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Unread 09-01-2019, 03:36 PM   #1
jme3jm
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Concerned water will linger on Schluter Shower Tray

Hi All,

I bought the Schluter Shower Kit (with Kerdi-Shower-TS): 38" x60", Offset PVC Flange (KST965/1525S/UV). The shower tray is foam, with Kerdi pre attached.
The subfloor was made level by first using a leveling compound. Then, the next day, I installed the shower tray (see attached image)

My concern is that the slope (from the far end to the drain) is not enough. I fear water will linger on the mosaic tile that I plan to install (1.5" hex porcelain). I plan on using the ProFusion premixed grout (never needs sealing).

I measured the slope at about 1/8" per foot. I thought industry standard was supposed to be 1/4" pf. The other attached image is a close up of the bubble showing the slope is in a good direction, but the slope is marginal. The tub in my other bathroom has a slope of almost 3/8" pf.

If I put the level on the tray along the long edge (alongside where the curb will be, or along the long wall), the level is perfectly centered.

Do you think I will have a problem with water lingering in the grout lines?

I'm half considering ripping the tray out and buying a vikrell shower pan instead. Am I overreacting?

If I stick with the existing tray, any advice on how I can minimize standing water on the floor?

Thank you
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Unread 09-01-2019, 04:29 PM   #2
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Welcome, Matt.

Yes, I think you'll have drainage problems. Whether you can live with the result I, of course, cannot say.

You're looking at just one of the reasons I recommend against the use of those foam shower trays.

You are correct that the plumbing code requires that your shower floor in a site built tiled shower must slope a minimum of 1/4" per horizontal foot to the drain. There is, I am told, a different standard for pre-fabricated shower receptors, but how the foam tray manufacturers can get code approval by using that standard and also requiring the surface of their product be tiled, I do not know.

What I would recommend is that you remove that foam tray, move your drain as close as possible to the center of the shower footprint, and create a proper sloped floor using deck mud. While it's possible to make a properly sloped mud floor with the drain in its current location, you'll end up with very steep slopes in the drain area. You can do all that while disturbing nothing at all but your drain and foam tray at this point. You'll then need to apply your waterproofing membrane to the floor and walls as previously planned.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-02-2019, 09:41 AM   #3
jadnashua
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IMHO, you won't have standing water, but it will drain slower. If you were dealing with something like pebbles, it would likely become a problem. WIthout a very porous layer beneath (as in a conventional mud bed that is not waterproofed on the surface) in a conventional shower, and the time you're in the shower, not much moisture penetrates, and in a normal home environment, it dries out in between uses. You'll need good workmanship to keep those small tile (on sheets?) nice and flat, but that's possible. It will also be key to not overwash the grout during cleanup so that it is not recessed much below the tile surface. Kneeling on the tile after setting prior to it curing will create a divot. And, kneeling on unprotected foam components might, too...keep something like a piece of ply on it to spread your weight. Once the tile is set and cured, it's no longer an issue.

Keep in mind the plumbing code allows 1/8"/foot on 4" and larger drainage pipes (otherwise, your sewer pipes would end up WAY deeper than is economical. They work fine. Your shower pan emulates a very large pipe for the drainage. By building the pan in the factory, they can get the slope perfect which is why it is required that the substrate be level prior to installing it, one reason why building your own can be better - you don't need to level it first, plus, you can accommodate (and, at least in materials, it's cheaper) slight centering and size issues with the drain and the floor.

Most people like the look of a shower where the perimeter is level all the way around. That doesn't happen with a linear drain, but is the norm for a conventional one. That's why pans are made that way.
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Unread 09-02-2019, 09:58 AM   #4
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I'd remove the foam for the reasons Jim mentioned. If I have to rely on the thinset to avoid the substrate from compressing then it's not for me. I haven't even mentioned the pitch.
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Unread 09-02-2019, 10:35 AM   #5
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I have a tiled Schluter tray that was installed by me at my mother's house. The drain is in the middle, but, it drains just fine and does not exhibit any retained moisture issues. The slope is less than the 1/4"/foot. I did it primarily for the time savings...I was trying to work around a Christmas holiday and the inspector's availability, and it saved me a few days so it could be finished sooner. It's been in now for nearly a decade, looks like new, functions fine. They have plumbing code approvals nationally, and in each state that has their own unique agency (MA is one where it is illegal to install ANY plumbing stuff unless it's been approved by the state and it is also illegal to do ANY plumbing unless you are licensed- doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but it can be a major pain if you're caught for some reason).

Over the time those trays have been available, my guess is they have sold at least 30K/year in the US, for probably something like nearly 20-years and lots more of them internationally. Five years ago, they mentioned they sell over 100K drains a year in the US, but not all of them by any means are sold as shower kits with a tray. The system works, the company has been in the USA for about 30-years, and was founded in Germany before that...been around with a good track record. Their copyrights expired and more than one company has come out with clones, each with their own slant on the original, but not exactly the same.
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Unread 09-02-2019, 12:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim
MA is one where it is illegal to install ANY plumbing stuff unless it's been approved by the state and it is also illegal to do ANY plumbing unless you are licensed-
But where it's still perfectly legal (even preferred?) to install a copper shower receptor liner with no pre-slope at all, yes, Jim? Just gotta love some of the "standard" code compliance practices we've got, eh?
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Unread 09-02-2019, 09:41 PM   #7
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Yeah, MA is weird. For the most part, though, the list of approved items on their database is pretty comprehensive, so you do have choices. I don't know for sure that they'll still approve a copper pan without a preslope, but it did used to be considered an 'upgrade'. Stupid, but hey, politicians made the rules, and there's lots of unions still in MA, which is one reason a licensed plumber is required, even in your own home.

Bottom line, though, if you live in MA, and want to avoid hassles, check their plumbing database before you choose fixtures for your plumbing and that includes the brand of pipe, toilets, sinks, valves, etc.
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Unread 09-03-2019, 02:53 AM   #8
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Pick larger floor tiles??
That would be weird to not be able to do any plumbing in your own house. Not even say installing a new faucet or sink with drain and plumbing? I have admitted that plumbing required more thought than I imagined but after that its like playing with tinker toys and legos and gluing model airplanes.
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Unread 09-03-2019, 05:02 AM   #9
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I've never installed a copper pan but it makes me wonder if it's difficult to get it to form into the funnel shape that's needed for a preslope. Maybe it stretches easier than I think.
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Unread 09-03-2019, 09:04 AM   #10
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For the record-- Noble shower trays are min. 1/4" slope from the farthest point, the corners.
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Unread 09-03-2019, 07:38 PM   #11
jadnashua
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FWIW, you can make a copper pan with slope. THe vast majority of them, though, are built flat on the floor, which should not pass a plumbing inspection unless the inspector, incorrectly, assumes the tile is the waterproofing (if that's true, why the pan in the first place?!).
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Unread 09-03-2019, 09:26 PM   #12
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For the record, I like Noble. A lot.

Funny thing is that several plumbing inspectors that i know are absolute sticklers for details. When a few of them are together, they are very quick to argue amongst themselves over the tiniest details on plumbing. It's almost comical watching them try to out-smart each other on their deep knowledge of plumbing. You'd think you were listening to brain surgeons discussing the most delicate details. But when it comes to a pre-slope, they are like a deers staring into headlights. I don't know one that has ever enforced a pre-slope. Ever.
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Unread 09-10-2019, 08:15 PM   #13
jme3jm
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grout all the way to edge?

Thanks everyone for the advice!

Update: I decided to move forward with the Schluter tray. So I got the Kerdi on walls, and installed the curb.

For the shower floor, I'm going to use 1.5" hex mosaic porcelain sheets. Once the shower floor is tiled and grouted, then I'll do the walls. grout will probably be Fusion Pro (HD's pre mixed)

Now my question is:
When grouting the shower floor, can I put grout all the way to the wall edge?
Or should there be a gap?

Normally, when I tile a "regular" floor (ie, not a shower), I'll leave an expansion gap along the perimeter. But in this case, I don't know if I want to leave an empty cavity of space along the perimeter of the floor. Even though I'll put caulking to seal the wall/floor tile intersection, I fear there is still a risk water will get back there. And it seems bad for water to pool in an expansion gap along the floor perimeter.
I'm tempted to just put floor grout all the way to the wall edge (no expansion gap). How does that sound?
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Unread 09-10-2019, 08:44 PM   #14
jadnashua
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INdustry standards call for an expansion joint. That could be caulk, or an engineered profile. Personally, I like the idea of the profiles. Dilex-EKE works well, and it would let your floor tile cuts look cleaner with the smaller tile (sometimes, hard to do) because of the pocket that hides them. Then, no caulk needed ever. You could use that one in a corner as well.
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Unread 09-11-2019, 06:15 PM   #15
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If your floor tiles aren't level around the perimeter, which I believe is the case, be sure and start the bottom row of wall tiles at the low end, which would be the drain end. You would then have to cut the bottom row to fit the rest of the way around.
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