"STALLED" in beginning stages of shower rebuild [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-23-2004, 10:23 AM
Okay... redoing my shower and ran into several questions during my research.

About the shower:
This is a tile shower on the slab. It will be your basic tiled, mud bed, pan lined, insulated, felt papered, cement backer board run-of-the-mill shower with a curb. :)

Here's what I have done so far:
1. Demolished everything except for studs and drain. (I can't believe this thing repelled water at any of its existance... sheetrock/greenboard for shower walls and not vapor barrier of any kind? No preslope either and they stapled the liner a billion times on top of the curb! It's like CSI but for DYIs!)
2. Rebuilt some of the blocking, studs, curb + extended the shower into an adjacent linen closet that was useless.
3. Laid standard plastic wrapped insulation through whole shower (walls + ceiling + around the pipes, etc) since this sucker was so noisy.
4. Stapled to studs... thick poly on top of the insulation throughout the shower.
5. Removed a few inches of surrounding sheet rock on the outside of the shower around the door with nice clean cuts for touch later.
6. Now... starting to lay the 15# felt paper. Here's where it went a little crazy and my confidence in doing this project plummeted!

1. How exactly should I lay this felt paper in the shower (using gal. roofing nails)? Vertically? Horizontally? I basically did overlapping from ceiling to floor. I put up 1 LONG horizontal sheets around the shower so there would be no seams... works good but I noticed the corners were not flush and quite rounded.... so I took an razor blade and slice the corners to relieve the stress in the paper and that the paper would be flush in the corners... but now I have 4 (each corner) vertical slices running ceiling to floor. (Should I peel back the felt paper and staple a vertical prefolded corner under the felt paper I just put up... should I use an adesive to bond them together??)

Or should I scrap it... take it all down... and lay the felt paper vertically and prefold my corners before tacking them up there....

I kinda feel like I should start over hang the paper vertically.???

So once I figure that out... next question is

2.Do I need to make sure this barrier ends up in the pan liner (as it will behind the cement backer board that will be in the liner).... or should it just continue it to the floor... bypassing the liner and lay it onto the preslope (which I haven't floated yet... nex question)

3. I also understand that I don't need this felt paper on the slab under the preslope cement? Is this good? Should I just put cement onto cement (slab)

damn...I'm confusing myself now.... but learning a lot.
It's fun and quite the challenge.

I'm glad I found this forum... I think it is the best on the web.

thanks ya'll

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07-23-2004, 10:34 AM
Felt paper is cheap, so if you have to tear it out, so what?

First thing I'd do, though, is slit the plastic sleeving on the insulation. You need only one moisture barrier, and that'll be your tar paper or plastic sheeting.

It doesn't matter whether you hang the paper vertically or horizontally, as long as a) you overlap at least 2 inches, b) horizontal laps are done shingle-wise, and c) the bottom edge is inside the pan (liner).

Since your shower is on a slab, you don't need any felt under the preslope. Instead, you bond the preslope mud to the slab with a little batch of thinset (the cheap stuff is fine). Mix it so it is really runny, then paint the concrete with it. Dump in the mud before the thinset cures. You can skip any reinforcing in your mud beds.


07-23-2004, 11:40 AM
Thanks Bob!

Sounds good... I'm ready to tackle it again.

07-26-2004, 08:20 AM
Well here's the update... I did the slope and got it right the 2nd time but son of gun if I didn't put any damn thinset on the slab. Damn. I can't believe I screwed it up... will I run into MAJOR problems? This would be my 3rd time to do the preslope if I screw it up and it is drying right now (kinda wet)... I'm a dork but then again this is my first time to do anything like this at all. I really feel for all your apprentices!

1.) Also... to avoid messing with the poly since it is stapled a billion times... if I leave it up and put up felt paper on top of it... will I run into problems (Even though I only need one between the insulation and the CBU)?

2.)Should I slit the poly as well like you told me to do with the insulation plastic covering if I leave it up... just wondering... is the slit to let moisture evaporate readily?

I'm just not too excited about removing a bunch of staples in sunken in poly... I'm hoping the poly will just reinforce the real moisture barrier (felt paper) if I did leave it up (and put the edge of the poly in the liner like the felt paper will be).

Thanks and sorry for all the text.

07-26-2004, 08:32 AM
Second question first: Just rip the poly off the walls and leave the staples, or slit it and leave it up.

First question: Don't sweat it. The preslope isn't going anywhere. The curb, walls and gravity will keep it in place.

Just keep your head in the game and don't let a few uh-ohs rattle you! Take a minute to review the next steps before you start to remind yourself what you have to do. Then do one step at a time. Baby steps. :D Eventually, you'll have a shower you can be proud of, and a whole bunch of stories to tell. And you won't have to worry about folks asking you to do there showers! :D


07-26-2004, 10:21 AM
hahahhahaha... you got that right... don't think I will be volunteering to do a neighbor's shower anytime. :)

Thanks again for your advice and words of wisdom.

I'm sure I have the other steps down right... I just wanted to be so careful since the rest of the project will be on top of the liner and preslope and I want a good "FOUNDATION"... no pun intended....bad joke.


Kinda like foot surgery... if you are going to do it.. better do it right since you will be walking on them for the rest of your life!

If this was surgery... I think they would have yanked my license.




John Bridge
07-26-2004, 05:56 PM
Hi Colin, Welcom. :)

I'm sure glad you finally offered your name. I read clean through this operation thinking I'm gonna get this dude to . . . . :)

Now I'm curious as to what kind of webmastering you do. ;)

07-26-2004, 10:54 PM
Hi John... thanks for the excellent source on the web! It is the best forum...

Well... yes I am a webmaster and my main gig is www.flower-mound.com but I also take care of www.codestudyguides.com and www.trackandtrailshowcase.com.

Pretty much most of my work is done on the front end in macromedia products.

Gil Smith
07-26-2004, 11:08 PM
I noticed the corners were not flush and quite rounded.... so I took an razor blade and slice the corners to relieve the stress in the paper Colin, I may be anal but to me the corners are just about the last place you want a break in the moisture barrier. All you've got between the water and your framing is whatever grout you can get into that corner joint. If you overlapped your paper then the gravity is working for you everywhere else, but the corners are vulnerable, IMO.

If your corners won't lay flat it's ok to break them but I'd put a flashing vertically in each corner. I used a roll of Moistop membrane that was left over from my home construction but you could cut 12" wide strips of felt paper as well. Just fold it with a crease down the middle and you'll have your sharp corners.;)

07-27-2004, 07:22 AM
Thanks for the response Gil.

I ended up taking all the felt paper out because it just didn't feel right and I know how water works... least resistance + gravity = leak.

It looks like I might put in a 6 mil poly instead of the felt paper... seems like most of ya'll are using that instead of felt paper. I will try and staple one sheet for the whole thing... that way no overlapping period... and will also put the edge down into the pan liner and CBU over that... what do ya think?

Thanks for the advice.

Also... what kind of "sealant" should I use to attach the under side of the pan liner to the drain before I wrench it down? And what kind to use to keep the pan liner corners folded up and glued together (I will be stapling the very top edge to the studs/block)? My sources to buy "sealant" (as referred to by M.B.) are Homer's and Lower's (hahahhaha). I checked the Liberry at http://johnbridge.com/mortar_bed_shower_floor.htm and I belive a Dap product is being used... I would like to use that one since Dap has been good to be in the past... what kind of Dap should I use?

Oh and John... I just saw the wink icon on your post.... hahahahha.... and yes... I can bet that my webmastering is a whole lot better than my shower building. That was funny. :)

Gil Smith
07-27-2004, 07:41 AM

Paper or plastic? It's your choice. ;)

Some like clear plastic because they can see what's behind it.....I'd probably end up in a body wrap if I tried putting it all up in one sheet.....:D

I think silicon is the sealant of choice.

07-27-2004, 08:38 AM
Thanks.... I will go get some silicone and bodywrap.

07-28-2004, 03:48 PM
I just wanted to ask a quick question regarding my preslope... on the 2 corners near the drain (about 13-16 inches away) I have my preslope literally sloping on the corners... basically a long skateboard ramp like transition to the drain.

Where on my other corners (50 inches) away from the drain... I have a long, planed, steady rise to the wood screeds as seen on all preslope photos... (all screeds 2 inches above slab).

The reason... is that I shaped the rise to the screeds near the drain with my hand because my tools where just not floating it well... but since the other corners were far away from the drain I could do a normal straight rise to the screeds with my tools... I basically sculpted the other corners...

so it looks like this:



I figured the liner would fill in the gaps when I put the mud in and it would weigh down the liner and fill in the transitioned part... but I thought I should ask the pros to see if I should fill in the transitions and make all of the "TRANSITIONED" parts "BANKED" as in one plane aka no transitions.

Also I am covering the preslope with a piece of felt paper because the sand is pretty rough but I figured this could only help not hurt...

Thanks for eveyone's help so far.

Steven Hauser
07-28-2004, 04:06 PM
You need to give us permission to view your photo.


07-28-2004, 04:56 PM
okay... try again... Verizon is pretty finicky sometimes... it probably said something about be "locked".... happens when more than 1 person views the file at the same time. Weird. Thanks.

You can try this one too.


PICTURE was updated.

John Bridge
07-28-2004, 07:07 PM

It's taking a long time to load the site. :)

Basically, you need to smooth things out before installing the liner. It will not carry over voids or rough spots. Need to get your mud bed looking like Michael Byrne's in his article. :)

07-28-2004, 07:58 PM
I will smooth it out and fill in the "transitions"... I think the preslope was rough because I used too much water in my quickrete sand + play sand mix.... thanks for the advice. I guess i need to put down a slurry coat of thinset to help the new preslope bond to the other one.

Hmmm.... my site must be loading slow due to all the storms we are having right now.

Steven Hauser
07-29-2004, 09:18 AM
Well with an offset drain the effect you get is a steeper slope to one side.

I'm going to presume that the artistic effect of the sloping stopping before the drain is just that artistic. Actually the slope continues to the drain all around.

Remember the rule of thumb is slope it 1/4" to every foot.


07-29-2004, 02:52 PM
Ugh... yeah... well that's the thing... my drain is set inside the hole in the slab about 1/2 of an inch down... the liner when attached would actually go DOWN to attach to the flange.... that's why my slopes become flush with the slab right before the drain.. it is not as drastic as in the picture but it is not an easy place to float... if I were to take the preslope all the way up to the pvc drain... as some say so it will be 1/2 to 3/4 high.... it would put mud all in the flange and bolts and be recessed even more....

This shower is difficult and this is why I am doing it myself... so I can do it properly.... man... whoever built this shower I think was worse than me.... at least I am trying to put in a preslope!

Anyway... the shower is going to rest for a bit since company is coming into town.

I don't think I have much of a choice because I am not going to rip up the slab so I can raise the flange 1/2 inch so it will be level with the slab... I'll try to post some pics if ya'll are interested. :)

Gil Smith
07-29-2004, 04:49 PM
I am not going to rip up the slab so I can raise the flange 1/2 inch so it will be level with the slab IMO, it wouldn't be all that difficult, and might allow you to reposition the drain a bit to your advantage.....personally, I'd rather deal with that than your current situation. :cool:

07-29-2004, 08:58 PM
thanx for the idea... but I think in my case and with my limited experience that would be a step backwards... if I had more experience I think you would be right on the money... but as a one year old homeowner... I can't go beating the slab down. :)

I will have to proceed with building up the preslope a little more and get they nice "BANKED" surface (sorry...skateboarding term) instead of the curved one that I have...

Now for a week break.... hehehehehhe

Gil Smith
07-30-2004, 01:44 AM
Have it your way, but everybody's an "expert-in-training" no matter whether you're one year old (really? :D ) or 62-1/2.....one gets experience primarily by doing. "Can't never accomplished anything", my Daddy used to say. Besides, there's plenty of experience available right here. ;)