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Unread 01-09-2012, 11:44 AM   #1
ZachandBre
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Level a shower wall on Hardibacker

First post/Newbie. I need some advice. I had to attach my hardibacker boards over some old plaster & lathe walls. They are structuraly sound but not level. Boards are up and seams meet perfect but obviously we are not level.

If the leveling inconsistencies are not severe, can I level with a coat of modified thinset. Then add another coat of thinset when tiling?

Thanks in advance these forums seem really helpful
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Unread 01-09-2012, 11:49 AM   #2
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Usually we recommend removing the lath and plaster so you can shim/sister the studs to get a perfectly plumb and straight wall, then install 1/2" backerboard in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. You have apparantly approached this from a different perspective. I assume that the backerboard is well attached to the walls, and there are no soft or springy parts. If so, tape and mud the joints, then feather with thinset to get the walls as straight as possible. If they are still not straight, use a bigger notch on your trowel when setting the tiles. This will allow you to apply more thinset which you can then use to bring the tiles into plane.
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Unread 01-09-2012, 12:09 PM   #3
ZachandBre
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The hardibacker is strong and secure in all areas. The plaster is 90 years old and, as I have learned in other rooms, if I try to take out one section, I am replacing everthing. I am not prepared to do that right now although I know it would be best to reomve it. The fasteners I used are 2 1/4" and go directly into the studs at all points. Thanks for the advice above, her is the next question....

What is th e max. depth I can feather thinset to level low spots?

Thanks
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Unread 01-09-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Thinset is not supposed to be use in thicknesses greater than 1/4", but is done often enough.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 07:46 PM   #5
ZachandBre
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Waterproofing/vapor barrier

I have heard so many differnt "right" answers to these questions...

1. Do you need to use a vapor barrier behind your cement board in shower surround?

2. Do you need a water proofing layer, like hydroban?

3. Is 1/4" Hardibacker good enough for walls, do you need thicker?

Anyone care to wiegh in?
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Unread 01-10-2012, 07:55 PM   #6
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hi zach

you want either a vapor barrier (like poly sheeting) behind the cement board, or a liquid membrane (like hydroban) over it....one or the other, not both.

hardi instructions say 1/4" is fine for walls (http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner...Tab=jsnavLink4), but i think a lot of people prefer 1/2". it's a little stiffer and if it butts up to drywall, it makes any transitions easier.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 07:59 PM   #7
Raymond 57
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Hi Zach

As far as the vapor barrier Based on what I do know it is a good idea behind cement board. but not if you are using it along with waterproofing. That just creates issues . I would wait for the other guys to chime in on that for a confirmation.

1/2" board on walls. 1/4" will flex too much and cause cracks.

Have not use hydroban but have use plenty of Kerdi. My usual method is if it's a shower it gets waterproofed. The product you use is up to you and how comfortable you are with installing that product.

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Unread 01-10-2012, 08:10 PM   #8
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Hi Zach,

They got you covered on the moisture barrier/surface waterproofing thing.

And like Lou said, according to Hardi, 1/4" is acceptable for the walls. But most pros here on the forum would avoid it and use 1/2" instead. Is there any particular reason you want to use 1/4"?

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Unread 01-10-2012, 08:27 PM   #9
ZachandBre
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Thanks for the guidance. I asked the tile "specialist" at HD about the cement board for my application and he suggested the brand and thickness I mentioned. At this point I have already mounted the 1/4" board w/o vapor barrier. So I am now planning to use Kerdi or Hydroban after I tape and mud but before I tile. It seems real solid, no spring or give. Only issue is a lack of plumb or level in some areas that I was going to feather with thinset. Thoughts?

Thanks for your help....
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Unread 01-10-2012, 08:48 PM   #10
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I've met many a "tile specialists" that work at HD. I'm sure there are some terrific employees out there, but it seems that the training program at HD leaves them high and dry. It's a bummer. Many a folks have been led astray by nice, but uninformed employees.

Currently, that 1/4" cement board is likely causing a problem meeting up with the surrounding walls. The cement board should be flush with the surrounding walls. Or do you have a situation where the tile won't be meeting up with any other walls? Most tub surrounds have at least, if not both of the two end walls meeting up with walls that extend into the rest of the bathroom.

You may want to consider buying 4 new sheets of $9 backerboard and going at it again.

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Unread 01-10-2012, 08:55 PM   #11
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Thanks for the pointers Bubba. So 1/2" cement boards/tape & thinset joints/Hydroban/thinset/Tile - Right?
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Unread 01-10-2012, 09:12 PM   #12
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Yes. If you can bring the backerboard down over the tub's flange, you have a terrific system of waterproofing. In this scenario, the bottom face of your waterproofed backerboard is LOWER than the height of the tub's flange (in much the same way roof shingles are overlapped). This makes for a very good second line of defense.

But if you must stop the backerboard above the top of the tub's flange (because furring out the backerboard would cause it to be "proud" of the surrounding walls), then realize that the bottom face of your waterproofed backerboard is ABOVE the height of the tub's flange...a scenario that can lead to moisture getting into the wall cavity and causing damage. In these cases, it's a good idea to add a 6" tall strip of plastic to the studs so the bottom of it drapes down over the tub's flange. This extra step adds that "shingle overlap" to protect the wall cavity from seeing moisture in the event of a caulk failure between the bottom of the waterproofed backerboard and tub.

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Unread 01-10-2012, 09:15 PM   #13
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don't forget a wet film thickness gauge to check proper thickness of hydroban coats
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Unread 01-10-2012, 09:29 PM   #14
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Lou, Bubba, Ray Thanks. Wish me luck.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 06:20 AM   #15
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Good luck and send us pics as you are going .
We love pics

Best
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