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Unread 12-08-2008, 11:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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New Tile Project - glass tile, window, wainscot advice sought

Thanks to the help, knowledge, and information I've read here over the past several years, I've got about a dozen successful tile jobs under my belt (several tub surrounds, showers w/niches, and several floors) and I'm contemplating doing the tile work for a current renovation project but it has some new, but important detail needs I've yet to come across:

1) Window in Shower - A custom fiberglass window will be replacing an old, rotting, wood window. The wood framing at the stool/sill is being replaced as the previous tile job had no water proofing there at all. Is it enough to use poly sheets over this framing (and under the CBU) as the water barrier or should I use something different? Would using RedGard over the CBU in this area serve as an additional water barrier or create more of a problem by potentialy trapping moisture *if* a sheet material is used behind the CBU as well?

2) At the edge of the ceramic tile, there will be a "picture frame" perimeter of 1x1 glass tile around the window - if it is decided to go with 1/8 grout joints, can sanded grout be carefully packed into the glass tile joints without scratching the faces or is that just too much to ask for?

3) grout joint sizes - this is the first project where a client may want smaller than 1/8" grout joints which I know means unsanded grout. Until now, I've only installed tiles with 1/8 and higher / sanded grouts only.
Is there any benefit (short of faster installation) of using the tiles beveled edge vs spacing them out? Does sanded grout stand up better in a shower surround than unsanded grout? Of all the tile installations that I've "inspected" over the years, it always seems to me that the 'butted up / minimal gap' tile installations with unsanded grout have lines which don't seem consistent, often looking like grout is falling out, and to me, they seem like they would be a less water tight joint? "Non gapped" also seems like it would be less forgiving of tile size variances, taking away the ability to 'cheat' joints to come back to a drawn grid line? Is this a good assumption?

4) wainscot - in areas that will not be getting direct water, what is the professionals backer of choice? part of me wants to just go with CBU's and call it overkill, but the 4' high wainscot with wall framing 24 o.c. does not accept a 3x5 sheet without lots of cutting / waste. Greenboard? (Even though not in direct contact with water, I still cringe at the thought of tiling on greenboard after reading the forums here! , Paperless drywall (Denshield?)?

Sorry for the barrage of questions at once, just looking to be prepared when the time comes.

Thanks as always,

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Unread 12-08-2008, 11:36 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pine Brook, NJ
Posts: 55
I'm no expert, a novice in fact, but perhaps a Kerdi membrane would help you with your window waterproofing. Have you considered Kerdi?

good luck with the bathroom!
Brent J
Pine Brook, NJ
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Unread 12-09-2008, 12:15 AM   #3
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I've yet to use the stuff although I've read all about it here. I guess the reason I haven't considered it for this project is because of cost - I have RedGard and Plenty of Polyethylene sheathing (it's all I've had to use up until now - first window in shower) and it is budgeted to do the surround with CBU's.

As someone who installs windows and doors more frequently than I tile, I considered using a self adhesive flashing product which I have plenty of (ie. Grace ice and water shield) to wrap the newly replaced wood first (as we would with any typical window install. Then proceed with CBU on top of that. However, it seems to me that in this situation, one would want to have their first water barrier above the CBU (rather than behind it) where possible.
With the window stool's grout joints so prone to taking on water, any water migrating behind the CBU is going to be doing some damage no matter what, it would seem, unless the theory is that the water migrating through grout is minimal enough that the barrier on the backside prevents the framing from absorbing the water and rotting, and eventually this "natural" minimal amount of water/vapor will dissipate over time?

As you can see in the picture below, a tiled window sill/stool without a water barrier and properly installed grout makes a pretty black mess underneath it all.
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