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Unread 02-14-2004, 10:22 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
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Basement Shower Newbie Questions


Stan here and a newbie.

I have a basement shower remodelling project currently underway. The shower was a step-in stall built on one end of a basement bath and is rather large for a house built in 1964. The walls are block that were skim coated with mortar when the house was built, but have unfortunately been painted many, many times by a previous owner. The old fixtures were also surface mounted and looked terrible. The shower floor was tile and there was no tile on the walls previously.

To date, I've removed the old fixtures and the old tile floor in the shower. On the wall that formerly held the fixtures, I studded it out and plumbed in a new shower fixture. That's presently ready to get plastic membrane and cement backer board.

The other 3 walls are causing me some consternation and questions. I've attempted to remove the paint with the idea of tiling directly to the old skim coat, but at the rate I'm going, it could take forever. Here are my questions:

1. Should I just install the cement backer board to the block wall? Studding out these other three walls (or even using furring strips) might make my shower stall a little narrow and I'd prefer not to feel like a calf being seasoned as veal while showering.

2. If you recommend installing the backerboard directly to the block, I'm assuming that plastic anchors and galvanized screws would suffice? Should the block be waterproofed before doing this?

3. The shower pan seems to be in good shape and is sloped toward the drain throughout. I've read some suggestions to others that I should re-do it with membrane and mortar. Do you think this is necessary?

4. I'm thinking of a masonry and block bench as described in some of the other messages. OK to do that on top of the existing pan?

Any help or guidance from the more experienced would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance,

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Unread 02-14-2004, 10:38 AM   #2
John Bridge
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Location: Rosanky, Texas
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Welcome aboard, Stan.

You might want to consider the Kerdi shower with materials from Schluter systems. http://www.schluter.com

Go to products and look for the Kerdi-drain. There is a video there you can watch. Also, I and others have pictures we can post of the process. It eliminates all of the problems you've mentioned.
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Unread 02-15-2004, 03:15 PM   #3
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Hi John and thanks much.

I've studied up, watched the videos and scratched my head a lot and I think I am ready to make a Kerdi order for the project above.

Couple of questions though for you or any of the other experts:

1. Like I said above, the base is concrete and had previously been tiled. It appears to more or less be sloped properly and there is an existing drain that I will be ripping out and retrofitting with the Kerdi drain system. So, in this case, I assume that I will not be building up an additional mortar bed and will simply be thin-setting the Kerdi to the existing base. Is this correct? Will this work?

2. The pre-existing walls which were block and skim coated with mortar were painted by the previous owner about 1000 times. I'm still thinking that it might be better to put up drywall or cement board directly to the block with anchors because I would think that the thinset (and then the Kerdi) would not adequately adhere to the painted skim-coated mortar surface. It would take forever and a day to strip and scrape all that paint. Am I right or just making more work for myself?

3. There are a few slightly uneven areas in the slope of the floor. Will the thin set be adequate to build these up (1/4 to 1/2 inch)?

4. I assume since I'm using Kerdi, I can go ahead and do the masonry work for the shower bench before installing the Kerdi and then just install Kerdi over the block. This is opposite what you would normally do with a standard pan installation. Correct?

Any help or suggestions are appreciated.

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