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Unread 11-28-2017, 01:06 AM   #1
Shady at Best
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Floating shower walls. Sticks in sooner or later?

When floating a wall. First i will build up areas to set the float strips in. Set the strips, then fill in the area in between.
I saw someone do it a different way and it looked faster and maybe better.
They covered the wall with mud, then set the strips, screed off of that, filled in low spots, and was finished.

How do you all do it. Any tips? I maybe float 5 showers a year nowadays.

Another question that i have been thinking about for 10 years. How smooth do you get your walls? I was taught that the mortar needed to be rough for thinset to stick to it. But I don't like growling thinset across a rough surface. I am not suggesting smooth like glass.

And of course we all know that thinset sticks to a porous surface better than a smooth.

Travis, that is a very good idea!
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Unread 11-28-2017, 07:48 AM   #2
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Hi Travis,

I've seen guys load up the whole wall, install strips and then screed, but I don't like it. I've always used the first method you mentioned. It gives you plenty of time to get your sticks straight and plumb, plus, you can better gauge the thickness of your floated wall.
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Unread 11-28-2017, 02:23 PM   #3
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Thanks John. Gauging the thickness of the wall was one of things i was thinking about also.

I think i will try the second method once or twice. But i don't see myself switching to that method unless i find more positive results.

Travis, that is a very good idea!
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Unread 11-28-2017, 07:56 PM   #4
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Travis I think it depends on if you're doing the one or two coat method as well? There's no way I'd get away with that technique often if I tried it on my scratches.

Plus if you adjust your sticks to square your showers for the floor tile to go easy that's even less time to cut it.

I finish my walls with a wood/resin float, I was taught that way and it leaves a good finish but not too smooth. Davy has posted he will finish his corners and maybe all his walls with a metal flat trowel, said it does get it more crisp everywhere.

I set sticks, always trying to get them close enough to the corners so my edge rides them when you cut the perpendicular wall. Each shower is different on adjusting, but as I set my sticks I then use a bucket to set edges on and push two edges on my set sticks the bucket holds them up, then put a framing square against the two of them and check for square. Adjust as necessary trying to keep the build up on a wall where it isn't seen or too thick for bullnose. This makes sure your floor tile will be all even cuts! An overlooked step I see a lot. After sticks and corners are done its gravy town filling in the middle. If you have a jamb or niche or dam I usually throw mud there too early on so it cuts easier later.
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Unread 11-28-2017, 08:02 PM   #5
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Another trick I saw that I liked A LOT from Lunatileandstone was use two flat trowels on all your outside corners, way easier to control than a hawk, gets the mud locked in, also use two trowels when you're doing all the filling in, just transfer mud from board to one of your trowels and get it on the wall, saves a step and time. Still use a hawk when it's a tricky area or stick setting or when the shower is large and board or wall is too far away from where I'm mudding. You will be a lot faster when you just lean to mud board, put a gob of mud on your flat trowel and transfer to the wall.
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Unread 11-28-2017, 10:37 PM   #6
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I like setting my sticks first, then filling in. With walls as crooked and out of plumb as they are, some areas will likely have thicker mud than usual. I want to get the sticks set and let that mud have as much time as possible to stiffen up some before I start putting pressure on them with the straight edge. Not as much of a problem with 2 coat mud jobs because the scratch coat helps that mud firm up.
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Unread 11-29-2017, 12:58 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips.
I watched a video where the guy put the sticks in after he did a coat of mud. I did notice that he didn't check his corners for square. But it was a tub shower and it's not as important.

What are your preferred methods of waterproofing the walls when floating them. Here in northern ca we like hot mop for the pans. Most people here float over green board, lightweight tar paper, and lath. Every shower that i have torn out that was done that way has leaked. Some bad, some not so bad.

Maybe i am having a brain fart. Has anyone done a complete mud shower and then covered it with kerdi? I wonder what the time and cost offset would be with that vs firring out walls, squaring up corners, covering in cbu or sheet rock, then covering in kerdi.

And for legalities sake i realize that this isn't a sanctioned use of Kerdi.


Travis, that is a very good idea!
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Unread 11-29-2017, 07:02 AM   #8
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I prefer 6 mil poly for my waterproofing but have used #15 roofing felt also, I like the poly for a couple reasons, I can get a continuous wrap over the shower, it's water and vapor tight, I can see plumbing and electrical through it when lathing. After it's all lathed, I started hitting all my penetrations with a construction sealant.

Never have done kerdi after but if I did, I'd use roofing felt since it breathes and allows vapor to pass.
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Unread 11-29-2017, 07:05 AM   #9
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Schluter approves Kerdi being used over wall mud. There's really no problem at all with it except for the added expense.

I think a lot of failures in California are do to hot mop floors. It's about time California, otherwise a very progressive state, catches up with the 21st Century.
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