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Unread 01-07-2022, 04:54 AM   #1
Kiasmama
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Starting a new custom shower after a mess

I apologize for the length of this first thread, but I think it needs context. I fired my contractor so my brother and I are taking on the job ourselves, less the shower door and custom glass-professionals are installing those I will have a question at the end so please bare with me-the first of many I'm sure.

Here are some pics from the old contractors job. His tile work was sub par to say the least, at least in my humble opinion. I only uploaded 5 and they aren't even the worst. I have tons more. Some context to them.

One is a rough cut and chip around the shower niche, one is a piece of tile he put in the corner because he measured wrong-he could have extended the tile closest to corner but didn't he chose to put a little piece in the wall, when I took the tile down (it was so bad, the edges didn't line up anywhere, corners were off, it was terrible, I found all this moisture behind the tile on one wall, the one picture....in the shower pan that he "built" he actually put duck tape over a hole in the floor and then put the mortar over the hole. He didn't fix the floor or even put a lousy piece of plywood there, and the last pic is also from the shower pan. On top of the liner he put Ditra and it looks like it was laid down with mastic-at least it sure smelled like it and it was moist.

So that is why I fired him :-)

Now my brother and I are squaring up, pluming and shoring up everything that he put in. Some things we have to work with because he did the drywall as well and it's tied into the ceiling (I"ll post pics in a response) so we have to work with what we have.

Once we get it square- I want to build the shower pan. I think I know the order I need to do things in- Ok, so I bought one of those slope kits to use so hopefully I get the slope right (oh yea, contractor made my shower pan level) so I'm going to patch my floor first, cover the hole. Should I then put a coat of mortar on it, or just put the shower pan liner right over the plywood I patch the floor with? Then do I want to float my shower curb first? before I put the mortar bed in? or should I put the mortar bed in then float the curb or doesn't it matter? How many layers of mortar do I need to put? he put three but seems only one is needed- just the bed and the tile goes right on the bed that goes over the shower pan liner.

Any tips appreciated. I've never done this before. I'm pretty handy, been watching youtube and reading this board, so I'm going to give it a go. I certainly can't do worse :-) Thanks for reading.


https://imgur.com/a/KgZWWSB

Link to more pics from his job
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Last edited by Kiasmama; 01-07-2022 at 05:34 AM. Reason: explain things better
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Unread 01-07-2022, 10:22 AM   #2
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I don't even know what to say. Was this his first time?
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Unread 01-07-2022, 10:59 AM   #3
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We've seen some interesting work here, Elle, but after looking at all the photos in the link you provided, that is on a whole new level of OMG.

IMO, you should really, really consider removing everything, including the drywall, as you're quite likely to spend more time and aggravation trying to make that mess look presentable than it would take replacing it all. But I digress.

Let's get started with the basics. While we see that you intend to have a walk in shower can we also assume you intend to tile the bathroom floor? If so, have you had an opportunity to evaluate the floor joists and subfloor to ensure they are suitable for a tile installation? Is this bathroom on the 1st or 2nd floor?

Some photos of the space would be helpful, as would a drawing of the proposed layout.
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Unread 01-07-2022, 11:20 AM   #4
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Actually going to put vinyl plank on the bathroom floor! the bathroom is on the second floor. That will be a piece of cake!
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Unread 01-07-2022, 11:21 AM   #5
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@Demonic- well it might have been!! He should have watched some youtube videos that I've been watching! I had to go over his paint and a lot of his drywall.
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Unread 01-07-2022, 11:27 AM   #6
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My brother and I are shoring up his mess a bit. some of the studs go into the frame in the ceiling so I think we are stuck with that. It's amazing how out of square it all was- or maybe its not.

Not sure why the pics turned sideways, sorry
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Unread 01-07-2022, 03:31 PM   #7
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WOW...its beyond belief how bad that is!
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Unread 01-07-2022, 04:09 PM   #8
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Welcome, Elle.

Suffice to say that shower construction was not that boy's long suit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elle
Should I then put a coat of mortar on it, or just put the shower pan liner right over the plywood I patch the floor with?
If you plan to make a traditional shower receptor, you must make a pre-slope before you install the waterproof liner. Easiest method is to use the same mortar or deck mud you'll use for the final mortar bed, which is a 5:1 mix of sand and Portland cement. You measure the distance from the drain to the farthest corner of the shower, calculate a slope of 1/4" per horizontal foot using that measurement, and mark a level line around your perimeter at that level. Fill from that line to the top of the bottom flange of your clamping ring drain with a flat surface all around the floor.
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Then do I want to float my shower curb first? before I put the mortar bed in? or should I put the mortar bed in then float the curb or doesn't it matter?
You can do all that in whatever order you like, but I prefer to do the curb mortar (different mix than the floor mortar) before the floor.
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How many layers of mortar do I need to put?
You need two layers, one below the liner and one above. The top layer must be of uniform thickness of a minimum 1 1/2 inches and follow the slope of the liner.
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...so I bought one of those slope kits to use so hopefully I get the slope right...
If that's the Quick Pitch system with the plastic dividers, I strongly recommend you divest yourself of that kit as it's likely to do you more harm than good. If you're at all adept at mechanical things, you'll have no trouble forming either mortar bed. While it may require more than one try, there is no rocket surgery involved and you can make as many practice beds as you want as the material is dirt cheap and the labor's free. You can even do your practice with just damp sand and reuse it as many times as you want.

Yes, your tile is bonded directly to the top mortar bed.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-07-2022, 05:37 PM   #9
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@CX thanks very much. I might just try a mortar bed without the quick pitch system-that is indeed what I bought.
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Unread 01-08-2022, 09:34 AM   #10
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This is probably a silly question, but does it matter what type of sand I mix with the cement? Is masonry sand fine? Or all purpose sand from Home Depot? The all purpose sand might be the only sand I can find. All the places I am calling have their masonry sand put away for the season. Thanks
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Unread 01-08-2022, 09:45 AM   #11
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Just one more question type that can be better addressed if you'll add a geographic location to your User Profile so it appears with each post, Elle.

Masonry sand is generally too fine for my taste in making either deck mud or fat mud. My favorite sand here comes from the local concrete redimix company and I usta keep a scoop on hand for any number of project types. Not practical for most DIY operations, though.

The Play Sand will usually suffice for small projects, but that stuff varies rather dramatically by geographic area. It is a little fine where I buy it and commonly has some larger pieces in it that need to be picked out, but, again, that will vary with area and seemingly with the day of purchase. But the packaging is certainly handy. In some areas, the All Purpose Sand (generally talking Quikrete) is more suitable, in other areas it's reportedly less so. Bottom line: Buy you some sand and see if you like it. It will all make some mortar, some will be better than others.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-08-2022, 12:24 PM   #12
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sorry CX I thought I put North East Pennsylvania in my profile because I saw you mention it in several posts. Maybe I didn't save it. I will check it now!! Thanks.
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Unread 01-08-2022, 12:44 PM   #13
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It's in there now, thanks. We knowed you wazza Yankee, we just didn't know what kind.
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Unread 01-09-2022, 03:08 PM   #14
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Keeps getting better

Since I don't trust this guy I sawed up the floor to check the plumbing that he put in, of course he had three nail holes in the vanity drain pipe that went under the floor and one busted the joint. It came apart in my hand. I guess I'll learn some plumbing on this job as well. He used inch roofing nails to put 1/4 inch luan on my floor to get it ready for the vinyl plank. ugh.
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Unread 01-09-2022, 05:49 PM   #15
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I believe we could safely say that was not the right guy, Elle.
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