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Unread 05-01-2019, 03:49 PM   #1
ben5243
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Curbless shower different tile thickness problem

Hi,

I have my curbless shower ready for tile and the plan was to transition between the bathroom floor tile to a mosaic tile for the shower floor.

Now that the bathroom floor tile is set, we found a mosaic tile we really like, but it is extremely thin compared to the floor tile (which I found out after the fact is 10mm thick, not the standard 8mm tile thickness).

What's the best way to get a smooth transition between the two tile surfaces? The border of floor tile (with the 45 miters) is sloped towards the drain and the waterproofing extends out under the floor tile then transitions to ditra.

My idea was to build up the thinset and slope the mosaic up to the other tile. The downside is then it won't be a constant slope to the drain so the wall tile will have a bit of a funny cut where the transition meets the wall.

Anyone have any experience with this problem? Or do I need to trash this idea and search for another thicker tile?
(Originally my plan was to do bumpy river rock but after reading a lot about it, the bumpiness holds water in low spots and the grout quickly gets gunky and requires lots of upkeep so we've switched ideas to go with a thin grout mosaic)

Thanks!



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Unread 05-01-2019, 03:58 PM   #2
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Only thing that comes to mind for a spacer is Ditra but not sure how that would work unless you band the seams to keep it water tight.
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Unread 05-02-2019, 01:51 AM   #3
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Is that about 1/8" difference between the two? Keep in mind that the shower tile isn't set in mud yet, so you'll gain some height there.

I would try another layer of Kerdi over the whole floor. That may not be quite enough, but would certainly be a lot closer than you are now. That, and the right sized notch on your trowel may be enough.

Incidentally, if you were to use Ditra, you wouldn't need to band the seams, since everything underneath is already waterproof. I've never considered using it in that application. Maybe someone else has. Before going that route, I'd ask someone at Schluter for their opinion.
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Unread 05-02-2019, 02:53 AM   #4
ben5243
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I'm not sure how it relates to the schluter or ditra. The ditra is applied throughout the bathroom and the kerdi overlaps it about 4" where the sloped pan stops and the ditra starts so it's one continuous waterproofing.

The height difference in tile is 10mm wood plank and 6mm mosaic according to the web specs. So 4mm is a little under 3/16".
What trowel would I use to make up 3/16" of thinset? I used a 1/2" square notch to set the wood plank but sloped it so the shower-side is basically against the membrane.

I think adding any additional layer of kerdi or ditra would effectively create a dam and prevent any water running back into the shower.
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Unread 05-02-2019, 04:49 AM   #5
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You're not going to make up 3/16" with your trowel on that thin tile. You may be able to gain 1/16" if you use a 1/4" trowel, and even then you'll have some mortar coming up through grout joints.

If properly applied, there's nothing wrong with an additional layer of Kerdi over the floor. It's the same as one big overlap. I did it once before, although for different reasons, and there was no problem with it.

If it makes you feel any better, apply a bead of Kerdifix at the edge of the overlap at the opening. I don't think you really need it, though.
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Unread 05-02-2019, 06:30 AM   #6
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Having recently done my own curbless install I completely agree with Kevin. You won't be able to make up the difference with a trowel. And even if your hex's were as thick as the planks the hex's would still be a tad low because you'd want to use a smaller notch to set the hex's than you used for the planks to prevent mortar from oozing through the joints.

If you intend to stick with those hex's the only thing I think you can do is add another layer of Kerdi on the whole shower floor, and just use Kerdi-Fix to seal the new layer to the planks as Kevin suggests.
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Unread 05-02-2019, 10:47 AM   #7
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I would get some good thinset, like x77, and a 6 to 10 inch drywall taping knife and feather out that edge a few inches. Let it dry and set the tile on top iif it. You might want to do that around the whole perimeter to keep things level. That's going to be much easier than setting tile on top of loose thinset.

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Unread 05-02-2019, 03:12 PM   #8
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Would be using a Schluter transition strip be out of the question?
https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us...ENO-U/p/RENO_U

The Reno-U would seem to be an almost perfect fit here to transition down to the shorter tile and maintain a smooth surface. I get it it's, not totally flat across but it solves the height difference with minimal effort very cleanly.

The only issue is that you won't be able to mud leg on the tall side under the floor tile. It could be trimmed off no problem.
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Unread 05-02-2019, 03:16 PM   #9
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One problem is that the floor tile is already down, and the leg of that transition is designed to go underneath the higher tile.
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Unread 05-02-2019, 03:24 PM   #10
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That's why I say it would need to be trimmed off. In the original use of this transition I'm sure the leg is there to help provide some protection from the possibility of rolling loads hitting the ramped surface. The mortared surface area of the leg would provide this backup support. In the suggested application we'll just have feet as that shower is not large enough to be an accessible shower, so it's just going to see foot traffic.

Not ideal, I know. In the installation I suggested the body of the transition would need to be filled with thinset anyway. It would for sure have enough surface area for the thinset keyed into the hollow of the profile to grip the fleece of the kerdi. Don't you think it would have more than enough holding power give the usage it would see at this location?
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Unread 05-02-2019, 03:42 PM   #11
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I would do as suggested in post 2 and 7 and thinset a strip of ditra, only has to be 1” or so wide, next to the floor tile. Let dry, then take a 10” drywall taping knife and feather out some thinset, using the ditra as a screed. Let that dry, then set tile.
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Unread 05-03-2019, 06:20 AM   #12
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I dunno, George, seems a lot of work has gone into achieving a curbless floor and using such a transition piece will disrupt the look - not to mention creating a place where gunk will accumulate.

Though I was very careful with my layout and measurements, being a novice meant I had the same issue - though not to the same extent. Like you, I laid the main floor tile first then found that the shower tile, though the same thickness, was going to be low due to the smaller trowel notch size for the shower. I solved it by buying a plastic 6" knife from depot, cut a 1/8"X 1/2" notch in one end and used the floor tile as a screed. Somehow the resulting taper ended up a little high so I worked the 5' section with a rubbing stone.

Yours will take a bit more effort but the results are worth it. IMO.
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Unread 05-05-2019, 05:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
I solved it by buying a plastic 6" knife from depot, cut a 1/8"X 1/2" notch in one end and used the floor tile as a screed
This is exactly what I was going to try but didn't know how to explain it.

Turns out we've actually settled on another tile we like better (after changing our minds about the wall tile also) and this one is about the same thickness.

When I set the floor tile transition piece, I troweled with a 3/8 x 1/4" trowel and slightly built up the edge on the floor tile side and used tile leveler clips on that edge. Then I pushed on the shower-side edge with most of my weight and wiped up the squeeze-out. This achieved a bit of slope towards the shower and drain. This way, any water dripping from the door and glass won't pool or travel under the door.
It also means the tile edge on the shower-side is almost touching the membrane, so with a same-thickness mosaic tile and smaller trowel lines, it should be really easy to get it level.

I took the time to layout my tiling pattern this weekend to avoid any sliver cuts and unexpected dimensions. This is my first time setting shower tile so any suggestions relating to my pattern are appreciated. The only small cut is about a 2" sliver just to the right of the bench.



(ignore the shower head - it will be a handheld on a vertical adjustment bar)





Unfortunately I arbitrarily picked 48" for the height of the ledge on the back wall and my tile measures 11.75" exactly so I'm not able to make 4 solid rows work. So if I plan for a bottom row of slightly over half a tile, I can make the 3rd row start at the front lip of the bench (and taper up into the corner for the bench slope)

Does that seem reasonably or am I overlooking some potential headaches?

The tiles highlighted in blue are full size, uncut tiles. The rest will be cut to fit while setting.

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Unread 05-05-2019, 06:52 PM   #14
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I've dealt with similar situation in past. I used 3/4 trowel, troweled thin set neatly in whole shower pan, let it dry and than set the tiles. Worked well.
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Unread 05-05-2019, 09:15 PM   #15
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If I remember correctly, when I wanted to add ditra on top of Kerdi the Schluter folks wanted me to lay bands over the transition. Can't recall why exactly.

Don't think I'd want those ditra waffles holding water anyway.

A layer of Kerdi might work. Test on a small piece and see how high you get.

There's also the Kerdi for steam showers. I think that's thicker.
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