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Unread 04-20-2021, 08:41 AM   #1
warlok
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Shower/tub conversion to tile shower

Ho there. Just joined but have already learned quite a bit from this site, so thanks for that!
This is my first tile shower. I'm working on a post tension slab and I'm converting my shower/tub to an 8' wide by 40" deep tiled shower. Shower heads and a full bench on each end. I'm using a long 36 inch "linear" drain on one side for cosmetics and having one nice even slope. I wanted to run my plan by you fine people before I grab all my materials and get rolling. I have it framed and electrical/wall plumbing will be done today. Once my drain gets here I'll set the final spot and install the base and back fill with thinset. Then, my plan is:
-Pre-slope with Sakrete Sand Mix (dry pack right out of the bag, no extra sand).
-Oatey Pan liner
-Top mud bed pan
-Cement board (Durock) walls (mesh and thinset seams)
-Cinder block benches (brick mortar or thinset??)
-Redgard the whole floor, benches and walls (fabric all the corners??)
-Tile floor (hex mosaic)
-Tile walls and benches (wood look 8x36 porcelain)
-Grout and seal
-Finish plumbing and lights.

Any glaring flaws in my plan?
Thanks in advance!
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Unread 04-20-2021, 09:26 AM   #2
cx
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Welcome, Jason.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason
I'll set the final spot and install the base and back fill with thinset.
Not sure just what you might mean there. "Thinset" is a method of setting ceramic tile, not a product. Thinset mortar is a product used to bond ceramic tiles in the thinset method. Thinset mortar is not to be used for anything other than bonding the tiles, and would not likely be the appropriate material to "back fill" anything. More information about your drain and your intent there would be helpful.

Knowing more about your drain would also be helpful in understanding how you intend to use it in building a traditional shower receptor. We most commonly see the linear drains used with direct bonded waterproofing membranes, but there may well be linear drains designed for what you intend to do.

If building a traditional mud/liner/mud receptor, you would not want to apply RedGard or any other direct bonded waterproofing membrane to the shower floor.

You'll find that sand mix a whole lot easier to work with if you add some sand to the mix and that will be even more important for your top mud bed.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-20-2021, 09:54 AM   #3
warlok
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My PT slab has a 12x12-ish open box around the drains down to dirt. I can move my drain where I need it in that box. I was told to put the dirt back in and fill the rest with thinset (tile adhering material) level to the slab. It will hold my drain in place but can be chiseled out easily-ish if there is a problem and needs to be accessed later. This isn't mine but very similar.

And I'm using this style of drain.
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Unread 04-21-2021, 09:28 AM   #4
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Hi Jason,

As CX said, thinset mortar is not the material you want to use for that. The sand mix mortar is what you need. Don't put a lot of dirt back in there; just fill the hole with mortar and screed it off even with the concrete floor. Dampen the inside of the hole before dumping the mud in.
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Unread 04-21-2021, 12:34 PM   #5
warlok
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Ok. Thanks for the info. It was filled with thinset when I removed the tub.. I chipped it out to access my drain.. When I fill the hole with the sand mix, how wet should it be? And how thick.. I dug over a foot deep. There is cardboard around the walls of the hole from when the slab was poured. Remove that as well?
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Unread 04-21-2021, 12:46 PM   #6
warlok
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Just to clarify, I was looking to use the thinset mortar in the hole to keep the drain flange in place at the slab. Not to set my actual drain on the shower pan. (Just making sure we're talking about the same thing.)
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Unread 04-23-2021, 10:14 AM   #7
warlok
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I'm going to set my drain flange today. How wet should I make the sand mix to fill the hole around the drain? Just a bit wetter than dry pack or more?
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Unread 04-23-2021, 10:20 AM   #8
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Jason, when dealing with those "leave-out" holes I fill the hole to the bottom of the SOG with compactable fill and then fill the remainder with concrete mix. You can use that Sand Mix if you like. I'd make it wetter than dry-pack, but dry-pack would serve the purpose.

You'll want the bottom flange of your clamping drain to sit above the concrete about 3/4" for the correct thickness for your pre-slope mortar.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-23-2021, 10:37 AM   #9
warlok
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I'm glad you mentioned the height. I was going to put the flange at slab height to keep the step into the shower low as possible. I guess it does make sense to be a bit above it. Thanks.
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Unread 04-23-2021, 12:48 PM   #10
warlok
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I'm checking out the calculator for the deck mud and if I did it correctly, I need basically 10 60# bags of the Sakrete Sand Topping Mix and 5 bags of sand. Dimensions are 99"x40" with a linear/trench drain about 22" from one end. Does that sound like the correct amount? Is that using mortar sand? And math says use 1/2 bag sand with every bag of Sand Topping Mix.

Also, just to confirm, Sakrete website says the Sand Topping Mix is ready to use for this right out of the bag. But you say I should add sand. From your experience, definitely add sand? From their website:
"Creating a mortar bed for a shower installation
Here’s how you create a mortar bed: Before building the mortar base ensure that the substrate that the mortar bed will be placed over is structurally sound and has the ability to support the weight of the mortar bed and the remainder of the project. Like with any job getting the base correct is essential. In this case you need a good solid mortar bed to support everything. Sakrete Sand Mix is a prepackaged cement mix ideally suited to this application. Mix to a dry pack consistency and install the sand mix in accordance with the Tile Council of North America’s guidelines and ANSI specifications particular to your shower floor."
Thanks
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Unread 04-27-2021, 07:03 AM   #11
warlok
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Well... I did my pre-slope and after 24 hours I have an issue. Most of it is solid and sloped well. Remember this is a 8 foot by 3.5 foot shower. As I vacuumed off the sand left on top when it dried, there's a few very small spots I can patch that were a bit crumbly. But I found a spot about 2 feet by about 3-4 inches, about 1/2-3/4" deep that did not bond to the spot below it (follows the arc in the pic). I think I added that at the end to even out the surface and the bottom layer was too dry to bond to at that point. If I chip it off, everything underneath is solid. I think it is a very important point that this spot will be 90% under the cinder block bench that I'll be building after the top layer. Should I mix some more dry pack, a bit wetter and try to add this spot back in? Is there any tips/tricks I should know?
Thanks.
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Unread 04-27-2021, 05:54 PM   #12
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And even faster than it went in, its back out.. After more poking around, there was more loose than I thought. Had to pull out the pre-slope.. Ugh!! I think I know what I have to do though. 2/3 of the time I was doing it I was mixing. The pan is too small and using the hoe was a PITA, especially in the small pan. I also think it was too dry. I'm going to use my wheelbarrow (bigger) and also grab a good mixer for my drill and go slightly wetter. I hope this turns out better. I'll do it tomorrow.
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Unread 04-27-2021, 07:14 PM   #13
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Let us know how it goes tomorrow and good luck!
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Unread 04-30-2021, 05:28 PM   #14
warlok
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Did the pre-slope yesterday and after doing it once and having a better idea of ways to mix and install, it went way better. The whole thing is solid, leveled and screeded smoother, and no crumbly parts at all. Installed liner and ready for the top layer. As it is right now, I'm looking at only 1" top layer for the tile to sit 1/16" above the drain grate (where it is supposed to be). Is that enough?
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Unread 04-30-2021, 07:26 PM   #15
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1-1/4” to 1-1/2” is better. Can you unscrew the drain any more to raise it?
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