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Unread 11-30-2020, 10:47 PM   #46
1HappyDad
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From the edge of the slab to the drain has 3/8 fall that I measured. I measured from the top of the drain to the top of the slab, which is roughly 21" from the edge of the silver drain to the slab.

?

I'm at a point if necessary, I can technically remove the 4:1 mix and the rubber pan liner.

Forgive me here....So you're suggesting using a membrane such as redgard in lieu of the pan?

If that is the case, how would I safely set this up? The slab is perfectly level believe it or not, and the shower bed was 4" below grade and was also level once I removed the old mud bed during my demo.

Do I remove the 4:1 that is in place now on top of the pan, remove the pan and build-up the slope again to the drain to achieve my 3/8" fall?

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Unread 12-01-2020, 10:39 AM   #47
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James, the requirement for slope of the waterproofing material for the shower receptor is a minimum of 1/4 vertical inch per horizontal foot and measured from the farthest point from the drain. That's not to the sides of your relatively square footprint, but to the far corner. That's the absolute minimum slope requirement.

What I would strongly recommend you do, since I know you're not gonna want to remove the concrete you've poured in that slab depression, is to chip out that drain, install a bonding flange drain at the correct height to accommodate a properly sloped mud bed and waterproof your floor and shower walls with that membrane. That will allow you to create the curbless entry you want with a properly sloped and waterproofed shower receptor.

I don't think what you currently have is going to work well for you.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-01-2020, 08:01 PM   #48
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Measured from the far corners to my drain is 3/8" fall. I used a smart level and a manual level to confirm.

The mud bed that was previously poured, that is currently under the rubber pan liner was at a roughly 1/8" fall

If i have to remove everything, I certainly will and do it myself.

Correct me if I am misunderstanding here...
- It appears best to remove the 4:1 material that is currently sitting on top of the rubber pan liner, screw the drain riser down and add the 4:1 back on top of the previously placed mud bed; slope to at least 1/4" minimum (preferred 3/8), allow it to cure and then properly coat the shower 4:1 floor and the slab with a waterproofing membrane, studs 12" up the wall, place the durorock on the walls, coat with waterproof membrane and finally set the tile?

Doing this would eliminate the rubber pan liner issue I have folding over to the slab?

I can probably do this myself in a day or so.
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Unread 12-04-2020, 01:20 PM   #49
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So a few other contractors came over and suggested the plan of action be this:

Remove the 4:1 thats not currently set up
Remove the shower pan that is sitting on top of the mud bed
Slightly lower the drain flange
Install pea gravel around the flange/weep hole area
Reinstall the 4:1 and set to a 1/4" minimum pitch or set to my preferred 3/8" to the drain
Cover with a waterproofing membrane and go up the studs 12" for the entire shower area
Install tile


Does this sound like a safe plan of action or should I be looking for something else?
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Unread 12-04-2020, 07:10 PM   #50
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James, I fear we're still not getting through. The required slope is a minimum of 1/4-inch vertical drop per horizontal foot to the far corner of the shower. Not a total drop of 3/8ths-inch from the perimeter to the drain. If the distance to the farthest corner, for example, is two feet, the absolute minimum drop would be 1/2-inch. A bit more is better to ensure you have the minimum slope everywhere.

If you are going to change to a direct bonded waterproofing membrane type of receptor, I would very strongly suggest you change your drain to a bonding flange drain compatible with the sheet membrane you select.

In that style of shower construction, the membrane must extend all the way up the walls to at least above where the shower head supply pipe exits the wall.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-04-2020, 10:47 PM   #51
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Please forgive me, I'm trying to learn as I go and ensure I'm not getting into a mess with an unqualified contractor; considering just finishing this myself. I really appreciate your replies and continued guidance.

Anyways -- I'm using a MD Smart Tool level (2' and 4' that I use at work to check cross slope for ADA compliance) to check the pitch towards the drain. It measures pitch in/ft. Using that level with a verified calibration and resting a 2' level on several 1-by's sitting on top of the material, I'm reading 3/8" in/ft falling towards the drain.

https://imgur.com/a/prtOVvj

Blue lines along the wall are level
Red lines measure 3/8" using a smart level. I also used a standard bubble level with 1/8" indications and it also reads 3/8"
Yellow line reads 1/2" fall

My concern is the mudbed that was set to 1/8"-ft from the furthest corners to the drain flange. The pan rubber liner was set on top of this and the Mapei 4:1 was set on top of the liner with the 3/8"-ft towards the drain.

I'm hung up on the 1/8"-ft mudbed slope and am unsure if I should tear it out, lower the drain and and re-do the mud bed it myself to achieve a bit more slope.


The consideration of a waterproofing membrane was put out there to eliminate having to remove the 1/8" sloped mud bed as I could simply remove the pan liner, add more 4:1 at the proper slope and apply the membrane. That's not going to work as I would have to tear the oatley drain out that has been installed. I thought I could simply leave the drain in place, set the bed to slope and apply a membrane over top and tile.

Regardless, once the durorock is up, the walls will be coated with redgard membrane @ the proper thickness ---verified with a wet film gauge.
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Unread 12-05-2020, 07:57 AM   #52
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You've got your head around it, James.

That is a tough call on the 1/8" liner slope, tempting to leave it be. One of the ramifications of not having sufficient slope for the liner is that water may well sit in the pan, the top mud bed will be wet for prolonged periods, and thus the grout will be too. I've read here that the 4:1 doesn't drain as well as the recommended 5:1 which, if the pan holds water, might compound the problem.
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Unread 12-07-2020, 08:28 PM   #53
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I have been losing sleep over this mess.

Since I have a few weeks off of work, today I went ahead and removed everything.

First I removed the mortar bed on top of the pan; keep in mind it was dry packed and did not have moisture applied to cure it. I lined a few boxes with large contractor trash bags and transferred the material & sealed it up. The intent was to use the "Houston method" to cure; more on this later.

Pan was removed and discarded. I'll grab another one and just re-cut it if I don't hire this out again to a plumbing company.

Now the interesting part to the pre-slope. The pre-slope was dry packed, set to 1/8" in-ft slope to the drain measured from the furthest points of the shower. I decided to check it again before I tore it out. Maybe I would get lucky and not have to remove it. Verified with a M&D smart level and a manual level that it was just barely 1/8" and more or less flat in some other spots.

I decided that it would be safe to just remove it as I couldn't effectively put a bonding agent on it and build it up a bit more. Plus the drain should go down about 1/4" more anyways.

I get my trusty Ingersoll Rand air hammer, respirator, HEPA filters and my box fan filter ready to go. Make my first punch through the mudbed and there was virtually no resistance.

I thought it was rather odd, but I did have my air pressure turned up a bit and just put a hell of an edge on the blade. I continue and get a hole opened up so I can spread out.

As soon as I got some of the debris cleared I discovered the entire mudbed was powder under approximately varying 1/8-1/4" cured top layer. Now keep in mind, just about 8 gallons of water was sprayed on this with a pump sprayer to "cure it". This was Mapei 4:1 from Lowes

Anyways, I was able to break up the top layer of the mudbed, remove the now small gravel pieces and basically shovel the powder into 5 gallon buckets for disposal.

[



Long story short, had I not found this forum I would not have known any better about the slope, drain and other things. My OCD paid off yet again.


Damn good thing I decided to remove everything today; that would have been a dumpster fire; I certainly don't have the $ to do this again.

Is there a location on the forums where contractors are recommended/vetted by any chance?
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Unread 12-08-2020, 09:47 AM   #54
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Did you just spray water on top of the mix?
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Unread 12-08-2020, 11:27 AM   #55
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James, I'm confused on how you're using the Mapei 4:1. I just did my Kerdi pan using it. The directions are to mix from 3-4 quarts of water to a bag and mix thoroughly. I used only 3 quarts per bag in mine and there is no "sand" to be seen. While I haven't tried to punch any holes in it, I'm pretty sure that's one solid slab now.

It sounds like you just poured water on top of the powder mix. Is that right?
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Unread 12-08-2020, 01:55 PM   #56
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Water was not poured on the mix it was applied with a pump sprayer as a fine mist. Apparently this is some old school "houston" method?

I had another contractor come today and look at everything. I'm even more confused now. I asked about setting a pre-slope and was advised they they will not install a pre-slope; the pan liner will essentially encompass the entire walled in shower area eliminating the need for a pre-slope. The area will be built up with 4:1 and a curb added at the entry point with two stacked 2x4's with the pan liner going over them and terminating on the other side.

The drain will be lowered to the same height as the recessed slab which puts it approximately 3-3/4" lower than the floor slab. The drain will be adjusted up with the threads and sloped "1/4 bubble"

I asked what the slope should be and was advised they don't know but it will be set to 1/4 bubble on a level.

I also inquired about how the durorock will be sealed; they will not use nor warranty their work if redgard is used because it is so new. It was stated that water gets trapped between the back of the tile and redgard creating a moisture sandwich which will cause mold and the tile to fall off. Durorock is designed to absorb the water and dry things out. I asked why they won't warranty any work if redgard or another membrane sealant is used and I was advised they had a job where redgard was applied and weakened the mastic used for the tile in a shower. I thought thinset was supposed to be used and not mastic for wet locations?



Jesus H Christ.

The contractor said they will have their plumber come to see where the drain should be set next week.

At a standstill now as I'm losing confidence quickly and am having difficulty finding a competent contractor.
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Unread 12-08-2020, 02:56 PM   #57
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I'm sorry for all the anguish you're going through right now, James. It's a difficult situation.

There's a thread (at least one) in the in the Pro's Hangout about the Houston Method, so it's definitely a thing. Mixed responses in the thread I read, with more than a couple people wondering if what you found to be the case would happen, that only the top was hard and underneath it would be all sand. Others said it was hard all the way through. More seemed wary of it than a fan, though.

I'm just an enthusiastic amateur. I've done a lot of floor tile jobs over the years, but am currently working on my first bathroom/shower. When I was doing my research I just kept running into what a bitch it seemed to be to get a vinyl liner bed installed properly, at least for an amateur. That, along with concrete backer board walls and the various waterproofing methods, all combining to give you a water RESISTANT shower, not a water PROOF one. I went with the Schluter system. It's been super easy to work with compared to CBU, and doing the pan seemed VASTLY simpler than the vinyl style. The approach to how to do the pan was probably the single biggest factor in my decision.

I'm not done yet, so who knows how it will turn out. But I started my flood test last night and this morning after 14 hours it looked like I hadn't lost any water at all.

You've done so much of the work yourself already, you're clearly not afraid to get your hands dirty. If you haven't been able to find a contractor you can trust (and some of the statements made by your most recent contractors sound scary to me...no preslope???!! How will the water that makes its way to the liner get to the drain?), if I were in your shoes I think I'd be just doing it myself. With this forum available to field questions as you go, you'd know at the end of the process that it was done right.

Anyway, just my $0.02. You'll find the right path forward for you!
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Unread 12-08-2020, 04:00 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James
Apparently this is some old school "houston" method?
Not old school, James. It's been tried before, but is rather a recent "invention" by one of our members. It is not something I'd recommend. Old school is making deck mud the way it's supposed to be made and what is recommended by the ceramic tile industry standards. The "Houston method" ain't it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by James
they will not use nor warranty their work if redgard is used because it is so new.
Equally absurd. Stuff's been around for decades. The moisture that gets between the tile and RedGard on the wall will evaporate back through the tile surface the same way it got in. And yes, it will get in. If the mortar coverage on the back of your tiles is sufficient, it will be no problem at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by James
I was advised they had a job where redgard was applied and weakened the mastic used for the tile in a shower
Possibly the reason the manufacturer requires the use of a modified thinset mortar over the RedGard, don't you think? Clearly they can't or won't read the manufacturer's instructions for the products they use.

James, it's time to cut these guys loose before they cause you some damage you can't recover from. No reason at all you can't complete this shower yourself and have a much better job of it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-08-2020, 09:26 PM   #59
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I feel like I"m in over my head at this point.....very frustrated...BUT:

I had another contractor come by tonight who certainly seems to have a solid plan..admitted this is a difficult setup but can be done.

Here is what I have to work with

The area is roughly 8'x6'


The recessed shower is 4" below slab grade and is perfectly level;
The drain is not centered and is slightly more forward toward the shower valve than the back of the shower;
The shower valve, overhead rain and other rough plumbing is currently centered to the drain.


This is what was here. Standard mudbed, no weephole drain, recessed step down into the shower



Standing at the shower area entrance, looking at the exterior wall / recessed shower slab:



Looking at the drain exposed. Make note of the CL marking on the concrete





His concern:

- Setting a 1/4"/ft fall to 3/8"/ft fall is going to require some build-up and will put a gentle slope on the longside of the shower near the entrance.

- On the short side between the drain and the wall the slope is going to be incredibly steep and nearly impossible to stand on.

- If the slope is reduced on the short and shorter sides, the tile cuts at the bottom will be anywhere between 1/2" - 1" difference and will be noticeable.


His suggestions:

- Move the drain over to the CL of the shower stall area
-- This will even the slope out for the the shower and reduce such a terrible cut on the bottom tiles.

- Fill the recessed area in with 5000psi concrete to be level with the existing slab;
- Construct a curb at the entrance with treated lumber or a pre-fab unit;
- Set the pre-slope at 3/8" / ft; which will put it roughly 1"-1.5" at the furthest point.
- Set a shower pan and go up the walls 8-12" for the entire shower area;
- Set the mortar bed.

( I may have him hang the durorock as well to speed things up).

Another option is to put a door but thats going to require some framing modification on the knee wall to widen it back up... And more $ I'm guessing I could possibly mount the door on the knee wall somehow?


- Leave the shower valve where they are and the drain would be off-center from the valves. I could always move it over but that may create another problem requiring a door as water could overspray out.



Blue lines represent water flow
Red square is the relocated drain
Yellow line is the pan liner out line
Green box is the curb
Note the valve location. I'm a bit hung up on that....


I am absolutely hung up on the drain height/location, properly setting the pre-slope, pan and mortar bed for the shower area. Once I can figure this out or have someone there to guide me along I'll feel better. I have done everything up to this point myself with a bit of guidance here and there but this damn shower deal has shamefully got me by the balls.


Any other potential suggestions or am I pretty much
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Unread 12-08-2020, 09:50 PM   #60
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James, if you plan to make that entire area a shower, you really need to forget about using a traditional method of building the receptor. Strike that from your thinking all together. Even if you center the drain, which you really need to do, your traditional build shower floor is gonna be at least 3 1/2" high at the shower entrance. You can do that, of course, and build a high curb, but I just don't think it's practical. I wish you would start thinking seriously about a direct bonded waterproofing membrane-type shower construction.

Second thing I don't think is the least bit workable is the location of your shower controls. I prefer the control to be located such that you can turn on the shower without being in the spray, but still close enough to adjust while using the shower. Put the heads where you want therm, then locate the controls where you need them.
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