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Unread 03-01-2019, 09:14 PM   #31
otrex
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A quick question for someone who might know: In the shower area, I am using Kerdi Board. The upper portion and entire back wall will feature bevelled subway tile, and that installation is fairly standard and straightforward (I know the basic concepts, but I'm hiring a tile installer for it regardless).

What is less standard is that I am using a 100% PVC beadboard on the lower half of the walls, both inside and outside the shower, divided by super-clear glass to give the visual impression that the room is large. The beadboard is tongue and groove assembly and I'll be adding extra insurance by using thin bead of sealant inside each groove.

I must take a moment here and mention that I previously tested the beadboard by lying it flat on the table and pouring water on it, then leaving it for an hour. After dabbing the water off that stayed on top I opened the tongue and groove and found no water at all inside. This, I believe, is an even-tougher test than the beadboard will ever face because it gets installed vertically. And since it's 100% PVC, it won't have any issues with rot or decomposition.

My question is this - the manufacturer of the beadboard recommends gluing or nailing the beadboard to the wall, but of course, I am not going to use any nails through the Kerdi board. Instead, I will use an adhesive.

The adhesive/sealant I am looking at is Sikaflex 221, which is described by the manufacturer in this manner:

Sika Sikaflex-221 Non-Sag Polyurethane Sealant White is a one component, moisture-curing polyurethane adhesive sealant that is used for creating a permanent elastic seal for substrates such as metals, wood, paint coatings, ceramics, and plastics. It is a non-corrosive, low odor, high quality sealant that is resistant to diluted acids, limewater, seawater, freshwater, weathering, and aging.

Anyone see any potential issue using this to mount the beadboard onto the Kerdi Board?
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Unread 03-04-2019, 10:10 AM   #32
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Just wanted to update this thread now that I have completed the dry pack mortar bed.

In the end, I did use the Laticrete 209 Floor Mud mix. It was about 25% more expensive than mixing it myself would have been, but for my first time doing a shower bed, I am okay with that.

I found the 209 mix to be relatively easy to work with. Given the cold weather outside I was mixing in 5G pails inside, and so I found the best way to get a good and complete mix was to use my gloved hands and pour from one bucket into another and back again. I had been using a large mixer on my hammer drill, but this mix is thick enough that it threatened to burn my drill out completely so I halted it before that could occur.

To help with getting the 1/4" drop correct, I made an MDF "blank" of the Kerdi Line drain and then temporarily screwed it down to the floor. On the other side, in order to account for the thickness of the Ditra which is going outside of the shower, I stapled down thin wooden strips. That way when I dragged the level across, I could simply push down on both of these items in order to set the correct level "automatically". I also purchased a hard rubber float and rubber mallet so that I could compact the mixture in place before dragging the level across and then finishing with a metal trowel.

(This is not a new technique, just including it in case someone else reading this is going to try a shower bed for their first time too).

In any case, 14 hours later and the mixture is setting up very well. Minimal loose bits on top and very flat surface (which is to say, consistently sloped at the desired 1/4" per foot).

In retrospect, this was just as easy as my alternative shower floor, proposed at the start of this thread, would have been. So if you're a bit intimidated by this work, you shouldn't be. As long as you closely follow the traditional method instructions, and watch the water mix carefully, it's pretty simple.

I am glad I had a second person for help with mixing - because the job is a bit tiring.

Finally, I should note that it appears the Laticrete 209 mixture is a 4:1 mix.
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Unread 03-12-2019, 09:46 PM   #33
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Hello again, everyone.

So, everything has gone well up to this point, and now that the Kerdi Board is on (I wet-shimmed the walls to make them flat!), I have had to hire a tiler to apply the Kerdi Band to the wall joints, Kerdi to the Dry Pack floor and Ditra to the rest of the bathroom.

To make a long story short, this fellow I hired is the top guy on Homestars for the Greater Toronto Area, and is a dedicated tiler. Within an hour of him starting, however, I was noticing several things which are not approved by Schluter. When I raised this matter, I was told "don't believe everything the manufacturer tells you".

Fair enough, but after his departure today, there are some problems (see photos below).

First, he applied Kerdi to the floor and simply wrapped it up to the sidewall which is not the correct procedure. Unfortunately he failed to get proper thinset mortar adhesion and it is peeling away already. I should note that I got him several bags of Schulter All-Set to use - the best stuff Schluter makes.

In addition, I noted that several strips of Kerdi band were not adhering to the walls, and I noted that in some places it is simply because his mortar band is not as wide as the Kerdi band.

I want to point out here that we also had a small argument about the need to apply Kerdi Band to the joints in the Kerdi Board and over the screw heads as per Schluter recommendations. He contended that thinset mortar would keep water our whereas I contended that thinset mortar is not a water barrier. Thankfully, I know from reading these forums that I am 100% correct in my argument, and I insisted he put those Kerdi bands up. He refused on the screw heads and so I will be putting those up myself.

This is the top-rated guy in the area... not sure what to do.

I'm thinking I point out these improper Kerdi Band applications and ask him to remortar? Now that the Kerdi is down on the ground and mortared to the wall (instead of using Kerdi Band like Schluter demands) it is too late for me to do anything about that, and I should just insist he remortar it to ensure adhesion?

Any advice on how to proceed would be ideal. It was a real fight getting any tiler here in the Greater Toronto Area. The housing boom that's been going on here for the better part of 2 decades has made tradesman extremely hard to find and also very expensive, so I hesitate to fire him at this juncture.
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Unread 03-12-2019, 11:57 PM   #34
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Some wider views would help with perspective there, Kevin, but that looks like very sloppy work to my eye. 'Specially for a "professional" who is being paid for the work. When such persons tell you it's not necessary to follow manufacturers' installation instructions, it's time to find someone else to do the work.

Surely you can do a whole lot better than that yourself and follow the manufacturer's recommendations in the process.

There is nothing at all wrong with wrapping the Kerdi membrane from the floor up onto the walls, by the way, so long as it's done properly.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-13-2019, 08:19 AM   #35
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It’s not wise to disagree with CX, so I won’t. I just had to comment on this one.

Quote:
Surely you can do a whole lot better than that yourself and follow the manufacturer's recommendations in the process.
If you can wet shim the walls and put up Kerdi-board, why did you decide to hire out the fun stuff? I’m just a DIY who’s been there before. My thought on looking at the pic you posted was “OMG!”. He either doesn’t know how to work with Schluter products (hey, even I can!), or doesn’t care.

You shouldn’t have to follow behind him or argue about the quality of the work.

How much sleep you going to lose over the coming years waiting for the whiff of moldy framing you know is waiting down the road? Been there, done that.
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Unread 03-13-2019, 09:50 AM   #36
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fire this guy asap.....
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Unread 03-13-2019, 10:04 AM   #37
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Jeff, you feel free to disagree with CX any time you feel the need. Best if your opposing opinion aligns with tile industry standards, but even that's not a requirement, eh?
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Unread 03-13-2019, 11:23 AM   #38
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I hope his tiling skills are better than his Kerdi skills. I'd send him packing and take my chances on finding someone else or do it myself.
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Unread 03-13-2019, 12:08 PM   #39
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I would rid myself of this contractor asap if I were you. This is atrocious. Just imagine if you have to argue with him over tile work later. At least, at this point you can still stop the disaster. If not carefully remedied, chances are this won't be waterproof.
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Unread 03-13-2019, 07:56 PM   #40
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Thanks everyone, my gut instinct was indeed to fire him, but I had to show some restraint for the following reasons:

i) Another tiler will be impossible to find

ii) I cannot afford to tear all this Kerdi Board back out and start again

iii) Ontario (Canada) law requires that I give him ample opportunity to correct his mistakes, or, if I choose to fire him without allowing him that chance, he can bill me in full for everything he has done up to that point, regardless of quality.


He came back today, as promised, and I pointed these things out to him. He stated "don't worry, I will add mortar to those Kerdi Bands and take care of that, but in the meantime I would like to get the floor down".

Given that all these issues were above the floorline, I agreed, and he did put the floor down with considerably more skill and care than the Kerdi. That being said, I still noted a few tiling technique mistakes (which should not be happening given that I have no tiling experience). For example, he was not back-buttering the 6" x 36" tiles. I asked him why not and he explained that he makes his mortar a little bit runnier than most and this allows for proper coverage. I still insisted that he back-butter, and for perhaps 75% of the tiles, I saw that he did. The others I was not present to see (as I was running tile for him).

He did carefully check the slope in the shower, so at least that is preserved correctly.

Given the situation, with my hands somewhat-tied legally, I have elected simply to watch him work as much as possible and then provide direct feedback/criticism in the moment. If he quits, so be it, and I will not pay. If he fails to follow my direction, I'm in my legal right to fire him (since I would have already afforded him an instant opportunity to correct his mistake). Today, at least, he took my criticism rather well, and made adjustments when I demanded them. I hate being "that customer" but ultimately I have to know I'm getting it done as close to correct as possible. This fellow isn't exactly cheap (C$10 per sqft, and I have to supply all material).


Here is a quick photo of the tiling work on the floor. I went with 1/8" gaps as per advice in this forum. I think it's definitely the right call for the floor. For the walls I intend to use 1/16" because it's 3" x 6"subway tile and 1/8" can look a bit large. I am even electing to use a stacked layout for those tiles since I have the shower walls laid out so there are no tiles needed to be cut at all.

Apologies that I cannot get a better photo as I don't want to walk on the tile. At the very least you can see he seemed to use an appropriate amount of wedges and spacers for the job. Note the Deco-SG window track in the floor tile more than half-way back and the Kerdi Line drain against the back wall (the dry pack mortar bed came out perfectly-aligned for the drain).


Just to follow-up on another user's post a bit earlier, yes, after watching the process I will now do future tiling myself. I did not see anything particularly difficult during the floor tiling, and I continue to believe that an educated and caring amateur can obtain results as good or better than a non-caring professional any day, especially if that professional doesn't care about manufacturer's specifications.
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Unread 03-13-2019, 09:10 PM   #41
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Its obviously hard to see sometimes, but it looks like those tiles are tight against the wall? Forgive me if they aren't, just looks that way. Gotta leave room for movement in any installation.
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Unread 03-13-2019, 09:19 PM   #42
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Definitely tighter than I would have liked in some spots, but probably no worse than 1/16". Average around 1/8" gap and largest is about 3/8"
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Unread 03-14-2019, 09:15 PM   #43
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Update for the evening: Since I have to put the PVC beadboard on the side walls of the shower and bathroom tomorrow, I was not willing to allow the horrible gaps in the Kerdi to go unrepaired.

Since the tiler's work was peeling out so badly and had dried mortar in between the layers, I didn't feel comfortable simply mortaring over it without adding a water-curing sealant and allowing it to set. It did a pretty good job flattening his work to the wall, and then I lapped over it with the Kerdi Band to close it up, making sure to properly embed the Band. I thought the All-Set mortar batch I whipped up was really nice to work with. Expensive, but really nice.

Now it looks quite a bit better to me, and maybe not too bad for my first time working with mortar.

I also patched over the screwheads as per Schluter procedure, despite the tiler's dubious claim that mortar is waterproof.
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Unread 03-16-2019, 08:38 AM   #44
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A quick question about movement joints for tile.

As per the above posts, I do notice that the movement joints in this tiled floor are a little tight. Worse, I see that some of them contain excess mortar, making them essentially useless.

In addition to the scraping out of some mortar (tiring work), I am wondering if I can use colour-matched silicone caulk to create some field movement joints in order to assist the lacking perimeter movement joints. I realize normally that option may not be as effective in a large tiled area, but in my case the field is never more than 2 tiles wide because of the overall shape of the small bathroom.

I am thinking I'll simply hide these movement joints where possible (behind door, under vanity etc).

Anyone have thoughts on this?
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Unread 03-16-2019, 12:26 PM   #45
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For a bath floor like you have, I would scrape the thinset out of the joints and use grout. Leave the small perimeter joints open.
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