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Unread 02-07-2005, 08:19 AM   #1
MANewland
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Shower Pan with Floating Walls

I am new to the forum and have learned a lot...but I have been reviewing as much as I can on this site and couldn't find anything exactly relating to my basement finish project:
My shower is about 3'x4'. 2 of the walls are outside, 1 wall is a floating (required by code) and the entry is a floating 15" step over, not the standard curb. My questions are:
1. How should I setup for the shower pan, liner and then the 1/2" cement board?
2. Since it would be difficult to chisel a recess in all of the framing members for the liner, is my only option to fur-out the studs for the cement board?
3. With the floating wall construction, what about the blocking for the liner? Do I omit the blocking and just staple to the studs?

I've included a photo of the floating wall construction.

I've found answers to building everything else on the site. Really a lot of help.
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Last edited by MANewland; 02-07-2005 at 08:28 AM.
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Unread 02-07-2005, 08:36 AM   #2
reglilly
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curious

I'm just a DIYer and have never heard of a floating wall (except as a make-shift). What is the code rationale for this? What is it's purpose? I'm almost positive you'll have to have backing to float a shower pan.

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Unread 02-07-2005, 08:53 AM   #3
MANewland
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Floating walls in expansive soils

With our expansive soils, near Boulder, Colorado, basement interior walls have to be "floated" 1-1/2" above a treated 2x secured to the concrete floor. The floated wall is then anchored to the above joists and then 6" nails hold the wall, in line, above the treated bottom plate.
This allows the for concrete to move and not effect the integrity of the wall as the concrete with bottom plate may heave upwards, it can "slide up" on the nails that hold the floating wall in line.
Hope the photo helps...the wall on the left side is a floating wall.
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Unread 02-07-2005, 03:33 PM   #4
don metzinger
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I live south of you on north table mtn by golden and have similar wall construction in my unfinished basement. I would share a few comments with you. I have installed rubber movement sleeves in all my waste lines and heat ducts. My home is 12 yrs old and I have had up to 4" movement in my slab. You should allow for movement and hopefully some of the pros on this site can help you with your design. I notice insullation in the non floated wall in your pic and assume that is in outside wall and appears to be set on a footing. If so I don't see a slip/expansion joint between it and the slab which may be a problem if movement should take place. I have an slip/expansion joint around the slab but have had some cracking of the slab due to pinching in alcoves. You should assume your slab will move and plan accordingly. I am starting a shower remodel 2nd floor and one day not soon may do some finishing in the basement including a bath. Will follow your postings for advice and to see how you are doing. Good luck - Don
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Unread 02-10-2005, 02:06 PM   #5
MANewland
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shower pan with floating walls

I am building a shower pan in my basement. Code requires floating walls. In searching this site, I have only found that the final mortar bed locks the CBB in place…this would negate the floating wall code. My question is – Is there any problem with leaving an inch or so clearance between the bottom of the CBB and the finished bed?

I’ve learned a lot from this site, thanks.
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Unread 02-10-2005, 03:08 PM   #6
Mike2
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Hi MA. I'm going to merge this last post of yours (new Thread) with the other one. That way others can read the entire story and better respond.
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Unread 02-10-2005, 03:20 PM   #7
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This is a total DIY idea, and I have no experience with floating walls. But it occurs to me that it might work if you built the shower walls on the slab, and left the float space between the top of the wall and the floor above. You could cover the space with a wide moulding, attached only to the ceiling. This way the entire shower would rise with the floor.

This is similar to the way a log home was constructed on TV's Hometime. The space was needed to allow the exterior log walls to drop down as the logs dried, without damaging the interior walls, which were constructed from normal dried lumber.
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Unread 02-10-2005, 03:23 PM   #8
Mike2
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I think you have a real shower location issue next to that floating wall. I see no way of connecting your shower enclosure to it while at the same time giving your tile and the watertight integrity of the pan a chance to survive with that kind of movement.

Hopefully someone else will stop by with a better suggestion but I think you need to find a spot for that shower some place else down there.
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Unread 02-10-2005, 05:42 PM   #9
don metzinger
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You may think about a shower with walls that do not run all the way to the ceiling which solves part of the concern about moving slabs. Your shower walls could also be framed indepentdently of the floated bathroom walls offset to allow splippage. Think of the shower moving as a unit. This doesn't address the drain waste piping concerns but there is a lot of flex in abs if that is what you have. Supply connections could in corporate a flex copper line fittings, you may have these on your water heater. You could do some research around your neighborhood and area to see if there is a history of problems with soil movement. There is good reason for the code repquirement. Our basement slab did not start moving until about year 4 after construction and has slowed up over the last 3 years but I doubt it wil ever stop completly. Plan for movement and be thankful if none. - Don
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Unread 02-10-2005, 06:31 PM   #10
intoit
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I saw some really interesting showers on the "Wedi board" site. They are not tied to the walls at all. (ETA: Do a web search on "wedi fundo" - they are tied a bit, where the pipes are.) Just a tiled, free-standing curl around the drain. (Wish I had room!) I would think they might be considered "floating."???

(I see that you are some ways along on your project - but, if anyone else is ever looking for free floating.)

Patty

Last edited by intoit; 02-10-2005 at 07:42 PM.
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Unread 02-16-2005, 12:09 PM   #11
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I live in Littleton CO and the floating walls are reqd. here too. I just finished my bathroom in the basement and had the same thoughts and questions as you are.

My house is 50 yrs old and it looked to me like the slab had not moved in decades if ever. I determined the lack of movement, by looking at lots of things like where the sewer stack penetrates the slab, water heater pipes, slab/foundation joint. But still the code reqd. floating walls.

I finally decided it was nearly impossible to build the basement bathroom if I really thought that the slab would move significantly. Think about accounting for floor movement when the walls don't move, when installing cabinets, doors, vanity sinks, in addition to a shower and especially toilet if the slab and toilet move but the pipes under the slab don't. The only way I thought could possibly make it easier was to set the walls on the slab and put the gap between the joists and the wall (I didn't do that).

The building dept and inspectors said the concept of the floating wall was to prevent catastrophic structural damage and that if the floor does move significantly there probably will be some damage but the house won't collapse.
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