swanstone base and wall - install questions [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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12-22-2011, 08:08 PM
I have gutted my very small bathroom and completed the electrical and drain systems and put in the water lines and shower valve. Shower is small - 32x32 and area is down to the studs. Based on the directions and info gleaned from other posts it sounds like:
1) Set the shower pan in 1/2" sand-based mortar. Will something like sakrete type S masonry mortar work fine here? Other recommendations?
2) I plan on putting down 15# felt and stapling to the plywood floor before spreading the mortar and setting the base. Is this sufficient or is lathing needed (like chicken wire). I do worry about the ply sucking up moisture from the mortar - though I know others say this is not a problem. Why?
4) For the wall, first I plan to run 15$ felt around the perimeter, overlapping as I install felt layer while going up the wall. So - there will be no "vertical" seams when going around the enclosure. Regular staples to hold in place. Will this cause a problem in the corners, or will the shape be okay as it bends around.
5) I plan to use moisture resistant green board on top, and then prime with a water based primer for the silicon adhesive to mate to when holding the swanstone walls. Any suggestions for a primer?
6) I plan to bring the wallboard /green board down about 1/2" above the rim of the shower base. The swanstone walls will then be set on top of the primed board and brought down into the shower pan itself and rest on the lip. Right before this I plan to move the felt that was installed earlier "into" the pan so any water passing in the corners will empty into the pan. Is this realistic or is the effort not worth it? Won't the wallboard just be wrecked anyway?
7) Caulk the corners and the put in place a swanstone corner molding that is supposed to help prevent corner leaks.
8) For the rest of the small bathroom, also use green board on the wall but then 1/4" cbu on the floor for tile. Since I have the subfloor out I can brace between the joists to provide more floor support (bathroom is only 32x wide). Do I need to put any sort of thinset between the ply and the cbu or can I just screw it down? Should I be concerned about the wall area right outside the shower - if so what would you suggest?
9) Because this is a small shower and a door would cause egress issues, I was planning on a shower curtain. Any options to "glue" metal disks in the shower pan from underneath before setting in the mud? This way, the shower curtain can be "held" with magnets... anyone done this? does the idea have merit or is this just a hope dream? The base looks like I can easily get up and into the threshold area to mount some metal pieces.

Any other words of wisdom/advice?

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12-22-2011, 08:38 PM
Welcome back, krc. Please put a first name into a permanent signature line for us to use. :)

1. That is one way to install similar receptors, but you really wanna consult the installation instructions for the particular receptor you're using for the correct method and material.

2. See #1. The lath is unlikely to be necessary.

4,5,6. You absolutely do not want to install a moisture barrier and gypsum board in any kind of shower wall. And I know of no advantage to using MR board in any application at all. Anywhere.

If you plan to use gypsum board as a backing for your solid surface walls, you're gonna wanna check with your local code compliance official for acceptability. I doubt they'll go for it, but you never know.

I think you'd be much wiser to install a CBU over your studs and apply a waterproofing membrane to at least all the corners after properly treating them per manufacturer's instructions. The corner waterproofing I'd want to extend at least six or eight inches to each side.

7. Treat the corners per manufacturer's instructions, but your waterproofing should be in place behind the Swanstone.

8. See #1. If the walls outside the shower will be frequently wetted, I'd recommend you extend your waterproofing membrane out there, too.

Yes, you must use thinset mortar under your CBU on the floor. Again, read and follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.

If you're concerned about a lot of water on the floor outside the shower, apply a waterproofing membrane over the CBU there as well if you like.

You also need to evaluate your floor's structure to determine if it's suitable for a tile installation.

9. You could just hot-glue or epoxy some large flat-washers in the places where you think you'll need'em. I don't know if your receptor will be too thick for that to work or not. Don't cost much to try.

My opinion; worth price charged.

You absolutely do not want to install a moisture barrier

12-22-2011, 11:45 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I did look out at the swanstone directions again and it says it is okay for greenboard, cbu, sheet rock or wood. I guess CBU would be the best choice... would hardibacker be okay even though that is more of a fibre/cement combo? Could I use hardi everywhere then? Bathroom is super small... so cost differential not too big a deal.

With regards to sealing the corners would redguard be okay or should I use something like nobleseal (glue on membrane)? Then - my next worry is since the wallboard, per directions, should stop 1/2" above the li - where will any water go? Or, should I just keep the felt paper on the lower 12" behind the wallboard and drape into the shower receptacle. Instructions call for caulking between the swanstone and the receptacle, but there is a drain recess so as water runs along the lip behind the swanstone it will "dribble" out into the pan.

It almost seems that a better install would be to fur out the walls and bring the wallboard down into the pan (but not resting on the pan). That way, any water in the corners would drip in naturally. But - it seems from the install directions swan is worried about capilary action of the wallboard "picking up" water.

What do you think?

As for outside of the shower, I guess I could put down nobleseal.

Thanks for the feed back...


12-23-2011, 11:07 AM
1. A lot easier to finish sheetrock outside the wet areas, but up to you what you use.

2. If you use CBU as your backing for your solid-surface wall panels, you can use your moisture barrier as you originally planned if you want. Or you could use the felt or poly just at the bottom foot or so as you suggest if you also plan to use a surface-applied waterproofing membrane in the corners. easiest and least expensive method of water containment would be to simply apply your moisture barrier over the studs in the entire area as you had originally planned. Poly sheeting might work easier at the bottom where it goes into the receptor.

Or you can just do as Swanstone recommends and hope it all works. :)

3. Capillary action picking up water from...........where? Shouldn't be any standing water anywhere to be wicked up the wallboard.

My opinion; worth price charged.