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Unread 04-14-2015, 07:32 AM   #1
OutDoorsMan
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Cliff's First Shower Rebuild

Hi there, I've been lurking on this site for a while now. Tons of great info and advice. I've got a shower pan problem and need to ask for some help.

Background: I've been forced to rip out the tub and tile from an upstairs bath. The builder set tile directly on regular drywall around the tub and, we ended up with a very nasty leak. No waterproofing was used! House was built in 1988 and frankly I'm shocked that shower lasted this long...

Anyway, things are progressing well. Tear out complete. New drain and wall installed. Pre pan with nice slope. Pan liner installed correctly per the advice on this forum. Durock is up and mudded. Last night I poured the final pan and was thinking it was looking good
Until this am when I again checked the slope. It's good around the edges but my pan mud (Quickcrete sand topping mix) must've been too wet and sagged to near flat in a few areas.

So, I'm thinking I want to add about 1/2" around the edge and taper toward the drain. Thinking option A is to use a cement to cement bonding primer product on the pan, then fix my slope. Option B would be to use thinset as a bonding agent then use more mud.
Any suggestions, tips tricks? (Yeah, I know... Use less water in my sand topping mix!)
You all are an inspiration. Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by OutDoorsMan; 04-14-2015 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Added pics
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Unread 04-14-2015, 10:57 AM   #2
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This is where the bathroom started.

Adding some more pics. The main leak was on the left side of the far/back wall.
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Unread 04-14-2015, 10:59 AM   #3
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After tear out...

Note the mold stain on the far wall, left side. Ugh!
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Unread 04-14-2015, 11:32 AM   #4
dhagin
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Welcome Cliff.

Is that 1st photo of your pre-slope?

Got any photos of the panliner installation?

Are there any cuts in the panlier below curb height?

How high up the walls does the panlier go?

Did you plug the drain below the weep holes during your flood test?
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Unread 04-14-2015, 01:37 PM   #5
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Hi Dana-

Don't have a pic of the pan liner, but can tell you what I did:

Used oatey folded 40mil 5x6 liner. Had to let it sit for a couple weeks to flatten enough for me to be willing to use it. Got the heads up on creases from this forum well before I was ready to use it. Used hot water for the flood test, which helped a little more. The final mud flattened it the rest of the way. My preslope was pretty aggressive and it drained like a champ after flood testing.

The drain assembly is Sioux Chief adjustable. The liner goes up the walls exactly 6" on the left and right sides and is under the Durock. On the back and curb walls it goes up about 8". There are no holes in the liner below the 6" mark anywhere around. When framing, I left 1/4" gaps in the corners to slide the liner corners into rather than fold over under the Durock. Also used the glue in corner guards from oatey and their special cement to shore up the curb corners. No holes in liner until the outside of the curb.

The flood test went well. Used a black rubber pneumatic device that fit into the drain. It was below the weep holes on bottom of locking ring for drain. Also used 100% silicone between liner and bottom most part of the drain assembly before bolting on the top clamp.

Before pouring final mud, I used plenty of washed gravel to protect weep holes. Even with the wet mud, I belive (hope)the weep holes are still clear. No way for me to be 100% certain, but I did use the gravel generously and made sure to keep it in place while adding mud.

My plan is to use hydro ban and the Laticrete fabric reinforcement (already have both) over all the durock and the floor. Three coats, or more depending on coverage from 5 gallon pail. Hopefully the oatey liner is redundant as a result...

I now have the cement covered in plastic to cure it. Was wanting to start in on the hydro ban now, but want to get the slope fixed first. It is possibly ok, but is near flat in two spots. Suggestions?
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Last edited by OutDoorsMan; 04-14-2015 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Because auto correct spellcheck is my sworn enemy
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Unread 04-14-2015, 03:13 PM   #6
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One last thing... Both the preslope and the final pan are quickrete sand topping mix, straight outa the bag.

The preslope mix was DRY. I used the minimum water amount from the back of the bag. Literally blistered my hand pounding that stuff, and using a float to try to smooth it out was pointless. It only responded to brute force pounding.

Sooo... I watched some YouTube videos. One guy (a "tile master" in Georgia) who appeared to be a professional installer had a video using the exact same mix, and his was nice and wet... So I upped the water in the final pan mixture to just under the max water allowed per the bag. (Hint for those who try this after me... DONT do that, it will sag after you get your slope set up.) Sure was nice to work with though.

If I can't be a good example, I'll just have to be a horrible warning...
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Unread 04-14-2015, 07:35 PM   #7
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Couple things...

-The curb in that 1st photo looks to be 4 stacked 2x, that's 6" plus high. That means the panliner is not a whole lot higher (maybe lower?) than the curb and could be trouble. Did you fill the pan up to the curb height during flood test? Unless I'm not seein it right.

-wetter mortar is not better, as you've discovered. After spending all that time getting the liner to lay flat, I think that shower deserves better than trying to rework the top mud layer. Others may disagree, but I'd redo it - mortar is cheap, and you'll get it perfect next time. Thinset mortar isn't designed for filling as you describe. What material did you have in mind, and is it available locally?

-HydroBan on the walls is fine, but you've got the wrong drain to use it on the floor without first removing the top layer of mortar and forming a "divot" drain. The HydroBan installation instructions show details.
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Unread 04-15-2015, 02:41 PM   #8
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Your math is correct, but you forgot to factor in the height of the preslope. Around the edges, the preslope was just over the top of the bottom 2x4 for the curb.

When I installed the liner corner guards on the curb, openings, the short side of the liner was over the top edge of the corner guard. I would estimate the Liner to go up another 3 over the curb height.

When I water tested, I did not go all the way up to the curb height. I put about 3 of water in. It was probably an inch below the top of the curb.

So if I tear out that shower pan, how do I do it without damaging the liner, the drain assembly or the preslope? Also the Durock goes down into that pan about an inch. Is there really no other way to tune up the final slope besides a tear out?
I
I assume tearing out the final pan will nearly guarantee that I put a hole in my liner. Which means the bottom layer of Durock has to come out, and the drain assembly clamping ring...
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Unread 04-15-2015, 07:46 PM   #9
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Welcome, Cliff.

Taking out a mud bed without damaging the liner or anything else in there should be quite doable, 'specially if the mud is still pretty green.

The problem with trying to repair a bad mud surface in a shower application is that the final mud bed in a traditional shower pan construction is very specifically designed to allow easy water passage through the mud down to the liner and thence to the weeps. Using a mixture too rich or too wet or repairing over the top with a different material all serve to reduce the effectiveness of that process.

I agree with Dana. Call that first mud bed practice and do another just right.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-16-2015, 05:49 AM   #10
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Okay then. Tear out it is.

I assume a flood test after tear out would also be advisable just to make sure my sledge,chisel, and spud bar work agree with the pvc liner. On the up-side, I will be able to double check my weep holes now. I even have a second drain assembly on hand if there is an issue.

I knew this was going to be a learning experience... And I want to do it right. Just didn't expect it to be so painful.
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Unread 04-16-2015, 08:57 AM   #11
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You definitely want to flood test again after removing the mud bed, Cliff, but if you're careful you'll not be doing any damage at all.

You'll not want to be very aggressive with your pounder in there, nor should you need to be. And you want to be very careful with any prybars if you actually need to use any such tools. Put a wide putty knife or drywall knife between prybar and liner if you do need to do any prying.
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Unread 04-16-2015, 09:49 AM   #12
OutDoorsMan
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Thanks for the advice.

"Careful" is my middle name. Some days it seems like "unlucky" could be my last name, tho.
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Unread 04-16-2015, 08:34 PM   #13
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Cliff, I don't think that the mud pans are an easy thing. It took me a lot of trying to get them right. So if you had one turn out not-so-great it's not something that you should fret over- it's really not a great expense to redo it.

If you do accidentally puncture your liner and you know where you did it you can patch that spot with a scrap piece of liner and some glue. Your flood test will tell you if you've patched it correctly.
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Unread 04-20-2015, 05:05 PM   #14
OutDoorsMan
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"Practice Pan" nice and... Flat

This shower pan was like typical concrete. I gave it several test whacks with the ball peen hammer just to test it out. My son wanted me to draw a target, so....
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Unread 04-20-2015, 05:18 PM   #15
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Next time CX says, it will be "easy" - remind me about this shower pan tear out.

Ok, in fairness, he said "quite doable" not easy.

It's behind me now, and this next shower pan is gonna be perfect. (Assuming I pass this flood test.)
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Last edited by OutDoorsMan; 04-20-2015 at 05:26 PM. Reason: Semantics matters.
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