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Old 07-05-2018, 04:51 PM   #16
mark999
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Matt,
It would be better if you flattened any areas that out of plane. You can use a cementious patch like Ardex feather finish that can go from 0 to1/2". If you try to adjust with thinset when you tile it will be messy and you will get fustrated and pissed off and it still will not look right. A little prep work goes a long way.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:02 PM   #17
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Mark, I was already unhappy with the slope of the wall, but your comment convinced me to fix it. However, I probably don't have the skills necessary to float a mortar wall effectively, so I took the cement board down and worked on the studs more. This time I set up a bunch of taught strings and used those cardboard drywall shims to get it more accurate. It's not perfect, but it's substantially better than it was before and I feel much better about it.

When I went to test fit the foam shower system tray, I saw that the oversized cutout on the subfloor for the drain was going to cause some big issues with supporting the drain assembly. I also noticed that my slope didn't hit even 1/4" per foot on the side near the shower faucet. I guess my floor wasn't as level as I had originally thought (must have tested it resting on a high spot or something), which makes sense because I remember water pooling a bit and draining slowly on that part of the old shower. So with both of these problems I decided to patch the subfloor and level the area with self-leveling compound. Turned out pretty good, though it didn't fully correct the slope. It's still enough that I at least get 1/4" per foot.

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I cut the drain pipe using one of those internal pipe saw drill bits, which worked pretty well. Then I installed the shower system using Versabond. It was difficult at first to figure out how to work the thinset in to the membrane, but after a few sheets I got the hang of it and it was quite easy. After reading a lot about buildup at the corners and seams, I made an extra effort to squeeze out as much thinset as I could. I wonder if I might have overdone it at times, but my adhesion seems good in most areas at this point. My biggest concern is around the drain because I had a lot of excess thinset on the floor and because of the order I installed everything, I had to do a lot of the squeeze out around the drain. I hope I didn't overwork the membrane too much and cause some tears/punctures. My other concern is the corners of the shower bench. There isn't a pre-formed corner that fits the triangle shape of the corner bench, so I had to just overlap the band. However, there is no way to get 2 inches of overlap everywhere without causing membrane to bunch up due to the shape of the corner. I got everything as close as I could. I guess we'll see once I do the leak test after it finishes drying. Maybe I can put some silicone in that area to seal it fully?

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(the dark spots at the bottom aren't a gap, just the area where the floor membrane curls up onto the wall a bit in my attempt to compensate for a lack of 2" overlap there)
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I'm wondering if anyone has any opinion on what to do to seal around the niches? These are the TileRedy niches and were installed flush with the cement board. Then I sealed the screws and the border between the niches and the cement board with silicone as per the instructions. My original plan was to cut an "X" in the membrane over each niche and fold some of the excess into the niche. However, when I went to do it, the membrane really didn't want to stick to the inside of the niche without a pre-formed crease in the membrane. So I panicked and cut the excess out and cleaned up the thinset from the niche. Anybody have any suggestions on what I should do here? The niches themselves are waterproof and the are sealed with silicone and surrounded by membrane. Do I need to take any additional steps? These are on the opposite wall of the shower faucet. The prior shower was installed entirely with unsealed cement board without even a vapor barrier and there was no sign of water damage after 10 years of usage like that, so it will probably be ok.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:13 PM   #18
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Matt, that Durock membrane is much thinner than other similar products and the build-up at the overlaps is much less a problem. I actually avoid use of USG's pre-formed corners because they are substantially thicker than the membrane (unless they've changed in the past couple years). A dab of pookey at the apex of any questionable corners can make a fella more comfortable with his installation at times.

You really needed to attach your membrane to those plastic niches, which I really don't like at all, with silicone or Kerdi Fix or similar rather than trying to use the same thinset mortar you used to install the membrane over the CBU walls.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:34 PM   #19
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I used the Tile Redy niches because I don't know if I'd be able to build my own effectively. The instructions claim that you can use thinset to adhere the tiles, so I assumed it would work for the membrane too. It is adherent on the front (the bands going across) on the flange. I think it was just the lack of a good crease preventing the membrane from laying flat.

Now that the damage is done and the membrane is cut, any suggestions for sealing them? Should I cut some banding and fold it over the edges and try to seal it down with silicone? Redgard (I have leftover from sealing the subfloor for the SLC)? Silicone over the edge of the membrane?
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:50 PM   #20
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Looking at the rest of your work, you wouldn't have had any difficulty making your own niches, Matt.

I understand that Tile Ready now says you can use thinset mortar to set tile in their niches and you might be fine with what you've got. I would still have preferred a different pookey to bond the membrane to that narrow plastic flange, but it is what it is and I hope it works OK. 'Course, I woulda preferred a different niche, too, so take all that for what it's worth.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:45 AM   #21
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Well thanks for the vote of confidence. When I started this project, I wasn't sure how difficult it was going to be so I wanted to simplify things as much as I could. Perhaps I actually made it more difficult for myself in doing so. Oh well, live and learn.

So I assuming I pass the leak test, it will soon be time to start tiling. For the walls I'm going to be using a 8" x 24" ceramic tile that my wife wants installed in a vertical running bond pattern. Seems the manufacturer recommends a maximum of 1/3 overlap, so I'll plan for that. There will be a mosaic accent that will also run vertically on one wall (haven't fully decided where yet). The shower floor will be a roughly 2" x 2" mosaic (still deciding between a couple of possible choices). Finally some tile related questions for the experts!

1. Where should I start with a vertically oriented tile pattern? With horizontal I would start on the second row, slightly less than a tile height above the floor, and use a ledger board to support it. Should I still start a certain distance above the floor with a vertical pattern? Or should I start at the floor to give the other tiles something to rest on since I can't use a ledger board (at least I don't know how I would use one)? Should I work up in single columns, or do a row all the way across before moving up to the next row?

2. What type of thinset should I use for the large format tiles? I have easy access to Custom's Versabond LFT and Natural Stone & Large Tile as well as MAPEI's Large Tile and Stone from my big box stores. Any preference on those? Looks like the MAPEI and Custom Natural Stone & Large Tile are the pricey ones so they might be better.

3. I realized after installing everything that I cannot reach the top of the walls to spread thinset and place tiles without using a step or ladder. I am concerned about using a step over the foam tray because I made some depressions in it with just my knees while working on the membranes. I suspect a step or ladder would do worse. Anyone have a suggestion for how to deal with that? Should I place the floor tiles before the wall tiles to give more strength to the floor? Would covering the floor with something else while working be better? Should I just grow several inches to avoid this problem altogether?

4. I have an accent mosaic tile that is essentially the same thickness as my wall tile. Since I'll presumably be using a smaller notched trowel for placing the mosaics than the wall tile, do I have to compensate in some way to make sure they sit flush in the end? Or is this not an issue?

5. Planning ahead for the next stage - I am using 6" x 24" porcelain tiles for the bathroom floor, hoping to do a herringbone pattern. The bathroom subfloor isn't perfectly level but it seems pretty flat. The previous install was with 1/4" cement board. Should I stick with that or order a roll of Ditra? I don't know enough to know whether the Ditra will offer any benefit in my situation. I ask this now because I think I have to order it and it will take some time for delivery.

I'll have plenty more questions as time goes on, but I'll start there.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:53 AM   #22
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"3. I realized after installing everything that I cannot reach the top of the walls to spread thinset and place tiles without using a step or ladder. I am concerned about using a step over the foam tray because I made some depressions in it with just my knees while working on the membranes. I suspect a step or ladder would do worse. Anyone have a suggestion for how to deal with that? Should I place the floor tiles before the wall tiles to give more strength to the floor? Would covering the floor with something else while working be better? Should I just grow several inches to avoid this problem altogether?"
I used a Wedi base and had the same issue to deal with. I tiled & grouted my floor first, then for the remainder of the job covered it with taped down brown paper (a big roll from the paint section of Home Depot was <$10), a few towels laid over that, and finally and a big piece of cardboard (the lid from the Wedi box) on top. When it was time to use the step ladder I put a decent sized hardcover book under each foot - I was worried about point loads. This did the trick.

"4. I have an accent mosaic tile that is essentially the same thickness as my wall tile. Since I'll presumably be using a smaller notched trowel for placing the mosaics than the wall tile, do I have to compensate in some way to make sure they sit flush in the end? Or is this not an issue?"
If the difference isn't going to be significant this is a personal preference IMO. I used a couple different mosaics in mine and just set a slightly larger grout line at the junction - it looks good and I don't think it would occur to anyone that anything is amiss.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:02 AM   #23
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Matt,

A while back I read a tip from one of the resident pros about compensating for thinner mosaics.

If I remember correctly, he takes a sheet of membrane, cuts it to size for the mosaic, then thinsets the mosaic to the sized sheet using a small notched trowel. Once dry, he then thinsets that to the wall using the same trowel.

Seems like a good idea. You could install the sized sheet on the wall first then the mosaic.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:34 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt
I think it was just the lack of a good crease preventing the membrane from laying flat
If that was the only issue, there's no reason you couldn't just patch the niche hole in your membrane and do it the way you originally intended.

That is, cut a rectangle of membrane that's 4" wider than the niche opening in each direction, it will be installed centered over the niche. Now make all the cuts you want for folding the membrane into the niche, and crease all the folds. Once you have formed it to follow all the surfaces involved without resistance, you can thinset it into place.

I have no opinion on whether this extra step is worth it, I just wanted to point out that you can still end up where you originally planned to end up. It's possible that no extra membrane is required, and it's also possible that if you are going to bother to add extra membrane, there's a better way to do it.

Cheers, Wayne
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:26 AM   #25
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We have a Kerdi niche template in our "Liberry"

http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...ad.php?t=95024
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:47 PM   #26
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The niche temple works well with the exception that it has a level bottom. I had to tweak the template to get the gentle slope in the kerdi membrane for the bottom sill.
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