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Unread 04-15-2022, 08:25 AM   #1
tilecustomer
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44 sq ft bath remodel

I am having my tub removed and replaced with a "curbless" shower. The designer recommends a lip that is about 1/2" vs totally curbless. It will not be visible with glass door shut.

The shower length is 51 inches and the width of the bench wall is 30 inches.
If I go with the medium bench at 27" x 13", I can have 2 jets under the bench for my feet (post-chemo neuropathy). If I go with the smaller bench at 24"x 12", I give up the jets because not enough space between support brackets.

I can't post a link to the floating bench, but it is made by hollspa at that website, model B, solid surface (photo attached)

Opinions and advice welcome, thank you.
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Unread 04-15-2022, 05:34 PM   #2
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Hi, Anna.

HERE is a link to the installation manual.

So this attaches to framing inside the wall with brackets that are inside the wall. Then the shower is fully built around "templates" that represent the bench brackets. The "templates" are removed when the tiling is finished and the bench brackets are inserted into the wall, attaching to the hardware inside the wall. The part that makes me nervous is waterproofing those slots after the bench legs are inserted into the wall. They show using a whole bunch of silicone in the slots, but still makes me nervous.

Not saying it can't be made waterproof, but installer should make that portion of the installation a very high priority.
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Unread 04-15-2022, 05:44 PM   #3
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Welcome, Anna.

Not sure just what advice you're looking for, but I'd recommend you use one of the many "floating" benches on the market. No brackets at all on some, one bracket on others. And no waterproofing issues that Snets has pointed out.

You could also elect to use some sort of chair or movable bench in there. One made from Teak or Ipe or similar.

Not sure what the "lip" might be that your designer is requiring. You have more information on that?
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Unread 04-16-2022, 12:15 AM   #4
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Thank you @snets/John. Actually my designer is the inventer of the bench and we most likely will have the guy he recommends for GC do the framing and the tiler he recommends do the tile. If we can afford it, we will hire the designer to be in charge of all materials purchase and oversee the job.

I am just a consumer who actually knew nothing about tile until we had a basement tile job done that didn't look right to me, came here, learned enough to ask questions and eventually hired this designer to look at the job because he previously did tile installations and had a great reputation. He educated us about what was feasible to request that the company do over and we ended up using his tile installer to clean up the mess left behind (boy do I have photos) and paint the grout the right color (the company either used too much thinset and/or mixed the grout wrong because it ended up way too light).

From that contact, we liked his honesty, his integrity, the work ethic of his tiler and decided to contact him for design work when he said he had shifted from being a tile installation company after he developed the bench to focus more on design that utilizes his architecture skills.

Are there questions I should ask to make sure the bench is not going to be a source of leaks? He discouraged a niche, which may be because my space is so small (approximately 51x31 with lots of fixtures), but people on houzz talk about them being a source of leaks so that worried me a bit (as in, is he recommending against a niche because his guy is not good at it?)

When we talked about a heated floor, he said it's not a problem to include it in the shower because it is behind waterproofing and the entire floor will be waterproofed, so I think waterproofing is important to him.
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Unread 04-16-2022, 12:55 AM   #5
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Thanks CX,

I like the profile of this bench over the "better bench" styles I've seen online. This one I've seen in the designer's house and really like it, but of course, will not like it if it is the source of leaks! I think I would choose a moveable teak bench if this one seems problematic.

It was the size I question--27 inches seems like a lot in a 31 inch wide shower. The movable teak ones you mention are more like 24 at the most. But the 27 inch allows me to have a light and 2 jets underneath while the 24 inch just allows a light.

He said he has started putting about 1/2" lip at the frameless glass line for more showers recently. Mine would be the same solid surface material as the bench. He said just that little edge seems to leave clients more satisfied that water is not escaping outside the glass. Another design company said that people are surprised when there is a tablespoon of water outside the shower doors when they are spraying a handheld toward the glass.

After our experience with the basement tile job, I am pretty gun-shy, so I am always questioning -- is he recommending this lip because it is easier to design/install? I think this is an example of what it would look like (one of the baths he designed, the guys he recommends installed)
Name:  3A65EDB5-0926-4A59-8256-56D55D676707.jpg
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This is one of his jobs with a bench like the one I would get, in a small shower like mine (min might be a little bigger)
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Unread 04-16-2022, 10:49 AM   #6
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I share the same concerns regarding waterproofing. I wouldn't have a problem filling a small hole with silicone on a vertical surface, such as a screw hole for a shower door, but a much larger area, and on the backside of a bench, would cause me to look at other options.

I like the look of that bench, but I think I'd want something that I could waterproof completely before the tile is installed.

You might look at Kerdi board, which is waterproof in itself, and can be built with a corbel and some adhesive. You could still put a solid surface on top of you want.

To be clear, I'm not saying the bench you want to have won't work, just that I'd be leery of using silicone to cover that much.
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Unread 04-16-2022, 06:09 PM   #7
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If I "had" to install that bench with no other choices, this is how I would do it:

Do everything in the instructions up to the point of installing tile. Then, insert the actual bench "legs" into the wall and onto the brackets. Then, apply my surface-applied membrane and seal the bench legs to the surface-applied-membrane with an appropriate sealant. Then I would tile around the legs.

The issue I see is there is no way to assure 100% that the slots are sealed, under the tile, to the shower wall waterproofing - whether that's surface-applied or a moisture barrier behind a CBU substrate.

Again, not saying it can't be done, just risky in my opinion.
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Unread 04-19-2022, 08:16 AM   #8
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Hi Anna,

So, not exactly curbless. The 1" tall curb does solve the issue with bath matt placement in front of the door.

Regarding the bench. The photos of those brand new showers look great, they always do, but I'd be more interested in seeing some photos of those after 5 years of use. One challenge I can envision is cleaning the narrow gaps at the back and on each end of the bench. The water proofing challenges have been mentioned already.

An option you might consider is building a "pony" wall. Doing so would allow a floating bench to span the full 31", be far easier to water proof, eliminate the gaps, have enough space under it for the light and jets, and you could also incorporate a niche into the pony wall above the bench.
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Unread 04-21-2022, 02:04 PM   #9
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floating bench size/pony wall idea

@Dan (not sure how to tag in a reply),

yes the lip (not quite an inch) was recommended by designer to allow more room for bath mat while opening door after shower.

I did not like the idea of a bench attached to wall because of mildew that collects in current showers, so a one inch gap between bench and wall seemed actually preferable. I envisioned using the handheld to easily keep that gap between bench and wall clean. Interesting how different (and perhaps in error) my perspective is!

The pony wall is a creative way to provide a low-visibility niche--the other walls have too much going on in a small space, so I was limited to a shelf at the corner for storage. Thanks!
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Unread 04-21-2022, 03:20 PM   #10
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Right? Perceptions are many and varied. We all gots our own.

Regarding the proposed 1" faux curb. Here in Fairfax, Va, the cliff notes version of the building code for showers says if there will be a curb then the top of it must be a minimum of 2" above the top of the drain grate. Maybe your designer already knows the code in your location and a 1" curb is allowable. Just an FYI in any case.

If you intend to squeegee your glass after each shower to prevent hard water spots I think it could be challenge to get a squeegee between the end of the proposed bench and the glass. As well, the section of glass under the bench. If not, never mind.

I hear ya on the mildew issue. For whatever it's worth I have glass, pony wall, and a corner mounted bench. I squeegee everything (except the inside of the niche) after a shower, and clean the shower only every 2 or 3 months. Only place I get mildew in the niche and a few spots at the wall and floor joints, and even that is minimal. Never on the wall to bench joints.

Just food for thought, options to consider.
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Unread 04-21-2022, 03:55 PM   #11
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Including a high-quality bath fan in your design, coupled with a timer control switch will make a big difference in mold/mildew. I had a good fan for years but only used it until I left the bathroom. Having the option now to run it for an hour has made a huge difference; mold is almost non-existent now.
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Unread 05-06-2022, 02:33 PM   #12
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The designer says the lip will be 1/2" high and 3/4" wide. The linear drain is on the downward slope (back wall) of the shower.

Is this still considered a "curb"?
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Unread 05-06-2022, 02:51 PM   #13
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I don't know, Anna, only your local building code compliance office can answer that.

I do think, at 1/2" high it could be a toe-stubber (probably only a few times though) and at 3/4" wide it's going to be painful should you need to step on it for any reason.

I do tend to over analyze some things so, grain of salt.
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Unread 05-06-2022, 04:28 PM   #14
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Nothing at all wrong with the salt, Anna, but I think you should take Dan's comment seriously. Having a code compliance inspector look at your finished shower and tell you it doesn't meet code would spoil more than your whole day.

If your minimal curb top is 2" above your drain top, nothing to worry about. If not, you wanna consult your code compliance inspector before you make your final decision on the design.

I think the current wording of the code on that particular situation is a bit absurd, but I didn't get a vote. Makes no sense to me that without your proposed "curb" the shower would meet code, but with the minimal curb it may not, but I think that is exactly the situation you might be creating.

I'd check it out.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-13-2022, 11:46 AM   #15
tilecustomer
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desire for curbless shower

I've had 3 general contractors look at our small bath (44 sq feet) and all three said curbless is possible.

The designer had a tile business for 19 years before he transitioned to spa-like bath design and engineering of a floating shower bench that I posted in an earlier thread. He initially said curbless was possible, but more recently has advocated a 1/2" high x 3/4" wide curb. The entire bath will be waterproofed and the floor tiled in 10x24 tiles with DCOF of > .65.

The shower is 31" deep x 51" wide. There is a 4" deep wall on both sides of the shower but the pocket door leading to the wood floor in the hall is right next to that wall (photo attached from one of the contractors who said curbless is not a problem).

There will be a frameless glass door on the side closest to pocket door and a fixed glass panel on the other side.

Current design includes a linear drain on 51" wall running the length of the wall with the proposed mini-curb.

If I want to avoid this mini-curb, what are my options?
1. center square drain (I told designer I preferred the linear drain on back wall, but can live with that if choice is between that and a curb)?
2. center linear drain?
3. linear drains on both sides?
4. switch handheld to wall opposite bench vs. 51" wall to decrease spray hitting glass?

Please help me understand the problems associated with a curbless shower for this space, thanks.
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