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Unread 02-29-2020, 08:53 PM   #1
HoosierSteve
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Calling the pros to sanity check me

Hello forum community. I have been reading this forum for a while now, and was successful with a kitchen./dining room tile project recently. Lots of good advice from here and a few small previous tile jobs got me through that pretty well. Really cool that you all help us rookies not make bigger messes than we do. The last project ended up being 375 sq ft of 6x24 floor tile, and a back-splash tiled. Now I'm off to remodel the master bath. A summary of my project is below. I'm specifically looking for materials advice and any techniques that might help me.

Removing 1 piece fiberglass tub, creating 35 x 60 walk-in shower. My plan is to gut the shower drywall to the ceiling, and build a new full-height wall to enclose the shower area. The entire area will be floor to ceiling tile. I have Kerdi board to install and a Kerdi shower floor kit (the foam pan and drain kit). I've watched a lot of the Schluter videos and I think I understand their system. I plan to use big box store materials (thinset primarily) as much as possible. Floor in the shower will be 2 inch mosaic tiles, walls are 4x12 subway tile. I can get Mapei uncoupling membrane thinset locally and I believe that works for almost all applications with the Kerdi? On the floor I will be using ditra uncoupling membrane. Can I add that directly to the presloped foam pan? Heat kit to be used and the membrane seems like a good (expensive) product to use with heat in addition to the uncoupling benefit. Subfloor is 3/4 T&G OSB in good condition. 16" OC 2x10 joists. My understanding is anything touching Kerdi, below or on top is to be unmodified thinset, EXCEPT where bonding to wood. Is that correct assumption?

The main bathroom will be half wall tile, same 4x12 subway. The existing walls have a VERY flat paint over drywall. Should I expect wall flatness issues with these 12 inch tiles? I assume a modified thinset on the drywall, assuming I don't have to replace it for flatness reasons. I can get Mapei porcelain tile mortar at the local blue stores. Will that work? Floor tiles are to be 8x8 porcelain over ditra uncoupling membrane again. Heat in the main BR floor. Floor will carry into a walk-in closet. Same tile and membrane there.

I plan to use some of the Schluter trims in the plane changes, EKE in the shower, Rondec on the shower entry doorway and corners of the walls. Jolly or something similar to cap the tile on the partial walls.

Am I missing anything about what I'm getting into here? Things I should look for, etc.? I'm sure I'll be back with questions as this goes. I plan to begin demo this coming weekend and expect to be into the summer getting this project done, with my work schedule, other spring projects, etc.

Thanks in advance!
Steve
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Unread 03-01-2020, 07:44 AM   #2
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I may have missed something in your description. You said the walls have very flat paint ... thats typically a description of the sheen of the paint, the glossiness. Doesnt have anything to do with uneveness in the wall plane. Did you maybe mean to say you have very flat walls that are painted?
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Unread 03-01-2020, 09:41 AM   #3
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Welcome, Steve.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
On the floor I will be using ditra uncoupling membrane. Can I add that directly to the presloped foam pan?
You don't want to use Ditra on your shower floor. If you want a Schltuer product, use Kerdi there. If you use Ditra and can get it properly formed to the floor, you'll still hafta use Kerdi to waterproof it to the drain and side walls and any seams. No real benefit.

Not familiar with all the MAPEI mortars, but if you're trying to preserve the Schluter warranty, you must use an ANSI A118.1 (unmodified) thinset mortar with your Kerdi and Ditra. The only exception would be bonding the Ditra to engineered wood, as you've suggested. In the real world, I'd generally prefer a modified mortar (A118.4) for all those applications. You don't need the Schluter warranty because any failure you have will be an installer error.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
Should I expect wall flatness issues with these 12 inch tiles?
That would depend upon the flatness of the wall. The tile industry standard for flatness for the tile size you have is no deviation from intended plane of more than 1/4" in ten feet nor 1/16th" in one foot. If you wall doesn't meet that standard, yes, you might encounter some "flatness issues."

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 01:04 PM   #4
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Part Deux, I don't really know yet how flat the walls will be. I was saying that the paint is flat in terms of sheen. Will check the wall evenness once I get everything out of the way.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 01:09 PM   #5
HoosierSteve
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CX, thanks for the replies. I assumed no warranty would ever be recoverable, just trying to get it all right. For the shower, the Mrs. insists on heated floor and the ditra membrane seems to make that simple enough. I will be installing the Kerdi pan and waterproofing that to the walls. That should cover me on waterproofing or no? I watched a Schluter video of the Ditra UC membrane installed on shower floor. They even put a ring of the membrane under the drain to keep the drain on plane with the rest of the floor. Is that a workable plan?

Also, I know this gets asked a lot, and I read every possible opinion on the unmodified vs modified under the Kerdi products. Is there any real world downside to just using modified for everything, warranty aside?
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Unread 03-01-2020, 02:06 PM   #6
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Increased cure time for the mortar. That's usually not a problem for most DIY'ers.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 02:34 PM   #7
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Steve, if you're talking about using the Ditra Heat membrane (I'm not familiar with a "Ditra UC" membrane over a fully waterproofed kerdi shower receptor in order to install radiant heat in the shower floor, I suppose that would work. You'd need to provide a link to the video you looked at as I've not seen such.

As for the thinset mortar, I would personally not use anything but a modified mortar to make a Kerdi shower unless I had access to Ditra Set. That's a mortar Schluter came up with, made by Bostik, that is alleged to be unmodified, but handles like a modified mortar. I've not used any of Schluter's own brands of mortar that they started making recently. They're expensive and I know from personal experience that Custom's Versabond, which you can get at your local Home Depot, works perfectly well with Kerdi, has no curing problems at all in that application, and is reasonably priced.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 05:08 PM   #8
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Thanks again. Link to Ditra Heat membrane is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ui26uQbJjo. I should say that I missed a part that had you questioning my described process. The video does show Ditra membrane installed over the Ditra Heat for waterproofing. That does make more sense when I think about it.

I agree that drying times won't be my issue. This will be an evening and weekend project and I'm sure it will go slowly.

Will plan on using the membrane, corners and band over the Ditra Heat.

One more question. I've read that many tile the walls down to bottom course or 2 before installing this foam pan. That seems like a good idea to me since I will be tiling high enough to need a stool and this foam pan seems fragile enough before tile that I'm convinced it will deform. I'm a big guy, and stools/ladders have tiny feet. I guess I could put a piece of ply down?
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Unread 03-01-2020, 05:31 PM   #9
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I don't use the foam trays at all, Steve, and what you point out is only one of the reasons.

When doing direct bonded waterproofing membrane showers I don't even install the drain until the ceiling and walls are tiled and sometimes grouted (the ceiling always grouted) except for the bottom row.

That might require cutting the foam tray even smaller than a useful fit just to be able to install it with that method, though.

Deck mud makes a much better floor and is always a perfect fit for the shower footprint and drain location and saves a good bit of money on the project.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 05:34 PM   #10
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Understood about the mud floor. I have done 1 and I left a puddle that held water after each use. I already have the pan and my thinking was it was dumb'd down enough for me to have better execution to an acceptable finished product.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 05:39 PM   #11
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Dumbed down except that they don't stress the point that your subfloor must be absolutely level and flat before installing to ensure the insufficient slope of the foam will drain. With a mud bed, you can compensate for any problems with flat or level in the subfloor.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-02-2020, 07:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cx
except that they don't stress the point that your subfloor must be absolutely level and flat before installing to ensure the insufficient slope of the foam will drain
Not an insignificant point, that, and even more important if the drain isn't being relocated from the end to the center. Unless you get lucky and the subfloor already slopes towards the end drain. But then the bottom cut on your bottom row of wall tile won't be level.

The foam pans can, and do, work but forewarned is forearmed.
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Unread 03-02-2020, 02:01 PM   #13
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Ditra heat can be used on your pan. Just follow the tutorials they provide. Install the pan, then the ditra heat, then everything must be covered with kerdi membrane.
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Unread 03-02-2020, 04:21 PM   #14
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Thanks all. I will be checking floor for level once the tub is out. Based on what I've seen in the rest of the house, I expect it to be pretty good. Will adjust if/as needed. My Schluter pan kit has the standard drain, offset to one end, though I will still have to relocate the drain several inches. At least I have good access under the floor though. Is it OK to use the Ditra heat mat under the drain flange to keep it at the same level as the floor? This video shows what I am talking about at the 1:35 mark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ui26uQbJjo

I'm a bit concerned about the "insufficient slope" comment for this foam pan as well. If it is or could be a problem, I'll get a pro in here at least to do a mortar bed. I just don't want problems later. I'm at that time in my life, young enough to do some things, old enough to have funds to do some things, but not wanting to redo any of those things.
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Unread 03-03-2020, 07:29 AM   #15
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Steve, IMO if you are already planning to relocate the drain a bit, and you have access underneath, can you not just center the drain? Doing so will pretty much mitigate the slope issue, assuming the floor is pretty level. Additionally, if you leave the drain near one end, the end at the drain will need to be massively sloped in order to maintain a level perimeter for the wall tile.

Just to be clear, you can't do a sloped mud bed and then set the foam on that.
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