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Unread 09-05-2019, 04:59 PM   #1
pirates712
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Master Bathroom Renovation

Hi All,

I'm in the process of renovating my master bathroom. The shower was (I suspect) original to the house and showing its age (30ish years). The demo showed that there's quite a bit I can improve on:
- No waterproofing -tile on durock with plastic sheeting only on the outside wall
- No preslope - the liner was sitting on 1/4" plywood (not sure why they thought that was necessary)
- Tiles were poorly bonded - many fell off intact
- Tiled ceiling was installed on drywall held up by 10 nails

The good news is the subfloor seems to be in good shape and the walls are pretty flat/plumb. My 4' level touches all the studs pretty much everywhere. My plan is to build the new shower with durock, a mud preslope/liner/mud base, and redgard for waterproofing. I'll be doing a ~2" hexagonal tile for the floor and ceiling and 12"x24" tiles for the walls, both in porcelain that looks like marble (I'll post links once I meet the requirements).

I'm also planning on replacing the floor tile, vanity, etc, but the shower is the big focus right now. As you can see from the photos, my durock measuring/cutting skills could use some work, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with how it's going so far.

As a DIY'er this is my first time tackling a project this large and my first time tiling/building a shower. Fortunately I have another full bath available so I can afford to take my time! Anyway, I just wanted to get a thread started so there's context for my inevitable questions
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Unread 09-05-2019, 05:17 PM   #2
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Welcome Ethan. Looks like you've busy. You might want to check out the "shower construction info" thread in the Liberry.
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Unread 09-07-2019, 07:23 AM   #3
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Thanks Davy, I've definitely been trying to learn everything I can.

Here's a picture that shows the gaps in my cement board a little better. It's hard to see because the light is installed, but I have about a 1" gap between the edge of the durock and the outer edge of the recessed light can. Seems too big to fill with thinset, particularly since the ceiling will be done in a small hexagonal tile. I think I will try to cut out a section of the CBU and replace it with a piece that fits better. I'd rather not rehang the whole sheet!

You can also see the gap on the right side along the wall; this gap is a little over 1/2". I'm thinking when I hang the CBU on the walls I'll slide it up into that gap instead having it sit under the ceiling CBU, if that makes sense. I know that's not how a pro would do it, but it doesn't seem like it would make that much of a difference?
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Unread 09-07-2019, 09:19 AM   #4
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If you still have the circle piece of backer board that you cut out, you might be able to cut out a half moon shaped piece to glue onto the edge around that side of the light. Since no one will be pushing or walking on it, it only needs to be strong enough to hold the tiles.
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Unread 09-07-2019, 12:13 PM   #5
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Pushing up Durock on the wall past the ceiling is fine. Looks like the plywood on the subfloor might be the wrong direction?
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Unread 09-07-2019, 12:16 PM   #6
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Because of the cracked floor tiles, I'd want to know more about what caused that.

You said the subfloor seems like it's in good shape. I see that you've applied another layer of ply. But it looks like it might only be a thin layer of lauan. And it looks like the long axis of the ply has been installed parallel with, instead of perpendicular, to the floor joists. Can you tell us more about all this?

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Unread 09-07-2019, 12:19 PM   #7
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The subfloor itself is 5/8" T&G with the visible grain running perpendicular to the joists (2x8, 16" OC). In the shower area there is currently 1/4" ply over the subfloor with the grain parallel with the studs, but I'm planning on removing it before the preslope goes down.
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Unread 09-07-2019, 12:42 PM   #8
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Now I get it
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Unread 09-14-2019, 06:39 AM   #9
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This past week I got my new supply plumbing installed - a new moen positemp valve to replace the original non-pressure-blalanced one, plus a transfer valve to switch between the showerhead and a hand shower.

The project for this weekend is to build a half-wall between the shower area and the toilet. I'm mostly adding it to have a place to put a niche - the right wall of the shower is an exterior wall, the left wall has too many studs due to the wall behind the toilet, and I'm installing sound deadening in the back wall because it's shared with the guest bedroom.

Once I have the half-wall built I can add the curb (3x 2x4's) and start thinking about the pre-slope. I was originally planning on using a linear drain designed for a conventional mud bed like this one, thinking that it would make it easier for a novice to make the final slope look good. However, now I'm not sure how it would work with the pre-slope, since it seems like the final slope would have to be really thick at the center to account for the pre-slope being the same height around the perimeter of the shower.

Not sure why some of my pictures are uploading sideways, they look right on my computer.
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Unread 09-14-2019, 12:08 PM   #10
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The bottom plate (2x4 that connects to the floor) of your half-wall should continue in one piece under the curb. That will be stronger than making the half-wall and adding 3- 2x4's later for the curb.

You will need to brace it well to the wall behind the toilet. Once the half wall is built and plumb, don't be afraid to add a temporary 2x4 brace from the top of the wall to one of the studs to hold it secure.
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Unread 09-15-2019, 06:12 AM   #11
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You'll also want to use the straightest, and driest 2X4's you can for the half wall. Doing so will help prevent it from moving out of plumb as the 2X's dry out more.

Still no guarantee it won't. Mine did, and I put mine together with screws. A lot of screws. Still plumb where it attaches to the back wall, but is out 1/4" at the top of the unsupported end. In hindsight I would have used engineered lumber.
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Unread 09-15-2019, 10:34 AM   #12
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Wall is built. How do I tell if it deflects too much? If I put my weight against the top of the unsupported end I can get it to deflect about 1/4". Not sure how much the cement board will help.

Speaking of cement board, if I wanted to tile the toilet side of the wall and I used CBU on that side as well, would I still need to add a second layer of CBU on the inside of the niche? All of Sal DiBlasi's videos I've seen on niche construction have drywall on the other side of the niche.

It's a somewhat unusual layout - the total depth of the shower is 74" but on the toilet side it's only 48". The half wall is 34".

I pulled up some of the floor tile to get it out of the way. It's laid on luan plywood stapled to the subfloor which makes it pretty easy to pull up. Other than wear and tear it's in perfect shape after 30+ years, however I think I'll go with an uncoupling membrane for the new tile.
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Unread 09-15-2019, 11:10 AM   #13
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It's not unlike mine, Ethan, my shower is 84" long but between the half wall and the opposite wall in the shower it's about 42". Mine differs in that I have a vanity that butts against my half wall.

The half wall will defect as it stands. Cement board will help a bit, and tile will help a bit more. If you are going to put a solid surface "cap" on the top and on the vertical end, as I did, that will do the trick. Mine doesn't move at all.

If you clad both sides with CBU you probably don't need anything else on back of the niche. If you're building your own niche you'll of course need to line all four sides with CBU, and you'll need to water proof it, natch.
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Unread 09-15-2019, 12:27 PM   #14
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Thanks Dan, what do you mean by "The half wall will defect as it stands"?

By "solid surface cap" do you mean stone like granite or marble, or do you mean the material some countertops are made of? I would definitely prefer not to tile the top of the wall or curb, but I am concerned about marble staining.
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Unread 09-15-2019, 01:06 PM   #15
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Just meant that as it stands - before any thing else is attached to it.

Mine moved back and forth also, and it wasn't secured to the joists below like yours is. But once it had sheet rock on the vanity side, foam board and water proof membrane on the other - as well as the top and vertical front, it stiffened up considerably, hardly moved at all. The corner bench in the shower also helped, but not as much as I thought it would. But once I installed the stone on the top and front it didn't move at all.

Yes, by solid surface I meant stone or other man made material. in My case, soap stone.
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