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Unread 05-16-2021, 09:22 PM   #46
frantznewb
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So I finally tore out the old bed, waterproofed the walls and and put in a new floor. Unfortunately, I think the floor may need to be redone (see pic.) The pitted areas
occurred after I took a vacuum to it after 30+ hours of curing to try and clear what I thought were just surface granules. I then stopped vacuuming and w/a broom swept up a a couple dust pans worth of sandy mortar.

I am seeking advice on whether it can potentially be used perhaps thinsetted over with a crust or if this is a tear out redo scenatio. I can walk on it without sinking in.
If a redo, I want to understand what caused this as it took me 11 hours straight to complete and I used 9.5 bags of mortar.

Bed is 2.5" at drain, higher than I intended because I should have cut a bigger hole in the lath (the drain bottom was unintentionally propped up on it) but I decided to go with it. Bed perimeters about 3.5", slope turned out nicely.
My procedure was to mix and use one bag at a time because I knew I'd be slow. I mixed just over 2 qts of water per bag (.5-.7 gal.was indicated on the bag) and I was paranoid about mixing it too wet. but now think I should have measured .7 and probably misted the cleavage membrane and sponged the hydrobanned cement board walls periodically.

I mixed with a hoe because my drill w/auger wasn't up to the task of 60 lbs. of mortar and the 5 gal. bucket was borderline too small anyway. I mixed to an even color consistency but there were some soft lumps of mortar that were present in the mix, It seemed futile to try and get them all out They flattened out ok when I was packing.

Speaking of which, I was unsure how aggressively I needed to pack the mortar and how to tell it was packed "enough".

I was also a little fuzzy on exactly how wet the mortar needed to be even though was able to squeeze/ form fragile balls of mortar - seems to be a fairly broad range where this "test" can be done but the mix isn't actually right.

I first framed the shower perimeter except across the curb pan, then worked a drain quadrant and then back towards the curbb at which time I filled in at the curb. This was a half bag and I think it was inadvertently mixed drier than the other bags. This area of the frame had been curing for several hours before I got to it. Maybe I shouldn't have framed that part until I was done with the drain area? Maybe it was too dry to bond with the fresh interior mortar? The vacuum pitting is located in the border area where the interior/ frame areas meet.

That was my process. If I redo the bed, I think I will tear out the drain and reuse it if I can separate from the riser without damaging it otherwise re place, what's another $100? Reducing bags to 5-6 instead of 9-10 will save time money and will be less taxing physically. Plus my shower curb though well away from the wet area, is about 5/8" above mortar bed floor-It looks a little awkward and will probably be hard to tile and grout. The other option is to raise the curb wby adding an additional 2x4 which will make it 6" high.

Thanks in advance for the support!
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Unread 05-16-2021, 09:46 PM   #47
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Had some trouble attaching pic to my post. Here it is...
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Unread 05-20-2021, 07:35 AM   #48
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Shane, it does sound as though the mud was a little bit dry.

If this were mine and I was going to cover the pan with membrane, and since those large voids near the curb appear pretty deep from here, I'd opt to fill the voids with a cement based filler. Laticrete makes one that is good to 3". I'm sure there are others.

Curb height is your choice, natch, but a 6" step over is a bit much for me. The 5/8" above the bed will easily be reduced by half with mortar and tile leaving a tiny gap. What is coving the 2X4 curb now? What are you going to use on top of the curb, tile or ??
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Unread 05-21-2021, 11:06 AM   #49
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Thanks Dan!

I'll see if I can get that filler. The curb in this shower
is well away from the wet area and the bed is level in the curb area. So it doesn't really serve its traditional purpose, mostly decorative I suppose unless of course, the drain clogged. Still, I need to do something about that <5/8" curb rise but not sure what. The original plan was to cover it with Laticrete fabric membrane and use the inside and outside corners on it with thinset and tape and tile it. On the top considering the possibility of a single travertine piece. That was before I made the extra thick monster mud slab... Seems like I'm in limbo with a curbless curb design dilemma. If I don't add a 2x4 to raise the curb height, are there options besides cutting tiny little tiles?? Scratching my head over this one...

Regarding the bed itself, is the dryness something to be concerned over? It will be thinsetted over. My biggest concern is that it will crumble under weight or crack? because it was dry. I don't really know how to properly evaluate it, my first bed and all What I do know is 11+ hours straight to build was back breaking laborious work. Of course if there's significant real risk of pan failure and water damage, I'd just have to suck it up, redo it and fabricate some silver linings to thinset over the "this sucks" receptor.
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Last edited by frantznewb; 05-22-2021 at 03:44 AM. Reason: left out important details
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Unread 05-23-2021, 08:34 AM   #50
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For assessing if the mud will hold up; got a ladder or two step stool? Place either on the med bed and climb aboard. If the feet sink into the mud you might consider re-doing it. If not, proceed.

IMO, you really, really want to avoid that small gap at the curb. Even though it'll not likely see any significant amount of water it will still be a crud collector and a giant PITA to clean. If you are going to patch the voids in the mud bed with a cement based product you might consider using it to add some height to the mud bed at the curb. You'd end up with a bit of a ramp and you'd have to cut your wall tiles to accommodate it, but would eliminate the gap.

Of course, if you end up replacing the mud bed you could just install the new one a bit higher to eliminate the gap.
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Unread 05-23-2021, 09:53 PM   #51
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I like the step ladder test- makes total sense! IF a redo occurs, I will lower the drain to reduce the bed thickness and expose more of the curb. Otherwise, maybe I will gently slope to the top of the curb. The other option is adding a 2x4 and would entail removing the curb's top cement board, adding the 2x4, adding 1.5 " strip of CB to curb front/back then placing the top CB back.If I go this route, because the new floor outside the curb will go over the existing floor, the curb height will actually be somewhat less than 6" This would give a more standard look. But if adding a 2x4 won't give me enough vertical for a 2x2" tile with 1/4 for grout, I probably will just make a ramp.

About the curb, hydroban, and the fabric membrane: Will applying fabric membrane over the curb with hydroban trap the water vapor and create the dreaded mold sandwich? I also applied a couple coats of hydroban to the entire bench. So, should I NOT cover it w/the fabric?

Is it true that hydroban oxidizes after a month and thinset won't stick to it? I read that in an Amazon review and I hope the guy was wrong. The product data sheet referenced not exposing to weather and sunlight for more than a month.. I am up there working on the shower every couple of weeks and haven't done tile layout planning yet or even selected my tile. I plan to do all this 1st and 2nd week of June. Since I applied hydroban a couple of weeks ago, do I need to hurry up with the tiling?
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Unread 05-24-2021, 10:59 AM   #52
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I'd want to avoid two layers of water proofing as much as possible. When you mention "fabric" I'm not entirely sure what you mean there, Shane.

The liquid water proofers need a reinforcing fabric in joints. As long as you're not applying a liquid water proofer to wood you should be able to use the liquid and the fabric where needed. If by "fabric you mean membrane, that's a different ball game.

No idea that HB's life expectancy is when left uncovered, but is a good question to ask. I'd call Laticrete to find out if it isn't spelled out in their instructions/data sheets.
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Unread 05-24-2021, 03:50 PM   #53
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I wasn't clear, sorry about that. I meant cover the curb and bench with the Laticrete membrane.
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Unread 06-06-2021, 10:12 AM   #54
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So, over the course of a few days, I patched and used a thinset slurry to resurface the bed. As suggested, I also ramped up to the top of the curve. Membrane is down and although I haven't yet officially conducted a flood test, I plugged it, added 5 gals. and let it sit for a bit and it it hasn't rained downststairs . Then I drained it and flow was pretty good.There are a couple shallow birdbaths. Can this be mitigated/eliminated backfilling with thinset when tiling in those areas perhaps mixing wet to make the thinset less porous? Planning mosaic with lots of grout lines anyway for gripping. Will more lines have any impact on evaporation? Thanks in advance for the advice!Name:  20210605_120649.jpg
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Unread 06-08-2021, 08:37 AM   #55
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You can use pretty much any cementitious patching material for the baths, but any of them will allow water to soak through and possibly collect in the shallow recesses. A plethora of grout lines will help with moisture evaporation, how much they help will depend on how much water is under them.

If you decide to fill them I'd recommend you do that first and allow the material to dry, then install your tile.
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Unread 06-09-2021, 08:12 PM   #56
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Thanks for the pointers Dan! Turns out, the baths drain just a little more slowly. Thinking perhaps the hydrophobic nature of the membrane material is helping shed water.

I'm gathering tools to begin porcelain tile work and will use a ledger board after tiling the floor. A few questions around this
1) Is the the top of the ledger typically a little lower than width of the wall tile to account for floor perimeter height variances?

2) Is a separate expansion joint in addition to the perimeter grout line needed where the wall and floor tile meet/should I cut the floor/ceiling tile width "thin" to allow for the expansion? If yes, how wide is the expansion gap and what is it filled with -silicone?
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Unread 06-10-2021, 09:28 AM   #57
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1) Yes, and necessarily so. In a perfect world the entire perimeter of your mud bed would be level so the height of all your bottom row tiles would be identical and the joint between the wall and floor tile would be consistent. The reality will likely be different. You can make the tile shorter but can't make 'em taller. A consistent bottom joint of 1/8" is the goal, but it's going to look wonky if it stretches to 1/2" in some spots.

2) Correct. The floor for example; you don't want the tile to butt hard against any wall, but you want it long enough so that the edge of the wall tile will hang over it a bit. You want it that way so your silicone caulk has something to adhere to. You also don't want to fill the gap between the floor tile and wall with caulk, for doing so might impede water behind the wall tile from migrating into the floor and to the drain or evaporating out through the grout joints. See pics.
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Unread 06-15-2021, 06:49 AM   #58
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Ohhhhhh, ok -is this universal? By which I mean whether it's a corner, edge, etc. leave a small ungrouted gap where surfaces meet for expansion and backfill with silicone?
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Unread 06-15-2021, 07:26 AM   #59
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Dan, I'm confused on your #2. It sounds like it makes sense, but elsewhere people say to caulk the floor to wall transition: https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin...ad.php?t=11223

Which is right? I thought you want to caulk it because the water would still drain down to the preslope under the tile anyways.
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Unread 06-15-2021, 07:55 AM   #60
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I re-read what I wrote - seems clear to me.

Correct, you caulk the changes of plane - including the wall tile to floor tile joints. What you don't do is "back-fill" with caulk, which I take to mean filling the space between the edges of the floor tile and the wall. If one were to back-fill that space doing so would basically create a dam, preventing moisture from draining down into the mortar layer under the floor tile and escaping to the drain or evaporating through the floor tile grout lines.
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