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Unread 06-14-2015, 02:53 PM   #1
Morgan71
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Morgan's Upstairs Bath Project

First of all:
Thank you so much for all the helpful information and advice you offer on this site! We bought John Bridge's ebook and have visited your site many times to learn about tile, shower construction, grout, kerdi, etc. You-all giving of your time and effort to help people learn about tiling and waterproofing is greatly appreciated!

I need help 3 main topics:
1. Blotches under Ditra,
2. Unevenly sloped mortar bed, and
3. Bright orange spots behind Kerdi

I'll split my initial post so I can upload a photo, and give some background and details in case that can be helpful.

TOPIC 1 = DITRA

Background: We bought a house that had a leaking shower. It had tiled walls and plastic shower receptor. It appears water got through the wall tile/grout, and through the wallboard because the insulation in the walls was blackened with mold/mildew. (No leaks in wet wall or drain or with the 20-year-old shower receptor).
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Last edited by Morgan71; 06-15-2015 at 08:31 PM.
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Unread 06-14-2015, 02:54 PM   #2
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(continued)
In the shower, we tore out the drywall, replaced the insulation, installed blocking, moved the plumbing to make room for a niche on the only interior wall, and installed durock.
We also removed old tiled bath floor (had ~1.5 inch of mud with metal mesh in it) and replaced tub and toilet. Waiting to install new vanity after tile is done. We would like a fully kerdi'd shower and tub surround, with ditra on the bath floor.
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Unread 06-14-2015, 02:55 PM   #3
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(continued)
We found a tile installer (seemed to have some experience with kerdi and schluter products,) discussed our job with him, picked out tile, and paid him a deposit so he could order the supplies.

{ I had read on one of Mongo's posts (Kerdi part Deux?) that since the shower floor tile he used had a bit of texture to it he made his slope greater than the 1/4"/ft so that water would run off better. Since we planned to use the same floor tile, we asked the tile installer for a slope that was a bit more than the 1/4" per ft. Though our tile installer was going to use a Schluter foam tray, he said he could make the increased slope on top of the tray.}

He (and his son) showed up Wed to do work for most of a day. He planned to return Monday and keep working. ( I asked him to please do a flood test) He estimated it would take a week and half of work to finish tiling the bathroom.
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Unread 06-14-2015, 02:57 PM   #4
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(continued - with pics if possible now)
On Wed, the tile installer installed ditra on the bath floor (said used modified).
I saw it when it was partially installed, and it appeared to have blotches under it, as if it did not have a uniform layer of thinset. At the edge of the 1st roll of ditra, it appears the dark blotches match up to where there is gray thinset showing.
See photos below.
I asked the installer about it when he finished putting the ditra down. He said it looks blotchy because the thinset ~soaked into the fleece and channels in the ditra differently at different spots, and its just more noticeable because of the gray thinset under it.

QUESTIONS for Topic 1:
1a. Is this ok to see blotches under the ditra?
1b. If it wasn't fully bonded to the plywood subfloor with full spread of thinset, should it be removed and re-done with full coverage of thinset?

Thanks everyone!
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Unread 06-14-2015, 03:00 PM   #5
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(continued - for topic2)
TOPIC 2 = SLOPED MORTAR BED
The tile installer also started work in the shower. The shower has an off-center drain and measures ~42" x ~38". The back/middle wall is ~42" and the wet wall and side opposite are ~38". It had 1 layer of plywood + we added another. The tile installer added 1/2 " layer durock then installed a Schluter foam tray. Since the 60x32 tray was not the exact size of the shower, he cut the tray and added mud on the side next to the curb and the side opposite.

(see pics 5, 6 and 7)
(Not sure why 2 rolls of kerdi)
When the installer left, this is how the shower looked:
(see pics 8, 9, 10)
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Last edited by Morgan71; 06-15-2015 at 08:32 PM.
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Unread 06-14-2015, 03:04 PM   #6
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(continued )
The next morning I felt the shower floor and noticed the sloped mortar bed under the Kerdi seemed uneven. It is easier to feel the uneveness than see it, so I used a level and took several pictures to try to show some of it.

(see pics 11-18)

We were out of town Th+F+Sat, and after discussing things with my husband, he told me to text the installer about the shower floor, which I did on Friday.

I texted him that the sloped mortar bed is uneven and there is a ~4in x ~3in bump of thinset under the Kerdi ,between the shower curb and drain. From what I had learned about the Schluter Kerdi system, the sloped mortar bed under the Kerdi is supposed to be sloped smoothly/evenly such that the water that gets to the Kerdi can go directly to the drain. It appears this bump could cause the water to pool next to the curb, possibly causing mildew/mold,etc.

He texted back a couple times, saying that most of the pitch is modified with thinset when you install tile.... the foam pan and kerdi are just a waterproof base.

He asked if it was a raised bump or an indent, and said the foam does compress and dent.
He said that if it was a dent, the thinset will fill it and water will flow as intended
(and very minimal water will ever see Kerdi, that Kerdi the final barrier for moisture!


I texted him that it was a bump and sent him this photo:

(see pic 19 - showing the bump between the curb and the drain)

He said its a depression before the edge of the foam tray and the dry pack was a bit shallow at curb., and that its not a problem.
He said he will just flash and fill with mortar and install another layer of kerdi, that the system is very forgiving. He said he would have caught that when he returned, when he got ready to flood test.


I looked on your site for info about having multiple layers of kerdi, unevenly sloped mortar bed, etc.

In addition to drafting this post to ask you all your advice, I called Schluter Friday afternoon.

The gentleman told me that although adding a second layer of Kerdi was acceptable, they would prefer to have a properly sloped mortar bed.
He rec'd the kerdi be pulled back/off, the high and low spots fixed (even if the foam tray is scraped in the process), then put a new layer of Kerdi down.
Hopefully we don't have to tear it all out down to the subfloor, cutting the pipe, etc.
He said he'd be glad to explain everything to the installer.

QUESTIONS for Topic 2:
2a. What is the best way to proceed?
2b. If it is best to remove the kerdi and all the thinset, mud, and foam tray (and maybe the durock under the foam tray), what should be done about the drain/pipe?
2c. If you rec'd adding another layer of thinset (with proper uniform/smooth sloped mortar bed), how to handle the drain area? i.e. Would it be too much thinset that the metal drain part can't go on properly?
2d. Should we apply Kerdi Fix to the edges of the final layer of Kerdi - where it touched the white drain piece?
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Last edited by Morgan71; 06-15-2015 at 08:35 PM. Reason: (re-phrased)
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Unread 06-14-2015, 03:08 PM   #7
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I posted while you were still typing, after seeing the rest of the pictures, i would have him start over. The throat on the Kerdi drain doesn't appear to be tall enough to handle those mountains. If you are putting down mosaics , you will not like the results. If you have HUGE tile, you may get away with it. Kinda sloppy looking, and it looks like there are some openings in the kerdi.
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Last edited by seasport; 06-14-2015 at 03:22 PM. Reason: added more text
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Unread 06-14-2015, 03:12 PM   #8
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(continued = last post)

This is the 3rd topic we have a question about.

TOPIC 3 = KERDI
The installer applied Kerdi to the tub apron. There are some lighter/brighter spots near the top.
I did not mention my concern of this to the installer since we were focused on the Ditra and the shower floor.

(see pic 20 - of the apron)

Questions for Topic 3:
3a. Is this much of a concern that needs to be fixed now?
3b. or should we overlook it and wait and see how the installer installs Kerdi on the shower walls?

I hope you could follow along about the 3 topics we need help with!

I greatly appreciate your helpful insight/advice/comments!
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Last edited by Morgan71; 06-15-2015 at 08:36 PM.
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Unread 06-14-2015, 03:17 PM   #9
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(heres the last pic = pic 20 - of the apron)
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Unread 06-14-2015, 03:23 PM   #10
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What is the last picture of?
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Unread 06-14-2015, 04:24 PM   #11
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(pic 21 = tub apron - main pic)
(pic 22 +23 = tub apron left side)
(pic 24+25 = tub apron right side)
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Unread 06-14-2015, 07:41 PM   #12
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Thank you for the quick reply Harp. The installer had said he wanted to lay the shower floor tiles on the diagonal and can do the 6x6 inch without (noticeable?) lippage. (The same tile comes in 3x3 mosaic.)
The last photos are of the tub apron, since we are wondering about the orange spots showing through the Kerdi.
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Unread 06-14-2015, 08:43 PM   #13
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Too much wrong with that shower floor to correct without doing "overs" as far as I'm concerned. Starting with the drain fleece being covered with thinset or some other kind of mortar before the Kerdi was installed.

I would not accept anything as large as 6"x6" tiles on a shower floor.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-15-2015, 11:26 AM   #14
Morgan71
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Harp,
I put the drain (and height adjustment collar?) on the drain area and took a picture.
Is this what you mean?
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Unread 06-15-2015, 11:34 AM   #15
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Thanks for your reply CX.
(Sorry for the delay - my husband's dad just passed away)

I just realized I incorrectly use the term pre-slope to describe the sloped mortar bed under the kerdi in the shower floor.
Can you please change the thread title if needed?

Do you think the Ditra is properly bonded?

If we need to do it the shower floor over, how would you rec'd we do it?
Also, would the drain/flange/etc be ruined in the process of removing the thinset/mud?
Would you remove the foam tray too?

Thanks! :-)
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