First Walk in Shower using USG Shower System [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-21-2019, 02:16 PM
Hello All, as many have said this has been a great resource for information in everything tile. I have been a reader for a long time but now am hoping to be able to get some advice/help regarding doing my first walk in shower using the USG shower system (presloped tray, drain, etc) and I will also be using the USG foam backer board for the shower walls and ceiling. My questions are....What type of thinset should I be using to set the USG membrane on all my seams? (I have heard differing opinions between modified and unmodified) and wanted to get some real world advice. Also, after my backerboards and shower tray are in and all waterproofed, what thinset should I use for adhering the tile to such? I will be using a 2x2 square porcelain on the floor and subway tile on the walls and ceiling. I have Laticrete, TEC, Mapei, and Custom Building Product thinsets available to me, would really just appreciate some direction of which to use where. Thanks so much, sorry for the length of my first post, am excited to get going on this!!

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07-21-2019, 03:05 PM
Welcome, KR. :)

If you shop at Homer's at all, I'd recommend you get some white Versabond (Modified thinset mortar meeting ANSI A118.4/.11) from Custom Building Products and use it for everything you've described. Complies with the requirements of all the product manufacturers involved, is quite sufficient to all your needs, and is reasonably priced.

I've heard some complaints about the product from a couple geographic locations, but in my area and most other areas it's just fine. You have not put a geographic location into your User Profile, which I would recommend you do.

My opinion; worth price charged.

07-21-2019, 05:24 PM
Hello CX, I am about 35 minutes north of Boston, thanks for the tip regarding using the same thinset for both the membrane work and setting the tiles. Have you worked with the USG foam board or shower systems before? Any tips or tricks that would help a first timer working with the product?

07-21-2019, 09:08 PM
If you'll use the Advanced Search feature you'll find a long thread about the USG Durock Shower System ( from the time it was first introduced. The portion of the thread concerning my contribution of the first such shower on the Internet starts about page four.

But no, I've not used the foam board. USG did a rather poor job of promoting the entire system and it appears an even worse job on promoting and distributing the foam board. I've never even seen the newest version.

Now that USG no longer exists, the shower system, including the foam board, will be re-emerging under another name and will, hopefully, be more readily available across the country.

If you do have access to the foam board, though, and want to use it, it would certainly make you a good shower. But especially for a DIY project, I can't see how the price of the foam board would be justifiable at all. But maybe you don't care about the price?

I would recommend you use the membrane over whatever backing material you're comfortable with. All you really need to buy is the roll of membrane and a drain, both of which are available from Amazon delivered right to your door.

[Edit] Nearest place to you from which I've heard complaints about Versabond is northern Virginia/DC area. And not lately.

My opinion; worth price charged.

07-22-2019, 10:44 AM
Hey CX,
What was the root of the Versabond complaints? I must have used 4-6 bags of the vanilla flavor on my project, and I did notice one bag was very different from the rest: more coarse sand mixture, gritty, not quite as 'white', more ivory, different consistency with same water mix practices. I almost thought it was the LFT variant, but it was not. Checked the label, it was fresh. Ended up throwing 2/3 of the bag away and went to another store to buy from a different batch and all was fine.

Timber, Versabond gets my vote, it worked very well for my Durock shower system shower: custom foam floor, foam board, curb, walls, drain, preformed niche, etc. Used the whole system.

Contractors direct dot com is a cheap/great place to order more of the individual components.

07-22-2019, 10:48 AM
Laticrete 252 silver and 253 gold are also good products.

I've also used Mapei Ultraflex 1 for that application.

07-22-2019, 11:17 AM
Similar complaints, Matt. And yours is the other area from which I've heard such complaints. Appears to be a problem of where Custom sources the aggregate and/or the cement for the mix. More than that I do not know.

I've never observed the problems in my area.

07-22-2019, 11:20 AM
Versabond is ok and completely sufficient but once you've worked with a true premium thinset mortar, you will feel clearly that Versabond is not in that category. If money is the limiting factor, go with Versabond. If not, try some of that premium stuff if locally available.

07-22-2019, 04:25 PM
Re the USG Shower products; I see the foam board is available at Home Depot.

07-22-2019, 06:06 PM
It's not available at any HD within 100 miles of me.

07-22-2019, 06:12 PM
Same in my area, Kevin, nor will they deliver some to my zip code.

A cruel hoax perpetrated by Homer, I fear. :(

Can't blame USG on accounta there ain't no USG no more. :D

I do hope our friends at MGNT Products ( settle on a new manufacturer/distributor for the shower system products.

07-22-2019, 06:47 PM
Huh, not in stock at my local store either, limited stock at a store about 40 miles away. Initially said they would ship but then got the red “not available” notice.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
07-22-2019, 08:53 PM
$40! :eek: