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Unread 10-15-2020, 05:55 PM   #1
ngen33r
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Second Thinking Tiled Shower Waterproofing

I finished my rough in and pan (DreamLine center drain 60x32) install for my basement shower. The plan was to use HardiBacker and some form of membrane to seal it. I read that Hardi is a pain in the ass to apply anything to because of how absorbent it is, so I am thinking of taking those down and going a different route. I have a few options and I would really like the opinions of some professionals on this one. Cost is not restrictive, I want to do this right the first time.

Confusing things:
Hardi calls for modified thinset
Kerdi calls for unmodified thinset
AquaDefense calls for a mortar with polymer

Will the unmodified stick well to the Hardi, what about porcelain tiles and glass mosaics? Old school thought is to use modified for those.

My options:
Kerdi over wetted Hardi
AquaDefense / Redguard over Hardi (with a primer coat)
Replace Hardi with Kerdi board
or throw in the towel and put up a composite shower wall if I can find one to fit the base and doors that I already have.

My concerns are that I am a long shower taker and wall leaner. I want the wall to be strong and not flex and crack. The studs are on 12in centers. It is very possible that I am being paranoid and all of those methods will last a long time, but I don't do this for a living and I want to do something that will last with minimal maintenance.


My current thought is to tape and mud the joints on the Hardi with good modified thinset. Then put on a prime coat of the roll-on (primer G or diluted redguard), then a full coat and then tile with UltraFlex 2 or equivalent.

I'm gonna go have a beer, because this is confusing as hell!!!!

Thank You
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Unread 10-15-2020, 06:07 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Welcome to the forum, Wayne.

From what you’re describing, I’ll ask this: why not install a true cement board like Durock (it’s easy to get a wicked-strong bond to it) then tape & mud the joints. After drying, waterproof with AquaDefense/RedGard/Hydroban/any other liquid waterproofer (as all of these liquid waterproofers allow modified thinset mortar over them)?

But if you want to discuss multiple options in detail, we love talking.

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Unread 10-15-2020, 08:31 PM   #3
ngen33r
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If that is the preferred method, I have no issue going that way. I am going to do some stone veneers for behind my bar so the Hardi will not go to waste.

I see many people praising the Kerdi products so that is why I question if that is a better alternative. I do like the simplicity of the nooks they offer.

Please feel free to hash out which method would suit me best for this install.
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Unread 10-15-2020, 09:30 PM   #4
jadnashua
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In reality, the walls in a shower don't need to be waterproof...they've been built that way for scores of years, and when done properly, no issues. You should, according to current standards, put up a moisture barrier either behind the board to protect the studs and structure, or one on top of it (but not both!).

The part that must be waterproof is the pan, and a conventional pan with a liner will also work long-term without issues when it is built right.

My preference is to use a topical sheet membrane like Kerdi so that the entire shower is waterproof right underneath the tile. In a conventional shower, you have about 1.5" or so of porous deck mud beneath the tile and that literally in a well used shower is constantly damp, with what little water that does get there percolating through to the drain's weep holes above the liner (if it's built properly!). It shouldn't accumulate there.

But, with a sheet membrane, what doesn't immediately flow into the drain, a little will will seep into the grout, but generally evaporates between uses, and everything dries out since there's a waterproof layer underneath, and moisture can't wick down into the thick setting bed beneath, since there is none!

Hardie can be tiled successfully, but you do want to wipe it down well with a wet sponge just prior to spreading the thinset. Some even use a garden sprayer to dampen it. It's not too wet unless there's liquid water on the surface. That allows all of the moisture in the mortar to stay there, and not get sucked out making it stiff, and hard to set a tile to. The TCNA has a separate build technique when using a fiber-cement board (which Hardie is) that makes it a little tougher for success in a shower.
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Unread 10-22-2020, 01:17 PM   #5
ngen33r
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I appreciate the input. A tougher install is not what I am after as a DIY'er. I am going to repurpose the Hardi in a cosmetic area and put up some Kerdi Board. With the fiberglass pan, I will easily be able to cover the area with 2 4x8 sheets of Kerdi board and be well on my way to getting this done. Since the board already has the surface membrane on it, I save a step in laminating Durarock or Green Board and probably some headaches too.
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Unread 10-22-2020, 01:45 PM   #6
jadnashua
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You will want some Kerdiband and probably some KerdiFix to seal the joints and screwholes. The KerdiFix is good to bond the bottom of the board and band to the top of your receiver and maybe around the penetrations for the shower valve and shower arm unless you opt for their seals.

NOte, you can put the banding up as you tile, and that can help keep from making speed bumps, but that's optional...many people band things first, then go back and tile it later.
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