Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/index.php)
-   Tile Forum/Advice Board (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=1)
-   -   General Questions w/ Pics on 1st Time Shower Pan Build/Install (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=116643)

amodoko 06-09-2015 02:25 PM

Okay, thanks, looks like I was able to change my signature to AM. Okay, so looks like I'll have to use 3/4 inch plywood. I'm guessing I should make sure to avoid pressure treated plywood? I was thinking about just getting these smaller panels since they'll be easier for me to transport (I have a small car at the moment):


2 or more panels of 3/4 inch birch or oak plywood that is 2ft by 4ft and then just use some adhesive to get them to stay put on the concrete.

And you said the first step is to decide what shower pan to build. Just checking, but there are 3 choices correct....? The 3 that I'm aware of are:

1) Vikrell/acrylic/fiberglass shower pan
2) Kerdi shower pan
3) Mortar bed shower pan (with shower liner embedded between two layers of mortar/concrete)

So I just need to decide between those 3 first? Or am I missing an option?

PC7060 06-09-2015 03:19 PM


You'll need to cut down a full sheet of AC grade plywood to size. Lowes sells Plytanium 23/32" plywood which should work fine and they will cut it down for you.


Originally Posted by AM
(I have a small car at the moment)

That's what neighbors are for. Living in Missouri, your never more that two houses from a pickup! :D

Once you have the plywood cut to size, cut the 5" hole for the Kerdi drain centered over the existing pipe and bond it to the concrete using a quality adhesive.

Per their technical data, LOCTITE® PL PREMIUM® POLYURETHANE CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE should work well. I'd trowel it out on both the concrete and the plywood using a 1/8" v notch or similar. You can get the technical data sheet here with usage instructions.


Originally Posted by LOCTITE
Recommended For bonding most common construction materials such as wood, treated wood, hardwood flooring, concrete, stone, marble, slate, masonry, brick, foam insulation of all sorts, carpets, metal, lead, cement-based products, ceramic, fiberglass, drywall and mirrors

Go with the Kerdi drain system, c'mon, you know you want to! This thread provided an interesting primer on the Kerdi drain system including tips on cutting off the drain line.

amodoko 06-09-2015 05:01 PM

Okay, just a quick question, why does the plywood have to be AC grade if it is just being used for structural/non-visual reasons? Can I get this cheaper plywood that is D-D grade:


The one you linked in your post says it is B-C grade under the specs on Lowes website. And I completely forgot I could ask them to cut it down for me, that will make it easier for me for sure, thanks for the reminder (although I would prefer to cut it myself, since I don't really know how well they will cut it, but it will make it easier for me for sure).

And thanks for looking up the adhesive for me for the plywood-to-concrete bond. I appreciate that.

It seems at the moment I need to first decide what kind of shower pan I need to build based on CX's comment. I listed 3 options in my previous post, those are the only options for a shower pan ,correct?

And about the Kerdi drain system, it looks great, but the thing is I am on a tight budget since I have to do quite a bit of remodeling to the condo besides this shower and I have to kind of cut costs where I can (without sacrificing quality). As a full condo remodel goes along, every step you can save money can add up to thousands of dollars, so I have to try to save money here and there. So I'll definitely consider the Kerdi drain but if it's too expensive I'll have to maybe go with the conventional tile-in-drain system. That is kind of why I was asking if I could use the cheaper D-D grade plywood vs the B-C grade one you had linked, even though it's only 10 bucks difference, I'm just trying to be money conscious from the start so I can actually stay within budget while getting a quality remodel done.

Thanks again for your replies, all this information has been and will continue to be very helpful to me.

May I ask why you feel the Kerdi drain system is better than the regular tile-in-drain system? It does seem popular right now. However I believe the Kerdi drain system can be used on a regular/conventional mortar bed application, which means I could just buy this I think:


But if I just do a normal tile-in drain, I believe I could just buy this:


Which would save me 80 bucks (not much normally, I actually am generally not cheap, but I have to stick with a budget I have in mind so I'm really trying hard to cut costs anywhere I can).

PC7060 06-09-2015 05:50 PM


Originally Posted by AM
why does the plywood have to be AC grade if it is just being used for structural/non-visual reasons? Can I get this cheaper plywood that is D-D grade:

That link is technically not plywood, it is rate as sheathing and has a much lower structural rating.

Your alternate choice for a lower cost underlayment would be CBU ($10 for 3'x5' piece). However, it's not structural and you'll need to to call the various CBU manufacturers (Durock, Wonderboard, etc.) technical support lines to see if they recommend their product for installation over concrete under mud floor. PS: I can see CX shaking his head already.


Originally Posted by AM
May I ask why you feel the Kerdi drain system is better than the regular tile-in-drain system? It does seem popular right now. However I believe the Kerdi drain system can be used on a regular/conventional mortar bed application...

My experience is limited to the Kerdi drain but that's certainly not the only solution. The standard pre-slope / liner / final mud bed is a fine solution and would be very cost effective. I'm sure it would work fine in combination with the CBU/ Redguard water proofing you described. There are a lot of Pro's on the site that will be help you install one too.

You'd still need to install some type of underlayment over concrete to cover that big hole. Davy is a whiz at the mud work, maybe he has a better idea how to deal with it.

PC7060 06-09-2015 08:12 PM


Originally Posted by AM
I have to stick with a budget I have in mind so I'm really trying hard to cut costs anywhere I can

It's just occurred to me the easiest and most cost effective way to resolve the shower floor dilemma is a fiberglass shower pan that's properly sized for your shower. No need to install a underlayment, mud based clamping drain, etc. Your CBU with Redgard could be shimmed out to overlap the flange to ensure a solid water resistant transition.

I know this is not the typical advice from members of this site but it's a common approach used on some very expensive homes.

This link from Home Depot list a variety of pans including "tilable" ones.

Stars_Fan 06-09-2015 08:53 PM


Just my 2 cents as an amateur in your similar position about 2 months ago.

I thought the traditional mud pan was the best/cheapest option when I priced it out but in the end, I don't think it was the best option. When going the mud option you have to consider all the little things that add up quick in time and money.

How are you going to mix the mud, in what container, and where? I mixed mine in the garage, a long way away from my upstairs bathroom. Portland cement/mud mix is extremely dusty and when your mixing it, it will get everywhere so your not going to want to do it in your bedroom or living room. I had to buy a mixing tray and a bucket to haul it in. I also had to buy a trowel for smoothing it down. It was hot, somewhat labor intensive work for a somewhat in shape 46 year old. And your going to do this twice, once for the bottom layer and then again on top of the liner.

The liner is super difficult to get in properly because you have to notch out the 2x4 studs....and that just flat out sucks if you don't have the right tools. You also have to block between the studs, again, nothing super difficult but time consuming. Folding the liner in the corners and over the curb took me about 2 hours of grunting and groaning and trying to fold it properly. If you screw it up, as i did, then you have 2X the time and costs in doing things over.

Don't forget the 100% silicon caulk and drain and getting the weep holes right.

I don't know everything about the Kerdi shower pan but if you just set it down in the opening and your done with it and moving on, then that is money well spent.

amodoko 06-09-2015 09:16 PM

If CBU is not normally used for this purpose, I'll stick to the plywood for the base. I don't want to sacrifice function/quality for cost. I will however sacrifice other things to save on cost.

Okay, that's confusing to a newbie if they call the D-D grade "plywood" when it isn't technically plywood. See, this is why I need help, lol. But the one you linked that is B-C grade, is that one still fine for me to buy and use?

And since I'm most probably going to do the standard pre slope / liner / final mud bed route, I believe the first step for me will be to cut my PVC pipe, use a coupler, use some Oatey Medium PVC cement and Purple Primer (mine is old, from a few years ago, not sure if that stuff expires though) and attach/solvent weld the old pipe to the new pipe so it extends above ground, then use loctite adhesive to glue the plywood to the concrete with a small hole cut in the plywood for the PVC pipe, then attach the tile-in drain, then install the tile-in drain (I was thinking of something inexpensive like this I just hope it's adjustable: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sioux-Chi...2PPK/202313207 ), then build the curb, then put down 6 mil poly sheeting on top of the plywood to prevent the future base layer of concrete from losing moisture to the plywood, then put down metal lathe so the future base layer of concrete has something to grab onto (I'll staple the lathe to the plywood and plastic sheeting), then do the pre slope concrete base layer, then the liner, then the deck mud, then tile. Does that sound right for the order?

The thing is I first watched some videos on how to do this before I really knew anything about making a shower pan. Now that I know a bit more due everyone's help, I should go and watch them again and they should make more sense now to me.

One thing I'm not too sure about is why I can't just attach some metal sheeting under the hole in the concrete with some adhesive, then pour down a small layer of concrete just to fill the hole instead of using plywood. I would let the concrete dry and then build the shower pan over that. I would think (newbie thoughts) that the concrete would be solid enough. But maybe because it wasn't part of the original pour of concrete, the filled hole may not be structurally sound just adhering to the old concrete. And then when you do your base layer of concrete for the shower pan, I thought that may take care of any structural issues with the old hole since it's all one big base layer. But I guess it just can't be done that way?

cx 06-09-2015 09:59 PM

I think there is some confusion in terms here, AM. a "tile-in drain" is usually one in which the drain grate is replaced with a piece of tile, making the shower floor appear not to have a drain.

There are generally two types of drains used in shower construction: One is the standard clamping drain used with the traditional shower pan construction with a mud/liner/mud floor. The other is the bonding flange drain used with direct bonding waterproofing membrane shower pan construction. The Kerdi drain would fall into that category. We'll skip the linear drains for this discussion, but any of the above can be "tile-in" drain if you want.

And while it's possible to construct a direct bonded waterproofing shower using a standard clamping drain, that's a bit of a hybrid design, although some membrane manufacturers have instructions for doing just that, but I much prefer to see you use a bonding flange drain if you elect to build a direct bonded waterproofing membrane shower.

Amongst all that is what you need to choose before we can help you get much further with your project.

I'd personally recommend USG's Durock Shower System.

My opinion; worth price charged.

amodoko 06-09-2015 10:07 PM

Just saw your guys' posts after I posted mine so my post may seem like I didn't read your previous posts, lol.

Anyways, PC, yeah I had thought about the fiberglass shower pan but I thought that in general a tiled shower pan was more desired. You're saying that fiberglass shower pans are more common in expensive homes? I thought that the mortar bed/tiled shower pans were more common in high-end homes, or at least I thought tiled shower pans were more sought after. I literally gave away my old white shower pan that was in there before (it was discolored and a bit dirty but I could have buffed it out and refinished it or something) because I thought that a tiled shower pan was better and would possibly help/add value whenever we sell the condo. I also kind of wanted to try to build one since I just wanted to see if I could do it.

And Eric, yeah, that makes sense. I have found some shower bases that would fit my area for pretty cheap at Home Depot now that I am reanalyzing this issue with your guys' suggestions. I found one for like $130 from Home Depot:


But once again, I thought that building a shower pan and tiling it would maybe make the condo more appealing to new buyers also. That's kind of why I was shying away from the pre-made white shower pans. Now I wish I hadn't taken out my old shower pan and given it away. It did have some hairline cracks around the edges but I believe those could have been repaired with some kits from the hardware store. And then I could have just bought some rustoleum paint kit for shower pans and tubs and maybe made it look like new. Oh well, now it's too late.

But I guess the question I have now, is would a white pre-made non-tiled shower pan be more appealing to new buyers or would a tiled one be more appealing? I guess if I can recoup the costs when we sell the place I would be willing to do a mortar shower pan, but if it doesn't make a difference in terms of making the place look attractive and sellable, I guess I'll put in a pre-made shower pan.

CX, just saw your post so I'll edit my post to respond. I guess then I am going to use a standard clamping drain with the traditional pre slope, liner, then top layer concrete for cost reasons over the bonding systems ( I believe the bonding systems are more expensive). But I am also considering buying a pre-made non-tilable shower pan because that may be even cheaper than building a mortar bed shower pan. I'm kind of on the fence now between those two.

Steve in Denver 06-09-2015 10:35 PM

If I were in your shoes, I'd consider what is customary / expected in a condo of your sort...If the other units tend to have non-tiled shower floors, no need to go all out....if the norm is a tiled floor, or if the trend is toward nicer finishes, you might want to go for a tiled floor. It also depends on how long you plan on living there yourself...and how much you prefer a tiled floor to a pre-formed base.

I'd tile the floor myself, and I'd probably give the USG Durock system a closer look. If CX likes it...

I don't think I'd worry too much about the mud pan dust / logistical issues...just mix the deck mud in a bucket outside and forget about it..you are going to have to deal with the same problem when it comes time to mix your thinset, anyway.

It's probably six in one, half dozen in the other for the traditional vs bonded membrane in terms of difficulty (I really have no basis for this...just conjecture), but the surface membrane is much more appealing in function to me...I think the benefit is worth the $extra...but I could see that going either way depending on how much jingle is in your pocket.

amodoko 06-09-2015 11:05 PM

Yeah, in terms of resale, I do think that either one is fine for the shower base. I think most condos here do not have a tiled shower base. However, I found this on Home Depot's website:


It says under the specifications that for shower base type it is "made for tile." I wonder if that is correct, because all the photos show it being non-tiled. But for $129, that would be cheaper, or right around the same price as building the mortar bed and everything. And then I just tile. But I have a feeling that the website is wrong because that is so cheap for a tile ready shower base. Edit: Actually just looked at the base again and in the Q&A section someone asked about it saying it was "made for tile" and the product expert replied saying that it is meant to be tiled from the walls up, the shower base can't be tiled. But that is still a good price.

I also would like to say that I do have a desire to learn how to build a mortar bed for a shower also, so that is also a factor, but I have to keep our budget in mind as well.

amodoko 06-09-2015 11:31 PM

7 Attachment(s)
Here are some photos of my old shower and shower pan (this was really old and I believe it was refinished and the prior paint job was discoloring and literally chipping away).

Does anyone know if I could have actually used it and just tiled the walls? Kind of kicking myself for giving it away before I had decided for sure what I was doing. I don't know if I could have used it and tiled the walls because of how the edges of the pan jut out, etc. I would have to do some significant shimming I believe or be okay with the tiles just resting on the edge of the shower pan, with part of the pan jutting out. So maybe I could have kept it, darn. It definitely needed to be refinished and cleaned up, and it did have a hairline crack on a vertical area in an inside corner. Really wish I had it now so I wouldn't need to buy a new one if I decide to use a pre-fab shower pan.

PC7060 06-10-2015 05:43 AM


Originally Posted by AM
Does anyone know if I could have actually used it [shower pan] and just tiled the walls?

Possibly, depends on how the flange were configured. Usually only configured to mate with the match sides. Looks like it had reached it's max useful life anyway given the condition of the door tracks

I'd skip the tilable bases and go with the a regular fiberglass one. Seems like an expensive alternative to a mud bed.

amodoko 06-10-2015 12:43 PM

I kind of want to do a mortar bed one for fun but I'll have to think about it I guess and make a decision. Thanks for all your help, I still may do a mortar bed and tile it though I just need to talk to my family about it as well.

Lazarus 06-10-2015 02:35 PM

Irrespective of what the other condos have for a base, a beautiful tiled base always adds to the value of the unit. My vote is for a Kerdi system.

Yes, their custom drain assemblies are about about a hundred bucks...but look SO much nicer than the traditional $9 PVC/FHA drains. You only need one mud slope and the Kerdi and KerdiBand shouldn't cost more than $120 or so. Standard drywall instead of ceement board. (Much easier to install.)

You eliminate the preslope, the rubber liner, the folding of corners, etc.....so, pricewise, it's about a "Draw." :gerg:

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:12 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2018 John Bridge & Associates, LLC