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Old 05-24-2018, 09:13 PM   #16
Craigmack
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Shower pan

Mike,
Thanks for posting the pic of your shower project. I am reading your post and see you want a 48x36 shower with a curb and see the pic with wonderboard which is 36x60 so are you adding another curb to partition off part of that area, and am not sure what your curb construction is but I recommend no wood. The painted drywall as well has no place in a shower should be replaced with the wonderboard...all the seams should be taped with thin set and fiber mesh tape..I see you have decided on kerdi for a waterproof membrane and it is polyethylene topical sheet which is the way to go in the 21st century..I very seldom see failure in this method if installed correctly. I do have preferences in my waterproof membrane and prefer to not have a seam in my pan liner. I use Quickdrainusa topical sheet it is 78 inches wide compared to competitors including kerdi at 39 inches. Same membrane different color...note that topical sheet membrane you are installing over your slope and setting your tile with thin set directly to the membrane. I see your drain location but would like to see a clearer closer pic...you are in Illinois so some code consideration there..but looks like you are opting for a point drain and compound slope to the drain with your pebble tile and it is a nice rustic look if done well should be nice..the trend in the industry is leaning more and more to a lower maintenance one way slope and large format tile with few or no grout lines to clean but I respect personal preference you have to live with it and clean it so good for you...I work in the linear drain market and advise contractors, architects, designers, homeowners on how to build shower pans...I saw your post and pic and want to make sure your project turns out well. There are some very experienced people offering good advise here on this forum and love you are getting advice here, this site is the place to go for help.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:45 AM   #17
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So, I went ahead and installed the kerdi base/corners/membrane/band...

Not terribly proud of my work to start with then I noticed that in the back left corner, it built up pretty high with all the layers and no doubt too much thinset that I didn't squeeze out enough of...

1. Now, when I'm dry fitting tiles in place, I've got 3/8 too high in corner, which would leave a very wide grout gap at the middle of the left wall which we will face when showering. (I am planning on doing the floor 'sliced pebbles' last and sliding them under the bottom row or wall tiles...).

I suppose I could/should(?) cut the bottom of the wall tile so that the right side is 3/8 less than the center/(left edge of that tile).

I'm worried that will look crappy but short of chiseling out the corner and patching I can't think of another option...

2. On top of that, the vertical corners are too rounded; the back wall tiles will end up with about 3/16 gap, but the side walls will overlap so I guess OK.

3. I'm apparently very geometrically challenged and am struggling with the horizontal layout on these 12x24 tiles; people say to do brick layout but with the niche being 12" in the middle of a 47" wall, I'm afraid it will look choppy, having a few narrow or odd-width strips/patterns... Using 48" to make the math easier, I'd have rows of 8/24/16, 16/24/8 and 24/24. The niche is 20" tall and 12" wide and sits 4" off floor and 17" from each corner. So 2 rows of tiles would have to work around the niche. The one would be 17/x/17 (easy). The other would normally be the 8/24/16 row, but should I instead make it fat-L shaped, both 24" wide at the top with cut-outs for the top 8" of the niche? Then make the row above that 16/24/8?

4. On the other hand, I think it would be easy to do a simple grid layout, but wife reacted with horror when I suggested; I told her to get another tile guy, to no avail yet...

Thanks for any comments/suggestions. I'm not under any time pressure which is good but lack 'vision' or something and unlike drywall, mistakes seem easy to make and hard to fix.
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:22 PM   #18
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If the bump areas are small and you have a tile saw, you could also take off a bit of material from the tile's back in those areas to ease the bump. It's labor intensive but can be done. It'll be much easier on ceramic than on porcelain tile due to the softer material.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:58 AM   #19
mikmor
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I think I've acceptably smoothed outwalls and floor now.

Now I'm trying to cut a u-shaped piece of tile to go around niche. When I cut with wet saw I get chips in the surface (ceramic tile).

I tried scoring a test piece using tile snapper and cutting inside the line and that worked well but can not do that for the horizontal cut bcuz the tile is24" wide and snapper only 21. Any advice on how to minimize chipping? I know grout will hide some but it will be very conspicuous if not done well.

Thanks!

*** yesterday I typed chopping above instead of chipping. .maybe nobody understood my question?
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:36 PM   #20
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?
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:54 PM   #21
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-Use a better blade
-Dress your blade
-Use a diamond hand pad to smooth the cut edges
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Old 08-25-2018, 08:01 AM   #22
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GM, Still plugging away at this; some vacations in between but also having a rough go of it. Question today is that some grout joints are darker that others, even from same batch of sealed grout. Maipai pewter.

Could it be leaching white color from All-set that wasn't entirely removed from joint? Other ideas?

Thanks.
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Old 08-25-2018, 09:16 AM   #23
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Dig some out. You'll find out quickly
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Old 08-25-2018, 01:39 PM   #24
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Grey shades are very temperamental when it comes to the amount of water used when mixing and washing. I keep a towel nearby to put my sponges on after I wring them out. This helps get any excess water out of them. I don't know which Mapei you used but I had alot of shading issues when using the FA line of Mapei. I steer clear of it these days, alot of guys like it though.
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Old 10-17-2018, 09:26 PM   #25
mikmor
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AKA - What a Long Strange Trip It's Been!

Finally 'done'. A few weeks ago. Just brutal! I'll try to share what I learned and hopefully it will help someone...

1) Aside from following my gut and hiring someone, I should have STARTED WITH THE FLOOR! I was too inexperienced measuring, snapping, sawing tile and working with thinset and grout to tackle walls first.
2) I would NOT have used any of the Schluter stuff (except the edge pieces). It's quite expensive. I fiddle-farted around with some brand-x stuff, and actually had all the 'old fashioned' materials also before I changed to Schluter. If I'da just started when I got the 'old' stuff I'da gotten done sooner. And, I had to add slope to the Schluter base with thinset so that there was enough slope with the sliced pebbles, so the advantage of having a nice smooth slope from the schluter wasn't there for me...
3) the SCH All-Set is very hard to clean off if you let it set, and I wasn't good enough working with it to not make a huge mess most of the time...
- If I'da done 'old' way, not sure if I'da used modified or not; not quite sure I understand it all yet (more on this later).
4) I spoke of the issues with layer buildup in corners, but also on walls, I think I didn't use enough water in the allset (and the backerboard absorbs), so I ended up with buildup under the wall sheets cuz I couldn't 'squeegie' the excess out... So after everything, walls weren't as flat and square as they started out... I'd 'cut corners' if I did it again, and make sure I had 2" overlap on the upstream pieces but would cut out a layer somehow (I've seen videos about this).
5) I think I'd start with the floor and work up, but b/c of the foam floor and the pebbles, I was guided to do the walls first; I tried leaving room under the first row of wall tiles; big mistake. Alternatively, I suppose I should have just bit the bullet and cut each of the pebble sheet edges going around the perimeter of the shower straight so that they would lay in flush against the wall tiles. AND of course, this would be on a mortar base.
6) I use the wet saw too much instead of snapper. Somebody scared me that I'd break a lot of tiles with the snapper so I avoided at first. Didn't ever happen, and the edges end up a lot cleaner.
7) I wasn't religious enough about smoothing out the edges with grind stone; just not paying attention and dumb/frustrated/angry. (See #1).
8) The sealed grout (Maipea grey) was hard to work with, because it dried out really fast; So I only had a bit of time to correct my mistakes before touching again would make the joint grainy.
9) I'da used 3/16 spacers instead of 1/8. Maybe even 1/4. Given my lack of skill, there was excessive lippage and I could have 'ramped' easier/better with a wider gap.
10) For some reason I thought 50% lippage would be OK. I think the layout was better and easier to do with 50, but prob should have done 33%... That said, all the tiles I checked for flatness were almost perfectly flat so I think the walls really were the problem; not sure if 33% would have hidden that better?
11) I tore grout out twice (grouted 3x!) Inevitably, I chipped tiles when I did this; I used the triangular kind of scraper which worked very well, but I got too aggressive/dumb/frustrated/angry. I probably could have done with only the occasional chip....
12) Grouting the pebbles was hard to get them right; They have different heights and have little imperfections at the edges, so a lot of the surface area ended up having grout over pebble... Spend much quality time scraping out to the edge of individual pieces... Again, grout that was easier to work with would have avoided such nonsense. Someone will say I should have thinned it out more, but remember when I did that I got a lot of light grey haze; maybe a haze remover would have worked OK? but I didn't even know about that until later... WT?
13) I forgot to mention that on the curb I forgot to slope it, but at least I did get it flat. It's actually OK; most of the water drains off; hardly notice.
14) I did use a sealer on the pebbles before grouting, then after a couple weeks, sealed 2 more times and I may do again, but I want to save enough that I can do 2 more in a year or so. It seemed to bead up nicely at first, but now not so much.
15) It does drain well, but... right near the drain, I failed to slope it enough and/or to recess the drain, so about an ounce of water pools there. It does dry in about 8 hours and doesn't pool anywhere else. I did re-test by plugging the drain at floor level and water level stayed same for about 12 hours. If it ain't perfect, it's close to. And supposedly any water that gets down under will get wicked away by the orange stuff.....
16) By the time I got to laying the floor tile which was somewhere around the second time I grouted shower, I was sufficiently defeated that I got careless with some measurements and didn't get close enough to the walls that 1/2" baseboard would cover. Grey caulk... See step 1.
17) Shoulda used the SCH board instead of backerboard...

Q1: Had I done the old fashioned way with red guard and rubber preslope, would I have needed modified thinset and/or sealed grout to avoid moldiness issues?

Q2: My understanding is that the advantage of the SCH membrane is that it's super wicky; will get water underneath to follow down the drain hole, right?

Q3: If that's true, how does the allset, which is supposedly sealed, NOT prevent transfer of water from one layer to another to get it down/out?

In closing, I do appreciate everyone's help. It would have been OK if someone said "you are nuts" more directly but it's all my fault for it being such a mother of a project.

If I had it to do over again, I bet I could finish in 10% of the time. Really.

It did actually turn out OK, as long as you're not obsessing over the few defects that are right in your face. See also rest of bathroom that I think turned out nice. (The yellow jets on the tub are going, or I may yet replace the whole tub; will be a neat trick, but I just barely have enough room to do so... I think).

Please refer any DIY'ers to this in the future. Practice and tear out some intentionally would be a good idea, AFTER the floor is done....

Would appreciate comments/answers/etc. on this.

Thanks, MM
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Old 10-18-2018, 11:14 AM   #26
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Sorry to hear it was such a PIA for you. Looks OK from here...

To address your questions;

1. Probably, but I don't think the fact that the thinset was modified was your biggest issue. RedGard is more new school than old.

2. No. Kerdi is waterproof, meaning it forms a waterproof barrier between tile and substrate when installed correctly. It will wick some at seams, but that's not a specific design trait.

3.AllSet seems like it would be a good idea...staying with one manufacturer is typically a good way to go. I tried it and likely wouldn't use it again. I've found other mortars more to my liking, but that's only because I had experience with others first.


As you've found, experience can be a good (and sometimes cruel) teacher and for some, an acknowledgment that DIY isn't everybody's thing.
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