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Unread 04-18-2004, 04:37 AM   #1
karenkatalyst
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Help! Rebuilding our shower.

Hi!

We are in the process of redoing our shower. At first, we thought it would be a simple matter to have someone “fix” the leak, and then retile it, but we realized we had a choice to either have the pan replaced, or demo-ing the whole shower and starting from scratch. Since the shower was poorly built to begin with, and it semed the big cost was in all the prep work, we opted for the latter, doing most of the work ourselves to save on costs. We typically split the process with me digging up the info and my husband doing the physical work.

For our preliminary research, I purchased the book, Setting Tile, by Michael Byrne, read a lot on your website, and got Michael’s video, Tiling Walls, from the library.

So far, this is what has been done:
• tile removed
• plaster walls removed
• shower floor concrete removed
• slab beneath shower demolished
• shower drain moved from side of shower to the middle
• clean-out moved out of shower stall (yes, it was in the shower!)
• rebar drilled into existing slab and new slab poured in shower brought up evenly around the bottom drain flange
• ceiling beams reframed
• green board attached to ceiling and a light/fan unit added

All went well up to this point. But we now have some questions.

Our plan is to use Composeal waterproofing membrane.
Most of the what we have read, starts with a wood subfloor, covered with 15# tar paper, then metal lath, and finally the floor mud.

My first question is whether we need to put down tar paper & wire over the concrete prior to the sloping floor mud, or if we just need to put cover it with thinset so that the mortar adheres to the first layer.
• Then is the process as follows:
• Add sloped fill
• Adhere the membrane
• Check for leaks

The next big question has to do with the walls. The walls are very much out of plumb (top of walls 3/4 of an inch closer than the bottom). My husband wants to plaster the walls so that they can be made plumb. He is saying that all he needs to put up is backing wire, tar paper and then chicken wire on top--this is the way it was done originally when the house was built in 1949 . From what I’ve read, and from the video, it seems that it is necessary to put up a rigid surface (like cement board) behind the black paper and wire so the cement adheres properly. Which is correct?

I’ll stop there. If you could answer these questions it will really help us decide how to procede.

Thanks so much.
Karen
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Unread 04-18-2004, 07:31 AM   #2
Davestone
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Cool

If you haven,t done one a mud job is fairly difficult with a lot of buildout, i would shim the studs out to take care of most of the problem then skim out the rest.You don,t need felt over concrete,just over wood,i,m not familiar with your membrane though.
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Unread 04-18-2004, 08:21 AM   #3
Davy
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Hi Karen and welcome. Sounds like y'all have been busy.

You can add new studs to the sides of the old ones, of course making the new ones plumb or you can shim out the CBU plumb. If you have your mind set on doing a mud job we can take you through that step by step also. You would only need felt paper or poly and wire lath on the walls for mud, no need for chicken wire over the lath.

The membrane doesn't need to be adhered to the preslope, just not necessary. Like Dave said, leave out the felt paper and lath when going over slab, put down a layer of watered down thinset just before putting down the preslope mud, bonding it to the slab.

Figure out which direction you want to go and come back to this thread with questions. Keeping it in one thread keeps the older guys round here from getting confused.
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Unread 04-18-2004, 08:32 AM   #4
genel
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If you want to do mud walls, you need to get one of John Bridge's books. Michael Byrne's book is good but does not cover doing mud walls. (I'm a big book guy and have all three.)

John's latest book can be bought at the TYW store advertised at the top of the page.
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Unread 04-18-2004, 10:44 AM   #5
karenkatalyst
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Shower Rebuild...

Hi Guys!

Thanks for all the responses!

So, do I understand you correctly; that it is not necessary to have a rigid foundation in order to put up the mud walls?

Rick (my husband) just repaired the wire that was already up there. So now he needs to put up wire lath?

Oh yeah, just to let you know...this shower is little--31" by 36"--and the only one we have--thus my interest in getting it done well and promptly.

Rick is in construction--but on a large scale--he builds those big tilt-up buildings. So, he is good with a trowel; but not much of a reader--which is why you are talking with me.

I will see about getting the book you mentioned.

Thanks again.

Karen
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Unread 04-18-2004, 01:27 PM   #6
Davidstone
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Rigid foundation?? I don,t understand? But don,t mud over chicken wire, use extruded wire mud lathe,with moisture barrier(felt)first.
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Unread 04-18-2004, 01:56 PM   #7
Davy
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Karen, can you post a picher of what you've got there? I agree that John's book would help.

Many times I start with greenboard walls and felt and wire over it. The greenboard is rigid enough for the mud. Sometimes the felt and wire is nailed to the studs and a scratch coat of cement is applied before the brown coat (final smooth coat).

If you are in a hurry you might want to go with CBU's instead of mud, we can guide you so you'll have a shower that will last a long time.
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Unread 04-18-2004, 04:16 PM   #8
John Bridge
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Hi Karen, Welcome.

You've already gotten several decades of experience here. I may try to clarify a bit of it. I'm guessing you're in the western part of the country. In 1949 you would have found "piano" or baling wire stretched horizontally across the studs with the strands about 6 to 8 inches apart. Over that would have been the chicken wire. There was probably originally a layer of tar paper behind the whole thing.

The scratch coat or first layer of mortar is applied to the wire and allowed to harder over night or longer. For a wall that's way out as you state, a second scratch coat will be required to get the wall closer to plumb. Finally, the flush or "brown" coat is applied and made smooth to accept the tile installation.

So as David said, it's quite a process. The only thing I disagree with him on is the use of "chicken war." That's how we say it in Texas. Chicken wire has been used successfully for many moons. It needs to be the good quality hot dipped galvanized wire, though, not the cheapo stuff you find at Home Depot. 2.5 lb. expanded metal lath will work as well. They do sell that at Home Depot or at a masonry supply house.

If your husband was not so far along I would advise furring out the studs to make them straight and plumb, as Davy suggested. Davy's one of the old guys around here. He knows his stuff.
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Unread 04-25-2004, 01:57 PM   #9
karenkatalyst
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Hi Guys!

Sorry for the absence...it's been a busy week! So much for getting this shower done quickly....

John, you are absolutely right! We live in CA and the wire was exactly as you described--right down to the black paper and chicken "war"!

This is where we are now.

Rick floated the slope, laid down black paper (recommended to protect membrane), installed pan membrane, and checked for leaks. So far so good--it drained toward the drain, and no leaks.

He fixed up, and added to, the old wire, stapled up black paper (he said it was called 60 minute paper), and is in the process of lining it with metal lathing.

As for the floor, we have been following pretty closely from the book, "Setting Tile," which says to now put the tile spacers around the drain, float about half the floor, then lay chicken wire and float the rest of the way.

Rick's question at this point is whether he should float the floor and curb first, or do the walls. He said there seems to be a difference of opinion on this--but he also said that most sources he was looking at were referring to using cement board.

I tried to insert a picture, but couldn't get it to paste into the message box. I know I saw someone else's thread had pictures, so if anyone can explain to me how to insert them, I'd be happy to show you what we've got.

Thanks again!

Karen
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Unread 04-25-2004, 08:34 PM   #10
Davy
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Hi Karen, have him float the walls first and then the curb. I like to mud and tile the floor last after the walls, jamb and curb are completly done but some guys like to mud the floor just after mudding the walls and curb. He can do it either way.
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Unread 04-26-2004, 06:24 AM   #11
John Bridge
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Hi Karen and Rick,

The idea of floating, smoothing and tiling the walls first makes sense in that all the mess that might drop is not dropping on the new shower floor. Just put cardboard or an old piece of carpeting over the pan membrane.

Michael Byrne is about the only mud man I know who puts metal in the shower floor, but it certainly won't hurt anything if you do it very quickly. You can not screw around with it as the book might indicate. You cannot allow the first part of the mud to air-dry on its surface while you're fiddling around with the wire, or you'll have two strata of mud instead of one, and that ain't good.

Have the piece of chicken war flattened out and pre-cut. Spread the mud fairly evenly around the floor, get the wire in there and dump the rest of the mud immediately. Chicken wire and 2x2 mesh work well. Do not use expanded metal lath (diamond lath). The small openings in the lath will prevent the two parts of mud from properly bonding to each other.

An easier way is to forget the wire unless your shower is huge. I've only re-inforced a couple of shower floors in thirty-odd years, and they were commercial gang showers.

You have to get your picture down to less than 51 KB. It's not hard to do with a program like Irfanview, which is free. http://www.irfanview.com

Do not preview the post after you've attached the picture.
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Unread 05-08-2004, 03:30 AM   #12
karenkatalyst
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Hi Guys!

I'm back again. Unfortunately, Rick didn't wait for your response before he started plastering, so he did add the metal reinforcement to the floor of the shower and put up the walls and floor.

I've inserted a picture (hopefully) of what it looks like now.

We have some questions about spacing the tiles and grouting, and Rick promised me that he would wait for your response before continuing....so here goes.

What spacing is preferred for grouting a shower? From what we've read it looks like you have to have at least one eighth inch space to use the sanded grout, and sanded grout is stronger. So...we figured sanded grout would be better for a shower--Is this the case? We had considered doing a sixteenth inch space, but if what I said is true, then we should probably go with the one eighth, right?

Also, what type(s) or brand(s) of grout do you recommend for the shower? Our issues include wanting to be able to use the shower ASAP as well as having to do as little maintenance as possible on it, once it is done.

In addition, is there a particular sealer you recommend?

That's it for now.

Thanks again!

Karen
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Unread 05-08-2004, 03:38 AM   #13
karenkatalyst
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Smile

Okay, the picture went in--although I hope you realized it was sideways (we don't have a really short wide shower).

Here is another question for you.

Once we started playing around with the accent design we were planning, we realized it looked nicer with a border on th top and bottom of it. Rick is suggesting that we use quarter round pieces because they are the right size and look good. Is there any reason this would be a bad idea?

I'm inserting a picture of the design below.

Thanks.

Karen
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Unread 05-08-2004, 05:08 AM   #14
Davestone
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I've never seen a residential drain like that. The smaller the joint the better,you can almost butt that tile,grout preference?anything but jamo white is o.k. by me Border looks good,but the shower floor should be a matte material 1/4 "joint sanded grout and about 4 inche stile size max.Is your tile going to butt to that drain o.k.?
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Unread 05-08-2004, 05:51 AM   #15
doitright
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Hi Dave

I think you were looking at the ceiling fan/ light.

Hi Karen

The border looks great! Have done many variations of that one.
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