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Unread 08-16-2022, 12:01 AM   #1
Halcyon
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lumpy shower prep

Hi all,
I'm new to the forum and am a farmer trying to complete a shower tile job in which the tile team fell apart and barely (maybe) finished to shower pan and wall prep. (I wish I were exaggerating, it was very sad.) I'm in a rural area and can't afford the bring in a stronger team from nearby cities, so, its on me. I've done a fair bit of floor tile in my home, so I'm game to learn and give it a go. I have a few problems and a couple of questions on proceeding from here and I'd love some expert advice.

I asked tile team to follow the steps of a shower tile video from Fine Homebuilding magazine because last year I had to tear out a mortar bed in which a guy put the membrane on the plywood, loosely filled the pan with lumps of mud and called it done. I don't know if it was a great video, but, it seemed like an upgrade.
This time, the 34" x 48" shower pan was built on 3/4 plywood with a mud pre-slope, a liner membrane and then a sloped mud bed. (pls ignore my not knowing the proper terms.) The liner went up over the wall studs about 6", then the durock was attached, being screwed no closer to the mud bed than about 4 inches. They taped and used thinset on all the seams and screw heads (mostly). I asked them to put hydro ban on it because I heard that was a good idea, and I desperately hope it was. They also put hydro ban on the floor. Is that OK? I had them stop when one of them started showing up in pajamas asking for breakfast. On their last day they very oddly screwed a piece of durock on top of the curb after we discussed plans at great length and it had already been built with 2" x 4"s with a membrane over the top and corner patches.
Ignoring the curb for the moment, the resulting surface looks pretty waterproof but also pretty dang lumpy. The bottom 2 inches of the wall looks slightly recessed and extra lumpy - I can't figure out why. Does it look like they stopped the durock at that point and taped over the membrane? I plan to use 4" x 6" subway tile on the walls and little stone hexagons on the floor. I'm concerned that I need to level out some lumps and that I shouldn't apply thinset so thickly as to level out these areas.
Is it safe to use some patching substance such as quickpatch over Hydro Ban for the leveling? If so, will I need to waterproof the patches as well?
And finally, for the curb, could I simply remove the durock, patch the membrane and use a curb cover under the tile?

I welcome your suggestions and observations. I hope to find a way to make this work ... I just can't afford to start over.
Thank in advance,
Julie
Halcyon Farm
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Unread 08-16-2022, 10:04 AM   #2
Lazarus
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Julie, the Hydroban on the floor is a no-no. The top layer of mud is inherently porous and is designed to allow some water to penetrate to the liner and then down to the weep holes. OK for walls as long as there was no plastic liner attached to the studs.

The top mud bed ought to come out and be re-done. Not what you wanted to hear, but it's cheap and not difficult for you to do. Gives you the chance to make it properly sloped and flat without trying to flash coat it with thinset...

Screwing Durock on top of the curb should not have been done. You now have penetrations in the overlapping liner...a typical source of leaks. Pull the screws and Durock. It MIGHTbe possible to patch the holes with pieces of scrap liner and liner adhesive. Best practice would be to replace the liner, though.

As to the curb, with your install, after liner is done, I would "overbend" wire lathe into a "U" shape (use a 2x4) so that it clamps over the curb. The inside, top and outside would be covered with "fat mud" (floor pan mix with some lime added) or possibly brick morter (mason mix). Cheap at the Big Box stores.

Lots to be done here and sorry you are having these issues, but we'll walk you through it.

I'm sure others will chime in on this.
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Unread 08-16-2022, 11:55 AM   #3
Halcyon
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Lazarus - Flash Coat?

Thanks for your reply, Lazarus. I might well have to do that, though I'm not sure I will be able to tear it out as a 115 lb woman approaching 60 years old this winter.
Is there a glimmer of hope in your post -- that phrase "skim coat"? Is that something I could first try to see if I can smooth and adequately prepare for tile?
I understand that there is both the lump issue and the water issue -- so, I hope skim coat might allow me to address both or be a first step towards that.

Or is that just too optimistic?
Thanks for your reply,
Julie
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Unread 08-16-2022, 01:21 PM   #4
Lazarus
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Slight "waviness" depressions can sometimes be leveled out with thinset and the flat side of a trowel or wide drywall taping knife if the areas are no more than about 1/8 inch. High spots are typically lowered to flat with a "rubstone," which has a handle on what looks like a piece of concrete or cinder block. Home Depot for that or even a flat brick can work.

I'm still concerned about the other issues you raised...liner issues, compromise of the curb, etc. Don't know where you are located, but you really need a good tile pro to come out to advise you.....
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Last edited by Lazarus; 08-16-2022 at 02:46 PM.
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Unread 08-16-2022, 03:06 PM   #5
Halcyon
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Thanks, Lazarus. I'll see what happens...
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