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Unread 08-27-2018, 05:42 PM   #1
shybz800x
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Basement(concrete) shower help

Hi all,

My name is Zack and attempting my first shower build. It is in a basement with concrete floor. I’ve attached a picture of what I’m working with and will describe what my current method will be. Any tips, warnings, I’m an idiot, or hopefully that will work fine, anywhere in my thought process please feel free to comment. Suggestions/constructive criticism is appreciated!!

Step 1: I’m thinking/wondering if I should screw Durrock on walls first ran right down to floor. Do I need vapor barrier on studs?
Step 2: I have some pre-slope plastic slope guides I will attach to floor.
Step 3: Modified thin set on concrete first, then 5:1 Portland/sand mix.
Step 4: Let that cure for a week or 2.
Step 5: Apply Aqua Defense using the recommended Mapei tape on all seams. Planning on 3 coats on floor and 2 feet up walls, 2 coats rest of way up walls.
Step 6: Tile floor, then walls (will be using subway tile on walls, I’ll look up starter row, etc. I know there’s a good thread on here)
Step 7: Grout and I’m done??


It’s that easy right...? I’m trying to add the absolute least amount height to the floor due to somewhat of a lower ceiling. So I’m a bit unsure how I build the deck mud around the drain I have. Planning to be about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick of deck mud at the drain.

Thanks all in advance.
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Unread 08-27-2018, 06:36 PM   #2
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Hey Zack, no need for preslope if your waterproofing above the mud. Run the durock to the floor and mud to it. I have been using the go board which is foam board instead that is already waterproof. Not much difference in price and you just have to waterproof the corner at the change of plane. You can use the mapei fabric and aqua defense to do this. I did a cardboard box for a customer using the other mapei waterproofing that's not approved for pan liner a few weeks ago and it's still holding water not a leak in site.
Go in you tube and look up the divet method. Plenty of videos that visualize the process of how to make the seal at the drain. These are also the videos mapei will send you from the tech dept if you were to call them lol. Not to bad to do once you see it. I also recommend going to your local paint store, not the big box stores, and see if they have a wet film gauge. It's a much more accurate way of seeing your aqua defense thickness per coat, and adding them to to get your total to meet the recommended from mapei.
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Unread 08-27-2018, 06:47 PM   #3
shybz800x
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I guess when I say preslope I mean a sloped dry pack that I plan to redguard and then tile over with thin set.
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Unread 08-28-2018, 11:55 AM   #4
John Bridge
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Hi Zack,

I think you're mixing two completely different methods on the floor. The drain you have is made for a shower pan liner that clamps indo the drain; and yet you talk about Aqua Defense and Red Guard. It's true you could do a divot type installation, but I think you would be better off either going with the conventional shower pan liner or changing drains to one that will work with the surface applied membrane.
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Unread 08-28-2018, 05:21 PM   #5
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Go with the schluter drain and you can mud it in then run the membrane over the top. Best of both worlds.
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Unread 09-05-2018, 08:35 PM   #6
shybz800x
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Thanks all. Decided to just do a preslope with a liner. Not trying to complicate or jeopardize this build over giving up an inch of mud deck
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Unread 09-12-2019, 10:23 PM   #7
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Can I cut with grinder or should I remove entire tile

So I’m going along and just realize I had a full tile about a heavy 1/16 of an inch shorter than the others. I’m running 1/8 grout joints. This will look terrible. Should I attempt to remove the shorter tile 12x24 or think it’s possible to use a grinder to put a slight chamfer on the 2 tiles below it without chipping them?
Tile is stuck to Durrock with aqua defense waterproofing.
Tiles been on the wall for like 5 days now.
Thanks in advance. This is my first shower so I’m learning. I should have pulled this when I set it cause I did notice it then. Big mistake.
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Unread 09-13-2019, 02:08 AM   #8
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Zack, let's keep all questions related to this project on this thread so that questions and answers aren't duplicated, and the history is in one place.

What is the tile stuck to, some type of wall board, with/without waterproofing?

Can you give us a picture from a little further back so we can see what you're referring to?
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Unread 09-13-2019, 05:34 AM   #9
shybz800x
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Here are a few more pictures.

Name:  1.jpg
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Size:  39.7 KB

Name:  2.jpg
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Size:  29.8 KB
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Last edited by Tool Guy - Kg; 09-13-2019 at 08:25 PM. Reason: Rotate pics upright. :)
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Unread 09-13-2019, 09:05 AM   #10
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I can't tell it from the picture, but if it bothers you, that's what matters.

The problem with removing that tile is the risk of damaging the Durock. The waterproofing can be redone, but damaging the board is tough to replace.

I wouldn't try to cut the tile, it'll likely look worse than it does now.

If you can't live with it as is, then start by breaking the tile into smaller pieces. It'll be tough to do without breaking the Durock behind it. Once it starts breaking up, it'll be easy to remove.

Good luck on not damaging the Durock, though.
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Unread 09-13-2019, 09:29 AM   #11
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I'd use a nail punch to break that tile, which will better your chances of saving the Durock. Start near a corner, work your way inward. The small point of the nail punch will concentrate the energy to a tiny spot and fracture the tile with less force, instead of something larger which would spread the load and require more force.
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Unread 09-13-2019, 09:33 AM   #12
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Ive seen youtube videos of people using a grinder to grind then polish a bullnose edge on tile. Think I could pull that off. Would a tile stone or rubbing block remove much material. Even if I can chamfer the edge it will allow the grout joint to appear consistent.
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Unread 09-13-2019, 09:41 AM   #13
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Candidly, I don't think you have a chance of taking a hand held grinder to that tile edge and making it dead straight and without chipping the glaze, and managing to keep it way from the other tiles and without it cutting into the water proofing. I don't think a stone is going to put a dent in it unless it's a very soft tile.
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Unread 09-13-2019, 09:46 AM   #14
shybz800x
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It is "cheaper" porcelain tile..hence why one is a good 1/16th shorter than the others. I will measure each one prior to using from here out. I def dont want chipping, and in all honestly it sounds like breaking out the shorter tile will be a pain, plus damage my waterproofing and durock which I dont want either. I do not have other tile installed yet as you can see in first pic, so thats why I though I could use a grinder to dust a 45 degree angle to remove just a bit along the edge so that it lines up with the shorter tile. Sounds like I might have to live with a crappy grout line
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Unread 09-13-2019, 09:59 AM   #15
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Grout joints are supposed to help take care of issues with mismatched tile sizes (seem to recall the rule of thumb is that the grout join should be 3x the biggest difference in tile dimensions).

So I know it's going to bug you... but perhaps this is one of those places where you need to apply the 10' rule... if it looks good from 10' away, it's good!

Basically, I'm suggesting you fudge the exact placement of the tiles around it so as to hide the difference in tile sizes.

I know that when I was doing a full bath tile job, I learned that the shower divider was I made was NOT square, but I made the mistake of laying the 1st "column" of tile square with the outside of the wall. Once I learned my mistake, I had to fudge the exact placement of the rest of the tile so the seams would like up when I reached the corner. You can see in my closeup in this post the worst of the joints... but the minor change follows the 10' rule (and now 8 years later, it doesn't bother me).
https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin...9&postcount=67(Check out the 3rd image)
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