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Unread 02-05-2010, 12:45 AM   #1
-Andy-
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Andy has questions about shower

I'm creating my first shower, in a new second floor I just built on my house. I was planning to do the shower a little ways down the road, after drywall and texture and probably some other finish work as well... but the local Bldg. Dept. said I have to have the shower pan installed and on test prior to rough frame inspection- anyone else's local jurisdiction require this?

Anyway, the shower is roughly 3'x4', and there'll be a curb on a short side. Drain is in the center. I'm going to Kerdi the whole thing, with a mud base. There'll be a triangular foot rest in one corner, and a tall niche with a middle shelf on one wall. I've already ordered the Kerdi, -band, -drain, -fix, and corners. I got some gray Versabond from HD, a few bags of sand, and a bag of Portland cement. Oh, and a few sheets of plain ol' 1/2" drywall. Edit: I also got JB's tile book and Kerdi e-book.

So on to the questions: the wife and I haven't officially selected tile yet, but we're set on using a fairly dark slate-ish looking tile for the walls, probably 12x12 or so. It seems there are plenty of options for that. For the floor, however, I was wondering if it's a bad idea to use glass mosaic with 1x1 tiles. I know the glass is slick, but will all of the grout lines cancel that out and provide for a suitably grippy floor? Or is something rougher necessary?

Another question: why is there so much tan or off-white tile, and not a whole lot of dark tile? Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but it seems like dark gray or black mosaic sheets are hard to come by. Would it be better to try and find some 2x2 tiles for the floor (or 3x3?)?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Here's a photo of the shower area currently:
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Unread 02-05-2010, 01:23 AM   #2
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welcome andy. have u takin a whirl through the old liberry here lots info. and imo i wouldn't use glass as a shower pan floor
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Unread 02-05-2010, 01:55 AM   #3
Deckert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy
the local Bldg. Dept. said........
First thing I would do is talk with your Bldg Dept folks about your shower plans. Goals/Topics for this discussion would be:

1. Approval of a Kerdi shower (have they ever heard of it, will they approve it, do you need to provide any documentation, etc)

2. Can they make a change to the order of inspection. Since it is not a "traditional" shower (sloped liner/hot mop/pan with mortar bed above) can they do the inspection at a later date. They'll still want to inspect your framing and rough plumbing before you button the walls up, but explain to them how a pan doesn't go in until after the drywall in a Kerdi shower. Where I live, I've gotten the Kerdi inspected as part of the lath inspection. Your mileage may vary.
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Unread 02-05-2010, 09:00 AM   #4
-Andy-
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I talked with the supervising inspector up here, and although he's a bit traditional (he recommended hot-mop), he was aware of Kerdi and didn't have an issue with it.

I've discussed the order of inspections with them multiple times and there is no logical reason for it in my case (the in-floor plumbing is already closed up since the downstairs is existing and drywall was never even removed). All I get is "well, gee, that's what the code says, not much we can do about it..."which I don't think is true, but it's a moot point now anyway.

Any other opinions on floor tile, i.e., avoiding glass even if they're small 1x1 tiles?

Thanks.
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Unread 02-05-2010, 09:08 AM   #5
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I see you used PEX for the shower plumbing. Great stuff. Make sure you add blocking for the valve and shower arm, maybe even transition to copper for the last foot of so of the shower arm -- helps keep it from wobbling
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Unread 02-05-2010, 11:07 AM   #6
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Andy,

I have done a number of glass 1x1 shower floors. The grout provides your traction just as it does with any polished tile. Use a sanded grout if possible and keep the joints high.
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Unread 02-05-2010, 02:10 PM   #7
-Andy-
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Thanks for the input, Paul... will-do on the grout.

Carlos, yep, I'm definitely going to install solid blocking. I hadn't put any in yet because I'm not sure what thickness tile I'll be using (that's more of an issue for the valve than for the shower arm of course). The drop-ear elbow I used for the shower arm has three screw tabs on it, and I'll put a couple of pipe clamps on the pex just below the crimp joint, so I'm hopeful that will make it solid enough.

If I work fast enough, I may be ready to set the mud base tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll have questions then. Thanks for the help so far.
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Unread 02-05-2010, 02:19 PM   #8
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Andy,

I like to remove the stickers from the winders as fast as possible. On my first house I left them on a little too long and the outline could still be seen years later.
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Unread 02-08-2010, 11:35 AM   #9
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So I got the shower completely drywalled this weekend. Pics to come tonight. I'm a little worried about how far the shower valve sticks out, as the wording on the plastic cover is a little ambiguous, and I don't have the trim yet, so I don't have a good way to double check.

Also, I have a quick question on the curb: I did the standard 3 2x4s stacked to build the curb, then I drywalled all three sides (well, not the top yet, as I was worried about stepping on it and damaging the drywall), but now I'm concerned that drywall isn't strong enough- is it okay on the curb, considering it will likely be stepped on and maybe kicked quite a bit? Or, should I lath/mud a layer over the curb? I'm hoping to receive all of my Kerdi materials today, so I may be putting in the drain tonight, and mudding the base tomorrow.

I'll have to mix the mud inside, near the shower, since it'll be snowing outside tonight and tomorrow probably. Does anyone recommend against mixing a bit of mud at a time in a 5-gal bucket, or is better for me to lug the wheelbarrow up there and mix it all at once (or get a better/larger mixing container) ?
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Unread 02-08-2010, 06:06 PM   #10
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Andy,

1- you can go online to nearly every manufacturer and download a PDF of the specifications. Sometimes called a 'tear sheet' You will be able to find what you need. The supplier can also email or fax you one.

2- I prefer CBU, but drywall will be just fine

3- the 5 gallon bucket method works just fine, just keep an eye on your proportions and mix the parts well when they are dry, then again when wet. I pour my dry pack without any water at all, then spray it on top. I only need to mix up as much as I need, all in 5 gallon buckets.
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Unread 02-09-2010, 12:38 AM   #11
-Andy-
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Thanks again for the help, Paul. I like the idea of just spraying the water on top after everything's in place, but I imagine that takes a certain amount of skill that I just don't have right now. And, I may be farther away from putting in the drain and base/pan and Kerdi'ing than I thought... I just came across the Tile-Experts. com complaint thread, and it appears that I'm left hanging right now, to the tune of almost $600 worth of Schluter products. Oh well, I have plenty of other things to take care of in the meantime I guess.

Here are some pics (I'm not done with the drywall screws yet, and I know I'm prolly using more than I need to... but hey, I'll sleep better this way):
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Unread 02-09-2010, 09:48 PM   #12
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keep us posted andy
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Unread 02-13-2010, 01:43 AM   #13
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Made some progress today. Tile-experts .com order was taking too long, so I found a shop 45 min. away with a Kerdi drain in stock and picked it up last night (Premier Tile in Grass Valley, CA- very nice folks there). It took some finagling to get the drain level. I had to cement it in place first, since I have no access to the plumbing from below. When I started packing mud under it later, I think I got a little too aggressive, because I threw it way out of level with how much mud was packed under. I pulled some out and sort of started over, then it worked out alright (note in the third picture that there's just a little mud leftovers on the back wall... it's really not uneven, as it appears to be). I didn't find out until after I was finished that some guys back-butter the drain flange with thinset prior to mud... oh well, this should be okay anyway I hope.

Doing the mud base in general wasn't that hard, but it definitely took longer than I would have liked. I ended up pulling the wheelbarrow upstairs to mix the mud since I didn't trust myself to work quickly enough with mixing a whole bunch of small batches in a 5-gal bucket. Anyway, I hope it sets up nice and solid by tomorrow... not that there's any rush, since the rest of my Kerdi stuff is a few days out still.
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Unread 02-13-2010, 02:42 AM   #14
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Nice progress pics..... thanks Andy.
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Unread 02-13-2010, 11:22 AM   #15
-Andy-
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How long does it usually take for the mud to dry? I don't have my Kerdi membrane yet anyway; I'm just curious. I had some left over mud that I balled into baseball-sized clumps for easier disposal later- one of them appeared to be dry this morning, so I picked it up and squeezed it, and it crumbled apart completely in my hand. It appeared to be completely dry inside and out, but I was surprised at how weak it was. I used the recommended 5:1 sand to portland ratio... is it possible it just wasn't dry enough, or maybe it's because it wasn't packed as firmly as the shower pan? Sorry for the probably-lame questions, but I'm nervous that my mud base is going to end up weak and need to be torn out (would make the removal easy I guess).

Thanks.

Last edited by -Andy-; 02-13-2010 at 03:38 PM.
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