Starting Basement Complete New Shower Addition. [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-30-2001, 06:58 AM
Have used John's book as bible over the past several years on successively more difficult projects. Will now undertake building from scratch a completely enclosed (tiled of course) shower, ceiling included. John's book cautioned against such an undertaking for a DIYer, I'm game to accept the challenge, but only after being advised accordingly.

We've selected the tiles and I plan to build the enclosure to dimensions most suited to provide least amount of cuts. John never sold me on becoming a "mud man" so I expect to use DensShield as my backer board (doesn't require additional vapor barrier), however will give a shot at mortaring the base.

I'm using "planning" as a substitute for in depth tiling experience but can't seem to plan on best approach to tiling the ceiling. Since the tiles selected are rectangular ( 8" x 10" ) I'm stymied by how to achieve joint alignment which if I used square tile would have tiled ceiling on a diagonal.

I'm using mastic rather than thinset (less messy and less wasteful for a tyro) but am concerned about keeping ceiling tiles in place as I set them. Also, should I do ceiling first or last. I can think of pluses and minuses either way but would like to hear from experienced practitioners.

Finally, JLC forum experts keep referencing use of flexible joints at corners, etc. John brought me up on just grouting the corners of a bath splash and squaring up the grout. Appreciate any advice you all may offer. Thanks.


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Rob Z
08-30-2001, 07:46 AM
Hi Wally

This topic is going to require some keystrokes, so I'll be back to you later tonight. If you have time today, read Michael Byrne's article on shower pan construction.

I'll be back to you tonight.

Be prepared for some of the guys to stop in and try to talk you out of the mastic and the Denshield.


John Bridge
08-30-2001, 03:58 PM
Hi Wally,

Appreciate your having used the book. It is slowly becoming obsolete, though, like its author. In fact my amigos here have just about educated me on the use of backer board in showers, and I definitely think it's the way to go for "tyros."

What I will rant and rave about, though, is the use of Denshield. I think it's garbage and have stated so in public a number of times. My question is always "why," when there are so many other better materials you can use to build your shower. The only advantage to Denshield that anyone has ever been able to voice to me is that it is lighter than backer board. Well buddy, that's just not a good enough reason to use it.

Use cement backer board, and my associates on this board will assist you in building a shower that is damn near as bullet-proof as my mud showers.

You may use mastic on the shower ceiling. Use a good quality thin set mortar on the walls.

Over . . . :D

Got so excited, I almost forgot to point you toward my friend Michael Byrne's article.

Bud Cline
08-30-2001, 04:54 PM

Stay with cement board it is waterproof and when your caulk joints finally go to hell from age and lack of maintenance cement board will not wick as much water as the other products.

When water does get to the cement board it will cause the mastic to release. Period. Thinset is no harder to use than mastic and it is in fact much less expensive. Mastic should not be used in wet areas, I don't care what the label says.

As far as joint alignment? Don't align the joints. Intentionally stagger the ceiling joints by 1/2 tile or do a running bond on the ceiling. No one will ever see that ceiling anyway because humans don't look up.

I think I would do the ceiling last, this way your eye will be looking past the surface of the ceiling tiles to the walls and no joint will be all that visible.

If john says grout the corners I'm sure it works for him. In a mud job I'm sure it isn't a problem but in a board job I would absolutely caulk the corners (all junctures).