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02-10-2010, 11:02 PM
Hey Fellas!

I used to build barns and do room additions prior to becoming a soft/aged/pasty IT guy… So when I noticed water damage in the master bath upstairs...much to the wifes chagrin...I decided to take on the remodel myself! :dance:

Demolition consisted of my dad, uncle, brother-in-law, and me...we almost killed ourselves getting the cast iron tub downstairs (could've won a darwin award).

All other work completed by me, myself, and I: built tub frame and shower wall, put down hardi on floor (since upstairs), ripped up shower subfloor, redid shower and tub p-traps and drains (they were real nasty), replaced shower and tub valves, built platform, leveled, and set tub, did a test run in Jacuzzi with 6 pack lastnight (w/ no leaks!).

For shower I plan to currently take the mortar bed approach outlined in this site, ontario tile site, etc (preslope, liner, mudbead w/ oatey drain)...(although after consuming this kerdi-weighted forum I am second guessing the decision):

So far I think I’m doing ok…but I feel like I’m getting stuck…

I love my wife and my 1st floor too much to not seek help/advice from such an incredible cast of contributors to this forum. Main question is "What's next?" Specific questions/comments below...

Shower Questions:
1. Don’t want no vapor sandwich. After shower pan is built I’m thinking hardi on studs, mortar/tape joints, than redgard the heck out of it. Note the outside wall is my fire place btw, and the white stuff is Styrofoam (between fireplace brick and outside shower wall…). Does all this sound kosher?
2. For the shower pan itself…I have the oatey clamp subfloor is doubled up now (because I wanted zero deflection). Notice I missed the mark on cutting the holes for the drain…as a result I put 2x2’s on the bottom of the bottom subfloor and figurin on catching mortar to fill the gap. the subfloors are construction adhesive and screwed more than a japanes guisha (spl?)... Having all this figured out (plus all the materials is why I’m thinking too late to switch to kerdi). Thoughts on any of this?
3. Shower curb and box surround. Yes, I know, I know, treated lumber is the devil’s handiwork. I plan to rip it all out tomorrow (box and curb) once my wife gets my 4 and 6 year olds outta my hair…....…except….can I leave the bottom treated piece for the curb? Reason I ask is because it spans the entire length of the shower and tub frame…I guess I could rip it out to and do a full mud curb or something (vs what the articles above suggest). Note it's been in my garage or in my bathroom for 2 months if that helps.... Thoughts?

Tub Questions:
1. My tub is level. Either my platform, my floor, or my tub frame aren’t so level. I have anywhere from ¼” gap (I had to cutout the hardi (see back right edge in pic)) to almost 5/8” gap. I am concerned about tub rim movement. Right now my plan for platform is to put adhesive and then hardi down. Shim intermittently across tub so it has some support, redgard top, then silicone on edge of tub, place tile against that, then silicon top of tile. Should I shim under hardi instead? If so I’d think it’d create a pretty big slope…
2. For backsplash… The current sheetrock is the green stuff… I’m thinking a couple coats of redgard then tile w/ silicone on bottom resting on tub, then silicone outside tile edge. Am I crazy? Should I replace green sheetrock w/ hardi first? Am I doing this right?
3. After figuring out access panel method I’m gonna redgard the entire hardibacker tub surface. Ok? any suggestions on access panel?

Tile Question:
The little misses wants porcelain tile on floor, shower and tub surrounds but she wants me to scatter 4” granite squares in floor and 2” strips running across walls (shower, tub, wall near window)…the same granite I put over my laminated counter tops for last project... The granite is a bit thicker than the tile… I’m debating on telling her she needs to pick a different material same width and see if she’s willing to take me to the mat over it… Can you just buildup the thinset and push granite further down, or can you easily grind or cut down granite or what? Before you answer keep in mind my tile saw is a $99 version (although I may outsource the tile work)…

Toilet Question:
Used to have carpet. That’s gone, ½ hardi on floor, tile will make it even taller… my toilet flange will rest a good inch below final floor... I don’t really want to cut and reset flange (and the plumber wanted 200!). Can I just buy a couple extension rings and/or those things w/ rubber that sit inside existing flange? I think it’ll work ok, but I have concern the poop hole won’t be as wide and thus clog more often…. Thoughts?

Anything else?

They say pichurs (I can’t remember how John spells it) are worth a thousand words, so here’s my story.

Thanks for any and all help fellas!
Bill from New Braunfels TX

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02-10-2010, 11:06 PM
pichur of full on shower...

02-10-2010, 11:39 PM
wanted to chime in on a few things:

1.Go Kerdi - Once I started doing kerdi showers I never looked back. I will not even do a traditional mud bed and liner shower anymore. Not only is it easier, it is better, and less things can go wrong.

2.different tile thickneses- You can do this with a medium bed mortar, but I would advice against it for a DIY'er. Stick to tile the same thickness

3. The tub faucet plumbing - I noticed you removed the hammer arrestors when you altered the plumbing. You should put some back on. You can solder a tee a few inches below the fixture and branch off for it. It really should be there, they serve a purpose.

4.closet flange - If it is PVC it should be pretty easy to cut it and replace it yourself

5.Access - If that is a whirlpool tub where is your access panel?? Wall in the other room?

02-11-2010, 06:26 PM
thanks Muddman

1. What's best way to buy kerdi? HD or lowes or plumbing store or internet? How do I figure out what I need? Drain, membrane, dam corners.. is that it?
2. k, different material it is...let's hope she doesn't take me to the mat on this...
3. I installed an expansion tank at hotwater heater as a part of the remodel. Was thinking since I did that I likely didn't need arrestors anymore...especially since I didn't know they could be below valve and I wanted as short of a shower wall as possible... np, to put them back, but w/ expansion tank now installed do you still think I need them?
4. See pic. looks like pvc but it's pretty far down and curves immediately...looks like I should leave it alone! How do you even get to it to cut it out?
5. I figured I'd put hardi up and then cut access panel holes once I figure how tile's gonna lay... Can't find a good site on how to put one in but from what I have found it looks like cut square of hardi out, lay tile that overlaps edge and then silicone it back...
6. What do you think about the tub not sitting flush on hardy? The tub lip shouldn't hold too much weight, but it needs some pressure to prevent flex right? Should I shim above or below hardi for this support?
7. If I go Kerdi, do I put hardi on wall or something else? Guess I should buy the book if i go this route!

thanks again for any help,


02-11-2010, 11:35 PM
1. probably online unless someone local carries it. I have to order mine. you need membrane, band, and drain (some corners come with drain, unless you need extra.

2. just tell her it will take a lot longer, she wants her bathroom done soon right?

3. totally different thing from the expansion tank. arrestors prevent your pipes from nocking when you turn your water on and off. I did a quick sketch of how you could do them.
4. either by removing the subfloor around it, or by getting into the ceiling below
5. magnets also work well.
6. you can shove mortar into the gaps around the lip to give it support
7. you can do drywall, but I like to play it safe and use cdu.

02-12-2010, 05:29 PM
thanks for the mortar advice on tub gap. I was thinking foam or shims, some reason didn't think of mortar which will be alot easier...

Found a Kerdi dealer close by, I'll go check them out tonight... I'm gonna have a lot of returns to HD if I change my approach!

so regular drywall for kerdi backing w/ no vapor barrier appears to be the consensus..

hey, do you think I should kerdi the tub surround as well or just redgard that?


02-12-2010, 06:59 PM
if you are already getting kerdi for the shower, you will probably have enough left over to do the tub.

02-15-2010, 06:37 PM
overall it's sloping to the drain in all directions (using a big level)...

couple places aren't perfect:
1. In 2 places (shorter part of walls) with a small level test it goes flat as it reaches the drain. Should I worry about this? If so I think I could put some thinset in about a 6x6 area, but don't want to unless it's needed.
2. In 2 places (longer part of wall) it consistenly slopes toward the drain (using small level) but if I put the larger level on it I see that it's a little bowed slopes greater at wall and less so at drain (although it does pass the small level test)... Once again thinking I could put a small section of thinset on it but once again only if needed.

hey at least it's level around the edges of the wall...

Whatcha thinkin?


02-16-2010, 01:54 AM
it is easier to fix it now with some thinset than to try and deal with it when setting the tile.

if you have high spots you can grind them down with a cup wheel on an angle grinder.

02-24-2010, 12:06 AM
Finally found a couple days to work on bathroom...made good progress thanks to your help muddman....

Getting close to where I can tile!

Few more questions:
1. I will likely only use tub a 2-3 times a month. As a result I currently plan to just redgard the heck out of the green (and normal) sheet rock about 3 foot all around the tub area. As that crazy talk even if the area will have very light usage (or should I hardi and redgard)?
2. The entire wall (window side) will be 6x6 tile (offset/brick pattern). As I was smoothing wall and redgard priming tonight I realized that that wall consists of green (and regular sheetrock), primer, paint, wall paper 1, wall paper 2, primer, sheetrock mud (for texture effect), then final layer of paint. Is that gonna be a problem w/ regards to tile stability/adhesion? Do I need to get all that crap off bottom layer of sheetrock? If so maybe I won't do the whole wall! :scratch:
3. Where the Shower Hardi hits sheet rock (outside of shower enclosure btw), it's not as thick. Should I thinset joint, redgard joint, leave as is and tile over it...putting the thinset on shower a bit thicker than drywall, other?
4. Shower ceiling is greenboard (8.5 feet to ceiling), once again planned to Redgard it. Can I just redgard the seem where shower wall and ceiling meet (somehow I missed it w/ thinset)?
5. After liner install I noticed a little stretch in one of the corners (wasn't a tear but definitly seemed a bit thinner). I water tested over 20 hours and it held up, but I'm paranoid so I applied a patch before laying final mortar bed. My Hardi is buried about 1/2 inch in the final mortar bed (and about 1/2 off the liner). I Redgarded the outside and bottom of hardi (but not back) prior to mortar bed. To protect the corner of liner a little more I'm thinking I could tape and redgard the shower floor to the bottom shower wall (just and inch or so out from wall). Is that a good idea, terrible idea, eh so/so, or won't matter idea?

Also before anyone asks: yes, I have preslope under liner and final mortar bed; no I don't have vapor barrier behind hardi because I'm using redgard; yes, it's pink because it's the primar coat; yes, I know I need an access panel for tub (but I'm still trying to decide how to do it)....


-Bill "I think I can, I think I can.." Grohman

02-24-2010, 01:12 AM
1. If you have any normal drywall around the tub i would replace that with at least greenboard

2. If you have lots of build up I would play it safe and just put in some new greenboard or CBU. It will only be a little more work. Last thing you want is wallpaper delaminating after you tile.

3.tape this joint with mesh tape. If it is in a wet area at all (and you are tiling) use thinset. If it is in a dry area you can use setting type drywall mud.

4. Are you tiling the ceiling? If not you dont need any reguard on it.


One more thing: That looks like a drop in tub,correct. And it looks like it is flush to the sides. i would overpaint the redguard onto the lip a bit to prevent moisture from seeping in between the lip of the tub and the wall

02-24-2010, 12:44 PM
thanks again.

1. yes I'm tiling the ceiling. just above the shower though.
2. I wouldn't redgard the entire shower floor...thinking just an inch or so...connecting floor to wall to protect the stretched liner in corner a bit from moisure. Does that matter?



02-24-2010, 01:13 PM
Some say anything about the shower head doesn't need a barrier like reguard. My thought is anything in the shower is exposed to moisture, and therefore needs it. So yes, I would use it on the ceiling too.

I don't think it would really make a difference either way if you did or didn't carry the redguard down onto the floor by a couple inches. But when you cover the whole floor, or most of it, you create a moisture sandwich between two membranes. And the drain you have isn't meant to be sealed against a top coat membrane.

02-28-2010, 09:35 PM
so I'm done w/ the redgard (gonna have to shave to get it out of my leg hair)!

couple quickies:
1. I want good thinset for shower. I have to use modified since it's over redgard. Should I just use the HomeDepot versabond modified thinset or should I get something else? If else what? I'm fine w/ paying a bit more if it warrants it, just not sure what to get...
2. Where do I start?!?!?!? Need to tile shower (including ceiling), tub (deck, backsplash, etc), floor, and the wall around the window. What's good game plan w/ regards to plan of attack? Should I start w/ shower wall? 6x6 brick pattern, start at 2nd row, finish it all, then do floor and first row... or should I start elsewhere (floor/tub surround, shower ceiling)?
3. 2x2 going on shower floor. In terms of look, should I make shower wall grout lines same size or can I make them smaller?
4. The little misses wants a granite ledge that overhangs a bit on the shower half wall... I have plenty of 12x12 granite that matches what I used over the formica on the countertops... Is it possible to somehow cut to size (about 1/2 inch over each side) and then epoxy/clamp them together, then grind an edge and buff smooth or something? I'm thinking I tell her "No" on a granite ledge that overhangs, but if it's common and someone has a good link or instructions I'm thinking I can experiment...
5. For the bullnose tiles (it's not the huge bullnose but the ones w/ just a slight 45 on the edge). How to you make them look good at a corner? I mean one sides gotta be non-bullnose right? Or do you somehow grind the ends down to make it look like a match?
6. Any websites w/ good instructions on making lines match-up? I'm assuming floor groutlines should match tub-wall groutlines/etc; showerwall lines someone match ceiling lines, etc... Seems like it'd be awefully easy to get them all out-of-whack and therefore make it look like a DIY job...doh!

have a good evening,



02-28-2010, 10:53 PM
1. Versabond is fine.

2. I do ceilings first, then walls starting at second row from bottom, then floor and bottom row. Niches and windows and such usually during or after walls.

3. Dealer's choice.

4. That can be done. There are threads on here. Don't know where they are. Sorry.

5. Generally need to miter the corner or make a bullnose edge to match on one of your tiles.

6. Careful measurement, good level, long straight edges. A laser level with a vertical line can make life a lot easier.

Lotta times folks will pewt floors and ceilings on a diagonal just to avoid that problem.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-01-2010, 12:23 AM
thank you sir...for ceiling will versabond modified work ok or do I need some type of mastic? if so what? Seems like mastic would work better upside down but everything I read on this incredible site says no mastic in shower...


03-13-2010, 08:58 AM
going on holiday next week so decided to pay someone to tile bathroom (hey, I did do all the construction!)

Bathroom isn't huge (see pics above), but not small either.... Got quotes of 1.1k, 1.3k, 1.3k, no bid, and 4.3k. Went w/ middle 1.3k.

Wife talked to him when he came out for estimate. She told him I'd install the tile-redi niche (to reduce cost of estimate) but he'd need to tell me where it should sit so groutlines would line up. Several weeks pass. Wife calls and he says he can start Friday but not weekend (but his helpers can work Sat and Sun). She agrees. She send email that night wanting to change floor from 16" w/ granite buttons randomly (orginal estimate), to 16" at 45 degree no buttons. He replied to email saying "buttons are $35 extra (so didn't read it or remember original bid I guess). Anyway diagnol is what he'll do and he's not charging us more but did state it'll be more work.

Prior to installing I stated I'd put tile redi niche in but I'd need to know where grout lines hit. He said not to worry about it he'd build one himself and I can return tile-redi niche. I'm like cool!

See picture of niche. Looks ok, but not exactly what I was expecting. My concern is he obviously forgot to add the hardibacker width when deciding where to make the top cut in hardi. As a result he told the wife he'll probably add another piece of hardi to the top of niche so he can put a small strip of tile that runs across it... I haven't spoke with him yet, as his helpers are working the weekend while he takes a break. I told helpers to leave the niche alone until I can talk w/ the main guy (plus I want to do another layer of redgard on it). Haven't paid him anything yet btw.

What should I do:
1. Have him redo so top part of niche hits grout line (decent amount of re-work right, and I'm leaving next Thursday for a week). He currently estimates they'll be done Tuesday.
2. Suggest he put an inch strip all the way around the outside of the niche so at least the strip is uniform (however now we're talking about the bottom tiles needing to be cut below groutline....
3. Don't sweat it. The small 1/2" strip on top part of niche only will give it character.
4. Ask for $50 off price?
5. Other. If so what?