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Unread 04-15-2021, 10:00 AM   #1
zimm0who0net
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curbless shower advice and large format tiles

OK, so here's my project. (Full disclosure: I asked some of these questions in another forum, but never really got a good answer)

I'm tiling a 1000 square foot guest house. It's a 2nd floor above a walk-out garage. The floor is framed using I-Joists and 1-1/8" plywood. The same tile will be used throughout. The wife has chosen a large format tile (24"x48") We would like floor heat in the bathroom at least, and even in the shower if possible. We're going for a curbless shower install.

I've attached a CAD drawing of the shower. There are full walls on the upper and right side. There's a pony wall on the bottom side, and the left will get a glass shower wall/door.

I've also attached a photo of what the site looks like now. The pony wall will be where the stood-up LVL is toward the right. The entrance to the shower is toward the photographer. Notice I've dropped the shower subfloor the 1-1/8" and you can see the tops of the I-joists. (also notice that there's a joist running dead center of my shower...ugh...

We're planning on using Schluter everywhere. DITRA as uncoupling all around, DITRA-HEAT in the bathroom. Kerdi in the shower, etc.

So, first question. Can I run heat in the shower? I've seen youtube videos where people do it. I can't see anything in the documentation that would prevent it, but I'm honestly a bit nervous about electricity in the shower.

Second question: (assuming I can use heat in the shower). What's the best way of sloping my shower pan? The shower is 68x44. The Schluter foam pan that fits is 72x48. With the drain hole cheated over to avoid the joist, I'll have a bit of a gap at one end (about 1-1/2"), but deck mud should fill that. The problem is that the foam pan is 1-1/4" thick and I've only got a 1-1/8" drop. If I don't care about heat in the shower, this would be irrelevant as the DITRA-HEAT would stop at the shower and that would make up the difference, but I'd like heat in the shower.

Third question: (assuming the 1/8" difference in height between the foam pan and the bathroom subfloor a bad thing). Can I throw away the foam pan and deck mud this thing? I've read that you need a minimum of 1" thickness on deck mud or else it'll crack. I need to run from 1-1/8" down to essentially zero at the drain. Is that possible? (maybe some sort of latex modified deck mud???)

Fourth question: Why would anyone choose these large 24x48" tiles? The largest I've set before are 24x24 and those were a PITA. Oh well... Are there hints to dealing with these? Do those suction cups that the window guys use work on tile?

Fifth question: Given the large format tiles, should I put an artificial grout line in every door threshold. I'm dreading having to cut a giant H shape into a heavy tile and somehow set it in a doorway without breaking it. Yikes.
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Unread 04-16-2021, 06:53 AM   #2
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Welcome back, Rich,

1) Yes. But Schluter wants the DH covered with Kerdi.

2) Since you have only 1 1/8" you don't have much choice if you want to stick with the curbless shower. Given the drain location and the size a mud bed covered with Kerdi would be an option if it were not for the thickness requirements of the mud. Depending on how thick the Kerdi pan is at the drain opening, the 72" long center drain pan might meet the 1/4" per foot of slope requirement. But that'll be true only if your subfloor happens to be super-duper level.

Also, though the foam pan is only 1 1/4" you must factor in at least 1/16" for the mortar that it is set in. additionally, you'll need to add another 3/32nd's ish for the mortar and Kerdi over the DH if you really want that heated shower floor.

3) See 2

4) Trendy, and quite nice looking really. From w2hat I've read here suction cups will be necessary, and will work if the tile surface is smooth. A tile leveling/lippage control system will probably be quite helpful, as well as a slant notch trowel.

5) Agreed that it'll be a challenge, but someone with a lot more experience setting those will be better placed to offer ideas.
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Unread 04-16-2021, 05:33 PM   #3
zimm0who0net
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Thanks. So let's assume I tank the idea of heat in the shower. So now I've got the 1-1/4" Schluter pan in the 1-1/8" recess, but I've also got DH on the main floor. The DH is 1/4" thick, so the top surface of the DH is now 1/8" higher than the surface of the Schluter pan. Can I put Kerdi over that seam or do I need to space up the pan? Also, how far back into the bathroom should I put Kerdi? I don't want someone wet coming out of the shower causing problems down below.
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Unread 04-17-2021, 07:57 AM   #4
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It is a good idea to seal that seam with Kerdi. When I did mine I ran my membrane out onto the main flor's Ditra Heat by about 4 inches.
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Unread 04-17-2021, 08:20 AM   #5
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On your last two questions:

4) I would for sure use suction cups, takes a real load off the back when setting those large pieces.

5) It's a good idea to run a thin transition, schluter deco or equivalent on the doorways for some of those impossible cuts with larger tile. I think it looks best to run the transitions but still maintain a full tile look by using the cutoff to continue on the other side of the transition. And obviously place the transition under where the door will sit.

Taking time to layout will pay off nicely on those larger tiles from a cut perspective.
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Unread 04-18-2021, 05:22 AM   #6
pls
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What kind of tile are you using in the shower? With most shower tile the mortar bed under the shower tile will be thinner than what is under the rest of the bathroom especially if you are using a 24 x 48. You might gain as much as 1/8 between the two.
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Unread 04-20-2021, 06:55 PM   #7
zimm0who0net
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Thanks guys. So the shower tile will likely be the same as the main tile. I'll just cut it into triangles to maintain the slope. I would have preferred a smaller tile, but alas I don't get to make those decisions.

Something like the attached image (albeit mine will have a glass shower door). Larger Image here
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Unread 04-20-2021, 07:07 PM   #8
zimm0who0net
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So on a similar note, I will have to transition from the DITRA-HEAT in the bathroom to the regular DITRA in the rest of the house. That's a 1/8" step. I'm thinking that I should be able to smoothly transition over the course of a few tiles to the lower height, but figured I'd ask before I got myself stuck...
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Unread 04-20-2021, 07:48 PM   #9
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1/8” should be no problem to transition as described. Or use ditra xl outside the bathroom.
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Unread 04-21-2021, 07:39 AM   #10
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Oh repairs are never easy
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