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Unread 08-16-2022, 01:27 PM   #1
Mr_Stop
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Limestone Tile Shower Floor Tips

The designer spec'd honed limestone tile for the shower floor. I'm always hesitant to do natural stone and recommend against it in showers. Designer and client is aware of potential issues but don't seem as concerned.

Any recommendations to minimize potential staining or wetting issues when setting the limestone tile? I typically use a bonded sheet membrane to waterproof the pan. Should I consider a traditional vinyl pan liner instead?
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Unread 08-16-2022, 02:50 PM   #2
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Personally, I would go the Kerdi route. Pre-seal the tile, install it and seal it again. I don't like limestone on a shower floor....
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Unread 08-16-2022, 09:53 PM   #3
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I would advise the opposite of Laz.

Statistics say that surface waterproofing directly under natural stone on a pan is MORE likely to exhibit the dreaded moisture darkening issues. I would rather install a traditional mud floor with a 3-piece clamping drain.

Also, sealing the tile will exacerbate the moisture darkening issue, if it occurs. Sealer is not designed, nor do many sealers block moisture from penetrating. But they all will slow down the moisture from evaporating out of the stone when it gets in. Yes, even the ‘breathable’ ones. Unless you’re trying for 6-sided sealing (exceptionally difficult on mosaic tiles that will fall off the mesh when wetted) with specific sealer and thinset mortar that is compatible (non-compatibility will cause possible bonding issues), I would avoid sealing at all costs.

Disclaimers don’t hold up as well as you’d think if litigation where to occur. But I’d have them sign a simple waiver that they agree to the tile turning dark from moisture.

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Unread 08-17-2022, 06:05 AM   #4
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Interesting on the opposing viewpoints!

Yes, I seem to recall reading that the traditional method method was less likely to lead to darkening issues, which is why I brought that up. It's been years since I have done that, so I'll have to brush up.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 07:31 AM   #5
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I would do a traditional mortar bed. The natural stone soaks up the water and needs to dry out. Kerdi and sealing slow that process down in a big way. A mortar bed allows to moisture to gravitate down and out as opposed to wicking towards the drain.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 07:48 AM   #6
Mr_Stop
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Found the article I remember reading: https://www.tileletter.com/marble-mo...discoloration/

Unless I wanted to use epoxy adhesive and grout, they agree that traditional dry pack mortar bed shower pan is the best option.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 08:22 AM   #7
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Brad, Pasha (Pavlo) has done a lot of testing in that article that you linked to. He advocates for a bonding flange drain, bonded membrane, epoxy mortar, and epoxy grout. It's a pretty predictable system if you do it that way.

But, as long as you keep your weep holes clear and flowing you shouldn't have trouble with a mud bed & liner. You might even consider using an unmodified mortar to stick the pan tiles down with.

Where people are getting in trouble is when the tiles aren't fully covered underneath. Moisture is sitting in the uncollapsed ridges with no escape.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 08:28 AM   #8
Mr_Stop
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Thanks Jim. I have never used an epoxy mortar or grout. Any recommendations on product and tips to work with it?
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Last edited by Mr_Stop; 08-17-2022 at 08:36 AM.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 08:47 AM   #9
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I've never used an epoxy mortar. Spectralock Pro Premium or Ardex WA are both easy to use (relatively) epoxy grouts. I believe WA can be used as a setting mortar.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 09:17 AM   #10
Mr_Stop
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I checked and the price on the epoxy thinsets are pretty $ and you need to buy 3+ gallons at a time. Probably enough to do 3-4 shower floors depending on trowel size. Shelf life for factory sealed containers shows two years.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 10:19 AM   #11
Dave Gobis
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I would stick with the traditional method if they insist on stone and they will likely still not be happy a few years down the road. Had a mega rich client we did one for. Took every precaution we could and was tearing it out five years later.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 04:19 PM   #12
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IMHO, it's all still a crapshoot. I would still waterproof the top of the tile only. With a SAM, the water would quickly disperse. With a water in/water out, seems to me that the bottom of the tile would remain wet for a long time.

I have done it this way before and no complaints....but there are several ways to skin a cat.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 04:26 PM   #13
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Sam?
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Unread 08-17-2022, 04:49 PM   #14
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I think that's Surface Applied Membrane, but that's just a guess. Don't know of any industry standard designation with that abbreviation.

Lots of opinions here. I think your safest bet would be to use the traditional method of making your receptor and to install your tiles with as close to 100 percent mortar coverage as possible and not to use any kind of sealer on the tiles or grout.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-17-2022, 08:51 PM   #15
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Yes. Surface Applied Membrane.
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