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Unread 09-05-2019, 01:16 PM   #1
mographer
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Shower pan with Quickrete Sand/topping mix. Surface is crumbly, and not smooth. Help?

Did my linear drain shower pan yesterday using Quickretes sand/topping mix. I mixed it correctly as far as I could tell. I could form a ball with the mixture that wasn't wet and held together. PAcked in the pan and all seemed ok. Today about 24 hours later I started sweeping off the dust and loose sand and a lot of the surface started coming loose to where now the surface is pretty rough with some pits here and there. I didn't want to push it so I left it alone and figured I'd come ask here. What should I do to ensure the pan is set correctly, and what can I do about the roughness/pits? I'm reading on some other posts that you can just use thinset to fill in and smooth out. I'll be applying kerdi membrane on top. Should I use unmodified to do the filling?

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Unread 09-05-2019, 05:00 PM   #2
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Hi Ted, welcome. It really depends how large and deep the divots are. If they are 1/4 inch in diameter or smaller, I'd do the vacuum test on it. If the vac sucks up chunks of it then I'd tear it out and redo it. If it passes the test then skim coat it with thinset. I'd use modified thinset because that's what I'd have on hand.

Did you slick down the mud with a flat steel trowel after screeding it? If the mix has enough water in it, slicking it down with a flat trowel keeps it from eroding so easily.
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Unread 09-05-2019, 06:20 PM   #3
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Thanks Davy. I did vaccum up the surface and it didn't really pull anything away other than the left over loose sand that's scattered about. The whole pan seems hit or miss. In one small area in the thinner end of the pan, I actually dug all the way through with a screw driver, but I also tapped around all over the pan with a hammer and it does seem kinda solid in a lot of it. So I'm a little up in the air on whether or not I should rip it out and start over. After watching some more videos on how to do it proper, it became apparent to me that my technique wasn't really correct, so I do think I could do a better job if I re-did it.

Not sure, your thoughts?
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Unread 09-05-2019, 06:39 PM   #4
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It is cheap insurance to tear it out and start over. You will be kicking yourself if something fails in the future as a result. But if it is solid then skim it with thinset and carry on
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Unread 09-05-2019, 06:43 PM   #5
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I guess I'm just not sure that it is solid. Is there a good way to test it for sure?
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Unread 09-05-2019, 06:56 PM   #6
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You are getting ready to spend quite a bit of effort and money on your tile work. If you have any doubt about the shower pan is it worth using it ?
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Unread 09-05-2019, 06:58 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that dry pack won't get as hard as concrete. But it does a good job for what we need and is easy to screed and shape. The dry pack I make is 5 to 1 and digging at it with a screw driver would easily cause divots.
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Unread 09-05-2019, 07:11 PM   #8
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The stuff is good in compression, but not all that much else when done right. Because of the limited amount of cement in the mix, and a lot of sand, it won't be all that dense or held together really tight like concrete. Hard to tell without being there, but if you do tear it out, the next one will go together lots faster for you - experience does help. A smooth trowel at the end will bring some 'cream' up to the surface, to help it be less loose. Get it shaped properly and packed down, then trowel the surface.
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Unread 09-05-2019, 07:56 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies everyone. Based on everyones feedback I decided to tear it out, but upon attempting to, I found it to be plenty solid because I was hammering on it with a concrete chisel and was not even able to get through it. So I'll be leaving it and filling in with thinset.

Thanks for the help!
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Unread 09-05-2019, 08:46 PM   #10
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Unread 09-06-2019, 09:34 AM   #11
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If this is over a wood subfloor, knock on the pan with your knuckles. Hammer blows from your demolition attempt might have caused enough deflection of the subfloor to allow the pan to break without looking obviously broken. Give it another vacuum test to see if anything new comes loose. And knock on the surface and listen for a tapping sound. If you've got tapping, parts of the pan have broken loose.

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Unread 09-06-2019, 03:19 PM   #12
mographer
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Miscalculated the amount of mud I needed for shower pan and ran out. Options?

As the title explains, I ran out of mud and am unable to get more. I have a small section left at the high end of my linear pan. Am I ok to come back to it the next day and fill it in with more mud?
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Unread 09-06-2019, 03:41 PM   #13
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If need be, you’re best bet is to use whatever mud you have to finish the full height in an area. Then, continue the pan when you get more. Ideally a full pour is best but a side to side joining is better than adding additional layers on top; a minimum thickness is needed.


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Unread 09-06-2019, 04:14 PM   #14
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You could paint a slurry of cement on the cold joint to help bond the two parts together. Get the new deck mud installed before the moisture gets sucked out of the slurry.
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Unread 09-06-2019, 04:26 PM   #15
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Ted, let us know if you're working over a slab or wood sub floor.
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