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Unread 11-25-2019, 03:37 PM   #1
Fig
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Bathroom remodel in New Orleans

Hey y’all,

I’ve done basic tiling before but am trying to remodel a whole bathroom now and am a bit at sea. Any pointers would sure be appreciated.

The bathroom I’m working with is 81” x 88” and I’m looking to rip out the vinyl floor, replace with tile and rip out the fiberglass shower/tub combo and replace with either a Kohler Villager and tiled shower or just a tiled shower with a bench.

1. I’m having trouble finding a Kerdi shower kit locally with a low curb that is designed to replace an alcove tub. Is it okay to trim a 36x60 pan down to 32 or should I keep looking?

2. How level is “good enough” for the floor? I’m planning to use Ditra over a plywood subfloor and the tile will be a 2x2 mosaic. I am hoping this will make for a somewhat forgiving surface. (Won’t know for sure til I rip out the existing floor but here in New Orleans we have old houses and lots of soil subsidence). Assuming I’m okay when I measure the deflection, I’m hoping that if I get it to within 1/2” of level across the bathroom span that will be okay, because chasing perfection could eat up a lot of time.

3. I’ve used Redgard over cement board before for shower walls, never used kerdi membrane. Given that money is tight, is there any benefit to trying the kerdi membrane for the walls?

4. I’d like to replace the full-height alcove wall opposite the shower head with a pony wall so that I open up more space in the bathroom. Haven’t seen too many folks do that so I’m wondering if it’s a bad idea for some reason.

Thanks in advance for any advice, even if it’s “you’re in over your head: hire somebody”

Fig
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Unread 11-25-2019, 03:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fig View Post

1. I’m having trouble finding a Kerdi shower kit locally with a low curb that is designed to replace an alcove tub. Is it okay to trim a 36x60 pan down to 32 or should I keep looking?
Fig
You can buy it online as well. You can even buy it straight from Schluter. Cutting it 4 in isn't really a problem, you want to cut it 2in on opposite sides to keep the drain in the same place. Ideally, you don't want to cut it though, as the height of the pan will not be uniform on all sides. I imagine people here will recommend you make your own pan out of mud. This will ensure a proper slope given your unlevel floor and "odd" size pan.
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2. How level is “good enough” for the floor? I’m planning to use Ditra over a plywood subfloor and the tile will be a 2x2 mosaic. I am hoping this will make for a somewhat forgiving surface. (Won’t know for sure til I rip out the existing floor but here in New Orleans we have old houses and lots of soil subsidence). Assuming I’m okay when I measure the deflection, I’m hoping that if I get it to within 1/2” of level across the bathroom span that will be okay, because chasing perfection could eat up a lot of time.
Fig
When it comes to laying the tile, it doesnt matter how level it is. You want it FLAT. If you are OK with a sloped floor, as long as it is consistently FLAT, you are OK. That said, the same is not true for your shower pan. That needs to be both FLAT AND LEVEL if you will be using a pre-made pan. If it is not flat and level, you will get water that doesn't drain properly and/or pools. The premade foam pans really require a dead nuts flat and level floor.
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3. I’ve used Redgard over cement board before for shower walls, never used kerdi membrane. Given that money is tight, is there any benefit to trying the kerdi membrane for the walls?
Fig
Not really, but if you are using a kerdi shower pan you would want to use kerdi walls to tie it all together. This is at least following instructions.
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4. I’d like to replace the full-height alcove wall opposite the shower head with a pony wall so that I open up more space in the bathroom. Haven’t seen too many folks do that so I’m wondering if it’s a bad idea for some reason.
Fig
The main reason is that pony walls are notoriously weak and wobbly. This makes tiles crack, fall off. and compromises the waterproofing (kerdi or redgard). There ARE ways to make these half walls sturdy though. The typical one is to open up the subfloor and drop the pony wall studs down into the floor and screw/glue them to the joists. Add horizontal studs tying them together.

What is the thickness of your subfloor? Do not assume it is "fine". Also, state your joist size/spacing. Don't just assume it is big enough/sturdy enough. There is a "deflecto" calculator in the liberry. The unsupported span is not the wall to wall measurement. It is the distance UNDER your floor where you do not have another wall/post/beam supporting the joists. So in a second story it would not be the size of the room, but rather looking at the first floor find out what walls support the bathroom from underneath.
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Unread 11-26-2019, 12:34 PM   #3
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Thumbs up

Thanks Mike!
That’s a great tip about tying the pony wall into the joists!
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Unread 11-26-2019, 07:35 PM   #4
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Hi, Mike. If you can chop up the ‘quotes’ to just what Fig wrote, it would be a bunch easier to understand who is saying what.
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Unread 11-27-2019, 01:24 PM   #5
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Mike has you well covered above, Fig, especially regarding the flat/level requirements of the foam pans.

If your joist structure and pony wall size are such that you can tie the end of your pony wall into a joist all the better, but you may find you need to add blocking between joists to prevent the target joist from twisting if the joist runs parallel to the pony wall.

What I found when I built a pony wall for my recent master bath renovation was that once I added drywall to the bathroom side, and water proof foam board and a corner seat and membrane on the shower side my pony wall was pretty solid. What really took all the flex out of it was when I added the stone top and end pieces. I did not attach it to the joists.
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Unread 12-07-2019, 09:49 AM   #6
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Penny round install tips?

What is the best way to install penny round tiles so that the seams between sheets don’t show? I’ve read to “stagger the seams” but am not sure what that means.
Is hex mosaic any less prone to the visible seam problem, or is any mosaic going to be significantly more work to install nicely than a field tile?
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Unread 12-07-2019, 10:45 AM   #7
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By staggering the seams they mean laying your 12x12-inch sheets such that no four corners meet at one place. You can stagger the joints by half a sheet or some lesser dimension such that the lines between sheets don't extend more than a single sheet in any direction.

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Some manufacturers of those mesh-mounted tiles will do a much better job than others and the sheets will fit more closely together. Others can be a great PITA and may require some manipulation of the tiles on the edges to make them fit well at all. And the worst I've seen are just not ever gonna fit correctly and can result in a form of insanity at least temporarily.

You'll just hafta lay some of your sheets out on a flat horizontal surface and see what you've got to work with.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-10-2019, 11:47 AM   #8
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no good deed goes unpunished

Y’all have already been so generous helping out a newbie like myself, but they say that no good deed goes unpunished so I have a couple more questions .

1. Shower bench olacement: I’m replacing a 60x32 alcove tub with a walk-in shower. Plumbing is on one short wall. If I put a rectangular kerdi bench at the other end, along the opposite wall, I am worried that it will be too far from the controls for the hand shower to reach. But if I put a triangular kerdi bench or a wooden fold-down bench near the shower controls, I will cut into the required 30” diameter. I can’t make the shower deeper because the toilet is only six inches from the tub alcove.

2. Which brings me to my next question: I thought the shower curb was supposed to sit adjacent to the shower pan, not within it. How do people typically handle the transition between the curb and the alcove wall?

3. I was planning to use kerdiboard for the shower walls. If I want a floating or shelf-style bench instead of a preformed kerdi bench that goes all the way to the floor, is there a way to do this using kerdiboard over a wood frame tied into the wall studs?

Thanks for your patience!
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Unread 12-10-2019, 12:16 PM   #9
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with respect to the bench, yes, you can make a kerdi board bench that is floating. You would use the 2in kerdi board, which is rather expensive.

look at the image below for reference. You span the kerdi board from wall to wall so it is abutted by 3 walls. You could also do a corner with two walls but it depends how you want the bench to look. You then make right angle triangular support gussets that go under the bench. All of this is attached with kerdifix. When setting tile, the tile abuts all the edges of the board on the wall, which gives it much more strength. The depth you want and the span distance would determine how many support gussets you need.

Note, in the image, they made the bench with 2, 2in boards doubled up, just to make an example of how strong it can be.

Honestly, I would go with https://www.contractorsdirect.com/In...xoCIvMQAvD_BwE


With respect to the curb, yes, they go outside the pan area, abutting it. the waterproofing ties the two together. You place the curb though so it is is totally abutted by the two walls, placing the outside face of the curb flush with the outside face of the alcove walls. The pan should be constructed to accommodate this space. See the other image for reference. The water proofing on the walls typically extends a few inches past the curb, but you really need it to go at least to just past where the glass will be (if you have it)
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Unread 12-10-2019, 12:40 PM   #10
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Fig,

I'd have to agree - a bench on the far end won't be of much use aside from having a place to prop your feet on to dry off.

If you are doing this shower to code and having it inspected, you might wanna give your local code compliance office a call to see if they'll allow a triangular bench on the short wall where the head and controls are. I'm nearly positive a triangular bench there is allowed.
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Unread 12-10-2019, 01:32 PM   #11
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thanks for the tips. that better bench product looks good except that the sizes seem so odd. The adjustable bench has a minimum of 33”, so it wouldn’t fit in my alcove. Around here, anyway, a 60” by 32 tub alcove is standard.

And because of that alcove size, it looks like the kerdi base is out for me. If I trim the base to allow the outer edge of the curb to sit flush with the outer edge of the alcove wall, my shower will no longer meet the 30” minimum depth.

I guess I’m gonna go to Home Depot, buy a dreamline base, and be done with it . I was really hoping to be able to continue my floor tile into the shower to make my small bathroom seem bigger, but it just doesn’t seem to be working out.
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Unread 12-11-2019, 06:57 AM   #12
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Fig, IMO a corner bench would actually be better on the short wall where the controls are, won't interfere with your legs as much while standing under the shower head. Better Bench makes 2 sizes of corner bench, I used 2 of the small ones.

As for the curb encroaching on the 30" clearance rule - I'll bet a box of cookies that it isn't an issue. Think of it this way; in a 32X60 alcove, using a standard tub, the clearance is way less than 30 inches below the rim of the tub.
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Unread 12-11-2019, 03:20 PM   #13
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I think you can get where you want to go if you make your own curb and pan. You can make the curb as narrow as a couple inches or so, and make a perfect deck mud pan. I think Kerdiboard would make a fine curb, just the size you want, and it's not that hard to work with the mud. You've gone this far, why compromise?
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