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Unread 10-13-2011, 04:14 PM   #1
ObuseMe
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Shower Pan Construction - one inch wide gap around perimeter between pan and wall

Hello - First time poster here, thanks for all the useful info to help me along with my bathroom tile project. I have a pointed question/problem to seek help with, but I welcome any other advice you may have based on what you see in the pictures.

I'm constructing a shower pan. I used proslope for the first base, then a normal membrane, and then on top I added a final layer of deck mud. Instead of mudding all the way to the side of the shower, I left a 1 inch or so gap between the deck mud and the wall. I figured it necessary to do this since I was not able to reinforce the wall with 2x6s wedged vertically between the studs (since there is miscellaneous plumbing there). I figured that packing deck mud against the membrane with nothing behind it for support would not work. Now I'm wondering if there are problems with my approach. I have 3/4" hardi backer to hang on the walls, so it will close this gap somewhat, but still leave about 1/4" between the shower pan and the hardibacker for the wall.

I plan on using porcelain 8"x"12" tiles for the wall, and 2"x2" mosaic tiles for the floor. I'm wondering if I can fill most of this gap by mounting the tiles slightly below the shower pan, and then sliding the mosaic sheets out to meet it. Anyone see any problems with this?

Thanks - Andy
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Unread 10-13-2011, 05:20 PM   #2
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One problem I see is that in order to secure your wall board properly, it will have to be nailed/screwed near the bottom, which will penetrate the liner at a level that will allow water to get past the liner. Normally, you don't put nails or screws in the lower part of the board (anything lower than the height of the curb) and the deck mud holds the board against the studs.

I also see improper installation of the liner in the area where the curb meets the wall.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 05:21 PM   #3
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Welcome, Andy.

I recommend you remove that deck mud while it's still fresh and easy.

Several things there that catch my eye.

You appear to have no blocking anywhere for your pan liner. Yes, sometimes a fella hasta be a little creative where there are obstructions in the wall cavity, but you can always get adequate blocking in 90 percent or more of the walls.

I see no evidence of any notching nor furring to accommodate the folds in your liner material, even without proper blocking.

With your current mud job, you'll have no way at all to support the bottom of your wall board. You really want it below the top of your mud bed and you really want blocking behind the liner so that bottom edge can be properly captured in there.

I can't see much detail where your liner meets your curb, but it's pretty apparent it doesn't extend nearly far enough. That's one of the first points of failure in any shower construction such as yours.

Think I gotta recommend we take out the liner and curb and do a re-start from there.

My opinion; worth price charged.

And I'm apparently not the first to notice some of that.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 06:05 PM   #4
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What CX said,

Due to the liner at the curb top corner I'd take it all out and start over.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 08:41 PM   #5
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Ok, so here's an update with one piece of hardibacker attached, with my proposed remedy (the deck mud is dry! what's the easiest way to take it out if necessary?)

The hardibacker extends all the way down to the vinyl membrane, and the membrane goes up behind the hardibacker. I didn't drive any hardibacker screws lower than the distance that the vinyl extended up. It seems pretty secured to me, you're thinking that the membrane near the curb doesn't extend far enough? That I ought to add the backing in the wall via 2x6s (to as much as I can), and then mud the pan? Anyway to just add in some mud now to the crevice around the perimeter?

Here's the hardibacker that goes to the bottom of the pan, with an idea of how I could lay the tile (if you are standing outside the shower looking at it, this is the left hand side):
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Unread 10-13-2011, 09:57 PM   #6
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Andy, that Hardi on the wall is another problem, at least the way it's installed. You've got it sitting right on the floor, and it should be at least 1/2" off the liner to prevent water from wicking into the board.

On the first pic to the left of that tile, do you see that hole where you can see straight into the wall cavity? That's going to allow water into the wall.

Take a look in the liberry at the shower construction threads to see the proper methods for building a shower. The area where the curb meets the wall is the most common area that installers and DIYer's have trouble getting the liner done properly.
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Unread 10-14-2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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Ok thanks for all the help. Here's what I'm contemplating: remove the one piece I hardibacker I put up, removing the dried wet mud (mortar mix) that is covering the curb (made by 3 stacked 2x4s), and removing the dried deck mud from the pan.*

Then I'll pull back the PVC liner from the studs, and notch the studs.*

Next ill add blocking where I can, and just skip those portions where there is plumbing.*

I really want to avoid removing the PVC liner entirely, so ill use extra liner to seal the area where the curb meets the wall. Can I use a water tight adhesive to glue this on in a sealed manner? *Other threads seem to indicate so. The PVC liner does already cover the curb and overlap to the outside, it's just covered by the curb mud in the pics.*

So at this point I will have added blocking between the studs, notch the studs, and added more coverage for the PVC liner. I'll also the. Be able to re-deckmud the pan, and get a second shot at building the curb.*

How does that approach sound? *Any suggestions for removing the cured deck mud from the pan, or the cured wet mud from the curb? *I need to ensure that the PVC liner is not damaged, nor the proslope foam under it. That makes me hesitant to go wild with a hammer and chisel.*
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Unread 10-14-2011, 10:55 AM   #8
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There are preformed corners made just for covering the corners where the curb meets the wall. They are glued in place with cement made just for PVC liners. You should try to find both of those products.

I'd also be concerned about puncturing the liner. A couple of good whacks with a sledge hammer will probably break up the floor easy enough. Best way to make sure the liner isn't punctured is to flood test it after you reinstall it properly.
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Unread 10-14-2011, 11:04 AM   #9
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Think I could get away with only removing the curb, and keeping the deck in place, and just packing some fresh deck mud in the edge around the perimeter? I can resolve all of the issues, and also not risk the liner.*
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Unread 10-14-2011, 04:42 PM   #10
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I doubt it'll hold together very well. Deck mud gains some of its strength from being a single, monolithic, piece. What you'll have will be far from that, and the perimeter section will be a narrow section, probably not able to hold together very well. Deck mud is cheap.

Another problem that I mentioned earlier is the inevitability that water will wick up the Hardibacker due to the fact that it's in contact with the liner. The problem is that the bottom foot or so will stay saturated and eventually mold will start growing. The hardi needs to be at least 1/2" off the liner.
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Unread 10-14-2011, 06:59 PM   #11
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While I agree that the CBU should always be held above the pan liner a little, I'm not at all concerned, as is Kevin, that there will be any water wicking at all at that outside edge if the shower pan liner is properly sloped.

In-house testing indicates that wicking from a saturated mud with be essentially the same as wicking from standing water even with the CBU a half-inch above the standing water in the deck mud. Conversely, if there is no standing water and no saturated deck mud, there will be no wicking at all.

You still need to remove that deck mud, do all the recommended repairs and changes suggested here, and do a new mud bed, Andy. Really you do.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-14-2011, 07:06 PM   #12
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Yep, what Kelly and the others said. You might have to go to a plumbing shop to get the pan corners but they are very important.
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Unread 10-14-2011, 09:52 PM   #13
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I don't know, CX. You could take a sheet of Hardi out to the desert, drop it in a sand dune, and it'll pull some water out.
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Unread 10-14-2011, 10:53 PM   #14
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Yeah, it's thirsty, but it really doesn't wick any worse than some others, Kevin. I really need to get that article written up.
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