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Unread 06-07-2018, 02:54 PM   #1
Lazarus
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"Houston Mud Method."

Six or seven different way to mix shower mud. Guess I've done most of them at one time or another. They all are labor intensive. Most suck.

A couple of years ago, Paul with Cabot & Rowe introduced me to this one. Is it generally accepted? No. Does it work? Yes. Shower pan done and ready to go in about 20 minutes. PSI might be "only" 2500 instead of 3000 or so, but this ain't a car showroom...it's a shower. I've used this with 3701 as well as 4-in-1. Both work quite well.

This is a pan Paul did with Tile Geeks....and repeated it several times at their request. All were good and hard as a rock the next morning.

He wrote: "It could be argued there is no spec on adding water to drypack. There is a spec on the ratio of sand, cement, and water in the tcna manual. I am not sure about ANSI though. The volunteers at the tile geeks project in maryland insisted I show them several times to witness first hand. All were impressed."

I post this with his permission....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9GKDMy1vgE&t=106s
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Unread 06-07-2018, 03:08 PM   #2
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Did you break apart any of the pans? I’m curious if there was only a hard crust, with dry powder underneath. Especially under the drain flange.
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Unread 06-07-2018, 03:38 PM   #3
Lazarus
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Lou...I tore the first one out as I was unsure. Damn thing was like concrete from top to bottom. Spray it until water starts to pool up just a bit on the surface. At that point, it's saturated. Add no more water and come back the next day. All I did was use a rub rock to smooth out any irregularities....and there weren't many.

Also. I pack brick morter under the drain before using this process...so it's hard as a rock.
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Unread 06-07-2018, 03:43 PM   #4
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Impressive...

Trying to think through the process. How do you ensure it’s fully packed under a Kerdi drain? I just picture the powder either slumping towards (or actually spilling into) the 5” hole in the subfloor.
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Unread 06-07-2018, 03:57 PM   #5
Lazarus
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There is no powder to "slump" in the way I approach it. I like to mix up brick morter or "mason mix" (same thing) to a trowel-able consistency and pack it into the hole around the riser and under the Kerdi flange first. This gives you superior support for the flange/drain assembly. It sets quickly...an hour or so. NOW you can pull the powder up to it (like in the video) and screed everything.

As seen there, I like to cut some 1.5-2" screeds out of CBU and attach them to the walls to give me something to screed off of to the drain.

Hope this helps.
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Unread 06-07-2018, 04:28 PM   #6
cx
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I've never use the 3701, but Paul did demonstrate that at our Mud Course in Dallas years ago with a Portland and sand mix and as I recall we were not impressed. It was, as Lou asked, mostly a hard crust. Perhaps it would cure more in time and maybe with more water, but we demoed that one the next day as I recall.

I, for one, would still take the time to mix the necessary water with my mud and pack it firmly, getting a monolithic pour including at the drain. Since the advent of the Bucket Mortar Mixer it's just too easy to do, even working alone in a fairly large shower.
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Unread 06-07-2018, 04:54 PM   #7
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My thing would be how do you know all of it got damp. A bag of cement will get hard sitting on a slab over time so Im sure it gets hard, but is all of it.

To each his own, Ill keep packing or use the kerdi tray. I agree CX, long live the mud auger
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Unread 06-07-2018, 06:27 PM   #8
Davy
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I can see his point in doing it this way. The 3701 and Mapei's 4 to 1 are too tight when the water is added. The mud doesn't cut well with a straight edge, It wants to dig out. I have used them both and had to suffer thru doing a shower floor with them. I couldn't imagine mudding a bath floor or big room with them.

My answer is to go back to the basics. 5 to 1 sand and Portland, it can't get any cheaper or easier than that. With the money he paid for one bag of that 3701, he could have bought enough sand and cement to do the whole shower floor, probably twice.

But if that's the way you want to do it, I'm happy for you.
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Unread 06-07-2018, 06:32 PM   #9
Lazarus
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All I know is, that with the proper amount of water added, it penetrates all the way through and it works. I like the Bucket Morter Mixer as well and it's my second favorite method.....
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Unread 06-07-2018, 08:29 PM   #10
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I remember a video someone posted a while ago showing a guy screeding using a 10-12 edge on a large commercial job. Most comments were about him not packing, just pulling mud and continuing on. Now why do these mixes Paul uses not need the packing vs sand and cement? Just finer sand so the water compacts it? Additives in the mix get stronger? Very curious indeed
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Unread 06-07-2018, 10:42 PM   #11
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Ok. Now tell me this. Not so much lately, but in the past I would pack my mud bed for a shower like a madman. Working and packing and pounding like crazy. Of course it was totally mixed with my bucket mortar mixer very well to begin with. Additionally I have learned that I was adding too little water in the past so now my mixes were a bit wetter And the mix a bit richer than JB Xperts typically recommend. Anyways packed my shower pan in prep for surface applied waterproofing. Get on it the next day about 18-20 hours later and in some spots my knees would put shallow divots in the mud bed. Even a hard pressed thumb could dent the surface slightly.

I guesstimate I am closer to a 4 to 1 mix and wetter than normal, mixed from the bucket and no added water mix on top, if doing all I was doing, and would still get dents, then how can loose sand mix set up stronger than these occurrences.
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Unread 06-08-2018, 05:16 AM   #12
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How would one bond it to a slab?
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Unread 06-08-2018, 07:00 AM   #13
Lazarus
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Trowel or brush on some wet thinset or portland before he mud mix, like usual.
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Unread 06-08-2018, 07:22 AM   #14
Dave Gobis
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We did some large jobs like that with damp sand and cement using a garden hose. Never used bag mix much other than for plugging holes.
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Unread 06-08-2018, 09:26 AM   #15
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Like CX, I was at the JB mud course in 2010 where Paul demonstrated his method. I didn't question whether it worked or not. My big question was why. Doing it the conventional way works well for me. I'm not the fastest guy in the world, but I think I can do one just as fast as Paul can, especially since he's got fixed screeds all the way around.

And I don't have to lug around a garden sprayer.


As to Kevin's reply about the amount of water in deck mud, every mechanic I've ever run into has had his own ideas, and they all work. Shower floors don't need to prove out to more than 2000 psi if that much.

Gobis will remember my buddy Michael Byrne's method. Michael mixed his mud rich and then used latex additive instead of water. Then he pounded the hell out of it to get it super hard and strong. He claimed he could walk across his new mud without leaving heal marks. We began calling him "Michael, Walks on Mud."
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