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Unread 02-17-2020, 07:51 PM   #1
wesanc
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Building a curbless shower

Hello,

This is my first post so I hope my explanation makes sense.

We have a fairly long/narrow bathroom (17' long by 5' wide) where we plan on making a 5' wide by 6' deep shower towards the end of the bathroom. We want to do a curbless shower but after our handyman "butchered" three of our 2x8x10 (16" OC) floor joists by notching them 2" deep by 72' wide (his idea), I stopped the job after reading that we may have severely altered the integrity of our joists (pretty sure we did). We removed a large portion of our plywood subfloor to easily access the entire joist so the repair could be easier to complete (and hopefully, less costly). We are having the three butchered joists replaced with new 2x8 joists to restore its original integrity.

I attached a picture of the bathroom with the 3 butchered joists highlighted in red. The joists are a little over 10' long but the actual span is 10'. One side of the joist sits inside a concrete sill (about 3") and the other side rests on top of a steel column (you can see the column towards the bottom of the picture).

Now, if we still want to toy with this whole curbless shower idea, without modifying the joists, what would be the best way to raise the outside of the shower area to accommodate the slope, yet not be so high that it becomes a tripping hazard between the bedroom and the bathroom? I have heard of the prefabricated shower pans (Kerdi, Wedi, etc.), but after watching, what seems to be hundreds of videos on youtube on the failure of these systems, I wonder if the most durable option is sticking to the old fashion mortar bed.

1. Should we just forget the curbless idea and go with a curb and call it a day or are there techniques that reduce the height needed outside the shower area?
2. Would it be best to replace the joists with 2x6 instead of 2x8 or is the span too long and the overall size of the shower too big for that size joist to support?
3. Would placing the shower drain closer to the shower entrance reduce the height needed for the floor outside the shower or do we need at least 2" above the drain (from what I have read)?
4. Is a 5' x 6' mortar shower pan too heavy even for a 2x8 floor joist?

Thanks for your help. Growing desperately discouraged and deflated.

Daniel
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Unread 02-17-2020, 09:06 PM   #2
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Welcome, Daniel.

Not to be discouraged, there's always a way. The options may not suit you well, but there are options.

My first question is whether or not I'm seeing your photo correctly. It appears to me you intend to build the shower across the full width of the room we see in the photo, but if that's the case, how does one enter the bathroom?

1, 3. One way to reduce the height outside the shower is to use a linear drain at the shower entry. I'm not too thrilled with that concept, 'specially on a wood framed floor, but it can be done. The 2" requirement you mention is the height of the shower curb above the shower drain in a shower with a curb. If you don't have a curb, there is no such requirement.

Don't look at me, I didn't write the code nor was I even given a chance to vote on it, but that's my understanding of the current reading of it. If you think that's pretty dumb, we're on the same page.

With what you're considering you'll need to waterproof an area outside your shower as well. You have considered that?

2. Your joist span is too great for 2x6 joists if you're considering a ceramic tile installation on the shower floor and wouldn't meet code regardless the floor covering.

4. No. If your structure will not support a ceramic tile shower you have more serious problems. With ceramic tile installations the joist and subflooring deflection under live loading is usually the primary consideration, but the dead load is a factor.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-17-2020, 09:52 PM   #3
wesanc
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Thanks for your quick response, CX. See my responses to your questions below:

1. I apologize for the first image. It doesn't clearly represent where the 5' wide x 6' deep shower will go. I added a new photo highlighting the intended area for the shower. When you walk into the bathroom, the first thing installed will be a double vanity, then followed by the toilet (visible in the image) and then finally the shower towards the latter part of the room (area highlighted in red).

2. Gotcha, I wasn't aware the 2" rule was referring to the curb, but good to know!

3. Thanks for confirming that a 2x6 option wouldn't work. Glad to know that restoring my floor joists to their original "un-notched" size of 2x8x10 will be enough to support a shower that is 5'x6'.

Additional questions:
1. Since we have become slightly paranoid now, would sistering the new joists be overkill or are 2x8 @16" OC enough? I really don't want to consult with a structural engineer (unless needed).
2. Given our shower dimensions of 5' (wide) x 6' (deep) what should be the minimum thickness the outer perimeter of the shower mortar bed as we slope down 1/4"/per foot to the drain? I assume the location of the drain would play a significant factor in answering that question (rookie moment here)?
3. Any feedback on Kerdi? Worth it? Not worth it? Stick to the mortar?

Thanks again for the info man. Can't tell you how nice it is to find a forum like this. I've learned a great deal here. Just wish I found it BEFORE I began the remodel. But...hey, better late than never.

Daniel
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Unread 02-17-2020, 10:02 PM   #4
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Oh, forgot to respond to one of your questions..... Yes, I am definitely waterproofing the bathroom (shower and flooring outside the shower). Currently researching the best brands to use. If you have any good recommendations, please feel free to share.

Thanks again.

Dan
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Unread 02-17-2020, 10:04 PM   #5
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1. If your joists are of good grade and species and in good condition, the 2x8s, 16" on center would be sufficient over a 10-foot unsupported span.

2. Regardless the size of your shower, the minimum thickness for deck mud over a wood framed floor is 3/4 of an inch. That would be the absolute minimum and would be at the drain with the subflooring properly supported. The thickness at the perimeter would depend upon your drain location and design. The floor would slope up at a minimum of 1/4" per horizontal foot to the furthest point from the drain.

3. Don't understand the question. Kerdi is a waterproofing membrane. Mortar in this usage is a mix of sand and Portland cement in a 5:1 ratio.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-18-2020, 12:16 AM   #6
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If that floor was put back together as it should be to allow a tile assembly, there are several products available to do exactly what you are asking. YouTube videos of failed attempts at using those products shouldn't scare you away, but hopefully inform you of questions to ask and potential issues to look for. In my opinion, there is no good way to do a curb less shower by notching joists. Period.
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Unread 02-18-2020, 07:28 AM   #7
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How much height from the joist tops to the existing adjacent finished floor at the doorway do you have, Daniel?

And agreed, don't let the videos dissuade you. I recently completed a curbless shower using a foam pan and, though it's been in regular use for just over 4 months, all indications are that it is going to survive the long haul.
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Unread 02-18-2020, 08:50 AM   #8
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Since you have the floor joists exposed, you could recess the pan to sit directly on the floor joists, with solid backing between joists. This video shows how to do it with Schluter products.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jvsChDNJfhA

Assuming your subfloor is 3/4”, and you use a Schluter pan that is 1 1/4” thick (6x6 center drain), that leaves you a 1/2” to build up the floor. You can put down 1/2” plywood over the remaining bathroom floor.

As mentioned, strongly consider waterproofing entire bathroom floor. You can do it with one of the uncoupling membranes out there. Pay close attention to the shower to floor transition and make sure that seam is sealed appropriately.

ARC is another company that can have the pan recessed in floor.

https://arcfirst.net/

So does Wedi

https://www.wedishowersystems.com/wp...anual-2015.pdf
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Unread 03-03-2020, 05:50 PM   #9
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How to locate Laticrete or Schluder certified installers

Hello,

I have done extensive research on shower systems and I am in-between Schluder and Laticrete for their sheet membranes to waterproof a shower mortar bed. I am hoping that some of you out in the tiling industry could help answer the following:

1. What is the best way to locate installers that have experience with these products in my area?

2. Should I try searching for certified tile installers first or contact the vendors?

3. For those of you that have worked with these products, is there one that is better than the other for waterproofing or are they pretty much the same?

4. I have watched several youtube videos where several installers put a liquid waterproofer over the sheet membrane as "added insurance". Is this overkill? Not recommended? Or do most people use both types of waterproofing systems simultaneously "just in case"?

5. Are these types of waterproofing systems (above mortar) considered to be superior to the old school liner (below the mortar)?

Look forward to your suggestions. This site has been a life saver.

Thanks,
Daniel
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Unread 03-03-2020, 07:50 PM   #10
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Is this for your curbless shower project, Daniel?

I don't know that either manufacture "certifies" installers. Both have training classes wherein they do teach folks to use their products.

1. You might check with some local tile shops who deal in the products you're interested in and see if they have recommendations.

2. I'd talk to the vendors. The NTCA's certified installers may never have used either product.

3. Similar products. I would prefer the USG Shower System membrane to either.

4. Absolutely a bad idea. If you don't trust your sheet membrane, don't use it. If you prefer a liquid-applied membrane, use that. Up to you. I would personally not use a liquid-applied membrane to create a shower receptor.

5. Opinions will vary as in any other subject. The methods are different, but they accomplish the same end. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Either will work for decades if properly installed.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-03-2020, 08:21 PM   #11
wesanc
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Thanks CX!

Yes, still working on my curbless shower remodel. Finally got the butchered joists sistered and new 3/4" subfloor just got placed today. Have come to terms that my structure is not ideal for curbless because I can't drop the floor (learned that the hard way) and I only have 1 1/4" between my joists and the top of the finished floor outside the bathroom so I am embracing a curb at this point because I would have too much of a build up (and tripping hazard) to worry about.

Thanks to this forum, I have learned what questions to ask. Had a company (ratings are perfect) come look at the job and they told me that all I needed for a curbless shower (5' x 6') was 3/4" depth if I put the drain up against the wall and if I put the drain near the entry of the shower that I wouldn't need a drop because he would slope the mud down to zero once it reached the drain. The math doesn't add up in my head so I am in search of other installers at this point.

Will look at USG (thanks for the tip). Hope the vendors can provide some guidance on qualified installers but I doubt they will because it could be considered a liability (should the installer do it incorrectly). Keeping my fingers crossed that I get lucky and find someone that knows what the heck they are doing.

I agree with you on the liquid waterproof. Not confident enough to use it on my mortar. Feel like the sheet membranes may work better to create a waterproofed shower floor. Any thoughts on those membranes? I am not a fan of the foam pans. Feel like mortar is a sturdier platform and feel like the liner idea (although still widely used) may be outdated considering all the newer products.

I am going to see if one of the vendor reps is willing to walk me through the process so I could "attempt" it on my own but I would rather have an experienced person do it. If only I could find them in my neck of the woods, lol.

Thanks again,
Daniel
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Unread 03-03-2020, 08:59 PM   #12
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If you have the time flexibility, if you talk to the area rep for the waterproofing you are interested in, they sometimes will allow you to attend one of their training classes. It's generally for tile pros, but they also let clerks, etc., take it so that they have a better understanding of their system and how to use it. Probably worst thing is for a vendor to tell you incorrect things...happens all the time, thus, the willingness to educate them, too. You won't know unless you ask. Some charge, some do not.
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Unread 03-03-2020, 09:04 PM   #13
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Please keep all the project questions on your project on this thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
Feel like the sheet membranes may work better to create a waterproofed shower floor. Any thoughts on those membranes?
See my #3 above, Daniel.

We've walked hundreds of visitors through their first shower construction using both the traditional and the newer direct bonded waterproofing membrane systems. No reason you can't do your own.

If you wanna solicit a pro here on the site, start a new thread in the Professionals' Hangout with your location and request in the title and a link to this thread for discussion. No guarantee that you'll get a better technician than just shopping locally, but you never know.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-04-2020, 06:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cx
We've walked hundreds of visitors through their first shower construction using both the traditional and the newer direct bonded waterproofing membrane systems.
I was one of them, Daniel. Though I have perhaps above average DIY skills, I had (and still have) limited tiling experience and even less shower water proofing experience.

For my curbless shower I used a foam pan, Durock's waterproof foam wall panels, and Durock's membrane for the floor. The only real challenge is being detailed in your work, but that can be said of any of the water proofing methods.

If you choose to DIY, there are plenty of folks here who are ready and willing to help.
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Unread 03-04-2020, 11:34 AM   #15
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Thank you for the feedback!
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