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-   -   Fill a sunken tub and convert to shower - Advice appreciated! (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=129534)

ss3964spd 09-06-2020 08:43 AM

Wish I had something more to contribute, Zack, but my experience with mud is confined solely to the two benches I filled.

cx 09-06-2020 09:25 AM

Zack, we can't see your mud from over here and can't compare it to Dan's "fluffy" mud. All I can tell you is what you can find in the Shower Construction thread in our Liberry.

You want your mud to be a mixture of five parts sand to one part Portland cement. How you get there is not important. Then you add water enough that you can make a ball of mud that will just hold itself together and no more. You do not want water to squeeze out when you make this ball in your hand.

You place the mud and pack it down. You do not need to beat it into submission, just pack it firmly so it will carve cleanly when you shape it with your straight edge. I use a wood float and a magnesium float to shape and smooth my mud. Some folks like to finish the surface with a steel trowel after shaping.

Not much more we can tell you. The above works. I've never been a full-time mud man, but I've done many jobs and many, many square yards of the stuff and never done any thinking beyond what I just wrote above. It works. No need to do anything any more complicated. If you wanna practice, you can do that with just the sand and no cement, take it out, do it again, rinse and repeat. Then add Portland (but only to dry sand) and make your final mix.

Not rocket surgery. Don't overthink it. Just mix it up, place it, pack it, and shape it.

My opinion; worth price charged.

MLBZ521 09-10-2020 04:24 PM

Eh, I didn't see your reply until several days later CX, I was only emailed about Dan's, which I assume is because they were so close together. Your idea of practicing without the Portland is a great idea, I didn't link about that.

So I attempted it again on Monday, as a couple other projects took longer than I expected on Saturday and Sunday (one of which included removing the old material)...anyways. Pretty certain my original mixture was just way to dry as I suspected. Before attempting it again, I made a very small batch and, essentially, made a "brick" out of it. And the results were way closer to my expectations (and no where near the results of my original attempt).

So with my second go 'round, I attempted to mix with a greater amount of H2O. My first batch ended up a bit too wet, but after that I think I got the mixture down. It was much easier to work with this time as it would compact/compress without just acting like dry sand and falling apart, essentially.

Unfortunately, I do think I took too long working with it and some areas dried out too much so it's not solid and has loose materials in areas. I think this is partially due, not only to my inexperience, but just not able to mix up each batch fast enough to get it in there and work with it.

Curious, if I removed the loose material and made a fresh batch to replace any of this, if it would stick together? I was planning to try it with my "test brick" just to see either way.

I've been meaning to post pictures, I'll do that next.

MLBZ521 09-10-2020 04:54 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Attached, are pictures of:
  1. the compacted backfill material and rebar
  2. vapor barrier
  3. concrete fill
  4. an oops fix
  5. first attempt at the deck mud
  6. second attempt at the desk mud (green tape over drain)

In two of the pictures, the piece of wood was used to hold the drain vertical as it was just slightly off.

And, you may have noticed before the "oops fix" picture... I did not properly account for how low the drain flange needed to sit. I had plained to build a box around the drain pipe, but was rushed and forgot. Regarding this and a few other things (not covered here)...I'm really learning to follow my gut and do things how I feel they should be done and not necessarily what will be "easiest" or how others have suggested (not referring to the advice on this forum -- this project originally started with a couple contractors that didn't work out, between not taking measurements and being able to tell me how much tile I would need and not wanting to fully demo areas with some rotten wood, because I dunno why honestly...I decided to do it myself so I know it was done correctly).

The picture of the first attempt at the deck mud is couple days later after I had misted it, but not yet fully dried and the picture of the second attempt it right after I had finished placing it. Unfortunately, I did not take close up pictures of the original attempt, but the parameters of the second attempt was so much better (and easier to make and work off of).

One thing that may not be obvious in the pictures with the deck mud, that I did after placing the concrete, was to "trim" back the end of the floor going back into the bathroom. I went down roughly 1/4" to 1.2" on an angle. I did this to help with the slop from the drain flange going back into the floor. It may not be obvious from the pictures but the drain was not originally centered in the show floor by any means, so this should help make it appear "more centered" than it was.

cx 09-10-2020 07:53 PM

I'm hoping you cleaned the bonding flange of that drain better than we see in the final photo, Zack. That fleece needs to be clean, very clean, to provide proper bonding with the waterproofing membrane.

MLBZ521 09-10-2020 09:52 PM

Yes sir, everything that was on top of the flange was loose material, it is not adhered or anything like that.

cx 09-10-2020 09:59 PM

This is a good thing. :)

MLBZ521 09-25-2020 10:12 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Alright, guys, got some updates. Been very busy the last couple weeks with work and haven't got to work on this as much as I wanted. So...

I decided to go ahead and do the shower pan one more time a couple weekends ago, which again, I'm glad I did as it still was not solid all the way through; it was better than the first attempt, but not great. I believe this is due to not being able to mix it up fast enough for me to apply it.

So, this time I cheated and used Mapie's 4 to 1 Mud Bed Mix (wife wasn't to keen on the idea of me attempting to do this again... heh) and called in a (stronger) helper than I've had. The texture and consistency of Mapie's 4 to 1 was drastically different than the Sand/Portland mix that I've been making (it was way more powdery(?)). Working with it was much easier and did what I expected it to do better than the other batches I had mixed. It's much harder and more solid after drying.

That said, I don't think I finished the last section quick enough as the top layer didn't harden completely in a small area and there are a few pits, but nothing like my first two batches. What's the recommended approach to filling these pits and low spots before I install the water proofing membrane over the floor?

Thanks for the advise again all.


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