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Unread 02-25-2022, 05:42 AM   #1
Tekkens
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Curbless Installation thinset trowel sizes

Hello,

Great tips and conversation here!

I'm installing a curbless Schluter shower.
- flat pebble tile on the shower bed. (Lowes - Satori River Rock Black)
- this pebble is the same thickness as the big tile
- 12x24's walls and main floor
- tile mfg states 1/2x1/2 trowel size for the big tile
- Can I use the same trowel size with the pebble? I
keep seeing a smaller notch size for pebble installation
- I need to keep the shower pan level with the main flooring level where
they meet.

Plan on removing the tile from the mesh. Placing each one individually
to reduce grout spacing, and make it look very natural.

Any concerns/tips?

Thank you!
Steve
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Unread 02-25-2022, 08:21 AM   #2
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Hi, Steve, welcome,

Although your thread is asking about setting pebbles, we've moved your new post into its own thread so it doesn't get jumbled up with that old thread. We can give your thread a different name if you like.

While you can technically use the 1/2" trowel, you will quickly find that you don't want to use a 1/2" trowel. You will get a lot of mortar that squeezes up into the grout lines. It'll be a mess.

I had the same challenge when doing my curbless shower. Main floor tile was 12"X24" at 3/8" thick, and I used a 3/8" slant notched trowel to install them. Shower floor tile was also 3/8" thick, and roughly 2"X2", so I wanted to use a 1/4" square notch trowel to reduce/prevent mortar squeezing up. What I did was build up the shower floor just in front of the main floor using mortar. I actually went too high so used a rub brick to get it to the height I wanted, then used the 1/4"X1/4" square notched trowel to set the shower floor tile.

Question though; you mention "curbless Schluter shower". Does that mean you are using a foam shower tray? If so, and if you haven't already done so, you might verify if Schluter specifies a minimum tile size for the foam tray.
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Unread 02-25-2022, 02:58 PM   #3
Tekkens
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Thank you for the quick response Dan!

Your comment on the thinset squeezing out is what I was afraid of, I like your method of building up some thinset first near the seam and leveling it that way.

It is a foam tray.
(Kerdi-Shower-T/-TS/-TT 60-in W x 38-in L with Center Drain Styrene Shower Base)

The flat pebbles are 2 inches or longer up to 3.5 inches long,
but width wise, they are 3/4 inch to 2 inches wide, varying greatly.
I'd say averages are 1.25 wide 2.75 long

Is this a question for Schluter or do you know based on my response?

Thanks so much, this forum is great!
Steve
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Unread 02-25-2022, 03:35 PM   #4
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It is a great forum!

I wish I'd saved a photo of how I did mine. I found an inexpensive 6 inch "putty knife at Depot (actually came as a set with two smaller ones). I first fully installed the main floor tile. I then cut a small notch out of one end of the 6" putty knife - probably not more than 1/8", maybe a bit more, but left the other end alone. Mixed up some mortar, slathered it on, then used the knife to smooth it out, with the notched end riding on top of the previously installed main floor tile. Because the knife flexed so much I had to keep it nearly vertical.

End result basically created a little more slope at the entrance of the shower, about 6" in, with the build up thicker where the two floor meet and almost zero 6" in. A wedge.

Did you extend some Kerdi out onto the main floor from the shower to waterproof the joint between the two?

I don't know the answer regarding the minimum tile size for the Kerdi tray. Best to contact Schluter.
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Unread 02-25-2022, 04:53 PM   #5
Tekkens
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Very good idea on the modified trowel!

My seam will actually be outside of the shower door. About 3 inches outside.
So the pebble will meet the main floor outside of the actual shower enclosure..if you can picture that with my explanation.
Yes, I installed Kerdi band on the seams, and Kerdi corners in the two corners.

I called Schluter:
- they say there are no specific guidelines for size of tile or pebble but gave some best practices for pebble.
- if you plan on a chair or wheelchair use in the shower (anything with a small footprint on top of the pebbles) then use a mortar base instead of foam. Also put down wood if using a ladder on top of the installed pebble.
- otherwise normal people traffic is ok to use pebble
- flat pebble is better (more support on the bottom)
- follow the mfg guidelines for mortar depth and grouting type.

So.. I think I will go with the flat pebble, unless someone can talk me out of it.. lol.

Have you had any issues with your curbless install?

Thank you for the repsonse!
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Unread 02-25-2022, 05:11 PM   #6
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We've seen quite a number of pebble shower floors here, Steve. I don't want to color your decision with my opinion, especially since I have zero experience with them. You can use the search tool to find the threads/posts.

No issues at all with mine. It is curbless and doorless, though it does have a fixed glass panel.

Since you mention yours will have a door, and that door must swing out, you'll need to be certain it clears the top of the main floor. That might not be an issue at all, depending on where the door is and how much splash it gets.
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Unread 02-25-2022, 05:34 PM   #7
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I basically did what Dan did for my curbless except I covered my mini ramp with kerdi band. I also used a tray and flat pebbles. I would not even consider rounded pebbles, the tray does not have enough slope for that. Search for treads started by me and look at the master bath if you are interested.
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Unread 02-26-2022, 10:16 AM   #8
Tekkens
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Thank you for the replies.

I will make sure the crease line does not interfere with the door opening, certainly a good point to keep an eye on.

Phil: nice job on your curbless, looks great! Wish I had enough room for no door.

Good to hear comments on this schluter system, so many bad videos out there on the internet, but good to hear success stories here and get solid advise.

Thanks
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Unread 02-26-2022, 12:47 PM   #9
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First of all, the 1/2" trowel is more for floors than walls. They will say 1/2" for walls too just to cover their bases, but no one is going to be walking on these tiles, and they're not going to fall off the walls no matter what, so really it's about the span of the large tiles vs. how flat the walls are. If the walls are really flat, you could use a 1/4" trowel. The extra thinset is a buffer for irregularities, basically. You do want full coverage behind the tile so to reduce air pockets, because air pockets can become water pockets in a shower.

Second, the pebble floor is a totally different animal. What you want to do with mosaics/pebbles is to get the thinset flat first. For example, trowel out with a 1/4" trowel, and then carefully flatten it out with the flat side of your trowel, trying to maintain the same thickness everywhere. This will eliminate the thinset oozing up the spaces between the pebbles, making your life miserable. Also, use a high quality thinset or else you can have trouble adhering those mosaics. I like Schluter All Set as opposed to a standard unmodified thinset.

I have had no problems with pebbles of that size on a Kerdi tray. But again, Schluter All Set is a very strong thinset too, so that helps.
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