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Unread 06-23-2020, 09:43 PM   #1
landersen
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Starting a bathroom remodel

Hey folks,

Starting a new bathroom remodel. I did one before and posted on here for help and you all were amazingly helpful, so thank you again for all prior help.

So on to the new one. Just finished tear-out and starting to think about how to approach this. On the last remodel, I ended up redoing the pre-slope for the shower twice before hiring a professional to do it for me. I was clearly lacking the skills and confidence to do it properly. On this remodel, the shower area is going to use a linear drain and will be sunken so that I can have a curbless entry. So I'm thinking, why not use the Kerdi-shower-LT sloped tray.

I know people ask this all the time, but I just feel like I have to ask it again. Should I use this tray? I read all kinds of pros and cons about pre-fabricated trays on here and the internet and unfortunately all it does is leave me even more confused. Simple yes or no from the pros. Should I? Or should I just suck it up and get a pro in here to create the base for me out of mud?

Thanks for the advice everyone. Much appreciated.
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Unread 06-23-2020, 10:34 PM   #2
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I would say neither, Larry. You should simply do the mud shower floor yourself. Particularly easy if you're actually doing a linear drain with a single flat slope.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-23-2020, 11:24 PM   #3
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Oh no! I was wondering if someone was going to say that. You are more confident in my abilities than I am.

I'm fine with trying again, and since this is a linear drain (the last one wasn't), it should be easier.

The last time I tried this, my problem wasn't with the slope, it was with the materials. I went over this in my prior thread, but to recap I bought Sakrete play sand from Home Depot and there were quite a number of large pebbles in the mix which caused problems with the preslope breaking apart. Maybe I just got a bad batch? Should I be using a different material?

Thanks.
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Unread 06-24-2020, 12:41 PM   #4
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Where I live, the Orange or Blue Borg (forget which one) sells a pre-mixed 4:1 mud mix in 60 or 80 pound bags in the tile section. It is Mapei, I think, which tells me it would be the Blue Borg. Easy enough to research.

You'd go broke using it for regular work, but for a small shower, the price difference to a DIY guy is more than made up for by convenience and being formulated specifically for this application.

When I used it, I added enough sand to take it up to 5:1 because I didn't like how the original mix was too rich and I felt like it is easier to work with a little more sand, but not so much that it starts becoming difficult to work with and overly fragile (my opinion) when dry.

The bags I got were very well-mixed, but I have heard that might not be the case every time. All dry mixes have that potential, but they seem to have gotten better over the years. YMMV. A bit of dry mixing never hurts if you are suspicious of the ones you [might] get.

The mudding was easy, even for a slowpoke like me, but I learned quickly to make small batches. I could not do a whole bag at once before it started to set up. It was keeping myself from going back and futzing with it (and messing it up) during the drying was the challenge for me.
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Unread 06-24-2020, 12:54 PM   #5
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A mud pan is less expensive, but that also depends on how much you value your labor.

The foam pan works IF your floor is already level AND the shower is either the size you want with the tray, or you can cut it down successfully to your ultimate size. IF you need to fill in because your shower ends up larger, then, you'd need both to do some mud work and pay for the pan, so it's kind of a waste.

It's easier to get a pan done when it's a single slope than the bowl for a conventional, center drain. The materials are cheap enough so you could do a mockup several times and still come out ahead on materials cost.

So, first thing would be to see how flat AND level the space you want to put the shower. Then, compare the size you want with the available pans, then make your decision.

You need to wait 24-hours before you can flood test, and using the tray could save you a day as you wouldn't have the additional wait for the pan to cure before you installed the membrane, if that's any factor. Most DIY'ers, that time isn't a big factor.
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Unread 06-24-2020, 02:45 PM   #6
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Howdy Larry! and welcome back

So I have a little different opinion. You can do a foam pan and recess it into the subfloor without cutting your joists but I'd rather see you go with a center drain type. Wedi makes the Ligno system and I'm sure Schluter has a similar pan but I'm just not as familiar with their products anymore.

The problem with the linear drain in the entry is that, it's my understanding, water will always get past the drain. It's not enough to cause damage but it's enough to be annoying.

But if your heart is set on a linear drain and a curbless shower then that might be the way to go.
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Unread 06-24-2020, 06:34 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I guess a little more info is in order.

1. The shower area is 36 x 60 and the drain will be along the long edge. Kerdi has a foam pan that is 38x76, so I am in a position to be able to cut it down to size.

2. The bathroom floor itself is built on a raised platform above the normal floor (see pic). The shower area is an addition and was created by moving the old wall into the adjacent laundry room which was not elevated. So the construction folks built a new platform for the shower that matched the height of the bathroom (they were not supposed to do this). Basically, I am in control of the height of the pan and can easily rip out what they built and build a recessed and nicely level one with plenty of strength and no joist modifications since there is another whole floor below this platform.

As to linear vs center drain please see the other attachment. My strong preference is linear because I'm trying to go with a more modern vibe. The shower would be "enclosed" for the most part since half of it is a pony wall / glass structure and the other half will have a swinging glass door. Additionally, the slope would be moving away from the entrance. Given that, it seem like the amount of water that would escape would be pretty minimized. Would you agree with that or do you still feel the same way?

Jim, I still want you to do my master bath. I know we never connected but the offer still stands. I do not even remotely want to attempt that much work.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 05:10 PM   #8
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Layout opinions wanted

Ok, I need some professional opinions about shower layout. This shower is being built for me and my lady's parents should we need them to move in with us. My mother is to the point where her poor knees wont let her go up stairs anymore. So I'm trying to make this shower as accessible as possible given the limited size of the shower area.

I want the on/off valve to be on the entry side and the shower head to be opposite so the water can be turned on without getting a burst of cold water on you as you frantically pull your arm away. And now I'm also thinking I need a bench that my mom can sit on. The initial thought (option "A") is a corner bench by the entrance. Pretty standard stuff really. But it seem like the on/off valve would get in the way. The other option (option "B") was to put a full-length bench across the far wall but then the bench is directly under the shower head. But this seems weird to me and in the way of standing close to the water spray. If I went with option "B" I thought maybe I should do a rain shower head instead of a wall mounted one. This way I could scoot the rain head more towards the middle of the shower and out of the way of the bench.

Thoughts? Anything obvious I'm missing?
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Unread 06-29-2020, 05:30 PM   #9
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One of the hassles with any shower is that except in a tub/shower that has a diverter tub spout, when you shut off the shower, it will hold water like having your finger held over the end of a straw. It can drip and eventually (maybe) all leak out, but that's not a given. That process could last for hours. There's a way around that...even in a shower only, you can still put a spout and call it a toe tester. Get the water the temp you want, then engage the diverter. That will usually drain the line since it will be open at both ends, and quickly get the outlet up to temperature, but it will still have a fairly long run, and if it's in the attic, could take a few seconds to warm the pipe up.

Unless you want to use a handheld, having the bench under the shower head is kind of awkward. Now, you may still want something there so she can put her foot up and support herself while she washes her foot and leg.

I'm a big fan of thermostatically controlled valves. Set your ideal temperature once, then just use the other control to turn the water on/off. Most all manufacturers make one. I like how the Grohe stuff is made, but Delta is not bad. If you choose their R10000 rough-in valve, you have a choice of three different types of valves with lots of trim options. While a big box store may sell a kit, if you buy it at a supply house, the rough-in valve is separate from the trim, and the cartridge comes with the trim that defines the functionality. Nice thing is that you can change your mind later to a different type without changing the guts in the wall.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 05:50 PM   #10
landersen
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Thanks for the reply Jim.

I'm not a big fan of the foot spout idea, but it's interesting nonetheless. I certainly would have never thought of that.

As to the thermostatically controlled value, that isn't going to help the water temperature from the value to the shower head correct? That is still going to be cold until it flushes out of the system right?

And I did forget to mention that there will be a handheld unit in the shower as well.

So I did some research on benches and I completely forgot about fold-down wall mounted benches. So I came up with option "C" below. What do ya'll think of that option?

Anything I need to worry about with wall mounted benches (except making sure the framing is up to snuff? Do wall mounted benches do anything negative from a resale perspective? The other option is of course a freestanding bench, but I'm not a big fan of that.

Thoughts?

Thanks again.
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Unread 06-30-2020, 09:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry
The shower area is 36 x 60 and the drain will be along the long edge. Kerdi has a foam pan that is 38x76, so I am in a position to be able to cut it down to size.
So the drain part on this Kerdi shower is 60 inches? If so, I think that would work fine. I noticed that you had it drawn to end before the bench but you could do a floating bench also.

If you get too many angles in there then I think you might be better off doing a mud shower and you would have a lot more options with linear drains in that case.

For benches, I understand the corner bench but if it's for sitting on I almost like the idea of the wall-to-wall bench. Or the fold down bench in the last drawing.

Another idea is to put the controls on the half wall

If you are going with the handheld on a bar then the rain head is a nice second option. Both the Hansgrohe and Grohe valves can come with a built in diverter so you don't have to order a separate valve.

Quote:
Jim, I still want you to do my master bath
I figured that's what this was. I just figured you decided to do it yourself which is completely understandable. Especially with the virus going around.
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Unread 06-30-2020, 11:05 PM   #12
landersen
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Thank Jim.

Yes, the drain is 60 inches. The idea is to slope away from the entrance. I did more searching and found the photo below. I really didn't like the idea of a floating bench until I saw a recessed one in this photo. That definitely sold me on the idea so now I guess I need to buy some 2x6's to sister in the wall (as the bench will definitely need a solid 2x4 structure to mount on).

I've also convinced myself to do a rain shower head. My only concern is the wall height is 7'6" so the shower head will not be very high. My thinking is to mount one so that it sits right below, almost flush with, the ceiling. Any issues with this?

I like the idea of using Kerdi board on the walls and Kerdi membrane on the mud pad connected to a Kerdi line drain with integrated membrane. The simple thought of not having to do a pre-slope makes me very, very happy.

And finally, this is the downstairs bathroom. The master bathroom has been an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kinda thing. With Michelle's passing, things have gone quite slow around here, but I'm now back in the game and wanted to move things forward and finally get this house done. I'm completely daunted by that project because there is 4 different types of tile and I know that there is some floor leveling that needs to occur. And that scares the hell out of me. So yes, the offer is still open.
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Unread 07-01-2020, 08:49 AM   #13
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Another option for your valve and diverter challenge, Larry, is to use an electronically controlled valve. The valve body assembly is mounted within the wall (but an access panel is needed to get to it if service is required), and you can place the controller for it, or even two controllers, pretty much anywhere.

Kohler makes one, as does Moen. I installed the Kohler unit, with 2 controllers, one within the shower, another outside. Kohler and Moen both make units that will accommodate 2, 3 or 4 outlets, and you can program them to a preset temp. Once programmed just push the on button and it goes to that temp. Push another button to toggle between the outlets. Other buttons for manually adjusting the temp.

Yes, a little more expensive than manual valves and diverters, but not horribly so. Mine has been in operation since last October and has been flawless.
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Unread 07-02-2020, 12:21 PM   #14
landersen
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New question. I'm looking to pick up a manual tile cutter. I have the Dewalt D24000 wet saw, but for my fireplace surround it seems much easier to use a manual tile cutter given that everything is pretty much straight cuts. The tiles will be 12x24 porcelain tiles. I don't want a cheapie one, but I also don't want to break the bank.

Any recommendations?

Also, I watched a video from a guy who said he would only use a manual tile cutter on floor tiles and not wall tiles? What's up with that? Any reason for this?

Thanks.
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Unread 07-02-2020, 10:20 PM   #15
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Tell me I'm bad at math

So I'm looking at the Kerdi-line drains and as far as I can tell, they sit 3/4" above the subfloor if I use the supplied foam channel body support. If I have a 38" wide shower base, then I assume that the height of the mud pan on the far end will be slightly higher than 1 1/2 inches tall (following the 1/4" per foot rule).

First of all, assuming the subfloor is suitably sturdy, is this mud pan ok? It seems a bit thin to me, but honestly I have no knowledge to back this up.

If that thickness is fine, then the math works out for me to use a 2x6 cross members and the same subfloor thickness. This would give me 1 3/4 height where the elevated subfloor meets the recessed subfloor.

Does this work? it seems too easy.

Thanks.
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