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Old 12-28-2017, 09:40 PM   #1
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3x3 shower renovation

I posted similar in a different forum but I have learned a few things and have modified this accordingly.

I have spent the last month or so reading about shower installs and I decided that my original idea of a simple home depot shower base with direct to stud plastic walls was not the best idea and I would prefer to tile the walls.

I started by seeing what I had to work with so I removed the original shower which consisted of a 3x3 fiberglass pan, drywall for the walls, and countertop laminate glued over that. I was surprised after removing it all that it wasnt completed rotted out but there was some water stains, Im not sure if there is anything I should do about those like spray them with bleach or something but the wood seems solid.

I am now left with studs, some T&G 2x6s on the subfloor (held up by 4X8s on 4' centers), and 40 year old plumbing that backs up to the second bathroom tub.

I would like to ask for some advice so that I can work on my plan for this renovation.

The subfloor looks to be in good condition, but I was planning to put a piece 1/2" BCX plywood over the 2x6s and screw it down. If anyone is familiar with this type of subfloor (Portland OR) and has a recipe for success they could share I would appreciate it, i.e. leave a 1/8th gap all around, screw it on X" centers. The rest of the subfloor in the bathroom is 1/2" particle board (which i know everyone will tell me to remove) but due to the asbestos sheet flooring, I intend to cover it in a new layer of vinyl or something so I do not want to go too thick on the subfloor under the shower base.

Shower install:
Once the above is sorted I can start with the new shower install. After a lot of reading on others installs I am not interested in attempting a tile floor so I would like to purchase some pre-made shower base to use with tile walls. If people have recommendations on bases that are good but dont break the bank I would really appreciate it. I have looked at the swan Swanstone SS-3636 in a show room and it seems pretty sturdy but I dont know if I am in love with the surface finish but it seems like my top choice right now, it was $350. I also saw this Jacuzzi JCAY3636 which was acrylic instead of the swan material and it was ~$400 but I liked it less. There are a lot of cheaper ones like Dreamline and swan veritek or something but I worry about those being too flimsy. in any case I will be planning to put a mortar bed on the new plywood and set it if the manufacturer allows this. Do I have to worry about the mortar warping the plywood?

After I determine which base to get I will move on to the walls. Based on my reading for this simple install I could go with poly sheeting behind some CBU and then tile, or, no polysheeting and either paint on waterproofer, or membrane such as Noble valueseal or similar. I am undecided what direction I will go for this but will take any advice you can offer for a first timer with no tile/mudwork experience. I understand the detail when mating the wall waterproofing to the shower pan is crucial and I have read about most common methods but will probably ask again as I finalize my plans. In looking at the Kerdi or Wedi board it seams like it should be possible to make a nice clean joint to a prefab receptor but I have not seen that detailed in any of my reading.

My wife would like some kind of a little foot rest or something for shaving which it seems like could be added in a corner similar to a corner shelf. Is this commonly done/possible?

Finally, I plan to use a glass door and after having used both the nice looking frameless version and the cheaper framed units, I think I prefer the later as less water gets outside. Again, recommendations are appreciated.

I will probably have some other questions regarding the detail on finishing the tile in the immediate vicinity of an outside corner which is drywall, but maybe a simple bullnose not closer than XXX" is the accepted method.

I appreciate any advice you can offer as this is my first shower install. I have a lot of experience at general DIY tasks and basic fabrication so I think the above is within my abilities if I have a good plan.
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:55 PM   #2
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Your subfloor is common on the Left Coast (helpful if you'll add that geographic location to your User Profile) and with the addition of nominal 1/2" plywood is suitable for a ceramic tile installation or for your shower. That presumes your 4x8 joists are adequately supported, of course.

1. You would want some sort of water resistant barrier under the shower receptor to keep the plywood from leaching the moisture out of your mortar used to set the receptor. Roofing felt or polyethylene sheeting are the most commonly used.

2. You can use any of the waterproofing methods you've described for your shower walls, but you want to be sure your receptor has an adequate tiling flange all around to accommodate any of the methods.

3. Very common.

4. Dealer's choice.

5. Difficult to say without photos, but your waterproofing and tile need to extend beyond your shower enclosure.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Old 04-29-2018, 02:43 PM   #3
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Ok, I am finally putting this back together and I would like to ask about furring out the CBU so that it fits inside the premade base (swanstone). I am using furring strips that are 0.25" and in some cases due to the studs being uneven I am trying to use drywall shims to make everything even. Do you suggest that I get some other materials for shimming as I am having to stack up like 4 of these on top of each other to try to get everything square around the shower base.

I see a lot of people just have the CBU end above the flange on the base, but I would prefer for it to sit inside so when it is coated in redguard the water will all fall inside the pan.

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Old 04-29-2018, 05:40 PM   #4
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Attaching a new stud to the side of the old ones is alot quicker in my opinion.
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:43 PM   #5
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Tile layout options

Ok, I finally finished installing CBU which overhangs the tile flange on the pan as I furred it out and waterproofing with redgard so now I am ready to install the tile.

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I am planning to use some big 12x24 tiles and have come up with the following layout options. Can someone with experience let me know if I am missing something in terms of layout? I am making the pattern symmetric on the back wall and then wrapping the tiles around the corners to the other walls where it will end with a bullnose.

I thought that small slivers are bad and also I was trying to avoid very small cuts in the immediate vicinity of the bullnose because I thought it might look awkward.

I mocked up the 3 walls with the scaled sizes in powerpoint to look at the different layouts and annotated the empty shower here:

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The below options are what I am thinking:

option 1- Staggered with full tile against each wall in a brick type layout. The offset ends up being like 14" on a 24" tile, I am not sure that people like this but it doesnt have cuts right next to the bullnose so maybe that is a plus.

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option 2 - Tile centered on back with 1/2 tile offset on next row. This one almost looks symmetric on all 3 walls which is a plus but has cuts near the bull nose, again, maybe I am the only one that thinks that looks awkward.

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option 3 - centered on back wall but no offset. I am not sure if the offset vs straight is better/less trendy etc, please let me know.

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option 4- grout line centered on back wall, no offset. This one has cuts near the bullnose which as I said, I am not sure if that looks right.

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If there are any other tips our tricks to make sure it doesnt look odd please let me know. My intention is to split the difference between teh bottom and top rows to soak up the incomplete tile to the ceiling so it will look mostly symmetric but with a row about 6" tall on the top and bottom. If it is better to not have a reduced row on the bottom, maybe I can make a bigger accent so that I just have a small cut on the top tile and the bottom is a full 12" tall.

Thanks in advance
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:34 PM   #6
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I don't like option 1, it's not enough offset and looks odd. With either pattern, I would center up the back wall and on the end walls, slide the full tiles to the BN and make the corner cut larger. In the offset pattern, you would have half tiles and full tiles against the BN.

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Old 06-23-2018, 11:04 PM   #7
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pattern update

Thanks for your reply. I looked at centering it on the back wall and also pushing the left and right sides up against the bullnose. In both cases, it basically cheats the tile in the corners rather than carrying a cut piece around the corner, it uses a little more or less in order to fit the above boundary conditions.

See these ones:

option 5 - full tiles against the bullnose with centered tiles on back wall with cut pieces in the corners.

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option 5 - full tiles against the bullnose with centered grout seam on the back wall with cut pieces in the corners to make it work, and next row is half piece against bullnose with full piece centered on the back wall and cut pieces in the corners to make it fit.

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I actually think both of these look pretty clean, I just wonder about not carrying the tile around the corner and kind of cheating to make it fit on the sides. Maybe this is a good approach though in order to make it match at the bullnose pieces in case the walls are not perfectly plumb. It seems this is something where there is no replacement for experience.
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