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-   -   General Questions w/ Pics on 1st Time Shower Pan Build/Install (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=116643)

cx 08-04-2015 06:36 PM

How does the manufacturer recommend the receptor be installed, AM?

amodoko 08-04-2015 07:22 PM

Good question, I will contact them to see what they recommend and then get back to you. Thanks again!

Jkochis 08-05-2015 09:44 PM

I have used the Sterling Ensemble shower receptors several times with great success. They are designed to be self-supporting over a felt pad BUT the manufacturer says that the unit can be bedded in mortar for additional reinforcement, which I always do. The installation instructions are posted on their website under the shower bases tab. Look up the ensemble and it'll be right there. I tried to post a link but wasn't successful.

Another thing to look at - the apron of the shower base, even though it's short, was too flimsy for my liking on my last install. You can mark the front edge of the floor with a pencil and then fasten a scrap of 2x4 or whatever you have to the subfloor, offset behind the line by the thickness of the apron. (1/4"-ish) This will take a bunch of flex out of the thing.

I have never trusted the mechanical drains with the O-ring. After you get your drain line 45'd into submission, I dry fit the base with the solvent weld drain assembly attached with good silicone. (I prefer GE silicone II). I don't like plumbers' putty for this application.

You can then get the final measurement for the drain stub. I put my mortar on the subfloor, clean and glue the drain and the pipe, and then quickly lower the base with attached drain onto the stub. If everything is lined up right and the trap is supported, the stub slides into the drain and you're all set. You need to work quickly before the glue sets up, and take it apart right away if it doesn't look like it's going to work.

It's a stressful few minutes, but I'm willing to do that if it means having a solvent-weld drain that I can't get to from below.

Hopefully that was somewhat helpful. I just did that on a job in April and it turned out well.

amodoko 08-06-2015 03:41 AM

Thanks Jeff, that was very helpful. I was actually about to go give them a call and then saw your post. I checked online and what you said is correct, it says if it comes with a felt pad then use it, if it doesn't they recommend either buying your own felt pad or laying it down in 1 to 2 inches of mortar cement. So it seems the mortar cement is not necessary, as you had mentioned, but people generally do it to give it more support so I guess I will.

These shower bases have a waffle-like pattern on the bottom, so some people say using thinset mortar is easier to work with so it pushes into the shower pan better when you bed the base down. Not so sure what I should use, but I guess I'll figure that out when the time comes.

I do want to lay some plastic down below and above the wet mortar so that the pan does not adhere to the mortar. If something goes wrong with the install, or if the shower needs to be changed in the future, I don't want it to be a big pain to remove and I heard that using plastic is a good idea for this. But I'm also worried the plastic will cause me some issues with trying to push the mortar mix down. What do you think I should do?

Also, I'm not an expert with this stuff so I'm a bit hesitant to install the drain in a quick way like you're able to while the PVC cement is still wet and all and the drain is attached to the shower base. I would prefer to install a drain that can be installed from above if that's possible and at a slow pace. I believe when I removed the old shower base that was installed, it was just the one with the large black rubber ring that held tightly against the PVC. Is there a drain I can buy or a method that allows me to extend the PVC drain above ground and then install shower base and drain and then cut the above ground extended PVC after the install to be flush with everything? And where I do not have to do anything below ground such that everything can be done from above? I am trying to avoid crawling in that crawl space because it is a condominium complex and I would have to crawl very far to reach my drain (I would have to crawl under not just my condo but my neighbor's condo) and it is just so dirty and dark down there lol. Plus, I don't think I have the quick skills like you do to install a PVC cement drain from above quickly before the glue dries.

Jkochis 08-06-2015 05:05 AM

I think if you look up the Oatey 42099 shower drain, it may be what you're after. It has a mechanical attachment that allows it to be tightened around the pipe from above. One tip - stuff a rag or a chunk of insulation in the drain before tightening the assembly. The little "wrench" they give you with the drain doesn't have a positive lock (or at least never used to) and my screwdriver slipped once, knocked the "wrench" loose, right into the drain never to be seen again. As soon as it happened I thought to myself, "Note to self, plug up the drain next time!"

As I said before, I much prefer silicone to set the drain rather than plumbers' putty. You need to get the residue off pretty much immediately, though, or you will not be loving life later!

I do NOT recommend thinset under the base, as it's not designed to be applied in any substantial thickness. I usually use a bag of Type N mortar mix, becuase that's what I can get here easily. At $6/bag, it's cheap insurance. Rather than spreading an even layer, I usually put a bunch of closely spaced plops. The space in between gives the mortar some place to go when setting the base. I tried a continuous bed in the past and couldn't get the base to drop down as far as it needed to go:(

I wouldn't worry about plastic on top of the mortar. I recently did a tub that I ended up having to reposition after the mortar had set. That Vikrell is so glossy that the mortar doesn't stick to it anyway. Keep in mind that the purpose of the mortar is to give the base support, NOT adhere it to the floor, so it's good that it's not sticky!

If no pad comes with your base, you can use anything as a slip sheet under the mortar - plastic, felt paper, rosin paper, pretty much anything to keep the mortar from sticking to the floor.

If you do decide you want to put something on TOP of the mortar, make sure it is THIN. You want it to not fight you when trying to conform to the waffle pattern on the base. 4 Mil plastic is WAY to thick. You could use a trash bag or anything like that, if you want to.

Glad to be able to help. I know this is a tile forum, but I've done more fiberglass/plastic than tile showers! Happy to be able to try to spare you some of the pain I've experienced.

amodoko 08-06-2015 07:28 PM

Very helpful again, thanks so much. I will probably not put plastic on top of the mortar then since it won't stick well to vikrell (but if for some reason I decide to I will just use very thin plastic as you suggested, but at this point I don't think I will use plastic on top), but I will lay down some plastic on the floor so the mortar doesn't adhere to the floor. I'll just use some basic quikrete mortar mix and not use thinset.

I'll use a mechanical drain then to avoid having to do work from the crawl space. That would be amazing if I can actually do everything from above!

I'll use this Oatey Drain then: http://www.lowes.com/pd_253153-138-4...y+shower+drain

It's a 420994 which is the same, or similar, to the 42099 which you suggested I believe. Anything to help me avoid having to do work from below is a a huge help. I will clog the drain up with something when I work on it too as you suggested.

One thing I was thinking about is do you think I need to fill that concrete hole around the drain a bit more so there is more support around the drain when someone is standing in the shower?
I don't think it's necessary but was just thinking about it. I have images on this thread of the hole, it is the very first post on page 1. I don't think I will close it up if it's not a big deal, but I also wanted to double check if someone thought I should close it up more with wire mesh and concrete. I just stood around the hole with the shower base dry fitted and it seems strong enough so I'm leaning towards not making the hole smaller.

I can't wait till this part is done so I can get onto the stuff I enjoy (cbu, tiling, niches, etc.).

Thanks again for you help, much appreciated!

Jkochis 08-06-2015 08:34 PM

Yes, the drain you linked to is the correct one. The one I suggested is a smaller diameter which won't work.

Another tip working with those drains: I can't remember if you can stub the pipe long and cut it off after. If I'm remembering correctly you can't. If that's the case, remove the rubber O-ring to allow the drain to fit freely over the pipe. Dry-fit the shower base and then mark the pipe where it needs to be cut. You can then remove the base, cut the pipe as needed, install your mortar reinforcement, and drop your base down once and for all. I have used liquid dish soap or laundry detergent in the past to help the pipe slide into the O-ring as it's quite a tight fit.

As for the size of the hole around the drain, I think if you get your mortar as close to the edge as possible, you'll be fine without fussing with trying to fill it in, which would be a pain!

One more thing (sorry, my brain goes a mile a minute with things like this!) - When you dry fit your shower base, it would be helpful if you made some reference marks on the studs 1/4" or so above the flange of the shower base. That way, when you lower it into the mortar, you can still see the marks and make sure you're running parallel with the subfloor. I've gotten messed up here in the past!

Keep asking your plumbing/ shower base questions. I have way more experience with that than I do tiling:)

amodoko 08-08-2015 04:52 PM

Great tips, I'll mark the height of the shower base before bedding it with mortar then. I'm basically ready to do this now, thanks for your advice, but if you don't mind these plumbing type questions.... I kind of want to pick your brain a bit about some things if you have the time.

One thing is when I install the mechanical 420994 Oatey drain we had mentioned, does the P-trap from below need to be supported in some way? I'm assuming there will be some pushing and pulling when I install that tight O-ring and drain and was wondering if the plumbing from below needed to be supported. If so, do you have a specific recommendation on how I should support it?

The other general question I have is you had mentioned when you install the solvent welded drains you do it by installing the drain on the base first, then clean and glue the drain stub and shower drain PVC, then quickly install the shower base with the attached drain to the drain stub before the glue dries. I was wondering, could those solvent welded drains (like this one: http://www.lowes.com/pd_253149-138-4...=#BVRRWidgetID ) be installed by just installing the bottom of the drain (since there is the bottom of the drain, and a top that looks like it screws into the bottom) by solvent welding it to the drain stub, then put down the shower base over the installed bottom portion of the drain, then screw in the top of the drain to the installed bottom portion of the drain once the shower base is laid down? If that is possible, then that wouldn't be too hard for me I think in comparison to the fast way an expert like you does it.

Thanks again for your help. I now I have enough information I believe to do this properly. I always have lingering thoughts questions, lol.

Jkochis 08-15-2015 08:10 PM

Sorry, AM, I never got a message that the thread had been replied to. I'm still figuring this forum out!

As far as supporting the P-trap, YES, you need to do something. Since you can't access it from below, but there's a sizable hole around the drain stub, you can use a piece of METAL (the plastic stuff never works for me) strap hanger/ plumbers' roll/ perforated strap/ whatever you want to call it. It typically comes in ten foot long rolls for two bucks or so in the plumbing section of your favorite supply house.

I'm not looking at your pictures at the moment. (I'm not sure how to do that!) If I remember correctly, your floor area was concrete. If so, attach one end of the strapping to the floor with a short Tapcon, feed the other end under the trap (just behind works well because the strap gets caught between the loop of the trap and the hub of the 90 degree elbow coming out) and back up to the top of the floor. One more Tapcon and you're good to go.

You're not trying to make it all so tight it won't move. A little movement is a good thing! You're just trying to make sure you have enough resistance that when you start wrestling with things that the pipe stub won't push down and break off way back in the spidery crawl space you're trying to avoid:)

As far as your solvent weld question, I'll be honest with you. I've never tried it that way BUT as long as your drain base is at the EXACT HEIGHT it seems like it should work. Some drains have a big nut that would typically be tightened from below. If your drain has one of these, I'm not sure how you could get it tight enough. I think I would feel more comfortable knowing that the drain is securely attached to the shower base.

Hopefully that helps, and hopefully I caught you in time. Either way, I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

cx 08-15-2015 09:19 PM

Jeff, if you wanna be notified of a post to a particular thread you need to subscribe to that thread. Click on Thread Tools near the top of the page, find Subscribe to this Thread, and select email notification.

amodoko 08-17-2015 07:28 AM

10 Attachment(s)
(I wrote too much, but for anyone that may be interested in answering some questions, I just made my questions bold so you can skip everything I wrote and just skim my questions if you're interesting in offering any advice)

Thanks for the reply, I got a chance to do some more work to it recently. I did not support the P-trap (did not see your post till today) but I have been pretty gentle when working with it and the pipe seems to be fine. I tested it by pouring water down it with a bucket and did not find any leaks. I got some 45s and moved the PVC pipe so it would line up with the shower base. It was a bit awkward working from above and through the hole in the ground. When I went to attach a 45 to the PVC below ground, via solvent welding, I could not get a good grip on the pipe and when I finally did I rotated the pipe a quarter turn (as they do when solvent welding) and then realized afterwards I was about 3/4 of an inch off my mark with the rotation and it was too difficult to turn it back so I left it in hopes it would be okay.

I then dry fitted the shower base to the stub pipe (once all pipes were solvent welded back) and found it would fit in the hole despite my 3/4 inch mistake I made earlier. However, it felt like it was just a bit more pressure on the pipe then I felt comfortable with because it was slightly forced into that hole since it was 3/4 inch off. I found that I could relieve about half of that pressure by simply moving the shower pan an inch forward. So that's what I'm going to end up doing. I have to go get some 1 inch furring strips to make the 1 inch adjustment and attach them to the studs with roofing nails, and I have to get some extra 2x4s since the durock will not have much of a 2x4 to attach to in the corners once I move the pan forward an inch.

I also attached the mechanical shower drain to the shower base and dry fitted it to the the stub pipe and have measured where I need to cut the stub pipe when I actually permanently attach the base. I did run into a minor issue when attaching the shower drain to the base. After using silicone to attach the drain to the shower base, I had to tighten the lock nut on the bottom. I just hand tightened it as far as I could, then used a tool to tighten it a tad more but then realized it would just spin the whole drain with the flange when I did that so I stopped. Either way, it does feel tight now (I can not turn the lock nut with my hand) and at the same time I believe it is not too tight where it could potentially crack the shower base.

I now am prepared for most of the next steps regarding the installation of the shower pan. I did realize I have some basic questions regarding the installation of durock and the building of a niche if anyone here is interested in answering them for me.

When you install durock to the studs and a shower pan, I know you do not rest the weight of the durock on the shower pan and you leave like a 1/4 inch or something of space so it is floating above the horizontal part of the shower pan. However, is it okay if the back of the durock touches the vertical part of the shower pan's flange? Or do I need space there too so that it is not touching the shower pan anywhere? I will be using RedGard for waterproofing if that makes any difference.

I once tiled a surround and had used 6 mil poly for the waterproofing. I still have that 6 mil poly but I think I am going to use RedGard since I will be building a niche. The other alternative would be to still use the 6 mil poly, then just RedGard the niche only. Also, one of the walls is an exterior wall so I did not know if I need plastic there or not But if anyone has an opinion on 6 mil poly vs RedGard let me know.

Also, if you look at my walls, I have some questions with regards to where to install my niche. The wall furthest from the shower head is not deep enough for a decent niche I believe, plus it is next to a linen closet that has nails going through the wall so I do not want someone trying to hammer into my shower. The long wall is an exterior wall and I just wanted to avoid it due to having to remove insulation and also worrying about someone nailing siding through the shower. And the wall where the shower head is located seems to be the best I think. It is deep enough for a niche, however I would have to reroute the copper plumbing to put it in the center at a normal height. Instead of the copper pipes going vertical there, I would have to make them go back further, then veer to the right, then go up from there on the side, then curve back in and reattach. I think this is fine to do but if anyone foresees this being an issue let me know. Is my selection for that wall being the best wall for a niche the best choice you think? And is there any issue with rerouting the copper pipes back there so the niche can be installed? I'm worried that introducing so many turns may cause increased noise/hammer noise/rumbling when turning on the shower I've soldered copper pipes before and I believe 2 times I ended up with some additional noise and don't know what I did to cause that.

I tend to write a lot so hopefully me using bold to highlight my questions helps for anyone interested in answering some of my questions. Thanks in advance! And thanks Jeff for your help thus far:) BTW, the pictures are not in chronological order but I think you can tell which pipe is the new pipe (has purple primer and a two 45s attached).

Kman 08-17-2015 12:36 PM

No problem with the cement board touching the liner. It's done that way every time.

If you're using a surface-applied membrane, there's no need for plastic unless it's a steam shower. The plastic is a cheaper alternative, but the shower will dry out much faster with the waterproofing layer directly beneath the tile.

There's no problem with re-routing the plumbing, but every turn you make reduces water flow to some degree. If I was going to re-route it there, I think I'd cut it low, close to the floor, then use PEX to make a smooth of a transition as possible around the niche. You might still have to put in a 90 here or there, but you might be able to do without some of them. Check with your plumber if you have one doing the work for you.

amodoko 08-19-2015 01:50 AM

Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. I'll go with the RedGard and install the Durock about 1/4 inch above the pan but touching the side of the flange.

Since I messed up a bit when I installed the 45 degree PVC fittings, the drain is about 3/4 of an inch off. It still fits when I lay the shower pan down as you can see from my last post of photos, however there is a bit of pressure on the drain that concerns me since it is a bit off. I don't know if over time the PVC will adjust a bit and thus reduce this pressure or if over time the pressure will cause the solvent welded joints to fail.

I may just go and get an additional set of 22 degree fittings to get it closer to the spot I need (if that is okay to have two 45 fittings and two 22 fittings close together... I'm assuming it is okay since they will be solvent welded). The other option is to fur out the walls to get it closer too.

If I do fur out the wall, I have a question. I was just going to get some 1 in by 2 in by 8 ft furring strips ( http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded...0954/100075477 ) and attach them directly to the front/2 inch portion of the wall studs so that the 2 inch surface of the furring strip is directly attached to the 2 inch surface of the 2x4 stud. I was going to just use roofing nails primarily with a few durock screws to attach the furring strips to the studs to get the wall to jut out an inch more to accommodate the drain a bit more. However, it seems like there are protocols for furring strip use. Can I just do what I said, and slap the furring strips 2 inch side directly to the 2 inch side of the wall studs with roofing nails and durock screws? And then I will attach Durock to these later. Or is this unsafe?

cx 08-19-2015 03:36 AM

I think you're missing some of the point in using those eighth bends to move the drain, AM. If you butt two of them together as you appear to have done, you get a fixed amount of lateral movement of the riser location. But if you add a section of pipe between the fittings, you can increase the lateral movement. Distance between trap and drain will dictate just how much lateral movement is available, but you appear to have room to move your drain a good bit more than you did.

I would not recommend adding more fittings, I'd recommend you cut out what you have and do it over, providing more lateral movement this time.

If you elect to fur out your studs (I would not do that when I could more easily and effectively move the drain), I recommend you do it with rips of plywood rather than sawn strips and glue them to the stud edges with construction adhesive and mechanical fasteners. The sawn strips tend to split while fastening them or when fastening to them.

My opinion; worth price charged.

amodoko 08-19-2015 12:03 PM

Thanks CX, I will not fur out the studs and instead solvent weld the PVC piping then to get the drain to line up as you have suggested.

You had mentioned that I may have missed the point with the use of the 1/8 bends since I butted two of them together (and I may still be, haha), but the reason I did that was because I needed only 2 or 3 inches (can't remember at the moment the exact distance I needed) of lateral movement originally, and when I butted two 45s together I got the perfect amount of lateral distance. The only reason it is not perfectly aligned now is because when I solvent welded the 45s to the stub pipe I did not rotate the the pair of two 45s properly before the PVC cement dried (I over rotated them, as one rotates PVC that is being solvent welded to get the PVC cement to evenly distribute in the joint, except I over rotated it... and off my measured mark). I believe that if I added any straight PVC between the two 45s I would have not been able to get lateral distance right since it would exceed the 2 or 3 inches of lateral movement I needed (unless there is something I am not understanding).

You had also mentioned you do not recommend me adding more fittings. The issue though is that if I cut out what I have, it will force me to work even lower on the drain pipe which is a bit difficult to do since I have to reach down through the hole. I placed the 45s a bit lower then I needed to and that is what kind of caused me to mess up since I could not get a good grip initially on the fittings when I was solvent welding. However, I could easily maneuver it with two additional 22 degree fittings on the higher portion of the stub pipe. I would butt them together again (unless I'm missing something) since I only need 3/4 of an inch of lateral movement. Is there anything wrong with doing this? I only ask because it would be much easier for me to do it that way then to cut out everything and start all over. I know you did not recommend this but if it is considered okay to do that, it would make things easier for me.

The other question I have is if I do just keep things as they are with just the two 45s, force the PVC a bit into the drain (since it will actually fit as it is, but just with a bit of pressure since it is 3/4 of an inch off the mark), will the PVC "adjust" over time? I only ask this more for curiosity and to see if I can keep the stub pipe where it is.

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