat, Will?

If you'll add that geographic location to your User Profile it'll appear permanently to help in responding to some types of questions. If you don't, the information will be lost before we leave this page.

08-16-2017, 08:32 AM
I did read the instructions, that's what brought me here... It had directions for securing the cable guides in plywood or in cement, so it wasn't clear to be whether cement was referring to a cement floor as you'd have in a basement or whether that included cement backerboard underlayment over an OSB subfloor as I'm planning.

Basically, I'm playing amateur carpenter, plumber, electrician, tile setter and accountant all at once so keeping all the terminology straight gets a little overwhelming... Especially when I'm in the process of trying to close a refinance in the middle of all this, and the appraiser is on a completely different page with terminology (uses "flooring" to refer to sub-floor, calls a closet an enclosed porch?? :bonk:)

Another thing I was wondering about, if I go the route of putting in 1/4" Hardi and building up over the cable with self-leveling compound, might it be better to build up the non-warmed areas under the vanity and around the toilet with 1/2". Hmm... when I put it that way, it starts to sound like I'd only be putting up a small area with 1/2" and it might not be worth the hassle. Well... Maybe it is since I'll use 1/2" in the hallway outside.

08-16-2017, 08:39 AM
This is for the bathroom in particular, but I'm also going to be tiling a laundry room next to it, a hallway and a 6 x 11 room that my daughter wants to use to practice ballet, and which is the entrance from the back yard so there's going to be a lot of wet feet coming in from our pool.

I'm also on the fence whether I use the acrylic walls that come with the shower kit or tile the wall... Tile size factors into that because if I do tile the wall, I would be building recessed shelves for soap and shampoo bottles and such. This decision, in turn, drives how I frame the wall, which is currently a door opening.

08-16-2017, 08:46 AM
Let's 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.

The minimal instructions I see in your link indicate that the heating wire can be installed directly over your adequate subflooring, which is what I see most commonly with such systems. You can install CBU under the system if you want, but I'm not at all sure why you'd do that.

We see folks using CBU in areas not covered by their heating system to make the rest of their floor flush when filling over the wires. I'm not sure it's a good idea, but I think it's been sanctioned by at least one manufacturer. I would be concerned with cracking at the junction between CBU and wire/SLC or thinset mortar areas, but I know it's done.

I'd like to see the actual detailed manufacturer's instructions for the product and I'm still unable to find such.

My opinion; worth price charged.

08-16-2017, 08:50 AM
I hear you Wilk...I'm also playing amateur carpenter, plumber, electrician, tile setter and accountant. I gotta stop giving any advice unless I am positive:stupid2:

I am an actual engineer and patent attorney:yeah:

08-17-2017, 08:46 AM
My other question really was more general... it seems like tile sizes have gotten bigger and I don't see as much choice in the sizes I'm used to. But ultimately I had picked something out that I think is going to work for me anyway unless I change my color scheme. I really was trying to avoid light colors, white and beige-ish tones. I used the same tile for the kitchen and the basement stairs, I'm determined not to use just one tile throughout the whole house!

And yeah, I'm using CBU to bring the floor level with other flooring. I like the idea of using a self leveling compound over the wires, I have a feeling if that goes well I might start using it in other parts of this project too.

08-17-2017, 09:05 AM
Let's 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.

@CX Okay, actually if you could please rename this thread as "Will's first floor small 3/4 bathroom project" I would appreciate it.

I have actually made some changes to the design I'm planning. I've been making some gradual shifts in how I want to approach the shower, I personally like the round corner shower better than the flat neo-angle styles, but it's hard to argue with saving a couple hundred dollars.

As I started reviewing projects here though I shifted from wanting to buy the HD Neo Angle kit with doors, base and walls to buying the kit with just the doors at the same price, making my own base and tiling the walls.

So now I get to my next question... This shower will go into a corner with 1 interior wall and 1 exterior wall. I want the full 6" cavity depth on the exterior wall so I maintain the R21 insulation, and I want to put niches into the interior wall, and my options are wide open on how I frame it because I can put the studs anywhere I want. The wall will be filling in a former doorway, so structurally the load is carried by the existing header.

What kind of sizes (height especially) are niche's usually made? Being a guy, I just use my bottle of head and shoulders, but I have a wife, a daughter that's 10 and a step daughter that's 9 so I want to plan on a niche that's tall enough to accommodate whatever they need put in there.

Also, how should I make the bottom of the niche? I'm picturing that if it slopes the wrong way then water will pool which is bad, but if it slopes the right way but too much so then bottles will just slide off and fall on people's toes.

I also had a thought that if I put in 4 niches and maybe 1 smaller niche for a bar of soap then everybody has their own spot... But would that become aesthetically problematic?

08-17-2017, 09:49 AM
some people use chunks of granite/quartz/solid surface to make the bottom niche's, bench's or trays.

I think its a clean look that is easy to set with a uniform slope.

I stole these pics from a google search....

08-17-2017, 09:52 AM
I can't help with the aesthetics, but the bottom of your niche needs slope only 1/4" per foot, same as your floor and curb, and that won't make any of your containers slide out. I generally try to slope a wall niche about 1/8th" from back to front.

A look at the Niche thread in our Alumni Album forum may give you some design ideas.

My opinion; worth price charged.

08-21-2017, 09:24 AM
Okay... Now I know this is going to ultimately be a question for my electrical inspector, but in general do I probably need to get my rough inspection with the floor heating wire in place before I cover it with skim coat?

It would be easier for me to tile the floor and get my rough plumbing done so I can have all my rough inspections the same day, but if I need to do rough electrical before I cover the heating wire, that moves up the electrical rough work in my project schedule...

Toilet flange does have to sit on top of tile, right?

08-21-2017, 10:10 AM
1. I would contact the local code compliance office and explain your issue, Karl, and see if they'll let you install the heating wire portion before you need your electrical inspection.

2. Yes.

My opinion; worth price charged.

08-29-2017, 08:14 AM
Just a progress update, the plan was to have rough plumbing and electric done over the weekend, get rough inspection during the week so I could start closing out walls over Labor Day weekend. I'm going to be about a week behind. I need to finish furring out the wall to accommodate vent plumbing after I finish the rough plumbing work.

The galvanized pipes seen in the pictures supply the second floor bathroom above. These are currently still in use, and I need to finish and connect the new supply lines so the galvanized pipes can be removed and I can finish putting in subfloor, which I need to complete before I can cast the neo angle shower base. This needs to be done before I can lay hardiboards onto which I will set the floor heat cables, which needs to be completed before I can call for rough inspection.

09-20-2017, 01:32 PM
Alright... I need to sort out what I'm going to do with my shower now. I'm attaching a photo that's a little out of date, yesterday I had rough inspection and I had a small corner seat/footrest framed in and this photo shows a wall cavity without insulation that is there now...

So the inspector wants me to remove the paper from the insulation behind the framing for the corner. My concern is that there needs to be some sort of air barrier over the insulation, so I've been searching through trying to understand the proper building method and I haven't really found a satisfactory answer...

I did see the masonry shower seat thing, but in that case I'm not sure it's a perfect solution - the driver behind putting a seat in is the fact that I have a plumbing vent pipe intruding into the area of the shower pan. It has to go there because there's a joist and a triple 2x8 beam blocking where it otherwise would go if I was to avoid intruding on the shower pan.

My plan is to put up hardiboard on the walls, which I can't do until I get past rough inspection, and now I've read about removing all of the paper on insulation behind the hardiboard and replacing with 6 mil poly sheet, or removing the paper and coating the hardiboard with Redgard, or the suggestion here for the shower seat where I build the shower pan then build the shower seat with cement blocks inside the shower pan... I'm not real sure any method addresses everything though...


09-20-2017, 02:20 PM
Hi Will, let's break this down some.

1. No need for an "air barrier" in your wall. If you were building an airtight house that would typically be on top of exterior sheathing. The craft paper on batt insulation is intended to be a vapor barrier, albeit a ho-hum one at best in most installations. The insulation does the insulating.

2. You can frame the bench. I screw and glue (PL Premium) the frame and sometimes cap with plywood. Surface applied membrane makes this viable, but bench must be rock solid and well attached

3. No vapor barrier behind Hardie or CBU if you're going to used a membrane, either paint on or sheet. Is drain installed? A system such as USG or Kerdi would check all the boxes if the drain is yet to be installed and they're all but bulletproof.

4. The question you didn't ask :) If I'm seeing it right, that little soap niche will end up being mighty small once you line it with CBU and tile. Gonna be hard to tile, grout and clean, too. FWIW, I try to wean my clients off of bar soap because the binder in it leaves so much residue. Soap in a bottle mo' betta.

09-20-2017, 05:10 PM
The soap Niche is 5 by 7, I should expect ation going to finish dimension of at least 3 x 5

Anyway I'm attaching current state image.

09-20-2017, 06:37 PM
Matt, is that a mock-up on bench? Doesn't look permanent.

Also, I'm assuming toilet backs up against exterior wall? Looks like toilet will cover some your heat wire...not good.

09-22-2017, 06:44 AM
Who is Matt? Yes, the 2x4 structure nailed to the wall framing and floor is the permanent seat structure... I really put it in there as a foot rest, at 9" wide I can sit on it but I wouldn't really be too likely to use it as a seat. The kids can sit on it, and they probably will just because it's novel to them that there's a seat, but I don't see that kids have a practical need for a shower seat...

The floor heat does extend under the toilet. I laid the CBU and put down the heat cable at around 5-6 AM after an all-nighter so I could get through rough inspection, the rest of the floor will be laid in 1/2" Hardi which I haven't gotten to because of work for rough building inspection...

My thinking at the time was that the toilet goes up to the one seam, but I'll extend the wire a little further to the sides of the toilet. Well, as it turned out I needed that whole area so I could get all the cable down - what I will have to do once I have more CBU laid is extend it back further (and extend more 1/4" hardie) so I can get out of the area under the toilet.

This was the smallest kit in stock at Menards. The instructions say you can't cut the cable shorter. And I'm using the minimum spacing.

09-22-2017, 07:51 AM
Will, Matt's your alter ego...you didn't know? Brain fart on my end.

As to seat frame. Regardless of anticipated use, the seat box and 2x6 in corner sure looks like it could benefit from better attachment to sidewalls. Where will you attach CBU? All edges of CBU must be supported.

Any movement of framing will almost certainly telegraph through CBU and tile in some way you don't want. One can't assume that wall covering will lend any strength to the whole assembly.

In an earlier pic, there appears to be a drain? in the field where your heat wire is. Am I seeing that right?

09-22-2017, 09:38 AM
Best I can figure is to put a 3/4" osb surface in and I can attach some 2x2 to support the bottom of the wall. With all the pipes running through the area, there isn't enough space to get anything in to shoot or drive nails or screws.

The 2x6 is attached at the top bottom and seat.. it went a little off of being straight vertical because I didn't have a third arm to hold it when I nailed it in place at the bottom... It provides a surface that is straight up and down, it's just the edges that are off.

I suppose if I put blocking in every 24" that angle would actually be advantageous since I could slide them in from the part where it's wider instead of having to wedge something in that's tight when it's in place, but doesn't fit when I'm trying to angle it into place...

It really doesn't wiggle or anything, attaching a picture from this morning...

And yes, I'm putting a floor drain in the middle of the floor, it is in the middle of the heated area. I have kids that like to find creative ways to circumvent the intended function of shower doors to contain shower water inside the shower.

09-22-2017, 12:17 PM
And yes, I'm putting a floor drain in the middle of the floor
Hi Will,

Will this floor drain connect to your house DWV? Will it have a trap primer?

Cheers, Wayne

09-22-2017, 06:01 PM
Yes it's connected to the house DWV, but no I don't have a trap primer.

... Well, maybe I do. I have 50/50 custody of 3 floor drain trap primers currently age 9, 10 and 12.

I've already passed plumbing rough inspection, pretty sure I don't have a code requirement for a trap primer.

10-09-2017, 06:51 AM
Just thought I would put in a quick progress update. Just to recap, the shower is part of a project including a new bathroom, a new laundry room and a new coat closet in an area that was a poorly configured kitchen. I've passed rough inspection and the step I am working on currently is hanging drywall and cbu.

With soffits in the hallway and closet for structural reasons, so it has driven a lot of work cutting pieces of drywall for the details, and I've started taping in the closet because I need to get the closet into use so I can remove another closet...

Anyway, I have most of the bathroom drywall and cbu hung. I have to finish screws on a couple pieces, I need to finish the niches, footrest surface and soffit.

I have 6 mil poly sheet on the exterior wall only. I will be redgarding the shower pan.

With so much cbu fun, I just said forget it to scoring the board and I am taking them outside and going to town with a circular saw.

10-10-2017, 08:27 AM
Okay I'm getting to a point where I'm going to need to construct the shower pan... I saw the how to article here, but it has a dead link to an Ontario tile website. The method sounds different than the one at this link which is what I had been figuring on using:


I grabbed a fresh pic this morning, unfortunately a little bit cluttered with tools, of the present state of the area I'll be working... I need to secure my floor CBU and I'll be taking out the floor heat cable since I need to reconfigure it anyway to take out the cable under the toilet and extend the excess cable futher back on the sides of the toilet.

My plan is to cast the curb, then the floor, then give it 3 days to cure, then redgard.

At any rate, one question I had was if I should bother with CBU under the shower floor inside the curb, or just make my sloped mortar floor directly on the OSB subfloor?

Anything wrong with just casting the whole shower curb from mortar as the link I provided describes? Is there anything I should do that will ensure I can release the wood form for the curb?

Here's the shower door I intend to install, which probably isn't too necessary for discussing how-to, really I mostly want to keep a link handy so I can go back to it for dimensions:


10-11-2017, 08:00 AM
Pardon the terminology, I'm not sure if it's the right term but in my mind I call what I got done yesterday that I cast the shower curb. If there's a more appropriate term I'd like to know what it is, but at any rate here's the pic.

10-11-2017, 11:16 AM
Will, please don't pay too much attention to that article you linked, especially the treatment of the drain and their advice to "level" the curb top.

You want to use a clamping drain and the "divot" method of creating your sloped shower floor for the proper use of your RedGard receptor liner (which I recommend against).

You cannot just paint your waterproofing membrane up to the edge of a floor drain (not a shower drain) as shown in their article.

The top of your curb must be sloped at least 1/4" per foot to the drain. It must not be level as they recommend.

Your curb looks like it's gonna be pretty thick. Maybe that's just the appearance in the photo?

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-12-2017, 06:59 AM
I read comments on the article so I did a lot more searching around to take in a number of Youtube videos, and in particular I made it a point to watch installation videos from Custom Building Products, the manufacturer of Redgard.

I put about 1/8" slope into the top of the curb as well.

The area that left me a little unsure was just what the thickness of the mortar bed should be... One source lead me to believe I ought to have the mortar bed 2" thick at it's lowest point, and by my calculations that would've meant I'd need more than 2 bags of mortar... It also would not have left more than 1" of curb height, which didn't sound right because I think I'm supposed to have more than that.... I felt like there's a lot of conflicting info out there.

At any rate, I went with a floor mortar bed thickness that I was able to get with 1" mortar. I put a line at 1.5" on the side wall so I could use it as a guide and I ended up fairly close, I did have a 1/4" per foot slope and I checked all the way around with a level to ensure it looked like the bubble was at least always indicating slope towards the drain, but to my surprise I actually got the slope pretty consistent.

The curb width does look wider than it is from my previous photo just because of the mortar slopping all over the top of the 2x4 frame. The curb is 4" wide.

The outside wall of the curb frame was sitting mostly 1/2" hardiboard, the angled part was sitting on top of 1/4" hardiboard with the floor heat guide bracket so it worked out to be about 5/8" above the subfloor. I cut 3/8" off the bottom of the outer frame boards so they would end up slightly higher than the inner frame boards, and I verified slope towards the drain was present with a level and that the boards themselves were level.

I understood the guide to mean that the framework needs to be level in the direction of the glass shower walls so that you don't have gapping to the glass.

One other thing that stood out for me from watching the manufacturer's videos that I didn't pick up from the apartmenthterapy guide was the suggestion to coat your corners with redgard, then apply fiberglass mesh tape and then another redgard coat to embed the tape.

I think I might have mentioned this before, but for this shower drain as well as 2 floor drains I'm putting in the tiled floor I do already have clamping type drains designed for tile floor applications. I recognized the drain they showed is really more for something like a cement basement floor.

Takeout bowl from Panda Express worked just right as a cover to keep mortar from falling into the drain pipe.

For my next step following the parts of the guide that seem to make sense, I'll be letting this cure for 3 days. In that time, I'll get my floor heat cable rerouted and get that embedded in leveling compound, I'll start dragging myself through the process of taping drywall joints throughout the project, and I'll get the floor for the hallway and maybe the laundry room tiled so I can use some of that thinset to fill my joints at the seat and wall corners ahead of Redgard application.

Today's photo shows the floor mortar bed in place.

10-12-2017, 07:19 AM
Oh, here's a question that came up from the videos... Based on the 3 days curing time before I apply Redgard, I should be able to apply the Redgard on Saturday and I could water test it on Sunday which means I could get my plumbing inspection Monday (in order to get that, I need to call no later than 3 PM Friday, but I just set it up for Monday).

My question is about the leak test... When I had my plumbing rough inspection, I thought it sounded like it would be running water to make sure it runs down to the drain. One of the videos I watched, they put a test plug in the drain and filled the shower pan, marked a line and checked it 24 hours later... I don't mind doing either test or both for my own satisfaction, but is one of the other that which is usually expected?

I know I ought to direct the question to my AHJ, but he is on vacation and they will have somebody filling in for him, so if I leave a voicemail or a message I probably won't get an answer before inspection.

10-12-2017, 12:31 PM
Both are usually expected, Will. The code compliance inspector should require the receptor be filled with water up to the top of the curb and be left in that condition for a minimum of 24 hours. How he knows you've actually done that is always a mystery.

When he arrives for the inspection, he should require that you unplug the shower drain and he'll want to see that all the water runs out of the shower with none remaining in significant puddles.

What will actually happen depends upon the jurisdiction and the individual inspector.

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-16-2017, 09:03 AM
Progress update from the weekend with one question below:

So I would characterize my Redgard application as of the scheduled permit leak test inspection I had set up for this morning as being almost ready. That obviously means I'm not ready, I postponed until the next day my wife can take a vaction day (she already has one planned for other appointments) on Friday.

I had a busy schedule over the weekend, and one delay kind of cascaded into the next. Friday evening I was still waiting for my shower mortar bed to cure (I was going for 72 hours, it had been around 60) so my goal was to pour the self leveling compound to embed the floor heat cable. This turned into a lesson of reading the instructions ahead of time, I read the instructions for the SLC and learned something new - they want a laytex primer applied first, which I did not have on hand and it was after HD closed. So, the project was at a stand-still until Saturday morning. (Ahead of all this, I got my floor heat cable re-laid so that it's no longer under the toilet, as can be seen in the attached photo)

Saturday morning I intended to stay home from a birthday party that I expected my daughter to not go to because she has ballet class at the same time while my wife took the other 2 kids to the party, and I expected to use that time to apply the Redgard. Nope, daughter decided to go to the party instead so we all went, and I was left with the afternoon to work and that was mostly going to HD to get primer, then finishing CBU cutting for the shower niche (oh yeah... I forgot I had all the walls done, but I need to finish CBU in the niches... And I finished the soap niche that's within the bottom 3', the other 2 niches are above the 3' so I haven't finished them yet and it's on my to-do list) I got some of the Redgard in the corners with fiberglass mesh, but that's as far as I would get on Saturday.

After that, we had planned a visit to my mom in Ohio overnight, then rush back to another soccer game Sunday afternoon, and then I had more time to work. By 8 PM I had at least 2 coats of Redgard on the shower floor, curb and the bottom 3' of shower wall, but some of the corners weren't fully dried and I saw a few pinholes I still wanted to hit with another coat.

Strictly speaking, even if I was ready at 8 PM last night, I'd be cheating on a 24 hour leak test if I tried to pass it off this morning. One other reason to put off the test, I also remembered I have a piece of the plug form the toilet flange that fell into the new pipe and if I drain water from the shower, it could wash that piece further into the system. I need to open up the pipe to remove that piece before it gets further downstream and potentially gets stuck in pipe under the basement floor.


My plan is to coat the areas I think are weak again, then I'd like to use up the rest of my gallon somewhere. So my question is would it be better to use that 1/4 gallon of redgard on the shower wall further up or add another coat to what is already there? (I have poly sheet behind the CBU on the exterior wall.) OR would it be better to use it around the floor drain after SLC?

Pictured is the redgard after the last coat applied before it dried. I haven't yet taken a pic after drying.

10-16-2017, 10:47 AM
What is the significance of the three feet up the walls, Will? Do you not plan to waterproof above that?

I see no evidence of any filling and taping of the CBU seams per the manufacturer's instructions. Why is that?

No social calendar, please, it confuses the shower construction details. :)

10-16-2017, 12:04 PM
I'm trying to get this done and otherwise my weekends should be more productive, but anyway...

I thought I read somewhere that I have to have the waterproofing 3' up the walls, elsewhere I've read 3", if the guideline is 3' I'm covered, if the guideline is 3" then going to 3' covers the 3".

I haven't done all of the joints yet because if I just mix up a bag of mortar to fill CBU joints I'm going to waste it, I'll fill and tape the joints the next time I'm setting tiles which most likely will be the hallway. And if the best use of the rest of the Redgard is over those CBU corners then that drives me to set the hallway tiles next so I can get that joint filled.

If the best place to use up the tiles is another layer where I have it already, that drives me to do that before the leak test. The leak test for the permit is Friday, but I could do my touchup tonight and run a 24 hour test starting tomorrow with time to fix any leaks on Wednesday and still fill the shower with water Thursday morning to be ready on Friday.

If the floor drain after SLC is the best place to use the Redgard, then I'm going to primer the floor and pour SLC next.

10-16-2017, 12:20 PM
Will, the requirement for wall waterproofing in a shower is that it rise at least above the shower head supply pipe. And that's especially true with the niches you have in those walls.

The three-inch requirement you may be referring to is that the pan liner in a traditionally built shower receptor must rise at least three inches above the top of the curb and has nothing to do with the wall waterproofing. Does not apply at all to the type of shower you're building.

Buy more RedGard if you need more to do the shower as it's supposed to be done. It should extend on the walls past the front of the curb and on the front of the curb, too, for best results.

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-18-2017, 07:27 AM
Hallway tile laid so I had a batch of thinset mortar I could also use to fill the joints where I need to apply Redgard the rest of the way up the shower walls.

This evening the plan will be to Redgard the joints that need another coat, then apply the primer where I need to put in SLC. Then I'll make a supply run and pour the SLC.

This will allow me to start my leak test tomorrow morning and apply the Redgard the rest of the way up tomorrow evening, and I could optionally start putting some on the floor around the floor drain if I have time for it. But the real priority is being ready for the plumbing permit leak test on Friday.

24+ hours is a long time to reliably keep the dog away from drinking standing water though, I'm worried he'll find a way to bust in and drink some. His favorite water is anything that's not in his water bowl.

10-19-2017, 08:02 AM
Last night I put another coat on all the joints in the Redgard area, coated primer on the floor with the floor heat cable and any surrounding area that the SLC was likely to overflow, went to HD to get more Redgard to be applied this evening, and poured the SLC. This morning I filled the shower pan with water to start the 24 hour leak test so it would be ready for the inspection tomorrow.

I put a large picture across the doorway supported by the toilet bowl that will be installed after tile so I could keep curious 4-legged visitors from leaving paw prints or lowering the water level. The cat was considering jumping over to investigate last night while the SLC was wet, fortunately it looks like she made the right choice to go back to just laying around on the couch.

10-19-2017, 08:29 AM
got an update from my wife, so about 3 hours later it's gone down around a 1/4"... She says its dripping into the basement so there must be a pinhole somewhere in the redgard.

10-19-2017, 12:17 PM
Was any mesh or fabric used to tie the redguard to the drain body? Just painting redgard on the drain won't make a good deal really. Several companies like noble make a flashing for the divot method that creates a seal with a clamping style drain.

10-19-2017, 02:43 PM
Well, no on that... I don't see that anything like that flashing is available at my local big box. I figure better to stay away from mean because it is round and will not conform well and I would just end up with a dam around the dimple. Open to suggestions. Many small pieces?

It doesn't actually look like the leak was around the drain on this test though. It came into the basement through joints in the subfloor and it looks like I found some pin holes in the mesh at the corner to the interior wall where it probably leaked in and flowed down the subfloor

10-20-2017, 04:46 AM
Put another layer of redgard on the corners where the pinholes were, filled water at around 10 pm, looks like no leaks this time.

10-20-2017, 09:10 AM
Okay... There was no dripping water when I left for work this morning around 7:30 AM. My wife is home waiting for the inspection which hasn't happened yet, and now she says she sees a slow drip at one place in the basement.

So here's the timeline:

7:30 AM Thursday filled the shower and marked the level to prepare for a planned leak test inspection today (Friday)
10 AM Thursday wife sees fast drip in more than one place, drains the shower.
6 PM Thursday I examine the shower and find a few places with visible pinholes in the corner mesh. The location where leaks are visible are consistent with subfloor seems and it looks like the water may have flowed under the mortar bed to the place where it was dripping. I apply another layer of Redgard at the corners ensuring the pinholes are filled in.
Evening Thursday I work on Redgard around the shower niches. At one point I drop my drill on the shower floor and it gouges a spot on the Redgard in the middle of the floor. I paint a thick coat of Redgard on this spot
10:30 PM all Redgard looks red, so I fill the shower pan back up to the previous mark.

I want to note that the water looked cloudy. There were some spots where I dripped redgard while working on the shower niches where there might have been some wet drops of Redgard that might have dissolved in water.

7:30 AM I left for work, no sign of anything dripping.
10:30 AM my wife reports a slow drip.

I'm guessing the Redgard might have needed more drying time and I might need to go back to recoat it after it dries. I have no way to cancel the inspection so I'll see what happens.

Update: Inspector just came out and saw the water level still at the line and gave it approval. I told my wife to drain the water so it can dry and I'll put another coat on the corners later this weekend. It's a busy weekend so I won't have time to tile until Sunday anyway.

10-20-2017, 01:51 PM
You can do what you like but I would sure want to do another flood test to be sure there are no leaks before I started to put tile on.
Just my opinion.

10-20-2017, 08:43 PM
I vote with Kirk.

That's part of the reason I always recommend against using liquid-applied direct bonded waterproofing membranes to make shower receptors.

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-23-2017, 08:53 AM
I have no problem with that. I'll redgard tonight and give it a day to set then test tomorrow, drain Wednesday and give it a day to dry. Meanwhile I'll time the laundry room and work on precutting tile for the bathroom.

10-30-2017, 11:04 AM
Last week I tested again, found the leak around the drain, put mesh around the drain and a few coats, no more leaks.

So Friday I tiled the laundry room floor, Saturday there wasn't much time to work and this is as far as I got Sunday. I have my tile saw set up in the basement because I don't have a spot that I can splatter tile saw water all over anywhere else. This much just wiped me put, and I wasted probably 35 lbs of the 50 lb thinset bag I mixed.

I wanted to put the tiles on the wall diagonal, but now I'm thinking I might be overdoing it and I'll end up too tired with all the tile cutting... or maybe I just need to precut and set tiles on my next full evening. Maybe precutting will make it easier, I'm just not sure I can preplan the are around the niches because lining up the edges depends on the mortar thickness under the tiles in the niche...

any suggestions for how I can plan the tile cuts for the niche?

12-06-2017, 10:47 AM
It's been a busy month so it's been hard to get large enough blocks of time to mix a batch of thinset and use it, but I've gone through 4 bags of thinset - usually wasting at least half of it because so much of this bathroom involves fitting just about every single tile. But I've finally finished setting all the tiles.

The third pic is a surround pic, so the camera stiches together a bunch of pics and sometimes they don't line up right in case anyone is wondering why the pic looks a little funny.

12-06-2017, 11:03 AM
I do have a question before I jump in to grout. First an aside...

I just realized I never posted pics of the finished tile in the hallway and laundry room and I don't even have those pictures after grout. My intent was to use "linen" colored grout for the hallway and laundry and "new taupe" for the bathroom, I had a bag of each... But when I mixed the grout for the hallway and laundry, I grabbed the wrong bag. It came out dark, but it got lighter when it dried so it goes okay with the hallway tile, and the laundry looks okay although in an area I was more concerned with aesthetics it might be more contrast than I wanted.

Getting to my question now:

I think the new taupe is going to come out a little darker than the bathroom tile and that would be good for highlighting the pattern I've worked to have in the wall tile, but with all the tiles that had to be cut with the niches, the corners, the shower curb, the slope of the floor towards the drain... There just was no way I was going to achieve a consistent 1/4" grout line everywhere. There's lots of places that ended up wider or less than 1/4".

Should I consider changing to a lighter color that will blend more with the tile so as to not draw attention to the grout line width variations? Or am I worrying too much and I should go with the contrast so the patterns are emphasized?

If it matters, I have a blue paint planned for the walls (step daughter likes blue and we let the kids pick colors.)

Houston Remodeler
12-06-2017, 05:05 PM

This question is best answered by Mrs Will. :ct:

12-07-2017, 09:51 AM
Well the problem with that is she doesn't like to make decisions, and that's why we sometimes poll the kids - to my mind, it's no worse than just rolling dice as a decision making method. She doesn't really have much opinion about grout color.

What did get a reaction from her was that she noticed the upper left tile framing the upper niche. I was in a dilemma because that tile fell off when I walked away to wash thinset off my hands before I taped it, the tile broke and I did not have another spare bullnose tile - it was the last one I put up. So what I did was I took 2 remnants and made 2 3" long tiles go where there would've been a 6" long tile. Something like that, it was probably more like 2 3.5" tiles where there was a 7" tile, but at any rate...

Had I decided I need to replace that tile, it would've involved going to a Home Depot about 10 miles away (because the nearest one doesn't carry the tiles we are using) The batch of thinset would've set and I would have been

It's an irregularity that has me changing my thinking on grout color, and maybe I should go with a grout color that will blend with the tile color so that irregularities do not stand out.

We used Catalina Canyon from Daltile.

01-29-2018, 02:12 PM
I've been slacking off over the last month, but we ended up using linen colored grout. I did that then very little until yesterday when I put up the shower doors.

I have some more caulking to finish, and I still need to finish drywall, paint and trim, but the tile work is done, the toilet is in use and shower will be in use soon too. Sink needs the wall painted before it is attached, so probably this weekend.