Pan liner and other questions [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Pan liner and other questions

01-06-2003, 10:52 AM
Hi folks, I've been lurking for a while now as I study-up in preperation for a tile shower project.

I will be putting a shower in my basement on a concrete floor. It is 42 by 48 with a 45 degree neo-angle-type door (rough opening 30 inches, I'm hoping for a 28 inch wide finished opening.) I have limited headroom (about 6' 9" between concrete and the underside of the floor joists). I've completed most of the rough framing (all pressure treated wood), but I've still got time and room to fiddle if I need to. I have not yet scheduled the plumber to install the DWV piping, but a trench has been cut into the conrete for the piping. The drain will be connected to the main drain under the concrete floor about 4 feet from the shower drain. The top of the drain pipe is about 8 or 9 inches below the top of the concrete floor.

Here are some of my questions:

1) How thick is the pre-slope/liner/mud bed tile floor (approximately)? Although I'm short (5'8"), I don't want headroom to be an issue.

2) Where can one purchase the pan liner material and corners? Do they make corners for my 45 degree neo-angle door opening?

3) I thought I read here somewhere not to make my curb out of pressure treated wood due to shrinkage associated with pressure treated wood. Is this true? Could I cut my curb peices and let them dry and them use them?

4) The current floor is painted. Can I just lay my thinset/ wire lath on this painted surface, or do I need to remove the pint? Should I secure the wire lath to the concrete with screws?

5) What about the rest of the bathroom floor? Can I just lay the tile on thinset on the painted surface?

Thankx to all. This is a really, really great :bow: site. --=--Ed.

Sponsored Links

01-06-2003, 11:52 AM
I'll try to answer a few:

1) At the drain, the preslope is about 1/4", the mortar bed is 1 to 1 1/2 inches, tile 3/8", thinset about 1/8"
Along the shower wall, the preslope height is 1/4" times the distance from the drain to the wall in feet. The rest is the same.

2) Big box stores, but you'll have to tell them they got them.

3) No, use regular wall studs. If you do the pan thingy right, there will be no water getting to the curb. No water, no rot!

4) Probably can do the preslope on the paint. No bond is required. Wire lath goes in the mortar bed, not preslope. There is some disagreement about the lath. Some, like John, don't bother with it on standard residential sized showers (like yours). Either way, it is just embedded in the sand mix.

5) Not only will you have to strip the paint, but you may have to scarify (mechanically etch) the concrete if, after stripping, water beads on the concrete.

I'm 6'-3", and I'd have a problem with your shower (so I won't be coming over, after all! :D) You are starting out with 6'-9", subtract 2 inches for the floor, and at least 1/2" for the ceiling (more like 1-1/4" if you have to run firring strips to level the ceiling) That leaves you 6'-6" or 6'-7". If you go ahead with this, you will need a watertight light fixture for you shower, and you'll probably want to tile the ceiling (oops, there goes another 1/2"!) I once owned a houseboat with a low ceiling in the shower (about 7'-0"). It worked, but it was cramped.

01-06-2003, 11:56 AM
You may want to consider putting the shower head in the ceiling, pointed straight down. :)

01-06-2003, 11:59 AM
Dang, Dave, I'm never gonna use his shower with that head-knocker hanging there!

(Guess I didn't screw up the answers too bad, eh?)

01-06-2003, 01:28 PM
Regarding the curb, I was going to use pressure treated because it is wood in contact with a concrete floor in a basement, but if you folks say use regular wood, than ok, but I assume that I am ok with the stall framing, (which is 90% complete) as pressure treated?? (please say yes).

Another question - the wire lath and when/where it goes. Dave M, your photo series of a shower stall tile job (link in your signature line) shows the wire lath on the plywood floor, BEFORE the pre-slope is formed. Would putting it in the pre-slope AND the mud bed make everyone happy?? Or is this over-kill??

The pan liner dam corners - will big box have the 45 degree corners that I will need, or is this a special order item? My guess is that I will need a piece of liner that is 6 feet by 5 feet. Am I going to have to buy a whole roll of the stuff, or can I get just what I need?

Regarding the height issue - do you folks think it would be worthwhile to remove the concrete and recess the shower floor a couple of inches, and do I have enough room given the depth of my drainline (who's the plumber?)

I figured that with the shower being 48 by 42, it wouldn't feel as short as it really is. I was trying to get away from the coffin-like feeling that comes with 32 by 32 shower stalls.

I was thinking I would tile the ceiling, but I might just use greenboard and paint. I may try and see if I can recess the light/vent fixture.

Thankx a bunch folks !! If it weren't for you guys and this site, I'd prolly be puttin in a pre-fab fiberglass base and walls!!

01-06-2003, 01:54 PM
1. I use Kiln Dried everywhere for just about everything. The wet Doug Fir is just so crappy I can't stand it. If you use green wood or PT, you will (may) have some shrinkage issues. Less of a problem on a wall where CBU is nailed, as opposed to a curb, but shrinkage nonetheless.

2. I do the curb after the pre-slope, because the liner has to be done before floating it.

3. I'm 6'6", so your shower would be worthless to me.

4. The corners and the liner I get at masonry stores. I've never seen out here at the Big Box. A good rule of thumb is add 1 foot to each measurment, because the liner has to go up 4.5 inches for the curb, plus about 2 inches, so about 6" on each side. They come in rolls, of 4 feet, five feet and six feet. Cut off only what you need and pay by the foot.

01-06-2003, 02:32 PM
On cement floors, the word I've read around here is to bond the pre-slope to the floor with thinset. You may have to remove your paint, hang tight for advice on that from the pro's. The bigboxes around here don't carry the corners, but they do have liner by the foot. Does anyone make a 45 dam corner?

John Bridge
01-06-2003, 08:19 PM
Hi Ed, Welcome. :)

I don't know of anyone who makes the neo-angle dam corner. it's not hard to gather the pan material in that area and make it work, though.

You don't need the lath in the pre-slope. In fact, there is no good way of attaching it to concrete, so forget it. :D

The pressure treated in the walls will be okay, because by the time you get things going, much of the moisture will have evaporated. We do not recommend pressure treated, though.

In the curb use regular kiln dried framing lumber.

If I were 5'8" I wouldn't worry about head room. I can't believe how tall these dudes are around here. I used to be 6'2" before I started un-growing. :)

01-07-2003, 08:23 AM
Thankx to you all.

I re-measured the height again last night, and in the shower it varies between 6' 11.5" and 7', so it's a little taller than I thought (the 6' 9" measurement came from the other end of the basement).

I'll finish the rest of the bathroom framing and wait for the plumber to complete his rough-in and the town to inspect, then I'm sure I'll be back with a million more questions and moral support.

Thankx again!!

01-07-2003, 10:35 AM
Great, we need all the moral support we can get!

01-07-2003, 11:24 AM

Read through my post and check my pics. My project was very similar to yours and I asked lots of the same questions you will have.

Good luck.


01-09-2003, 10:49 AM
Thankx Max, this is very helpful.

Looked at the pictures, Great job!! Your talents are prolly wasted at your current job.

On tap this weekend: finish the rough framing, run the electrical (just got the ok to DIY from the town inspector), and convince the plumber to let me do the supply piping and some of the DWV to save him time and me money.

Thankx again, I post back when I get to the pre-slope.

--=-- Brew.

01-10-2003, 09:38 AM
ok, the plumber came to give me an estimate for the drain/waste/vent rough-in. I told him I wanted to use the clamping ring drain you guys recommend (OATEY Product Number: 42213 ). He said he uses ABS, not PVC, but that he would also use the same style clamping ring drain.

My question - how do you glue the PVC liner to the ABS drain ??

Thankx - Brew.

01-10-2003, 10:25 AM
You don't. You caulk (silicone, butyl, roofing cement, etc.) the liner to the preslope and bottom clamping flange, then install the top of the flange to sandwich the liner between the flanges. No caulk on the top of the liner, or you risk plugging the weep holes.

01-10-2003, 10:45 AM
Minor clarification, or maybe I'm just reading that wrong. :)
There is no need to use any kind of pookie to try to "stick" the liner to the pre-slope.

John Bridge
01-10-2003, 06:21 PM
The plumber is right. If the sub-plumbing is ABS, then The drain should be ABS as well. Oatey makes them both ways, and Oatey isn't the only company making them. There are several.

The caulking on the bottom flange of the drain is not meant to "stick" the liner to the flange. Rather, when you tighten the screws bolting the upper flange to the lower, the caulking forms a gasket to ensure that water can't get under the pan in the case of a sewer back-up.

01-14-2003, 03:23 PM
Thankx Guys !!

Although slightly off-topic, I figured I'd ask anyway.

The plumber requested that I remove more concrete in the shower stall and at the main drain line connection.

Because I will be removing so much concrete, do I need to re-enforce the new concrete with wire mesh or lath? I assume that the replacement concrete patches must be at least 3 inches thick, correct?

You folks all know that I have a limited height to work with, so can I recess the portion of the shower floor around the drain where the concrete is removed, and do a sort of pre-pre-slope with the concrete, followed by a full pre-slope with modified mortar? I figure any vertical space I can get is good, right tall guys?

Fortunately, the plumber did agree to let me do the supply piping, which I completed over the weekend (wheh, no leaks). (I drilled holes through the joists and ran the supply piping through them to avoid reducing headroom).

Unfortunately, he said that it would be at least two weeks before he could come back and do the drain/waste/vent. How do you guys get your plumbers to come out faster? Or do I just have to wait? After seeing everyones pictures, I am really getting pumped to get this project going.

Anyway, looking forward, does anyone have any ideas as to how creatively use tile to make my vertically challanged bathroom "feel" like it is taller than it really is?

Thankx a bunch to everyone !!!

01-14-2003, 03:38 PM
You want to install the drain an inch lower than it would have been, then slope the old concrete so that the preslope is thinner at the edges, but maintains the 1/4 per foot? Sounds like a winner. Didn't you suggest busting out the entire shower and set it below the main floor elevation. Sort of curbless from the outside, but 3" curb on the inside?
That has possibilities! You said that your drain was 18" below the slab, right?

01-15-2003, 08:25 AM
ok, I measured the distance from the top surface of the cncrete floor to the top of the drain pipe, and it is 6 1/2 inches. I guess this means that recessing the entire shower area will not be possible. But I will still try to get a pre-pre-slope in when the plumbing inspector approves me to backfill the new drain.

The plumber called me last night, and said he had an opening and he is coming this afternoon !!! Yeah!!

John Bridge
01-15-2003, 09:17 PM
With 6 -1/2 inches it seems to me it would be possible to end up with a recessed shower floor. The drain will only consume about two of those inches, and the slope another inch. Seems to me you'd still have nearly three inches, or at least two, to the bath floor.

If you are asking us how to install the vent/drain, ask away. :D

01-16-2003, 10:55 AM
I took out a little more concrete, but decided not to chisel out the whole thing, just a little more around the drain, and about an inch of the concrete surface along the top for about 6-8 more inches around the drain.

The plumber installed the top of the bottom peice of the clamping ring drain about 1 inch below the floor level. Just waiting for the plumbing inspector to give me the ok, and I can backfill.

My plan is to do a pre-pre-slope with the concrete to about 3/4 inch below the flange, and then do the mud pre-slope on top of that. Does this sound good?

How long to I need to let the concrete dry before I can put in the mud pre-slope? The basement is cold (about 55-58 degrees) and the sand beneath is wet (to keep if from flowing into the hole).

Thankx guys !!

01-16-2003, 12:58 PM
Plan sounds good. Use Quickcrete and you can mud later the same day. Might be able to pour it in dry, and let it absorb water from the sand. Read the directions.

John Bridge
01-16-2003, 01:04 PM
Or you can use the sand and cement mix for the entire pour. There is no thickness limit on deck mud. That would eliminate one extra product and the extra step the goes with it. :)

01-17-2003, 12:20 PM
Ok, all three inspections complete, (framing, plumbing, electrical), and I have Monday off from work, so it's a 3-day weekend of new bathroom work !!!! (That is, if I don't go skiing on Sunday)

I've decided to go with Quickcrete to patch the floor and then use mud for the pre-slope. Some of the sand that supports the existing concrete floor has flowed out from under the floor, and I figure a thin concrete mix will do a better job of getting back into these voids than a mud mix. Sound Good?

My shower turned out to be 46 by 52 inches. I'll be doing a bench (the one John discusses using 2 concrete block and some rubble fill). Not knowing anyting about mud beyond what I've learned from you all and this site, am I better off buying bags of the pre-mix, or separately buying sand, cement, and latex additive? Any guestimates as to how much of this stuff I will need to do the pre-slope, then the bench, and finally the finished mud bed? (What's the sand/cement ratio again? I can't seem to find it in the Libbery)

Thankx folks for all your help !!

01-17-2003, 01:47 PM
Go with the premix. It comes 3 parts sand to 1 part cement. Use it as-is or cut with up to 2 parts sand.

And the only slopes you need to be on are in your new shower! :D

01-17-2003, 02:33 PM
And you use "Fat Mud" for the bench, no sand added if you use pre-mix. "Deck Mud" for the pre-slope and final deck, add sand if you use pre-mix

John Bridge
01-17-2003, 04:14 PM
I didn't mention anything about latex additive. That would be my buddy Michael Byrne. :D

Fat mud is as Dave M. posted, or you can make is from masonry cement mixed with sand. 16 shovels of sand to the 70 lb. sack of masonry cement. You could also go the portland cement and lime route, but don't. :D

Here's the article on seats, and it's our own illustrious mud man/engineer Dave Misevich doing the work. ;)

01-21-2003, 08:36 AM
ok, the weekend wasn't quite as productive as I had hoped (but I did get a day of skiing in - it was great).

But I bought some cement board (wonderboard - man is that stuff heavy, should I have bought the hardibacker?) for the stall, some greenboard for the walls and ceilings of the rest of the bath, and when I went to get the mortar, I could not believe the price of the stuff, so I wanted to check with you all to see if this is correct.

The mortar with the latex additive was $23 per bag, compared to $5 without the additive. The latex additive sells for $18 for 2.5 gallons. Does this sound correct?

And I got the pan liner, which wasn't too cheep either - $130 for 5 ft. by 6 ft. with the can of special glue. Had to get that at a specialty plumbing supply store.

I put new concrete in the pipe trenches and did the pre-pre-slope in the shower stall (practice for the real mud), and all came out pretty good. But it did take almost 3 days to dry.

ok, my questions:

1. Cost of the mortar - is the above info correct?

2. Do I use the latex modified stuff on both the pre-slope and the final mud bed, or can I use unmodified mortar for the pre-slope, considering that the pre-slope is all on concrete?

3. Are there any tricks-of-the-trade to figure out how much mortar to mix so I don't waste any? I don't worry about having an extra 1/2 bag of concrete at two-and-a-half bucks per bag, but at 23 bucks per bag, I don't want to be wasting the latex-modified stuff.

4. Should I / do I need to put backer blocks behind the horizontal seams of two sheets of wonderboard when the seams don't fall on a stud (they are 16 inches on center or less)? Two walls of my shower have 2 full width sheets of CBU hung horizontally, with a third piece 10 inches wide (put between the two) making up the full height of the shower. The two walls adjacent the door are less than 3 feet wide, so I'll hang the CBU vertically on those walls.

5. Suggestions wanted for the transition from the shower stall to the bathroom wall. I was planning on using the wonderboard up to the doorway, and greenboard for everything else beyond that. Is is a good plan? How do I "mud" the 90 degree corner between the CBU and the greenboard? (mortar vs. drywall compound)

6. If I take a picture, is there a place where you can post it?

Thankx so much folks, and sorry about all the questions. Perhaps I am just obsessing too much here. --=--Ed.

John Bridge
01-21-2003, 08:14 PM
Is which information correct? What I gave you is correct. Some might not agree with it, but it's been around a long time. I didn't invent it, if that's what you mean. Well, not all of it, anyway. :D

The key to mixing mud is to not put a lot of water in the bucket (in the case of thin set and grout). Then don't over-pour on the dry powder. For sand and cement type stuff, it's not worth worrying about. It's not expensive.

Look under the reply form, and you'll see a means of posting pictures. They can't be too large, though. 30 K is the max. :)

01-23-2003, 09:53 AM
ok, I screwed up big-time last night. :bang:

I did the pre-slope, but I used the wrong mud mix. I used latex modified thinset, which now I know was wrong (damn, I wish I had a computor at home !!). I still can't believe that I bought the wrong stuff, even after getting the picture from Dave.

I could not get a smooth surface on it (it was too sticky), but I did get it to lay in the appropriate slope.

This morning, it had skinned over, but it still was not dry. The skin had a bunch of cracks in it from shrnking.

My inclination is to go home and shovel it off, but I wanted to ask you folks first. Should I go home and shovel it off, or wait for it to dry and hope for the best?

01-23-2003, 10:31 AM
I don't know about your slope - wait for the pro's. But here's a suggestion if you can use a printer at work. Hit the "show printable version" link at the bottom of your thread, then print the thing so that you can take it home for reference.

01-23-2003, 10:37 AM
Thankx Dave, I got it, and I'll be taking it home at lunch.

Unless others post to the contrary, I'm going home at noon and gettin' that mess outta there.

01-23-2003, 01:02 PM
ok, I got that mistake outta there, and tonight I will try again with the correct stuff.

Just to double check with you folks that I will be using the correct mixture:

1 bag of Quikrete Sand Topping Mix + 40 pounds of sand + just enough water for a very dry mix.

This means no latex/acrylic fortifier is used during this step.

Have I got it right?

01-23-2003, 02:27 PM
Exactly. The sand is optional really. The "Sand Mix" is sand and portland in a 3:1 ratio, which is apparently a little rich in portland and thus slightly more difficult to work than traditional deck mud. Adding the extra sand brings it closer to 5 parts sand to 1 part portland, which is the classic recipe for deck mud.

01-23-2003, 02:30 PM
Thank you Dave. I will try again tonight. --=--Ed.

01-27-2003, 09:34 AM
ok, very good weekend of shower work.

Got the pre-slope in (works much better when you use the right stuff), got the liner in and leak tested, got the CBU in the stall all hung (as well as all the greenboard in the rest of the bathroom).

Next steps and associated questions:

1) Shower bench (the one made from two concrete blocks stacked with rubble fill) - Do you folks know what the rough dimensions are? (trying to figure out which corner to put it in and I want to build a mock-up before deciding)

2) The mortar used to construct the bench (fat mud according to Dave). Is this the same mud used to tape the seams between the CBU? If the same mud, can the bench be built at the same time the seams are taped? If different mud, what kind of mud is it (recipe)?

3) The bench should be built and dry before the final deck is formed?

Thats' it for now. Thankx guys.

p.s.- boy, do I need a lesson in the different types of mud. Do I have this correct:

Concrete - sand and gravel base for high strength

Sand topping mix - fine to coarse sand base, used for pre-slope and final deck

Mortar mix - fine sand base, used for curb, bench, and taping CBU joints

Thinset - very fine base, used to "glue" tiles to CBU and greenboard.

Thankx.. --=--Ed.

01-27-2003, 09:56 AM
Ed, Thinset is used to tape your joints (remember its the sticky stuff used to set your tile) :)
In the liberry you will find a very good article on building your bench complete with pictures.Using a masons mix will help.It is already premixed masons cement and sand.You will see pictures of the bags of material used by Dave in his project. Its a good article. After reading it cmon back if you have more questions. OK Good luck!! Todd

01-27-2003, 09:59 AM
Hi Brew,
That was a busy weekend. :) All that stuff above looks right, except thinset is used to tape the cbu joints, along with the alkaline resistant mesh tape.
My bench measures 22 inches along the walls, and 16.5 inches tall. If you look at the pictures in my signature, you can see that I added height to the bench during the tiling process. This made it easy to get the top sloped just right. I set the tiles on the front of the bench to the height I wanted, then put a thin layer of thinset followed by mud and screeded it off at the proper slope.
I used the mason mix when building my bench, but the mortar mix is the same, just rated a little different. They are both "Fat mud"

01-27-2003, 10:17 AM
Thankx Guys !!! Glad I got that taping mud confusion cleared up. The next steps in order are:

1. Tape all seams (with thinset). Let dry.
2. Build bench & curb (with mortar). Let dry.
3. pour final deck (with sand topping mix). Let dry.

Looks like 3 good projects for 3 nights after work.

One more question for now: Is the purpose of the thinset on the CBU joints to bond the CBU pieces together to form one structural unit, or is it primarily to provide a base on to which to attach the tile?

I'll be back next week with tile questions (this weekend is a ski trip).

Thankx soooooo much guys, this project is really staring to come together !!

01-27-2003, 10:26 AM
The Idea is to bond and create a semblance of a monolithic structure.Not quite what a full mudfloat job is,but the best you can do with CBU.It keeps movement from cracking grout lines tiles and just plain ol creating a big awful mess.We feel its a pretty good idea to do it If you know what i mean ;)Be sure to use Durock tape not just any mesh tape . there is a differance!!

01-27-2003, 10:33 AM
ok, I bought the roll of mesh tape that was on the shelf above the Wonderboard in the tile isle at Orange Box.

What do you suppose the chances are that I got the correct stuff? Guess I should check the label......

01-27-2003, 10:52 AM
Dave, do you have a picture of what the bag of thinset looks like? The pictures of the other bags have come in very handy.

01-27-2003, 11:23 AM
Well I didn't, but I do now. :) Since you're shopping at the orange box, you can find versabond. It comes in white and grey, John suggests buying white because it looks better all stuck to your hands and under your fingernails. :D

01-27-2003, 12:40 PM
Thankx Dave !!! I did get the right tape, but I bought the Grey thinset by mistake !!!!:bang:

01-27-2003, 12:57 PM
The grey will work just fine, Just doesnt look as good under your fingernails :D

John Bridge
01-27-2003, 05:25 PM
Damn, Dave, you could have at least run out and bought a new bag to photograph. ;)

02-04-2003, 10:57 AM
Ok, great ski weekend. Now back to the shower.

All the seams are taped and mudded with thinset, the shower bench rough is complete, and the curb is done, too. I am please with the way things are turning out (must be all the great advice I'm getting from all you folks). Shaping the mortar for the curb and the bench turned out to be less difficult than I thought. Actually, it was kind of fun. Brings back memories of my childhood playing in the wet sand at the beach ?..

Anyway, next steps and next questions:

1) The final deck. How important is it to get the perimeter of the deck to lie in a level plane all the way around the shower? The shortest distance between the drain and wall is 20 inches, and the longest is 34 inches. At a slope of ΒΌ inch per foot, that makes for more vertical elevation difference (1/4 inch +) for my long dimension than my short dimension. I should prolly use a level perimeter line from the long dimension?

2) Tile. Looks like you folks suggest 2 by 2 tile for the shower floor. How about the walls? I was thinking the standard 4 by 4 tile, (wife's desire to keep costs down). Is larger tile significantly more expensive or harder to finish (cut/install/grout)? I've got a double niche, a shower bench, two 45-degree corners where my walls meet my jamb returns, and no previous tile experience. (I guess I need to stop at the tile store on my way home from work and do some pricing.)

3) The order of the remaining steps. I know that there are a variety of approaches, so this is what I was thinking: Mud deck, floor tile, wall tile. Is this acceptable? Are other approaches optimal and if yes, why?

4) A tile saw. Given the amount of cutting I need to do, what do you recommend in the 200-dollar price range? The saw will get used again when I do the kitchen floor and upstairs bathroom within the next year, and prolly again when we move to a new house (or my wife agrees to the master suite addition I have been trying to talk her into).

5) The transition from the wall tile to the floor tile in the shower. I was thinking about a sanitary base tile for this. Is this tile commonly used for this transition? Any other recommendations for this transition?

6) I know you folks shy away from making design suggestions, but you all have seen a lot more tile jobs than I there a way to make my vertically challenged shower stall "feel" taller than it really is? For example, would using 4 x 6 tiles with the long axis vertical make it seem taller? Any advice is appreciated.

7) Should I purchase John's book ?

Sorry for all the questions and lengthy post. I appreciate all the advice you folks have given me so far. --=--Ed.

John Bridge
02-04-2003, 08:22 PM
7. Don't bother with John's book. It doesn't address showers. ;)


While you were off skiing, we were here diligently answering qestions and sacrificing ourselves to the whims of weekend warriors. I want you to feel remorse for having had such a good time. :D

Of course it's important to have your shower floor level all the way around. The courses of tile you'll put on the walls will have to be level, right?

Re-read Michael's article. :)