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Unread 02-08-2022, 10:02 AM   #1
OzarkBliss
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First Tile Project / walk in shower

We're fixin to redo a bathroom in our home and the wife has requested a walk in tile shower. I'm pretty skilled with most things but I won't lie, all the if ands buts & conflicting info have me both confused and nervous. I've never found myself so indecisive in all my life.

The shower will be approximately 3'x5' with a half wall for something resembling this.
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The following are the tiles that she has chosen. The hexagon is intended for the niche that will be aprx 3'x16" and the vanity backsplash. I would love to use it on the floor but it's only labeled as wall tile and some of the tiles are concave and would retain water on the floor so I assume this is a bad idea. So instead the cobble is intended for the floor which also has me concerned about placement & maintenance. It's a tumbled travertine of various sizes ranging from about 1/2-1.5". The gaps between some of the tiles on the mesh seems almost non-existent as shown in the closeup. I've read that it's best to place the pebble type tiles individually to avoid patterned seams and I'm assuming that's going to be a necessity because of some of those gaps. How difficult will that be with such irregular shapes? How do I keep from having lippage, should the stones be pushed down until they are against the pan? Is this something a newbie can do ok? Of all the videos and articles nobody ever really talks about how far to embed the stones and how to ensure they're flat.

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I was originally drawn to the idea of the Kerdi foam pan for both speed and to overcome my lack of experience but after reading some horror stories and just from a longevity stand point I'm beginning to rethink that and considering trying to mud a pan myself. Is this something you think I could accomplish? I've poured a couple small concrete pads in my life but nothing where a slope was required. Also the only deck mud I've seen available locally is some Mapei 4-1 at lowes at about $20/bag. 3 bags of that and few needed tools I'm at almost the cost of the Kerdi offset 38x60 foam Pan. I'm not bothered much by the cost, it is what it is but I need something I can do and something that will last.


I've also got a lot of confusion about which waterproofing route I should go and which thinsets to use. The Tile Shop is promoting Ardex 5 but it's a modified and although they say it's compatible with kerdi membrane I know some others disagree with that and I watched a u-tube by Tile Coach where the water migration behind the kerdi with Ardex 5 after a week of submersion was terrible.

I've seen Laticrete's 317, 255 and 272 all mentioned somewhere but their specs say 317 must be fortified with 333 for stone. Is the 255 or 272 acceptable and ok behind 12x24 tile? I've purchased and read the Kerdi shower book but I don't think it hit on a quality thinset to use.

Are any of the roll on membranes as good as the kedi? RedGard, Hydroban? Are the permeability ratings of them so much different that modified thinsets can be used without drying concerns?

I'm in serious need of clarification and some real world experience from some experts here gang. With proper instruction and info I'm confident in my abilities to accomplish most tasks but right now my head is spinning. I can't afford to screw this up... financially or romantically

Brandon
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Unread 02-08-2022, 11:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon
...or romantically


Welcome, Brandon,

I'm all about ease of maintenance these days so, yeah, I agree those hex's would be problematic on a shower floor. The stone will be an installation challenge for the exact reasons you mentioned and, while it would probably look great when first installed, I have to think they will be a long term maintenance challenge; they won't shed water easily, nor anything else commonly found in showers. Just my opinion though, natch. If you did use them doing so would preclude the use of a Kerdi foam pan due to sizes of the stones.

There isn't anything wrong with using a foam pan when installed correctly, if that's the route you want to go. You could also do a "traditional" shower pan; first layer of mud sloped to drain, vinyl liner, second mud bed, and allows for that stone Mrs. Brandon is currently fond of. Or, you could do a single mud bed and cover it with a water proof membrane. Regardless of what you use our recommendation is always to center the drain if at all possible.

Don't believe everything you see on YT. Especially that video. The fact is there are now countless Kerdi water proofed showers installed and functioning exactly as they should. We recently had a forum member return to tell us his is well over 10 years old with zero evidence of leaking. My 2+ year old shower, installed using a competing but identically installed membrane, is going strong. Wicking at the seams just isn't a problem in the real world.

The liquid membranes are certainly an option, though many folks here would be reluctant to use one on the floor of a shower.

Just some food for thought, Brandon, the folks here will help you get through whatever you decide on.
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Unread 02-08-2022, 05:53 PM   #3
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Yep...doing a mudbed shower tomorrow and I saw 4 to 1 Mapai there for about $20 a bag! Insane! Go to Dal Tile and it was about $9 a bag. Same thing with Kerdi products there and at HD. Go to a tile store.....
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Unread 02-08-2022, 06:43 PM   #4
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Welcome, Brandon.

Yes, of course you can do a deck mud shower floor. It's very different from placing concrete, and easier to shape a flat, properly sloped floor. You don't need, nor would I recommend, anything as exotic as MAPEI 4 to 1. You want sand and cement. Nada mas. In a ratio of about 5:1, and just enough water to make it hold together. You can find more information in the Shower Construction section of our Liberry.

Among the advantages over the foam trays is you get a proper slope with a level perimeter, you do not need the subfloor to be perfectly flat and level, you can make it fit perfectly in your shower footprint and drain location, it's far more solid than the foam, and the materials are dirt cheap.

As for the waterproofing, you can use any number of direct bonded waterproofing membranes (ANSI A118.10). I would personally not use a liquid-applied for the shower receptor, but you can. In any case you want to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter-if you can.

As to the type of thinset mortar, consider that all manufacturers of waterproofing membranes require the use of a modified thinset morter (ANSI A118.4) - Except Schluter. Draw your own conclusions. No, the perm rating is not the difference.

Since I'm limited to shopping for tile products at Homer's, I use VersaBond for nearly all my tile needs, with Schluter products included. See my warranty information below.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-09-2022, 12:06 PM   #5
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Thanks y'all

Quote:
You could also do a "traditional" shower pan; first layer of mud sloped to drain, vinyl liner, second mud bed, and allows for that stone Mrs. Brandon is currently fond of. Or, you could do a single mud bed and cover it with a water proof membrane. Regardless of what you use our recommendation is always to center the drain if at all possible.
I've at least convinced her to go back and look for something else. She had some pics in her phone of some other beautiful hexagons but the $25/sq ft makes me sad. Hope she can find something she likes equally well that's a bit cheaper. Why the recommendation for center drain. I guess I could center it, it just seemed natural to do an offset with it directly below the shower head. not planning on a door like the one pictured unless we find we need it.


Quote:
Yep...doing a mudbed shower tomorrow and I saw 4 to 1 Mapai there for about $20 a bag! Insane! Go to Dal Tile and it was about $9 a bag. Same thing with Kerdi products there and at HD. Go to a tile store.....
Great news, I actually located and visited a Daltile yesterday at lunch and discovered they carry all the Schluter products. Are you saying the Schluter products will be cheaper there than box stores? I think I'll just use their thinset to be safe since I know I can get it now. Just hope it's not $90 like the google search result at walmart.

Quote:
Yes, of course you can do a deck mud shower floor. It's very different from placing concrete, and easier to shape a flat, properly sloped floor. You don't need, nor would I recommend, anything as exotic as MAPEI 4 to 1. You want sand and cement. Nada mas.
OK, you talked me into it. I'll try the single bed with membrane over top. The idea of a mortar bed instead of foam will probably just help me sleep better. I saw John's writeup on mortar beds yesterday and I guess I could just mix my own instead of paying that ridiculous price, I may even practice if it's cheap enough that way. How much would you say I'll need for 16 sq/ft?
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Unread 02-09-2022, 12:23 PM   #6
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Found the bed calculator but forgot to ask about your warranty info CX. That's the "price charged"? A penny for your thoughts, here's a nickle...I'll take the whole head?
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Unread 02-09-2022, 12:45 PM   #7
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Yep, I find the Schluter products considerably more reasonable at a dedicated tile store than the Big Box stores......
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Unread 02-28-2022, 08:25 AM   #8
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leveling system recommendation

Unsure what leveling system to use so looking for recommendations. I've seen some good things about the tuscan but that's a bit pricey. How about their single piece truspace? How about the HD special LASH?

12x24 wall tile, really hoping to use a 50% although I know it's not recommended. Tiles seem pretty flat to me but what do I know
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Unread 02-28-2022, 08:40 AM   #9
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that sandwich picture was wrong way. back to back, here is a pic face to face. I'll have to try more pairs for assurance
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Unread 02-28-2022, 11:09 AM   #10
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12x24 tile layout

really struggling with any layouts besides 50%. keep ending up with slivers down to as little as 1.5" no matter what I seem to do. I can't be the first guy trying to do a 36"x60" shower with these. The 50% is what we like best but I'm paranoid about lippage so IDK

Can I just slide that wall over to eliminate the small pieces or will that be too obvious? I've seen pics with small pieces on adjacent wall but none of them looked quite that small
tile layouts-Model 25.pdf
tile layouts-Model 33.pdf
tile layouts-Model.pdf
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Unread 02-28-2022, 11:15 AM   #11
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no pdf's huh?

the 25% is about doable but I think it looks terrible

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Unread 02-28-2022, 11:56 AM   #12
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Brandon, it'll help if you'll keep all your project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered.

Layout is always in the eyes of the beholder. Nearly always best to avoid "skinnies" if possible, but it's designer's choice.

If your tiles are flat and your substrate is flat, you can get by with a 50 percent offset and have acceptable lippage. If you think you can make it work with your tiles, go for it. If not, select a plan B that is acceptable to Mrs. Brandon.

As for the lippage control systems (none of them do any leveling), you can probably enter the names into the Advanced Search feature and get some discussions. They can be helpful in some applications, but good setting technique is still required.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-28-2022, 07:56 PM   #13
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Brandon, if what you said in the beginning about being skilled at most things is true, and I'm sure it is, you will have no problem making your own dry-pack mortar bed. Mix it in batches of about half what you need and you won't have to kill yourself. It is hard work, but it's not difficult. As far as the Deck Mud Calculator, just use the amount needed for the pre-slope portion. Sand, Portland cement and water. Quickrete makes a deck mud mix that is available in my area, it is 5:1 and works just fine.

Cut some 1x2 screeds in a few different lengths to cover all of your perimeter distances to the drain. That's how I have done it. If you do go with the Schluter system, you will need to install the drain at the same time. THIS VIDEO demonstrates the correct process for the drain and dry-pack mortar bed.

Spend a lot of time getting your walls flat. Very flat walls will make your 12x24's very happy. Non-flat walls will have the exact opposite effect. Trying to flatten walls while setting tile is a very bad idea.
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Unread 03-01-2022, 07:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cx
As for the lippage control systems (none of them do any leveling), you can probably enter the names into the Advanced Search feature and get some discussions. They can be helpful in some applications, but good setting technique is still required.
Lippage control, right that's what I meant of course. Can't say how my technique is since I've never done it so I'm looking to fail proof every inch I can get. Speaking of level, just keep popping a level on to check with every course?




Quote:
Originally Posted by Snets
Brandon, if what you said in the beginning about being skilled at most things is true, and I'm sure it is, you will have no problem making your own dry-pack mortar bed. Mix it in batches of about half what you need and you won't have to kill yourself. It is hard work, but it's not difficult. As far as the Deck Mud Calculator, just use the amount needed for the pre-slope portion. Sand, Portland cement and water. Quickrete makes a deck mud mix that is available in my area, it is 5:1 and works just fine.

Cut some 1x2 screeds in a few different lengths to cover all of your perimeter distances to the drain. That's how I have done it. If you do go with the Schluter system, you will need to install the drain at the same time. THIS VIDEO demonstrates the correct process for the drain and dry-pack mortar bed.

Spend a lot of time getting your walls flat. Very flat walls will make your 12x24's very happy. Non-flat walls will have the exact opposite effect. Trying to flatten walls while setting tile is a very bad idea.
Good advice, I've seen the mud calculator and can purchase the sand topping mix and sand loacally to get my mud bed. Thanks for the video, that's the first I've seen setting the flange w/o it already being tied into plumbing. I wasn't sure how I was going to keep it steady while trying to pack mud in under it. I'm over a crawlspace and even if I did the plumbing first it's going to want to move/flex about.
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Unread 03-01-2022, 09:53 PM   #15
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I have access via crawl-space and I chose to connect mine first; why on Earth would I want to crawl under my house to connect a drain, after I build a shower pan, when I can connect from above, before building a shower pan?

It's not an issue, set the drain level when gluing the pipe. make minor adjustments when setting the drain in mud.

I would glue your drain in before the mud bed, test fit first of course - BUT, make sure you have it at or above the minimum recommendation for your substrate - sounds like yours is wood so 1" minimum above the wood. AND, make sure the hole in the floor is not too big that all of your loose mud falls out when setting the drain. You need support under that Kerdi drain.
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