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Unread 08-06-2007, 07:29 PM   #1
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How rough is too rough? (Pre-slope deck mud layer)

I am in the process of making a custom shower floor for the first time. I'm using the standard pre-slope - liner - top-layer method.

On Sunday, I completed the pre-slope layer. I am concerned that the texture of the surface is too rough. I am also concerned that the mix I used for forming the layer wasn't right. I used about a 1:1 ratio of Quikrete Mortar Mix (#1102) to play sand. Does anybody have any input on this mixture? (I couldn't find anywhere that said the sand content of this mortar mix - so I may have incorrectly assumed it was 3:1 sand to concrete.) When I was done mixing, I felt like the consistency was that of "sand castle sand."

I can't seem to find any pictures of what the pre-slope should look like after it's dry. Should it be smooth or will it be a little rough?

On a side note, does anyone have any input/links on how to make sure you get the slope right?

I'll be happy to provide any other information needed.

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 08-06-2007, 08:29 PM   #2
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Sorta hard to splain how it should be. It can be bumpier than you think. I felt the same way when I did my preslope. The PVC liner conforms to the sufaces, and there is no movement between them. If you can post a picher it might help. You're probably OK.

Here's my $0.02 on the mud mix. I have done one shower base (preslope + final sloped bed), one three-wall mud shower and one mud floor. The lesson I have learned on recipe - mix it yourself from scratch. It is very easy to buy the number of bags of play sand you need, and usually one 94lb bag of Portland will get you through most reasonably sized projects. Portland is cheap, and if you only use a fraction of a bag, you can donate it to a neighbor or throw it out.

For dry pack, last weekend I made a 4:1 mix of play sand and Portland. Get it wet enough to form clumps when you squeeze it in your hand. It floats into place nicely and shines up with a steel trowel when you're done.

If you venture into mud walls, just at a portion of lime to the above recipe, and additional water, and you're good to go.
central Indiana
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Unread 08-06-2007, 08:30 PM   #3
Charles P
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first off if you think the preslope is to rough you can skim the top of it with thinset,the mixture sounds alittle sandy I normally use the mottar mix by itself scratch it with a nail or screw driver if it falls apart it is to sandy,the slope should be 1/4 inch per lineal foot.
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Unread 08-06-2007, 08:31 PM   #4
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You're probably okay...it should not look like your sidewalk; the large sand to cement ratio means that it is more like a sand castle than a road. The more important thing is the slope and birdbaths. If you scrape it, you will be able to dislodge some sand as well. It is strong in compression, and that's the important thing.
Jim DeBruycker
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Unread 08-06-2007, 08:47 PM   #5
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Welcome, BST.

First mistake was starting with the Mortar Mix. That's not the right stuff. That stuff is for laying brick and rock and such, and contains lime and such. I honestly don't know what the percentage of Portland in that particular product might be.

But even if it is close to 1:3 Portland and Sand, if you mixed it with "equal parts" sand, you'd be in the vicinity of 1:7 in your final mix. That's a little lean, but it's a bit worse because some of the Portland in that Mortar Mix is likely displaced by lime and/or other ingredients. The "other ingredients" also make the mix a lot more difficult to work properly, as you may have noticed.

As has been pointed out, a rough surface isn't a real big deal so long as it's flat and properly sloped to the drain. Skimming the surface with some thinset will make it plenty usable if the mix wasn't so lean as to be unsound.

Don't make that mistake with your final bed, though. If you're gonna use bagged products, be sure you're starting with Sand Mix or Sand Topping or similar names. If you look in our whirl-famous Liberry you'll find all the recipes for deck mud and wall mud (fat mud) and such. I think it's in the Shower Construction thread there, but might be under somethin' else. Even gots pichers of the various bags of stuff. Can't go wrong.

Or get you some Portland and sand as Will (chasis) recommended and mix your own. A 5:1 (sand to Portland) mix is about what a fella's lookin' for here. Some folks like it a little richer, some a little leaner. Get in that vicinity, though.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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