Schluter system or no? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-05-2019, 01:52 PM
Looking for advice. I have two bids for tile in my master bath. Both are equally ridiculously high. One us using the schluter system, one not. Which is better, old school or schluter? It's a walk in shower about 4ft by 9 ft.

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01-05-2019, 01:55 PM
Schluter materials cost more, but easier to do. Traditional method uses less pricey materials, but has more layers to build. Both work well when done correctly.

01-05-2019, 05:05 PM
I try to only use Schluter when given a choice...although there are many good systems out there......

Tool Guy - Kg
01-05-2019, 05:08 PM
Hi, Natalie. :wave:

Are you using man-made or natural stone materials?


01-05-2019, 05:16 PM
For a walk-in shower , definitely a surface membrane .

How did you assess that cost is '' ridiculously high '' ?

01-05-2019, 06:33 PM
Neither tile nor grout is waterproof. So, while not much gets below the tile, when doing a conventional shower, some moisture can also wick into the substrates. This is the main reason that the clamping drain needs weep holes to evacuate that moisture. A shower of this type is only 'waterproof' in the pan...the walls are water resistant and not damaged by being wetted. Most of the moisture evaporates in between uses, but since it all falls down to the pan, underneath the tile can stay damp for ages. A little in, a little out with each shower.

A sheet membrane shower is literally a waterproof box. Nothing wicks into the waterproofing layer immediately underneath the tile and thinset. There's a much thinner and denser layer of material underneath, and almost all moisture that might wick down there evaporates in between uses.

Both require good workmanship to achieve good results. IMHO, the sheet membranes benefits outweigh the potential savings with a conventional shower construction.

01-05-2019, 06:52 PM
I have the same question as Roberto, how did you determine the price was ridiculously high ?

01-05-2019, 07:08 PM
4x9 is a big shower...I'm curious of how high the bids are.

01-05-2019, 08:07 PM
Materials can become a significant portion of the overall cost, but labor, especially quality labor, doesn't come cheap. There are lots of things that can add more time needed to achieve a proper shower, such as niches, benches, fancy layout. Tile costs can go from as little as $1/sqft for materials to over $100, a major difference. Admittedly, that high end is not all that common, but there are materials that can cost that and even more. Pick a rare natural stone, custom glass, or hand-made tile, and the cost goes way up for materials. A linear drain can cost in the order of $400 for a small one, to many times that for a big one.

01-05-2019, 08:42 PM
Costs were $15/square ft for just labor...$30/square ft for the shower floor! I guess I haven't priced it in a while, but seemed really expensive to me.

Houston Remodeler
01-05-2019, 09:15 PM
Surface membranes are the only way to go IMHO. Its the technology of this century. 100% of the tiled area is waterproof.

What is a properly waterproofed shower worth to you?

Does either contractor give a warranty?

We stopped using liner systems about 25 years ago. We give a lifetime warranty.

01-06-2019, 12:50 PM
Natalie, I'm not sure if you're getting the "per sg. ft." numbers from contractors or that's your cost breakdown method, but I've found it to be nebulous info at best. Perhaps workable for a larger open area floor, but I've never found it useful for me or clients. Kinda akin to buying a car by the pound.

There are many considerations, especially in bathrooms and more specifically in showers.. It's a small working space but the devil's in the details, especially waterproofing. A well made shower should be viable for many years. I shower in one every day that was built in 1966. Tomorrow, I'm going to look at a shower that's 8 yrs old and showing signs of failure. Been "worked on" once already, I suspect I'll be advising a complete redo. That would mean they've paid for it twice. That seems high priced to me and many here.

01-06-2019, 01:38 PM
Prices vary some by location, but that is probably about right for a skilled installer.

Tool Guy - Kg
01-06-2019, 03:18 PM
Are you using man-made or natural stone materials?