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Unread 07-16-2021, 08:23 PM   #1
Mac an Tòisich
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Using liquid waterproofing for entire shower?

Hello All,

My husband and I are in the process of redoing our shower. One of the biggest questions we have is whether liquid waterproofing (specifically AquaDefense, as it is readily available) will be enough. We are doing a bench as well as a floating shelf, so using the liquid would make things a lot easier than the pvc liner.

Also, when we took out the original insert, we found that there was about a square foot hole filled with sand around the drain. I'm assuming we will need to cover that with concrete to support the tile. Is packing it with sand and just putting a couple of inches of concrete on top enough, or do we need to concrete the entire hole? Also, how long would we need to wait for the concrete to dry before laying the shower pan?

I'm sure more questions will come up as we go along, but that's the most pressing part of our planning for the moment. Any and all input is welcome!
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Unread 07-16-2021, 09:35 PM   #2
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I prefer a surface applied, sheet membrane versus a liquid one, but IF you carefully follow the instructions and have good workmanship, a liquid applied one works. The key to that is getting EACH of the TWO layers painted on the required thickness without pinholes or runs. It's harder than you think...more coats is not better. Thicker is not better. Should you go that route, pick up a wet film thickness gauge (Amazon, most any good paint store, etc.) and understand how to use it properly...they're cheap unless you want a digital one; easily less than $10.

People confuse drying with curing with cement based products...curing is a chemical process. Any extra water in the mix will eventually dry, but it isn't required to dry to cure. Now, some modified thinset products need to also dry to become stable, but most are stable with just curing.

If the sand is well packed, and you're using deck mud to make your pan, you should be able to just pack it on the sand. I'll let others give you more specifics, as I've not done it, so can't speak from experience.

Aquadefense should say in the instructions how long the cement needs to cure before application. When using a sheet membrane versus a liquid one, you can apply it the next day. If not, call their tech support line.
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Unread 07-16-2021, 09:35 PM   #3
cx
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Welcome, Hanna.

You can use direct bonded waterproofing membranes to waterproof the entire shower if you follow the product manufacturer's instructions carefully.

I personally would not create a shower receptor using a liquid applied membrane, but have done a number using sheet-type direct bonded waterproofing membranes successfully.
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I'm assuming we will need to cover that with concrete to support the tile.
Yes, you'll need to fill the hole, but you'll not be bonding any tile to that surface. You must install a proper drain and create a properly sloped shower floor prior to installing your waterproof membrane.

After installing the correct drain for your method of waterproofing, I think you should fill the hole to the bottom of your concrete with a compactable fill, then fill the remainder with a concrete mix. The cure time is usually not at all important for small patches such as that, 'specially if you'll be installing a sloped floor using deck mud. The curing of the sloped floor is very important when using liquid-applied membranes and you must follow the product manufacturer's recommendations.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 07-16-2021, 10:35 PM   #4
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If you want to fill that hole and need to continue working over it in a very short time, get a bag of rapid setting concrete. In an hour or two you'll be able to work over it.
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Unread 07-17-2021, 12:10 PM   #5
Mac an Tòisich
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Thanks for the replies!

So far, I've heard and seen a fair amount of "I wouldn't do it, but it is possible to do it if you're careful" regarding the liquid waterproofing for the shower pan. What is the specific reason? Effectiveness? I do want our shower to be waterproof, obviously, and with the bench and all the liquid seems like it would be easier to apply (in my completely unexperienced opinion).

Are there places where the sheet applied membranes are easily available, or would I need to order it in if we decide to go that route? (I live in Central California)

Right now we do have a clamping drain. I've heard we can make it work using the divot method. Is this recommended? I'd like to work with what we have, if possible.
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Unread 07-17-2021, 02:09 PM   #6
jadnashua
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Give 10-people a brush or roller, and you'll get 10 different coats of paint. With paint, if you get it thin, an extra coat isn't a big deal. The waterproofing material used in a shower that you paint on has some fairly strict requirements on how thick/thin each coat is. If it isn't, there's no guarantee it will work. THe stuff is slightly rubbery, and making it too thick isn't great, either. If you're not very careful, you'll end up with thin sections, or thick, and the thick sections may run which is a pain.

Most of the time, the stuff is applied with a roller. The bail on the thing acts like a spring, and one side may get a thicker coat than the other if you're not careful. Then, depending on how many times you go over any one spot, you may thin it out more than you should.

IOW, it can be tricky to get it right. IT can be done, but may take some practice. Use the wet film thickness gauge, and adjust your technique until you get it right. It's a bit harder to get the thickness required than most people think. It is not just like applying paint on a wall.

I prefer a sheet membrane. There, the concern is the seams, but most of them call for at least a 2" overlap, and that's easier to get the majority of that width correct, if not all, and it doesn't need to be perfect. IMHO, it's easier to do.

As to where you can buy a sheet membrane, pick a company's product you're interested in, then check their website for dealers. On many, you can buy it direct, but then you'll pay full retail.
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Unread 07-18-2021, 08:23 PM   #7
Davy
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I have no problem with pinholes that some seems to fear. I've installed at least 10 Auqa Defense showers (divot drain method) and always use the fabric along with the AD. I have also installed several Kerdi showers and have more problems with the build up of thinset in the 2 inch overlaps than with anything else, especially on shower floors where small tiles are used.
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Unread 07-18-2021, 08:26 PM   #8
jadnashua
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It can be done. You need to pay very close attention to details, just like you do with any method.
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