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Old 08-13-2019, 05:19 PM   #1
pancho_baño
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Pancho's bathroom remodel

hello friends,

Attempting my first shower build, replacing a fiberglass tub/shower combo. I have more than a few challenges in front of me that I have been ruminating on for some time. Even better (less intelligent?), i'm going to try to go curbless. High level stats below, followed by specific questions. On with the show:

- total bathroom is ~5'x12', with shower + toilet in enclosed room (6' x 5'), vanity in other section.
- rough alcove shower area is 60x32ish, current drain approx 7.5" oc from wall.
- subfloor under shower is osb, in which 1 1/4" light weight concrete covers rest of the bathroom.
- going with schluter kerdi system, including sloped foam base, material/drain...etc. for shower and kerdi ditra duo + heating for rest of bathroom.
- with the ditra duo membrane, i can get to the 1 1/2 edge height of the pan, thus not requiring a curb (on paper).
- shower door will be frameless glass
- multi-family construction in California

Concerns:
- Shower transition: The lightweight concrete next to the shower is a bit soft, uneven and easily scraped off. I will need to build up part of that area and slope on top of it. I will also need to level and fill where tile pulled up light weight concrete throughout the rest of the bathroom. Any recommendations on the best product to 1. be able to slope slightly and 2. stick to the light weight concrete (can I use drypack for that?)? Or can I use thin set to fill that in (when applying kerdi membrane)? Was reading about at Ardex self-leveling products for the rest of the floor.

- A 4' level across the osb shower subfloor has ~1/16"-1/8" off true level in the wrong direction. I am going to need some dry-pack mortar anyway to fill in some of the area that the foam pan will not cover once I cut it (drain placement dictating location mostly, conveniently right on a joist that I can't alter). My question is, can i use the dry pack mortar to build up the half of the shower at 1/8" to level? Or Can I just use a bit more thinset in that area when putting the pan down? Or should I use another product?

- Temporary dam: I plan to do a 24hr soak test after waterproofing. Any recommendations on temporary dam building? My downstairs neighbor and I have a vested interest in no leaks.

- Sloping at shower entry: On paper, I should have an extra 1/8"-ish to play with between level of bathroom floor and shower edge. Should I attempt to carry some of that slope outside to inside edge of the shower? May be tricky with large format tile?

- Tiling in multiple planes: In order to get a square-ish alcove, a flared-out wall was built onto an external wall at approx 5 degrees to approx 72" height. On top of that, the last 2ish feet are parallel with the external wall with a window in between. Therefore, I will have a different plane to tile on between the first 6 feet and last 2 feet. The area in question is approximately 24" by 8". Any recommendations on how to handle? I was thinking about using a different color/size tile to accentuate the window. Or, should I just shim out the small area to match the plane of the 6' below and deal with a non-right corner?

I'm sure I'll have other questions in the future...thanks for getting this far if you actually did!
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:25 PM   #2
Davy
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Hi Pancho, welcome.

Any thin filling needs to be done with a patching material or more SLC. A primer would probably be needed.

I've never heard of building a temporary curb. If you want to flood test a curbless shower, just fill it up as much as possible.

I don't exactly follow you about the flared out wall. A pic might help.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:41 PM   #3
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pics

trying to attach...you can see the corner is a several 2x4's sistered and a 4x4 in the corner (1 plane with exterior wall). The other slivers out (you can see the wood piece that was cut out approx 12"-14" below the ledge). lmk if that is clear or if you need more close up pics.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:57 PM   #4
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Pancho, I am getting ready to build a temporary curb to flood a curbless shower, by the end of the week I should have it all set up I will post some pictures and a explanation on how we constructed the temporary dam
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:18 PM   #5
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Sounds good, thanks Shawn!
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:37 PM   #6
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Flood tested 2 curbless showers recently. Still using method outlined in post #4 in attached link...

https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin...d.php?t=120313
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:14 PM   #7
pancho_baño
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Thanks Lou. may make my own "kerdi board" with leftover kerdi membrane and a 2x4. will get some noble sealant too..
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:23 AM   #8
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I, too, constructed a temporary dam to flood test my curbless install....
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:32 PM   #9
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Thanks Dan, looks like you took the membrane up and supported with a 2x4 and weighted buckets. What did you use on the openings where the walls meet the end of the waterproof area? Was it just membrane affixed to the walls? Tough to see from the pics.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:48 AM   #10
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Yup. that's about right Poncho.

Since I couldn't get a clear answer from the plumbing inspectors office concerning just how does one flood test a curbless shower I felt I had to come up with something.

Since the floor was wider than the membrane I had to use two pieces. For the section behind the pony wall (left side in the pic) the floor membrane wraps up onto the pony wall by 4 ish inches and is affixed with mortar. On the right end wall I affixed the membrane to the wall with mortar as far out as I could while still leaving that 4" ish flap. Then just folded the flap upwards, positioned the 2X and buckets, dumped water, and waited.

Another way to think about it; take a standard sheet of paper and fold it along it's long edge. Unfold to 90* and place on counter top and against the wall. Hold the left side against the counter top and wall then pull up the right side. If you glue the left side to the counter top and wall it works much easier. LOL

The inspector was suspiciously unimpressed.

Drain water, remove buckets, 2X, add mortar to the last few inches of wall and floor, and carry on.
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Old 08-18-2019, 02:00 PM   #11
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Thanks again for the clarification Dan!

Also noticed that you had used Ditra heat on the flooring next to the shower. If you have any words of wisdom or "undocumented features" that you learned while installing, please share as I would be appreciative for advice/pointers...etc.
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Old 08-19-2019, 08:53 AM   #12
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The first bit of advice I'll offer, Pancho, is to purchase the Ditra Heat in sheets, not the roll, so you don't have to fight with it when it tries to roll itself back up while you're trying to set it. Moreover, if you are as slow as I clearly am, installing DH sheet by sheet (IIRC, they are 2.7'X3.3') buys you time; you can sponge off a roughly 2.7X3.3 section of subfloor, burn some mortar into it, add more then comb it, set a sheet, scrape off the excess around the ends, and not worry about the mortar drying out and/or skinning over. The sheets are much easier to handle, and you only have to commit to installing one at a time. If you go with the sheets be certain the supplier ships them flat, not rolled.

Not that I would have cared, but I suspect the sheets are more expensive per SF. For a novice, not struggling or worrying, was worth the incremental increase.

Be aware that Laticrete makes a directly competing product, Strataheat I think (though I don't know if it comes in sheets), that at least one member here used and was pleased with. Would be worth looking into.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:55 AM   #13
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I use 1 1/4 in foam as the dam and put USG pokey at the joints. I missed a little hole in the corner so I had to redo that corner. But the rest of it held up great. Since you are doing a curbless shower I would waterproof outside the shower as well just in case your drain gets clogged. I have never use strata heat but I use stratamat pretty often and it is has vents in it so it is not waterproof. I the same would be true for the heat
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:54 AM   #14
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Thanks for the info Shawn and Dan! I'll have some updates when I get going on that part...have some plumbing pipe/drain relocation, cement board walls and ceiling drywall before i get to that point...
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Old 08-19-2019, 12:12 PM   #15
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Almost forgot a key bit -

Schluter requires a dedicated 15A circuit for their floor warming installations. It makes sense since if anything goes wrong down the road with the t-stat you don't want to shut down anything else that may be on a shared circuit. I think Laticrete requires, or strongly suggests, the same.

Both have t-stats with built in GFCI's, so the circuit itself doesn't need a GFCI breaker in the panel.
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