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DGgriff 11-16-2020 02:49 PM

Bathroom Remodel Sanity Check
1 Attachment(s)
Hello all,

I've been doing A LOT of reading in recent weeks and I figure it's time to post my first question.

I'll be embarking on a bathroom remodel sometime next spring, but have been planning and purchasing materials as sales come up in preparation. Attached is the layout of the current bathroom for context. Assuming up is north, there are exterior 2x4 (I know, 1970's construction) walls on the north and west sides of the room.

The current setup is ceramic tile on the floor and the shower surround. The current shower pan is prefab fiberglass (center drain) and the shower door is a typical cheap hinged door.

Here's our rough idea of a plan for the changes:
  1. Remove current/dated ceramic on the floors and replace with LF (12x24) slate tile with in-floor heating. Tentative plan for the layout is running the tile longways north-south with a 30% overlap.
  2. Remove west wall of the shower and expand shower space to exterior wall to provide more spacious shower area. This closet space goes unused due to its strange size/location.
  3. Remove current/dated ceramic on the shower walls and replace with new marble/marble-like porcelain.
  4. Install tall (I'm 6'2" and tired of banging my head because I didn't duck down enough getting in/out) bypass glass slider for shower entry
  5. Remove fiberglass shower pan and run slate floor tile into shower area (no curb) to a linear drain.

That last bullet point is where I'm the most unsure. From my reading, the accepted depth from drain to curb/threshold is 2". We had hoped to use a centered linear drain running north-south.

Given that this will be a DIY project (I consider myself fairly advanced in the DIY space. Not a pro by any stretch, but this isn't my first rodeo), I was leaning toward something like a Kerdi Shower LT base for the shower base. I'd drop the subfloor to be level with the joists (per the instructions provided by Schluter). This would only yield about 1" rise to the bathroom floor, which would be waterproofed using Ditra or similar.

Now, I can probably count on 1 hand the number of times in 10 years that we've had over a 1/4" of standing water in the shower and never over 1/2", but that's I know that's not a guarantee of the future.

To get curbless + 2" we'd need to install the drain along the west wall, but something inside me just says that would feel weird since the shower is on the south wall.

I guess what I'm looking for is some insight into how crazy this idea really is... Is it unreasonable to think we can do a centered linear drain in a 48"x48" space with no curb? Is a linear drain on the side of a shower as weird as I think it would be?

I'm sure I've left out some critical details, but hopefully that's enough to get the conversation going...

cx 11-16-2020 03:15 PM

Welcome, David.

First detail I see missing is the layout your said was attached. That would be helpful.

The requirement in the building/plumbing code is for the shower drain to be a minimum of 2" below the top of the curb. But if there is no curb, there is no such requirement. The thinking on that, if any, has been researched by members of the national ceramic tile community's technical committee members and the building code and plumbing code committees have verified that's what is meant. Essentially, if there is no curb, there is no drain height requirement. If that makes no sense at all to you, join the crowd. :)

There remains, of course, the requirement for the shower floor to be sloped at a minimum of 1/4" per foot to the drain. You could get nearly an inch of drop, theoretically, in a 48" shower with the linear drain at one edge, but doing that in an existing wood framed floor without raising the bathroom floor would be a bit problematic.

You have evaluated your joist structure to determine what you'll need to do for it to qualify for a natural stone installation? And you recognize that you'll need to have a double layer plywood subfloor in the bathroom to allow your natural stone installation?

Let's stop there 'till we see your drawings.

My opinion; worth price charged.

DGgriff 11-16-2020 03:48 PM

My apologies, CX. It was there in the preview, but apparently dropped when I posted. It has been updated.

Gotta run, so I'll take a look at your other items later, but wanted to get that up in case it changes things.

DGgriff 11-16-2020 08:15 PM

Well, now that I've gone down the deflection rabbit hole, it seems we're coming up a bit shy in that department. We've got 2x10s 16" O.C. running 13' 4“ east-west in the drawing, if the blueprints that came with the house are to be believed. The bathroom span is a bit over 10' of that with the guest bath on the other side of the wall (east side in the included drawing). Below is our living room, so no chance of adding support down there.

I'd already planned to rip everything down to the subfloor and could certainly go further if there is a chance of adding enough stiffness to make the slate a possibility (vis sistering the existing joists or some other method).

If we have to do for a ceramic look-a-like, that's what we'll do but now that we've got the natural stone stuck in our heads...

jadnashua 11-16-2020 08:27 PM

TO gain the strength, when sistering joists, you need to encompass at least the middle 2/3'rds of it. More is good, but doesn't really change it that much more.

DGgriff 11-20-2020 03:24 PM

So, I think we've talked ourselves out of the curbless setup. Back to a traditional curb we go. Most likely wrapped with whatever we put on the floor of the room.

We're in the process of evaluating some slate-like porcelain but haven't found anything that does it for us yet (any recommendations out there?), so I'm hoping I can get enough support in there via sistering once I open up the floor. There shouldn't be too much to deal with in the way of plumbing or electrical, but who knows what was done originally or during the last remodel...

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc 11-22-2020 10:43 AM

For what it's worth, I would definitely recommend against real slate in your bathroom, especially in the shower. Porcelain tile is much more durable, it won't flake off, and it doesn't absorb water, shampoo, soap, and other stains.

For recommendations, it depends on what you want. I just installed some pretty cool slate tile but it was a flat charcoal gray color. I'm guessing you probably want the multicolored look?

Additionally, you may have to temper you desire for a tall bypass door. Those can be tricky because taller doors weigh more and there can be issues with the weight of the glass causing the cross bar to sag or bend.

A frameless door that is hinged on one side doesn't need a header and might be a good solution. You can get them in 30 or even 36 inch doors if you want.

DGgriff 11-22-2020 07:36 PM


For recommendations, it depends on what you want. I just installed some pretty cool slate tile but it was a flat charcoal gray color. I'm guessing you probably want the multicolored look?
We're actually looking at flat charcoal slate. Something like this https://www.msisurfaces.com/slate/montauk-black/. So far the porcelain we've seen just doesn't feel right but I'm definitely open to being convinced if it means I don't have to deal with the deflection issue...

jadnashua 11-22-2020 07:47 PM

Some slate is very dense and solid. Some called slate is little more than compressed silt. The multi-colored stuff is often junk. The real stuff that is fine grained can be pretty solid. Still, could be an issue in a shower.

Real slate is a metamorphic stone. Heat and compression 'fires' it sort of like what happens with a ceramic tile. THe 'fake' slates are little more than fine-grained sandstone that can turn to mud if soaked and often has little abrasion strength.

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