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Unread 08-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #1
kyle242gt
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First tile and remodel project - 9x12 bathroom remodel and 6x6 sauna

File this under "seemed like a good idea at the time".

We (wife) decided we wanted a sauna. (saunafin dot com).

Then we (me) decided that having two small adjoining bathrooms in various stages of disrepair was silly, even if we never really used the upstairs for much of anything.

Being a cheapskate and (overly) self confident, I just put one foot in front of another. Wife alternately expressed doubt and amazement.

Voila - bathroom torn down, closet space annexed as sauna, plumber hired to reroute all the pipes that (of course) ran in the wall between the bathrooms.

Then the plumber put in this big ass floor drain! I was thinking hardibacker, thin set, done!

My tile book says this about thick set - difficult, leave to a pro, end of chapter. Grr. I have since learned the error of my ways, and want to check a few things with you nice folks.

I gather here's what I do next, with questions:
1) hardi backer on floors
2) sill blocked into the studs - do I need pressure treated?
3) 2" sill at doorway - bricks or boards?
4) mortar bed with 1/4" per foot slope - what type? I happen to have a bag of "Sakrete Type S Mortar". How much will I need? How thick should it be at the drain? Assume it should be about level with the flange, so the vapor barrier fits between the halves?
5) vapor barrier over mortar bed
6) another thickset mortar layer - how thick? I currently have a non-adjustable drain, the top section is about 2" tall.
7) thinset mortar and tile on top - is there a critical time period or type of thinset to ensure a bond with the bed?

Whew!

While this is a sauna and not a particularly wet environment, it's upstairs, and I want to do-it-once-do-it-right.

On that note - for the rest of the bathroom, is hardibacker and thinset sufficient? Should I do a vapor barrier under the hardibacker?

Oh yeah, one more thing - I'm using a prefab shower kit, the pan says no mortar needed. I'm sort of inclined to do it anyway. Any thoughts?

Thanks for any help, sorry to be so long winded... guess that's what happens when you keep forging ahead and getting more confused daily.
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Unread 08-10-2011, 10:47 AM   #2
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Kyle,

Welcome tot he forum.

1- The very first thing you should do is to buy and read JB's book Tile Your World. There is a link to it at the top of this page. It don't say nuttin about drypack being too difficult for DIYers. Some folks take 2 tries at getting it right, but that's a very inexpensive education, and we have plenty round here who will testify to that.

2- The second thing would be to read the shower construction thread in our whirlled famus liberry linked in the dark blue bar above. There you will learn the different ways to build a regular shower.

2B- But (you knew that was coming right?) since you are building a steam shower, you'll also want to read Wendy's thread all about her steamer. Good info and experience there. Steamers cost quite a bit more than regular showers. If you haven't priced out the parts, then that might be a determining factor if you plan on staying with a steamer or not. This is important because steamers require a bit more care in construction than do regular showers. Choose wisely grasshoppah.

3- Can you add your location to your profile? That helps us recommend methods and materials.

4- Lastly, click on our handy dandy deflecto-meter linked in the dark blue bar above to see if your floor joists are up to speed for a tiled floor.

5- And one more thing, what kind of tiled surfaces were you fixin to use? That makes a difference also.
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Unread 08-10-2011, 10:58 AM   #3
kyle242gt
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Thanks for the reading recommendations, sorry for missing the obvious stuff - saw several references to "liberry" and figured it was an inside joke.

Deflecto calculates to L/1499, which gives me two thumbs up.

The sauna is a traditional Finnish type - cedar lined hot room with water manually sprinkled on heater. So a very humid and hot environment, but not exactly a steam shower. The kit (boards, heater, light, benches, water seal etc) was $3,400, and on a truck as we speak.

Off to the liberry, thanks for the help!
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Unread 08-10-2011, 11:40 AM   #4
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It's pretty unusual for a floor joist system to be that stiff. Did you use the room dimensions for the span?
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Unread 08-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #5
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Welcome, Kyle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle
saw several references to "liberry" and figured it was an inside joke.
Hey! Liberries have feelings, too.

'Specially the whirl-famous TYW Liberry, eh?
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Unread 08-10-2011, 12:31 PM   #6
kyle242gt
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re stiffness - the floor joists are 16"OC, 1.5"x9", 15' long. They're supported mid-span (7.5') by a cross beam above the ceiling (2x4, 16OC) for the lower story. These in turn are supported by load bearing walls that are somewhat off-center (4' from one wall, 11' from the other).

There's probably some deflection from the first floor ceiling flexing, but it can't be too much with a wall underneath.

Buy that?
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Unread 08-10-2011, 12:49 PM   #7
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Buy that? I can't understand that.

You have 15 foot long joists. Is there a mid span support under those joists, and is that support load bearing?
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Unread 08-10-2011, 02:26 PM   #8
kyle242gt
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Sorry, convoluted explanation.

The floor joists run N-S (2x10)
Under that is a E-W crossbeam (4x4)
Under that is N-S ceiling (2x4)
Under that, off center (4',11') is a E-W load-bearing wall (2x4)

So, at the longest span, the floor joists are supported at 11', L/687.

However that's the bathroom side of things. The sauna has the load bearing wall 4' on one side and 2' on the other, which is not even on the calculator. Closest is 4.5, which is L/3868.
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Unread 08-10-2011, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle
So, at the longest span, the floor joists are supported at 11', L/687.
That's what we need to know, Kyle, if you're sure.

The 4x4 you describe is not a load bearing member. Sounds like it may be part of the furred down ceiling structure, which would make it a net negative, adding to the dead load of the joists above.

Not understanding the part about the sauna "side." Support wall on either side of.......what?
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Unread 08-10-2011, 06:43 PM   #10
kyle242gt
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Thanks for the help!

I figured that the 4x4 would distribute the load from the upper story to the lower across multiple rafters. I hadn't considered the dead load. However, it appears that the 4x4 is supported by other load bearing walls on the first floor, so it likely still adds some stiffness?

As far as the support wall goes-
The sauna is 6x6. The first floor wall is 4' (EW) from the outside of the house. Am I mistaken in thinking that the longest sauna joist span would be 4'? The other side works out to 9, not 11 (mixed up the dimensions) = L / 1083.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 01:09 PM   #11
kyle242gt
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Hi again!

After much reading here (great resources!!) and consulting with my contractor friends, I have a new plan of action - would like to run it across your bow if I may. The more I read the more confused I get...

As it stands, the whole area is 5/8" T&G with a few sections of CDX blocked every 16", bonded and screwed. I was planning on 1/2" hardiebacker over this, but that's very borderline per HB's install instructions.

I have a new floor drain that goes as low as 1/2".

My plumber suggested building up the subfloor with another layer to allow a slope down to the drain.

I would like to keep a consistent floor in the bathroom and sauna, and do not need a great deal of slope in the sauna. (ie, no sill, no 3" mudbase).

What do you think of putting 3/4 OSB down first, and HB on top of it? That'd give me about 1 1/8" of slope to work with, and would make the bathroom floor plenty stiff.

In the sauna, a layer of plastic, mudbase sloping from maybe 3/4" to zero at the drain, liner, then ... then what?

Can I tile directly over the liner with thinset? Something tells me no.
1/2" thickset over the liner?
1/4" hardiebacker, fixed to the liner with thinset?
Is a single layer of 5/8" T&G a sufficient base for any of these?

Thanks much for any words of wisdom.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 05:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle
Am I mistaken in thinking that the longest sauna joist span would be 4'?
I have no idea.

Kyle, here's what we need. We need to know the longest unsupported joist span making up the structure of any portion of the floor areas you want to tile. You, being the only one on site, are gonna need to determine that on our behalf. Or provide us a sufficiently detailed drawing of the structure that we can help you do that.

Once that's done, we'll at least know what can be tiled with what material after making what changes or additions or alterations.

Next, at least some of us need to know what you're calling a sauna. Is this to be a steam room associated with your shower? A pure dry sauna not associated with with a shower and not a wet area? Some combination of those? Something entirely different?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle
My plumber suggested building up the subfloor with another layer to allow a slope down to the drain.
While an additional layer of subflooring might be a good idea, I have no idea how he anticipates that helping with the slope to your drain. Subflooring is generally part of a relatively flat horizontal surface. It's upon such a floor that we'd normally create the initial pre-slope for an intended shower floor, usually using deck mud as the medium.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle
In the sauna, a layer of plastic, mudbase sloping from maybe 3/4" to zero at the drain, liner, then ... then what?
See questions and confusion above.

We gotta get a better handle on what you intend to build here before some of us can be of much help. Perhaps others can see it more clearly than I.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 05:52 PM   #13
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Thanks for the reply CX-
The longest unsupported joist span is 7.5' - if the 2x10 is in fact supported by the 4x4 running perpendicular to it at the midpoint. OR - it's 11' if it's supported by the load-bearing first floor walls. Not being an engineer, I'm hesitant to offer my opinion that it's probably somewhere in the middle - the 4x4 is supported by other load-bearing first floor walls that run perpendicular to it.
That's either L/687 or L/1583. Either way that's fine, as I don't plan to use natural stone.

The slope to drain is based on adding the additional subfloor and CBU to the bathroom portion only (5/8 T&G + 3/4 OSB + 1/2 CBU), leaving the sauna section about 1.25" lower (5/8 T&G only).

I would like the sauna section to have a thin deck mud preslope - .75" at the outside, 0" at the drain. That would allow another .5" for an additional thin deck mud base above the membrane from the 1.25" floor height in the bathroom down to the drain at .5" height. So basically, what I'm hoping I can do is a very thin traditional shower base - 1.25" at the outside, .5" at the drain. No sill, the bathroom floor will continue into the sauna where it begins sloping toward the drain.

But I'm unsure if that's practical, or if the deck mud needs to be 3+ inches thick to be strong enough. Also unsure if 5/8" T&G subfloor is enough base to build on. There may also be a better solution.

The project is a sauna:
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It's not a steam shower or steam room. ~200F, 30% humidity or so.
http://www.almostheaven.net/aho/saunaqa.htm#q4

The drain is almost unnecessary per the kit manufacturer, but we wanted one to help with cleaning.
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Last edited by jgleason; 08-19-2011 at 05:43 AM.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 06:22 PM   #14
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If you're happy with the structure, I'm happy with the structure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle
But I'm unsure if that's practical, or if the deck mud needs to be 3+ inches thick to be strong enough. Also unsure if 5/8" T&G subfloor is enough base to build on. There may also be a better solution.
The 5/8ths" subfloor is not enough for me, but it's technically enough for a mud floor under residential traffic. But the mud must be an absolute minimum of 3/4" thick at the thinnest point. And for what you're doing you don't want to be doing two mud beds. You can do one suitable mud bed and cover it with a direct bonded waterproofing membrane and accomplish what you want. To make it suitably thin you'll need to use a Schluter drain with whatever waterproofing membrane you choose. Then tile.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 08:12 PM   #15
kyle242gt
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Sounds good, the "worth price charged" advice is worth well more! I really appreciate your taking the time to help me with this.

Looking at the Kerdi Drain it becomes apparent that it'd be an ideal choice, but I wonder if I could just use what I have.

This is what I have now:

Name:  TS03-shower-drain-with-adjustable-strainer-photo.jpg
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Any reason I couldn't raise the drain base up a bit (currently about 1/16" from the floor level), put in the membrane over the 1.25-to-.75 slope deck mud, sandwich the membrane between the halves of the drain assembly, and thin set & tile on top of that? The upper drain piece is .5" from the lower half at its closest. I'd have to have some extra deck mud or thin set to cover the screws, but they're not that tall, maybe 1/8".

As this room is 6x6, and the membrane seems to come in 5' widths, what's a guy to do? Be nice to have a piece 7x7, so I can go up the wall a bit. Just overlap and glue?
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