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Unread 11-02-2020, 04:17 PM   #1
BIGPHIL
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My second bathroom remodel adventure!

Hey everyone! Well...it's been 9 years since my last bathroom project (here) and figured I'd come back to share my latest one. This is such a great community with an abundant amount of knowledgeable people! Quite a bit has changes since my last project. My girlfriend stayed with me through the last endeavor and I figured if she put up with all that, I better marry her asap! We married in 2013 and have a 3 year old son! Ok, enough of that now. Onto the project!

We moved shortly after the last bathroom project and our new house was in dire need of the guest bathroom being renovated. The house was built in 1992 and the bathroom was just dated. I figured I'd bring it into the 21st century! I'll start with some pictures...a before shot and then some during shots and finally the current progress.
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Unread 11-02-2020, 04:18 PM   #2
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A few more pictures...
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Unread 11-02-2020, 04:35 PM   #3
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It's looking good.
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Unread 11-02-2020, 05:13 PM   #4
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Some details:

After demo, unfortunately the subfloor was a bit damaged from the old 1/4" hardie board that was attached with thinset and screws. I was able to remove all of the thinset, but the subfloor swelled a bit from the moisture I'm sure, so out she went! Subflooring is cheap anyways and I wanted to move the floor register into the wall...I hate registers in the floor! They just ruin the look of a nice tiled floor in such a small space. I contemplated putting in a chameleon vent, but decided on a flush wall vent instead. The only thing with this is that it was 3x10 in a 2x4 cavity wall so I was forced to use an air return grille and not a true register with damper. I never close the darn things anyways and I just love the look of the flush mount! It's all extruded aluminum and the grille come out by releasing a couple of sleek spring clips.

I added some blocking between the joists where the edge of the subfloor was ripped...the other side I was able to just use the tongue of the new subfloor and the groove of the old so no blocking was needed. I attached a couple of sister joists to support the outer edges with plenty of 3" Simpson SDS structural screws. glued and screwed the new subfloor to joists. After that I ran my belt sander along all the edges where the old meets the new so everything was as flat as can be...it came out fantastic which will be nice when I'm ready to set the floor tile.

I replaced most of the copper pipe with new copper as the old stub outs were way to short to salvage...plus I needed different routing for the Grohe rapido smartbox unit.

The tub sits on an exterior gable end wall, and while the house has a truss roof, I decided to add a header for the custom niche, as I found conflicting information on if a header was needed or not. I decided to build it the stronger way and use a header. I was able to use 3 layers of 1/2" EPS foam board as insulation behind the niche. The rest of the insulation was R-23 Thermafiber mineral wool for the 2x6 cavity. I ripped the 2x4 that is the bottom of the niche at ~4° as to give it a proper slope for drainage.

After that came the tub rough in. All I can say was this was the most frustrating part of the whole project so far. The tub is an American Standard Studio Suite, model 2973.212.011. I wanted a tub that had no apron, but an integrated tiling flange. I only found two...this one and a Kohler Archer....should have went with Kohler!!! The tub is nice looking, but the rough in was a freaking nightmare! The leveling support boards for the back and sides sat true, but the front was so far out of whack that you couldn't use a level support board. You just had to be there, but be glad you weren't! I wouldn't ever recommend anyone using that tub! Get the Kohler if you want the same style and a nicer tub. After I won that battle, I put some 6mil poly down and fastened some metal lath with some galvanized narrow crown staples. Mixed up some Mapei 4 to 1 mud and set the tub. I drank more than a few beers after that!

Next came the wedi (excluding the tub apron) and drywall. I must say...what a dream working with wedi board vs hardiebacker! Nothing special here...pretty standard stuff. After I was done taping and finishing the drywall, I primed it and then textured it to match the rest of the house in an orange peel texture.

Next I laid some ~1/4" ACX plywood down and fastened it with about a thousand narrow crown 3/4" galvanized staples. I then filled the seams with some cheap latex caulk. I then put the wedi on the tub apron and sealed all joints. I have exactly enough ditra left over from last time that I'll be using that for the floor underlayment when it comes time.

It was finally starting to look like a bathroom again and I began tiling. For the tub surround, I'm using the following porcelain tiles: Flaviker Urban Concrete, fog color. I've always loved the look of linear mosaic and wanted a similar linear tile layout. Urban Concrete comes in what they call a mixed set of 6", 4", and 2" tiles, so that's what you see on the wall. But....what a PITA to lay these tiles! I'm using a 1/2"x1/2" U notch trowel, but I've been back buttering and then back troweling the tiles. I found it difficult to trowel the thinset on the walls and lay these tiles using the leveling system I have without creating a giant mess in the 1/8" grout joints...especially the 2x24" tiles. My way is slow, but I'm getting much quicker as time progresses...

Some other cool details:
The niche edges are all finished with Schluter quadec profiles in classic grey and will match the grout (I plan to use Laticrete Spectralock 1). The top of the niche has a hidden Schluter DECO-SG profile that will be the track for an LED light strip. You can just barely see the wire hanging there in the last picture above. The drywall pictures, you'll notice a large square hole...This is where the medicine cabinet will be. I framed it out of poplar and used a sanded birch ply backer. I used my HVLP to sprayed it with 3 coats of general finishes high performance satin and had a custom cherry door made for it from Barker cabinets. I still need to make a tinted top coat I plan to spray the door with to match the vanity (Bellmont 1900 series, cherry, java varnish). The wires hanging down from the drywall are the leads to the niche LED and another set of leads for a strip that will be in the toekick of the vanity. The driver/controller that will be mounted inside of the medicine cabinet on the top shelf is made by RGBGenie, model ZV-1008. Its z-wave based 24v. You'll be able to control the LED lights via smart app or a wall mounted switch also by RGBGenie, model ZW-3002. The cool part is the switch and controller can also be setup in direct control mode so you don't need a smart hub after the initial setup and config. The switch is all touch screen and you can set the LED's to any color you want via an RGB slider touch. It's gonna look awesome once complete!!!
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Unread 11-03-2020, 05:45 PM   #5
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Unread 11-03-2020, 11:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil
Next I laid some ~1/4" ACX plywood down and fastened it with about a thousand narrow crown 3/4" galvanized staples.
This was part of a floor?
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Unread 11-03-2020, 11:22 PM   #7
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Yes. Only outside of the tub. It was needed to bring the floor to the correct height to match the carpet outside the room. I'll be putting ditra on it. It's exterior glue ACX stapled 2" around all perimeters and 4" in field. Do you see a problem with it?

Edit: explanation of why I choose this plywood vs say 1/4" hardie backer. Three reasons for my decision:
1) I dont recall seeing any thinset that was ok to use over my OSB sturd-i-floor
2) the thickness of the hardie plus thinset would have been slightly higher. The nominal thickness of this plywood is .234". Height was a major concern when contemplating what to do here as to allow for thinset/ditra/thinset/tile that would go on top.
3) when tearing out the old 1/4" hardie that was laid down the correct way with thinset and backer screws, it was obvious that the old OSB subfloor of the same type I used to replace had slightly swelled from the moisture content when they secured the old hardie. I was not a fan of that.
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Unread 11-04-2020, 11:06 AM   #8
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Welcome back, and looking good, Phil.

Timely post, yours, at least for me. Am about to embark on a complete overhaul of my hallway/guest bath and an apron-less but flanged tub is part of the plan. There aren't many choices so thanks for the advice to avoid the AS. I'm hoping the Kohler is better.
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Unread 11-04-2020, 01:18 PM   #9
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Thanks Dan! In my research the only tubs of this style that had tiling flanges and not drop in style (from what I've seen, those could work too with special considerations and materials like the Wedi tub sealing tape with butyl strip) were the following:

American Standard Studio Suite: 2973.212.011
Kohler Archer: K-1946-L-0
Kohler Underscore Rectangle: K-1121-L

I chose the the American standard for the price as it was 1/2 the cost of the others and looked nearly as good to me. I cannot attest that the Kohler units don't have a similar problem, but I'll say there is no way they could be worse! It was impossible to use a level stringer board in the front during rough-in because the way the fiberglass was sprayed underneath the apron lip. I'd just say that when you get the tub, check how the front stringer is placed and see if a level board will set in the gap nicely. I will say that I used the Kohler ClearFlo drain and it is a super nice unit.
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Unread 11-05-2020, 06:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil
Yes. Only outside of the tub. It was needed to bring the floor to the correct height to match the carpet outside the room. I'll be putting ditra on it. It's exterior glue ACX stapled 2" around all perimeters and 4" in field. Do you see a problem with it?
Yes, I do, Phil. There is no commonly available quarter-inch plywood that is suitable for part of a subfloor package. And even Schluter, who commonly recommends 3/8th-inch plywood, does not accept anything thinner under their uncoupling membrane.

The problem, as I see it, even when you're not using it as a structural component, is getting it sufficiently flat and keeping it that way without any voids beneath. Your fastener schedule (but not your fasteners) may accomplish that, but it's still not a given. And nobody in the tile installation products industry wants any part of the subflooring installed with staples. Screws and deformed-shank nails are usually recommended.

Will your tile installation fail because of that thin plywood layer? I dunno. Is it more likely to fail because of that thin plywood layer than it otherwise might? I would expect that to be a yes. Keep in mind that we (TYW) can no more guarantee failure than we can guarantee success, we can only tell you what the product manufacturers and industry standards require and where the smart money is likely to be betting.

If you're confident of your subfloor as it is, feel free to tile over it and please come back in a few years and tell us how it's doing. Might help another visitor decide how to complete her project.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-05-2020, 09:07 PM   #11
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CX,

Thank you for explaining it and for the response. Not what I was hoping for, but at least I'm not to late to correct that mistake. I'm not sure how I missed it, but sure enough after looking at the Ditra handbook, 3/8" plywood minimum for any underlayment panel. I used the SurePly fastening schedule method when attaching the boards and they lay flat as can be and are extremely solid. In the end, I'll take them out, and at least this is probably the easiest thing to have to re-do with minimal effort. So if a future person wants to use 1/4" plywood...we'll have to wait for them 'cause I like doing things as correct as possible.

With that said, height is my chief concern here and I'm trying to keep the installation the lowest possible while being as sound as can be. After looking it over again, this is my new plan of attack. Please let me know if you think this is will make for a sound installation.

1) remove 1/4" plywood and lightly sand any rough areas left behind from fastener removel
2) Redgardover the OSB (confirmed its ok over OSB in dry areas). I'd do this because as I said before, I was not thrilled during demo when I saw the old OSB subfloor absorb moisture from previously laid hardiebacker and the thinset layer underneath it. Should I skip this and not worry? Its no sweat off my back to do this, but I also dont want to cause any other issues with thinset curing between the Redgard and Ditra. From some reading just now, it seems that this should not be an issue as the channels in the Ditra should allow for any moisture to escape during curing. Thoughts?
3) Ditra per instructions and my installation meets the criteria D-W16-T-20 in the Ditra handbook (I've been using Schluter All Set thinset for everything thus far and will continue to do so).

I'm trying to recall why I even wanted to put an additional layer of plywood down because as I recall now during demo, I believe the old floor tile installation may have been about 1/8" above the carpet. I think the method I just outlined above would actually be even better in terms of height to match the hall carpet area.

Again, thank you!
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Last edited by BIGPHIL; 11-06-2020 at 11:40 AM. Reason: Removed unsupported installation method
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Unread 11-06-2020, 11:38 AM   #12
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Well, just spoke to a Schluter rep and he stated that no type of liquid membrane is acceptable for their system warranty coverage under Ditra. The only thing they stated was acceptable would be to use a latex paint to cover the subfloor if you wanted to and it wouldn't affect system performance. With that said, I'm gonna skip the redgard and the latex paint and probably use some Schluter fast-set to set the Ditra directly to the OSB subfloor.
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Unread 11-17-2020, 12:19 AM   #13
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I successfully removed the 1/4" ply with no damage to the subfloor and finished tiling the tub surround. The SurePly fastening schedule held the plywood down extremely sound...it was not easy to pull up the panels! I'll lightly sand the subfloor to get any imperfections left behind from the staples. So after looking at a few products and reading the litterateur, my plan now is to cover the OSB subfloor with Customs MBP (Muti-Surface Bonding Primer) and once cured, I'll slap the Ditra on.
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Unread 11-17-2020, 07:26 PM   #14
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Progress...
I'll set the Ditra and start tiling the floor tomorrow. I had a local tile shop make some bullnose out of the tile for me since it was going to be a 6 months+ wait to get it from the manufacturer. I'll put that on once the floor is set.
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Unread 11-18-2020, 07:18 PM   #15
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Quick question...I think it's ok, but I just put the Ditra down and have a bit of leftover mud...I assume it'll be ok to pre-fill the waffles right now? I'm not going to lay tile on it today.

Edit: assuming it is ok, any reason why you wouldn't want to?
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