Master shower questions (long with pics) [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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10-13-2006, 04:02 PM
Hey, I am finally going to tackle the master shower in our new home. I am going to go with the kerdi system and had some questions. These first questions are more along the lines of design, and general opinion questions.

I am looking for some design questions, I have no imagination, but being a carpenter I can pretty much build anything. So I have a clean slate, someone tell me what to do with it. :) My shower recess is a basic 3' deep, 4'-7"' wide, and 9' tall. Just keep in mind I do have a budget. :(

My first idea was to build a half wall on the right side with a glass panel and glass door like this,

couple things with this though. 9' celings make it seem wide open above, plus taking a shower would be cold since it is wide open.

My next thought is something like this. basically build a wall all the way, and put an opening in it for a regular door.

I do like it completely enclosed this this, but again the 9' would be very high when you are in the shower. Would I be better off putting a drop ceiling in at 8' or so? I also have a recessed light in the shower. It does have a wet area type of baffle on it, but if I enclose the shower completely it will get A LOT of steam up around it.

also if I do enclose the shower completely do I need to tile to the ceiling and the ceiling?

I will stop here, and ask more specific questions once i decide which way to go. I know that this is all a personal choice, but I would like some that have been here to let me know which way they think is best because of ........ Thanks,


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10-13-2006, 04:14 PM
Hi Brew,

Here's a good place to get some ideas.

10-13-2006, 05:05 PM
I`d build a soffett from the ceiling down to the height of the proposed glass ,enclosing the entire shower . Tile the whole thing. Or tile just above the shower head & put in a good exaust fan & use a water proof paint ? depends on your budget . Good luck .

10-13-2006, 06:30 PM
well, that answers one question, if I enclose the shower, it really should be tiled completely. Would I need to run kerdi all the way up and do the ceiling, or would just the tile be fine? I am assuming that with all the steam being created I would be better off putting kerdi all the way up?

If I am going to build a soffit down to the glass, I would just as soon build an entire wall and just have the door open like my last pic.

Would I be better off then to drop the ceiling to 8' then? Mostly so it wouldn't feel like I am standing in a silo?

It is not really possible to put a fan in the shower, I have one just outside to cover the tub and shower.

I would consider doing half wall and using a piece of glass as a soffit?


John Bridge
10-13-2006, 06:36 PM
Brew, :)

If you close it in you'll have a steam shower, and yes, I would Kerdi everything. My preference would be just a normal glase enclosure open at the top.

10-13-2006, 11:19 PM
Thanks John,

another question, I read in another post about having a vapor barrier behind the sheetrock and this not being good. I would absolutely swear 2 years ago when I built the home I was told to put a vapor barrier behind the rock, then rock, then kerdi. So in the pictures above, I have a poly vapor barrier behind the sheetrock.

Will I run in to serious problems? do I have to remove the rock, and remove the poly behind it? Or since the sheetrock is sandwiched it should be fine? Would it work to drill a bunch of holes in the rock/poly then kerdi over it? Thanks,


10-14-2006, 01:24 PM
Kinda a bump to see if I can get an answer to the vapor barrier question, and to see at what size a regular swinging bath door is? I am leaning towards the half wall with glass panel and door. Thanks,


10-14-2006, 03:13 PM
Well now...

If money was no object I would go with a frameless glass door and do a steam shower (no half wall, ALL glass).

That said, I'd consider a frameless glass door (again, no half wall) just 7' in height and full width. Do not enclose the top, avoid making a steam bath.

Now, kerdi just the 7 ' (your saving money now) and tile up to that point, not the ceiling (more money saved).

And, avoid 12x12 tiles..use 4x4 or smaller..that way the shower will look a lot bigger...AND you can do some really pretty effects using different tones and sizes (again, it's not money here, just time).

Good luck!

__ peter

10-14-2006, 07:02 PM
ok, I do like the steam shower idea, since I like the water scalding and the shower really steamy. My SIL works at a glass place that does shower doors, etc. so that will help, but unfortunately the reason I have some time to work on it now is I just got laid off. :crap: She just litterally walked out the door and is going to get me prices for frameless door/glass panel.

I am leaning towards the half wall so I can have a bench go across the entire shower, and not just a corner seat. I know I can do just a full size seat and not have a half wall like the pic below, but I am not a big fan of this look.

What is a standard door size too? Thanks,


10-15-2006, 10:10 AM
Just wondering what size most swinging shower doors are? 2'-4"?

I am doing a kerdi shower, I have a moisture barrier behind the sheetrock, just wondering if I need to rip it apart and remove the poly?


John Bridge
10-15-2006, 10:14 AM
He Brew, :)

If you screwed the sheetrock on, it's easy to remove. I would get rid of the poly. :)

10-15-2006, 11:49 AM
the sheetrock is screwed, nailed, taped, painted, etc. What would happen if I drilled a bunch of small 1/8" holes everywhere?


10-15-2006, 02:11 PM
Please stay with this thread, Brew. If you axe the same question on more than one thread it causes much confusion and duplication. If you're not getting a timely response, make another post to bump your thread to the top of the queue for attention. Response can get a little slow sometimes, 'specially on weekends. :)

Shouldn't be any painted sheetrock in the portion to be Kerdied, Brew. And now that we see this is a steam shower, the importance of removing that plastic behind the sheetrock is even more important.

Drilling some little holes isn't gonna buy you much.

Sheetrock's cheap. Sheetrock is easy to replace. Kerdied and tiled showers are not cheap. Kerdied and tiled showers are not easy to replace.

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-17-2006, 05:08 PM
bump to see if I can get a rough idea on what size door is common. 2-0 too small? 2-4 about right? Thanks,

PS. I decided to do the half wall route as in the first pic.


10-17-2006, 06:00 PM
Hey Brew, Don`t know if there is a standard door size??? appears through you pic you can make it the size you want! if its gona be custom glass? Keep in mind if there are any local building codes that state a minium or maximum?
If it were me ,I`d measure my shoulders or the biggest person using the shower+go a bit wider. Just my thoughts, keep us posted.

10-17-2006, 06:07 PM
I'm a little curious and a little concerned about some things in this thread...

First--if TS encloses the front of the shower, he notes that there will be a lot of steam. But as the thread goes on, we're calling it a steam shower. I thought a steam shower required a steam generator or heater or something. My concern is that I thought I was building a shower, not a steam shower. In mine, the only opening is the door opening and how much open space there will be will depend on how much of the opening the door takes up. Do I have a steam shower, or just a shower?

Second, and this is merely curiosity, I thought the Kerdi walls were totally impervious to moisture peenetration. Why would it matter if there's a sheet of poly behind the sheetrock?

Just wonderin'


10-17-2006, 06:47 PM
obviously I am no tile expert, but from what I can gather if the shower is completely enclosed (which mine won't be) that is would be considered a steam shower since there is no where for it to go. That being said, i am sure there is also a way to create more steam if that is what you are going for which would make it a Sauna. :)

anyway, at work the doors always seem very tiny. You literally have to turn sideways to enter the showers. These are usually large showers with no door really, just a funky maze to get in to the shower part.

The glass will be custom since my SIL works at a glass place. I am thinking something like 2'-4" (which is the standard size for bath doors, closet doors,etc.) would be the way to go.

Second, and this is merely curiosity, I thought the Kerdi walls were totally impervious to moisture peenetration. Why would it matter if there's a sheet of poly behind the sheetrock?

I think this bears a repeat. I swear when I built the home I was told by the guys here to put a vapor barrier behind the rock, now I have to rip it out? Not doubting that it is true, but it is bugging me. :mad:


10-17-2006, 07:17 PM
I looked back at all the other six threads you have, Brew, and I can't find where we discussed your shower at all. Mostly floors and radiant heat systems.

But given the number of times at least one assh regular contributor hereabouts harps and nags about "moisture sandwiches," I can't imagine anyone gettin' away with tellin' a visitor it's OK to have a vapor retarder on both sides of a sheetrock wall. Even on CBU walls we caution people to defeat any moisture barrier behind the CBU if they decide to apply a waterproofing membrane on the inside surface.

You gotta fix that.

On the shower door, I personally think a 2-0 door is plenty unless you plan to have extra-large persons using the shower. I've built smaller, and I believe code is less than that. Haven't looked that up in a long time, though. But, as has been noted, there really is no "standard" size for shower doors, just as there is no standard size for showers.

And I'm really against having any kinda fur-down area over shower doorways. Just axin' for moisture problems in that trapped ceiling area if it's not waterproofed and tiled like the rest of the shower. Even then, if it's not to be a steam room, I still wouldn't do it. Tough to get those dried out even with judicious use of a good exhaust fan outside the shower.

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-17-2006, 07:32 PM

I know that for a shower with cement backer board (hardi, durock, wonderboard, whatever), a vapor barrier is recommended because the cbu is not waterproof. With the Kerdi system, it isn't recommended, but I don't understand what harm it could do.

Well...I see that CX has replied before I sent this. I'm sure he's right, but it seems to me that the "moisture sandwich" wouldn't ever have any moisture in it.

But, I think you'd be foolish to ignore what these guys are telling you. I'm just a homeowner trying to remodel a bathroom.

10-17-2006, 08:20 PM
Ya CX, I checked out the other threads and couldn't find it either, must be getting old I guess. Being a carpenter for many years (too many) the vapor barrier, mold, moisture, condensation questions comes up almost daily. I already have the new rock sitting in the garage as we speak, so it isn't that big of a deal to rip it out.

I will plan on a 2-0 door, that will help the overall feel of the shower anyway. Might throw another valve and head in since it will be open though.

I do plan on going the half wall route with the glass panel, door and open the 2' above. So no steam for me.


EDIT: a question I have been meaning to ask, When installing the kerdi, how firm do you press on the trowel to set it in the thinset? Do you basically trowel most of the thinset out, or do you just put enough pressure on to get the bubbles out? Thanks,

10-17-2006, 08:56 PM
Ken, the problem is that moisture gets everywhere. In any residential wall cavity there is moisture, be it interior wall or exterior wall. And especially where you have a significant temperature change situation, such as exterior walls or a wall behind a shower, you're gonna have moisture traveling about, usually in the form of vapor, but it's there. And when any surface in that cavity happens to drop below the dew point of the available vapor, you're gonna have liquid water, and sheetrock just can't tolerate that stuff.

If the back of the sheetrock is open to ventilation, ain't likely to be much of a problem because it can always dry to the wall cavity. It ain't going back the other way. It's somewhat complicated and depends on the entire construction, but it can be a serious problem.

You'll note that even the manufacturers of gypsum-based tile backer boards with a waterproof membrane built into one side of their board specifically tell you not to use a moisture barrier behind the installation. And they're real proud of the performance of their board, but they recognize the potential problem.

Will his shower fail tomorrow? No. Next year? I dunno, but it's not impossible. In five years? I'd think he could be seriously pushin' his luck by then. Am I the onliest one hereabouts that believes this is a problem? Sometimes I think so. :D

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-18-2006, 07:05 AM
CX, Thanks for elaborating. I believe in better safe than sorry, so I'd agree it's better to get rid of that poly. If that's an outside wall in a cold climate I think it would definitely be a potential problem. And, it's not like the new sheetrock has to be made ready for paint so ripping out the old and putting in new isn't a really big deal, just a pita. Actually, Brew's a carpenter so he's probably done by now. I've been all over this forum and I think your posts are always right on and to the point. I don't mean to second guess you, I just like to understand the why's of it all.

Joe T
10-18-2006, 07:41 AM
Relating to the moisture issue....I have craft faced insulation where I'm going to build my shower. Is it good enough to just slice the paper from cieling to floor in each cavity, or should I replace with unfaced?

10-18-2006, 07:55 AM
If yr on a budget, you can save yrself considerable money and time if you just kerdi up to the showerhead and don't enclose the whole thing. If you don't want a steam shower, don't make one.

The standard Kerdi kit doesn't come w enough material to do MORE than the 4 walls to shower head and the floor.

FWIW, IMHO, it won't look weird to have an open top. AND, it'll be make the engineering a lot simpler (no vapor proof fixture, no sloped ceiling, etc).

10-18-2006, 09:41 AM
I don't mean to second guess you, I just like to understand the why's of it all.You feel free to second guess away, Ken. But if you really want to get into issues like this in depth, we prefer to do it in the Professionals' Hangout. All are welcom there and I'm sure you can find several threads on this particular subject to jump into if you still want more discussion. That's what that forum is specifically designed for. :)

Joe T:

If you're gonna be heavy into your shower project now, best to dig up your original thread on that and keep your questions there. Otherwise there will be no history of your project for people to keep up with so's to provide informed responses to your questions. And I'm sure you'll have more questions. I can move your recent one over to that thread.

You don't want to cut top to bottom. You want to make multiple slits, staggered about, so the paper is substantially defeated but can still help to support the batts if they're not firmly installed.

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-18-2006, 09:57 AM
I'd take out the tape and dwallcpnd in the corners before kerdi'ing. It'll give you squarer corners. Also, I defer to CX, but have received advise from a Schluter tech rep that if the paint is a low sheen (Egg or flatter) then it can be sufficiently scuffed with a hand sander such that the Kerdi'll achieve a good bond.

Joe T
10-18-2006, 09:59 AM
thanks CX,
I'm not into my project yet....won't be for several months, but I try to pick up tid bits here and there.....I'll definitly start a full project thread for the bath room and shower. Once again, thanks for the info.

10-18-2006, 08:06 PM
Ok, few update pics, and a few more questions

1. When installing the kerdi, how much pressure should be used when troweling in to the thinset? Do you just lightly go across it to make sure it is set, or do you put some good pressure on it and remove most of the thinset below?

2. I plan on doing a 19" tall by 16" deep bench that goes across from the halfwall to the wall with the niche. This sound ok?

3. For the old pros, if you were doing this shower, would you tile the outside (the bathroom itself side) or leave it rocked with a tile border around the outside? I know it is preference, but I was hoping someone could chime in and say, "it usually looks goofy tiled" "I would tile it to match the shower" Thanks,

here is the shower stripped of rock and VB

After rocking and putting in the niche

Adding halfwall and mudding a little to blend seams


10-21-2006, 10:56 PM
one more question, hopefully I can get an answer

I have a niche outside the shower for a TV. It has a bunch of sheetrocked corners with I assume is the standard metal corners. I am wondering if i should rip them all apart and re-mud use plastic corners since they are so close to the shower? Or if there is a waterproof paint or something I can do to keep them from rusting? Thanks,


John Bridge
10-22-2006, 09:08 AM

Put pressure on the Kerdi. You don't want to remove all the thin set from behind it, but you want to remove some of it and flatten the material out. The biggest concern is not letting the thin set "skin over" before you get the mat over it.

Why not tile that outside niche to match the shower? :)

10-22-2006, 09:16 AM
You shouldn't really have any more problem with metal corner bead there than anywhere else in the room, Brew. And there might not be any metal bead there at all, truth be known. Have you poked it with an ice pick to see what's in there? Might just be paper tape or might be plastic bead, or might be paper tape with metal stiffners, or ...........

And I like JB's eye-dee about tiling it like the shower to make it a feature. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

10-22-2006, 10:15 AM
I planned on tiling the bottom of the niche, maybe I will tile the whole thing, something to consider. My problem, as I already said in this thread, is that I have no imagination. I can slap tile up, but I have no creativity to actually make it look nice.


11-04-2006, 06:29 PM
Ok, next questions.

#1. How long does it take the mud base on the floor to dry before I put the kerdi on?

#2. I am going to tile the curb and it is too wide for a single bullnose, and I don't really like the idea of the grout line running down the middle. Can i tile it as I have it drawn in this pic with regular tiles? I would use a stone to soften the edges too.


11-06-2006, 08:44 AM
Have you considered this config?
I know the mitering seems 'sexier', but this config has a couple of benefits:

1) Easier to cut. It's hard to get the tips of those bevels perfectly straight and not 'chattery'.

2) The grout line will be straighter and tighter

3) The grout/caulk face will be vertical instead of angled up, so it'll take less water.

4) the edges of the curb will be stronger. The thin angles of those tiles COULD be prone to chipping. I'm not a pro on that, just speculating.

5) I see too that it'd match the way you've done yr niche shelves (btw, nice work on that :clap2: )

Even if you went with butted joints, you could still ease the edges with yr stone.

11-06-2006, 11:42 AM
Thanks Shawn, the problem is when I Cut these tiles the edges are not even close in color to the actual tile, they are pretty thick being porcelain floor tiles, and you can see the ridges that are on the bottom when I cut them.

I have considered the Schluter profiles, but put simply, I don't like them. I will probably have to just have a double bullnose seam down the middle.


11-06-2006, 12:12 PM
I see.
I wonder if there's a way to stain the edge - just wondering, not recommending.
You can *probably* grind off the ridges on both sides so they don't show thru the grout.
I believe your way will work, though. I found (and I'm no pro) that the best way to cut back bevels is to cut them rough first, then run the tile on it's back flat through the blade and grind off 1/32ish" from the point. Not sure if this'll screw up yr grouting, though.

11-06-2006, 09:12 PM
another question, see if this one gets answered.

My floor drain is dead center of the shower floor. When I layout the tiles I will be using on the floor, (2x2's) I end up with a gap of about 1/2 give or take between the last tile and the wall on two walls. I am wondering if I can leave this since the wall tile will actually cover the gap, or be flush with it? here is another of my fancy pics. :)


11-07-2006, 07:18 AM
That gap might be a little large to hold caulk well. You might want to make up some of the difference at the corner with a pvc backer-rod.

If it were me, I'd pre-float in a 1/2" triangle of thinset into the corner for some body.