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Unread 10-04-2019, 03:20 PM   #1
Brian in San Diego
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Building a bathroom from scratch

Hello everybody! It's been a long, long time since my last thread. And much has changed...I'm no longer in San Diego, but live in a couple of different places so I may as well keep the original screen name.

My current project is helping a friend build a basement bathroom in a friend's home in British Columbia. Of course, all my tiling tools are in Southern California so I'm buying what I need to make due. My friend and I have already framed out the interior walls. (One wall of the bathroom is on an outside wall that has already been drywalled.) That wall will include one wall of the shower. I'm going to use Kerdi as I am somewhat familiar with it. Although I wish I had my copy of John's book with me for reference.

My first dilemma is what to do about the epoxy floor. The entire floor of the basement was epoxied when the house was built. I used my Makita VS grinder with a diamond cup and roughed up the epoxy in the area that is to become the shower. My question is this: Do I have to remove the epoxy completely to bare concrete or will roughing it up be sufficient? We will also be tiling the bathroom floor so the question remains for that area as well. Right now my main concern is the shower pan since sand topping mix doesn't have any modifiers to make it stick.
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Unread 10-04-2019, 05:33 PM   #2
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Hi Brian. You can add a slurry of thinset under the sand mix to help get it to bond to the roughed up epoxy. You might want to test stick a tile to the rough epoxy and let it set a few days, then bust it up. That will tell you for sure. Of course getting down to raw concrete would be best when using thinset.
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Unread 10-04-2019, 06:13 PM   #3
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Yo, Brian!

Although it would still be dusty work, you could cut some grooves in the concrete to give the slurry something to bite into.
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Unread 10-04-2019, 07:00 PM   #4
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Welcome back, Brian.

I'm gonna vote that you really need to remove that epoxy down to bare concrete by mechanical means. You might get away with trying to bond a mud shower floor over the roughed-up epoxy, but I'd sure not recommend you tile the bathroom floor over that. Unless, of course, you're willing to use an epoxy adhesive for the floor tiles. Even at that you're depending upon the existing epoxy coating to be well enough bonded to hold a tile installation.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-04-2019, 08:02 PM   #5
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I'll clarify my post above, as I didn't see the part about tiling over the rest of the bathroom floor.

I would stand by my advice for the shower, but not for the rest of the bathroom. I'd definitely remove that epoxy.

I don't envy you that job.
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Unread 10-04-2019, 08:25 PM   #6
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Will try not to take this off on too much of a tangent as I was speaking with a friend about him tiling his basement that has drylok. His installer of course told him no problem, just wipe it clean. So I’ve been thinking about this a bit

Anyway, so if a surface has a coating. If it is rough as in 100 grit or rougher. Why does it matter what’s on it as long as the coating is adhered?

It can’t be because the thinset needs something porous because people tile on Kerdi, Ditra and redguard all the time.

So as long as the surface is rough, what does it matter what’s on it? Now epoxy tends to be thick so it might be difficult getting it rough enough but in general would love to hear specifics as to why coatings interfere with thinset adhesion.
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Unread 10-04-2019, 09:14 PM   #7
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Charlie, materials such as Kerdi and RedGard, direct bonded waterproofing membranes (ANSI A118.10), are specifically designed to be bonded to with thinset mortars and tested for such use. Thinset mortar does not bond to Ditra at all.

While it's possible that thinset mortar may bond somewhat to the coating the OP has on his concrete, we just don't know that. If he wants to test such bonding with the thinset mortar of his choice and determines that it is acceptable to his needs and wants to tile over what he's got, I say go for it. But if he wants to use methods that have been tested and accepted by the ceramic tile industry and the thinset mortar manufacturers, he'll need to properly prepare his concrete surface.

All a matter of risk assessment and liability acceptance. All we can do is point out what the industry recommends and where the smart money is betting.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-05-2019, 11:42 AM   #8
Brian in San Diego
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Thanks for the replies. I was leaning toward removal down to concrete, but as Kevin stated it's not an enviable job. I may do a test as Davy suggested. It might be an inexpensive way to save me a lot of work and mess.

It's funny that I thought just the opposite. I thought I'd have to get to bare concrete in the shower and just rough up the floor.

I am quite confident that the epoxy is well stuck to the concrete as evidenced by grinding on it inside the shower pan. I haven't taken any photos yet, but will try to do so as I go forward. Funny thing about me and projects...I get so involved in doing the work I never take the time to stop and take pictures of my progress.
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Unread 10-05-2019, 01:21 PM   #9
Brian in San Diego
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Speaking of niches...I used a Recess-It niche in my first shower. Now I see Schluter offers niches made from kerdi board. Any particular advantages? As I am not using Kerdi board is the installation still much the same when using Kerdi?
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Unread 10-05-2019, 06:28 PM   #10
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They are a coin toss, personal choice.

We normally build our niches out of foam board and cut them in after tiling has started as to get the grout lines to fall perfectly in whole tiles.
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Unread 10-05-2019, 08:10 PM   #11
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I like the recess-it niches, but having to recess the flange to the sheetrock face is a pain.

I switched to the Kerdi niche for that reason.

The flange is the same thickness as sheetrock, and I just run the waterproofing over the flange and cut it around the opening.
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Unread 10-08-2019, 02:11 PM   #12
Brian in San Diego
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Next question has to do with thinset. Home Depot in Canada carries Custom Blend, Premium Blend (both unmodified) and Versabond. I can’t remember what I used on my shower, but I think it may have been Versabond (rule breaker). Any guidance? I seem to remember Custom Blend was “too economical”, but wondering if this Premium Blend May be the ticket for Kerdi installation.
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Unread 10-08-2019, 02:50 PM   #13
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The Premium Blend usta be available down here in The States years ago, Brian, but no longer. I know it was assumed to be better than Custom Blend, but I never tested any of it.

Rule breaker or no, I'd use the VersaBond, which I presume to be the same product available here, but can't actually testify to that. I do know that the product differs in some markets and I know folks in the Washington, DC area who won't touch it. I've never had any problem with it at all. You might wanna buy a test bag before you commit to using it to install your Kerdi.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-12-2019, 06:31 PM   #14
Brian in San Diego
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So I decided to give the Premium Blend a try. Funny thing, it’s actually more expensive than Versabond here in Canada. Anyway, it blends well and I liked the consistency. Stuck a couple of sheets of Kerdi today and I guess I can say I did a better job than my first shower some 14 years ago.
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Unread 10-12-2019, 08:36 PM   #15
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Hi, Brian! Is it snowing up by you, yet? . Coupla days ago, the weatherman said portions of Minnesota were in for 3’ of snow with the impending storm...with some parts up to 8’!
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