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Sclib 03-07-2021 11:25 PM

Starting new tile shower DIY
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Hello all....first of all thanks for having me. Few things about me...Married 35+ years, 2 daughters and 2 grandkids. Retired in Southern AZ and time on my hands to try me things. I have done some tiling over the years that I think have turned out pretty well and have learned some things. Have never done a tile shower which is project I am starting. Demo done and ready to start building pan except.....when I pulled fiberglass pan, there was a big hole around the drainpipe. Looks like error during 2006 house construction. I am assuming I need to fill this first with regular concrete and not pan mixture? My biggest concern, as it seems with all of us shower newbies, is building the pan. I have purchased a Goof Proof system in hopes it will make slope easier to get correct. I looked thru some posts before posting and a user named Scott is also starting a project using this Goof Proof system and a comment was made that he toss it and just form the slope with no system. I am nervous about the slope which is why I purchased this for help after reading lots of good reviews. Anyway, here is project outline... Build Pan with pre slope, Oates waterproof membrane, final top Slope to drain. Standard Curb. Densshield backer over 2x4s, mesh tape and Mapei Aqua Defense on walls and concrete blocks for bench. Installing 12x24” porcelain tile horizontally up to 8’ ceiling. 14x14” niche, mosaic tile or patterned tile on floor. Using mostly Mapei materials including Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA Straw sanded grout for 1/4” grout lines on walls and 1/8” grout lines on floor. Ultra flex LFT Mortar. Otay square drain. Lot of info I know but seems like it would save some of the back and forth on questions. I will review the pan building instructions in the librerry prior to starting with the Goof Proof system in a couple days....after concrete around the chipped out drain hole cures and concrete slab floor checked for level. Will be posting more questions as I go. Thanks again and Sorry if TMI????:blah::blah: Scott

cx 03-08-2021 09:38 AM

Welcome, Scott. :)

Not TMI, but some paragraph breaks would make it a bit more readable, eh?

Sounds like you have a plan. If you really think those plastic strips will help you place a useful pre-slope, then go for it.

I'm gonna recommend you divest your self of them and create your pre-slope by marking a level line around the perimeter of your shower that is above the top of your bottom drain flange by a minimum of 1/4" per horizontal foot from the drain to the farthest corner of the shower. Then fill with with deck mud and pack a perimeter strip to use as a "screed" upon which to gently ride your straight edge while making a flat surface to the drain flange. I think you'll find you can have your pre-slope finished in less time than it would take to install the plastic strips.

The minimum thickness you should have is 3/4" at the drain, which you'll establish by setting the drain at the proper height.

The hole in the floor was not a mistake, that's called a leave-out and is standard when pouring a structural foundation slab to allow for the installation of a P-trap and riser in the correct position when finishing the plumbing.

For the top mud bed you will already have practiced placing the mortar when doing the pre-slope and that's where you really do not want the plastic dividers to show your tile floor where you want it to crack. The top mud bed must be a minimum of 1 1/2" thick, of consistent thickness all around, and following the established slope of your pre-slope.

None of those requirements are likely to be met using the pitch sticks.

I would also recommend you re-consider the use of the DensShield as you cannot embed the bottom edge of that material in your top mud bed to hold it in place where you cannot use any mechanical fasteners. One of the real CBUs (ASTM C1325) would be a better choice to my thinking.

You'll want to extend your wallboard and waterproofing higher than the opening in your photo. Backerboard, waterproofing, and tile must all extend at least a couple inches above the pipe coming out for your shower head.

'Fraid I'm not sure what a "standard curb" might be. Little more information there might help.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Sclib 03-08-2021 11:09 AM

Thank you and questions
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CX, thank you for advice and comments....much appreciated. I do have questions about some of your comments.

1. I now understand that hole around drain pipe is intentional. Do I just fill with regular pan mud when building my pan?

2. You say you would not use the Densshied (DS) but some other CBU due to not being able to embed DS into Pan Mud top layer. Why can’t you embed the DS into mud? I have worked with Durock in the past on my non-shower projects. Was going to try the DS because a lot of the tile guys in my area (Southern AZ) seem to be using this based on my discussions with Big Box and Tile Stores. I am told the reason is due to superior waterproofing of this product? It is also a little lighter than other CBUs which helps my 60 year old body a little. I am open to switching.....just want to understand more about why I am switching.

3. As far as tossing the sticks and sloping mud without a guide, I would love to do this but am a little nervous without the cheat sticks. What about using the sticks on the bottom (pre pitch? Layer of the pan, then just follow that slope on the top layer to the drain.....I am sure I can do it sticks or no sticks....just thought they would make my life a little easier.

4. When you say extend the wallboard and waterproofing higher than existing, can you elaborate? I am going to tile to ceiling (8’). Original builder only went as far as you see with waterproofing. That was my intention....then scuff the existing paint above that level and continue tile up over the existing painted Sheetrock. Water will never get as high as the shower head unless it leaks at the shower head pipe inside the wall. In that case waterproofing and backer board would not help.

5. What I meant by “standard curb” was about 4 1/2” high curb. 2x2x4 stacked then membrane, mud and tile to reach 4 1/2” mark with tile sloped in toward the pan. This is what was done in my master shower when we had it done about 3 years ago. I have attached a photo. Hoping it does not show up sideways like the drain depression photo....not sure why that happened?

Sclib 03-09-2021 10:17 AM

So, based on CX advice, and looking at Densshield Mfg install instructions, I have returned my DS and picked up 1/2” Durock (DR)

I still have one big question before I start and would appreciate any weighing in.

When I picked up the Durock (3x5 sheets) several of the pieces came off a brand new, unopened pallet. These pieces had a slight bow (maybe 1/2” measured at center when laying flat in ground). When pushed in center you could hear cracking. My question is.....is this normal and should it flatten out when attached to the 16” on center studs?

I have worked with this product before in even larger pieces and have never seen this bowing.

Thanks in advance for any comments.

Sclib 03-10-2021 07:44 PM

Starting pre slope tomorrow
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Finished curb and set bottom flange of drain today. At this point I am moving forward and usinh]go this as sort of a project blog. Had a little hiccup with drain flange due to original builder setting abs drain pipe in at a pretty good angle and used a coupler that was almost flush with concrete. This forced me to put the flange a little higher than I would have liked and was more difficult to level than it should have been. Though not perfectly level, it is within the lines and best I could do given my limited expertise.

I also went ahead and filled in what CX called the “leave out” with dry pack. It was good practice working with the dry pack and gives me more of a comfort level that I will be able to pull off a smooth, correctly sloped floor. Never heard back from anyone in regard to filling this with dry pack or regular concrete? If anyone sees this and knows dry pack won’t work for filling this hole, please let me know. I can still break it out in the morning and fill with concrete instead. I filled this hole prior to doing the pre slope because, visually, it made my life easier. I now have a fully level floor to measure from......easier for me than measuring from bottom of a hole or pretending floor was there and eyeballing my measurements.

Also, I am taking CX advice and ditching the goof proof system for pre slope. However, I did run some yellow string from drain flange out to the four walls. I know I probably won’t need this cheat but just giving myself one more visual tool for a nice slope (Strings shown in picture....not pulled tight yet). There was one good thing that came out of setting the bottom flange a little higher (1” vs 3/4”), it left my mortar start line at the walls even with the top of the treated 2x4” bottom plate.

So, moving forward.....and learning new things in the process. If anyone sees any major issue in photos posted or comments above, your comments and or criticisms would be appreciated. Especially important is the filling of the leave out hole with pan mortar]. If anyone knows that this should have been filled with regular concrete instead of mortar, please let me know. I can still tear it out in the morning and re do it prior to completing the pan pre slope.

Posted a photo of the pan mortar I am using....Sakrete Floor Mud Mortar. Did not add anything to it but water. Seems to have mixed to the consistency I have researched so praying it’s the right/good stuff.

Also figured out why my photos were showing up sideways. Quick search told me I needed to be holding my phone the other direction when shooting pics :bonk: I will try not to post sideways photos but, no promises!:dunce::dunce::dunce::dunce:

Last pic is workspace ready to start installing pre slope.

Hope everyone’s projects (diys and you professionals paid gigs) are coming along as planned and that everyone is staying safe out there.

cx 03-10-2021 09:25 PM

I've never tried to use strings like that and not sure just what they'll do for you. What I would strongly recommend you do is calculate the height of the perimeter by calculating from the measured distance of one of those strings and make a bold mark on the framing at that height all around the perimeter. That will show you where the top of your mud must be and from there to the drain you can carve a flat slope all around. You'll want a number of "screed" sticks of different lengths that fit between the walls and drain to help with that.

Do remember to pack your deck mud before you carve the final surface. You do not need to beat it into submission, just wack it firmly with your wood float or magnesium float or similar tool.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Sclib 03-10-2021 11:29 PM

Pre slope tomorrow
Thanks CX!!! Much appreciated. The strings are mainly mental for me since I’ve never done a slope before. My idea was to use them as a guide then pull them at the end or when slope was close to complete. I think you are right though, chances are they will just get in the way and I will end up tossing them early in the process. My line around the perimeter walls is easy.....it is right at the top of the treated 2x4 plate.

Thanks for the screed stick advice. I have 3 small 2x4s of varying length to use as screeds.

Thanks and be safe!!

cx 03-10-2021 11:35 PM

You'll find those 2x4s a bit awkward in that application. You'll do better with something closer to 1x4s or smaller. For the shorter sections some much smaller pieces work well, like pieces of lath or 5 gallon paint stir sticks.

Or you could buy you some much more 'spensive magnesium straight edges and cut'em to length. Over many years you'll accumulate about every length you could ever need and for only a couple hunnert bucks. :)

I'd recommend some small and smaller board sections.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Sclib 03-11-2021 07:29 PM

Pre slope done...Membrane tomorrow (hopefully)
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Finished my pre-slope today:wohoo:

Being as it’s my first one ever, pretty happy with it overall.

I will say that toward the end the mud was getting a little dry on top....hope this doesn’t effect the overall results. Slope is good all around...if anything it’s a little more than what I drew up at 1/2” overall from furthest wall (2’ from center drain). Thinking that’s better than not enough slope.

CX was right and those strings were no help...tossed them in trash almost immediately. Also followed his advice and created several screed sticks in varying lengths ( 1x2” which is what I had on hand) which worked out very well. I did use a 2’ section of 2x4” which helped with tamping.....thicker to tap with my rubber mallet for perimeter mortar level especially. I did make an error in putting all mud in pan at once. I should have built my perimeter screed level first and then dumped balance of mortar in the middle. Learning experience and I don’t think it caused a major problem other than i had to much mud to deal with at once which overwhelmed me a little temporarily:bonk:

Method I ended up using to level was to build up mortar in field higher than perimeter and then tap a 2x4 down to desired slope (using drain and perimeter as guides). I did this in sections and it is what seemed to work best for me. Not sure if you can see in pics because mud is all dark grey which hides the line a little.

I also created a couple of home made wood trowels (have seen a lot of tile guys online using wood trowels on mortar bed.....seen in one of pics). I couldn’t find any on Amazon or at Big Box stores online and was ready to do pre slope. 1 was 2x4 and the other was 1/2” plywood. I beveled the bottom edges slightly to help them slide better without digging into mortar. Cant say they were perfect or absolutely necessary but I was glad I had them.

Tomorrow I plan on installing membrane and possibly hanging CBU....my best guess is CBU will be Saturday....gotta watch a little of The Players Championship and give my muscles a little rest :). If anyone has any membrane advice, other than don’t stick screws thru it below curb level, happy to hear it prior to installation. I’m also going to put another 2x4” on top of my curb. Wanted to leave it lower but with the thicker pre slope due to drain height I think it is wise.

That’s it for now. As always, comments and or criticisms are welcome.

Thanks to CX for his input so far. His expertise has been spot on!!!!

cx 03-11-2021 09:23 PM

A wood float is essentially what you've created, Scott; a board with a handle. My primary tool in making mud beds, along with a magnesium float.

For your liner and CBU it appears you've gotten a step ahead of yourself. You really want the bottom of your studs and your blocking set back an eighth inch or more. You'll find reference to that notching near the bottom of the page in the Shower Construction thread in our Liberry. If you don't do that you're gonna find your CBU bowed out at the bottom where it goes over the folds in your liner. Also appear to be shy on studs in one back corner.

Sorry to drop all that in here at this point, but usually one of the sharper guys notices that sorta thing in your photos and points it out. Still not too late for your to do what's needed, just a bit more of a PITA. Worst case you get to remove your pre-slope, call it practice, and do another.

The liner must rise a minimum of three inches above the top of your curb and you must not have any mechanical fasteners below two inches above the top of the curb. You can fasten the liner to the outside face of the curb if you need to. You'll also want to use dam corners at the ends of your curb. I believe there is information on that in the Shower Construction thread in the Liberry. Information in there about how to create the mud curb you'll need, also.

Be sure the top of your curb is sloped to drain. If it's not, fix it. A little shimming at the bottom of the top board at the outside edge is usually enough.

As to the advice, even a blind squirrel findS a few acorns. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

Sclib 03-11-2021 10:21 PM

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CX, thanks for the quick reply and the comments. Can you clarify a couple things from your comments:

1. When you say notch out for liner, I had planned on that but just in corners where folds will be. Are you saying I need to notch out all studs and blocking on all 3 walls? If this is the case, I should not have to remove pre slope as blocking starts (luckily) just above the top of the pre slope. I can remove them and set them back if necessary. The blocking was there when I pulled fiberglass pan.

2. Can you clarify where I am shy a stud?

3. Lastly, I’m not understanding what you mean by top of curb sloped to drain? The new pre slope has a good slope from top of mortar bed against curb down to the drain (pics).

Thanks again for catching these things.....looking forward to answers so I can make things right prior to membrane.

Sclib 03-11-2021 10:29 PM

Curb sloped to drain
CX, I think I understand what you mean by top of curb sloped to drain. Does it just mean that top of finished curb needs to slope in toward the shower so any water that accumulates on curb will drain into shower pan?

If that’s correct, just need clarification on the 2 other items.

Thank you,

Sclib 03-11-2021 11:14 PM

Missing stud
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CX, is the missing stud you are seeing in the rear right hand corner? If so, it is hard to see but there are 2 studs there in an L shape that are hard to see. One is in. Or we on Right wall and one on rear wall. Hoping it’s plenty to attach CBU. It is what the original backer board was attached to in the original tile shower I pulled out. Try and enlarge the attached pic and you should be able to see studs at the red arrow.

If this is what you were referring to, we are making progress ????. Just need the stud and blocking question answered.

Thanks again !!!

cx 03-11-2021 11:17 PM

1. The corners where you'll fold the liner will be the most necessary area you'll need to provide space, but your CBU is likely to wanna bulge out a bit on the un-notched studs as well. Doesn't take much. An eighth inch is more than enough and needn't be pretty. Chisel tolerance is good.

The blocking can likely be moved back sufficiently with just a medium pounder.

2. NW corner of the photo I don't see a place to nail the edge of both walls.

3. Scott, it is the waterproofing layer of any horizontal surface in a wet area that is required to be sloped to the drain, not only the decorative tile layer, but the tile layer must be sloped also.

[Edit] You're clearly posting new questions faster than I'm posting new answers. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

Sclib 03-12-2021 01:04 AM

Thanks CX.....all answers recieved and understood. I will move forward accordingly:)

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