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Unread 10-04-2010, 07:02 PM   #1
steve73
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Master shower questions

I am working on rebuilding my master shower. This is in a 10 year old house in Sanford Florida. Single story with metal studs on a concrete slab. The shower was not originally built properly ... green board all the way to the floor, no liner at all, no vapor barrier at all, tile stuck directly to the 2x4 in the curb etc... you just have to love houses built during the boom in Florida. This is my first time doing a shower and I have several questions. I am planning on using the info in Harry Dunbar's Shower Article (it keeps telling me I can't have links in my posts...) as a basic guideline for what I need to do.

1) My slab seems to be cut away and the floor of the old shower is actually slightly resesed below the slab... why is that? Is that normal? I haven't chipped out all the old mortar and was wondering if I should or not? What am I going to find down there? Will I eventually hit Florida or is there some kind of resessed second slab down there? See following pic Name:  slab.jpg
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2) Since I have this hole in my slab do I need to chip all that mortar out and then fill it in so I am starting out with a flat surface at slab hight or do I just chip out a few inches down and poor my preslope from there?

3) If you look at the following pic you will see there is a power outlet in the wall for the living room. This box is not sealed and I don't think it is a GFI plug. Should I be worried about that? Do I need to fill in the holes at the top of the box with some silicone? Should I put in a GFI outlet? Or is it good enough to just put up a vapor barrier and forget it?Name:  floor.jpg
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4) all the info I have read on this site mostly just talks about wood studs. how do I brace the bottom of the metal studs. Most of the pictures I have seen seem to have 2x10 or something like that in between the wooden studs. Do I notch out some more metal studs and screw them in between the studs or just use wood even though it won't be flush with the surface?
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Unread 10-04-2010, 07:28 PM   #2
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Welcome, Steve.

The link problem is an anti-spam measure we have in place. You'll be able to post links after you've made a couple more posts. I lit up the link you wanted in there.

First thing you need to do is determine if you actually have a structural slab in that shower area. We see many Florida showers that have a dropped area with nothing but sand under some deck mud without any sort of pan liner or clamping drain or any other sort of waterproofing. Saddest part is we're constantly told it meets code down there.

The blocking between your studs can be wood blocking unless you are askeered of termites, which shouldn't be a problem there once you have installed a proper floor for your shower. You could also use some metal stud material for your blocking, but you'll need to get a bit creative in tacking up the new liner. It can certainly be done, though. Bigger issue will be the inability to notch the stud bottoms to accommodate the folds in your pan liner. Nearly hafta fur out the studs above the liner, and that is most easily done with wood. May be able to find some other material that will work for you, though.

But first you need a usable floor and a usable drain.

Pay no attention at all to that 'lectric box. It's not even in the same room, eh?

My opinon; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-04-2010, 07:51 PM   #3
ceramictec
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Quote:
you just have to love houses built during the boom in Florida.
another quality built Florida shower

I repair more showers like this then you can imagine. the easy way out around here was to recess the slab lower then the main slab so the water that doesnt make it out the drain can absorb into the lower slab and out under the home. what they never perfected was how you stop the dirty water from sitting in the mud, termite and roots attracted to the wet area.
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Unread 10-04-2010, 08:31 PM   #4
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Steve,
You have a recessed shower that was filled to main floor level with floor mud. It wasn't required when your shower was built to have a pan liner in a recessed shower.
you will have to remove this floor mud to put in a liner, and replace the drain with a clamping drain.
Other options are using Kerdi or using a liquid waterproofing to seal the moisture inside the shower.
The power outlet isn't an issue since you will waterproof the wall towards the shower side.
Use wood to brace between the studs.
I live in Sanford, and have seen many showers like yours. Rebuilding them has kept me busy for years
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Unread 10-04-2010, 09:09 PM   #5
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I would go the Kerdi route. easier to get a better finished product.
if not full Kerdi use the drain and do a liquid membrane.
you would only need to chip out to get to the pipe and attach the Kerdi drain.
then mud the floor and Kerdi it or HydroBarrier/HydroBan.
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Unread 10-04-2010, 10:20 PM   #6
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kerdi

I have considered going Kerdi but I have two problems ... one is that the drain is not completely centered so it would have to be chipped all the way down and moved. Also the size of the shower is 42 x 60. I would have to buy the 72 x 72 and cut it down and then my perimeter height would be off. Actually I guess if my perimeter height is already going to be off I wouldn't really have to center the drain ... sigh... getting a cultured marble shower is starting to sound better and better.
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Unread 10-04-2010, 11:17 PM   #7
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Hi Steve. just because the drain isn't centered doesn't mean you can't use Kerdi.
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Unread 10-05-2010, 08:20 AM   #8
WendyHMN
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What Mike said. Just build a mud pan and use the kerdi drain and membrane.
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Unread 10-06-2010, 04:45 PM   #9
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I can see Florida ... and it's wet

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I broke up some of the dry pack (or whatever it is) around the drain to see what I would find down there. After about 1.5 to 2 inches of dry pack I have about .5 inch to an inch of sand and then florida mud/clay and it is very very wet. I would think that I need to break out all the morter and poor some kind of proper slab. What do you guys think? If I have to poor a slab I would think I could put some tapcons in the sides of the slab surrounding the hole then just fill it with quikrete level with the surrounding slab. Would I need to do any other prep than that such as put in sand or gravel etc? Is it possible to slope this "slab" a bit and call it my preslope or just do it level and worry about preslope once it has cured? Any idea how long I will need to wait before I can start doing preslope?

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Unread 10-06-2010, 04:50 PM   #10
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forgot to mention

I forgot to mention that the guy that is going to be giving me a hand is more comfortable with using an oatey drain and shower liner so that is probably what we will be using. Just in case that make any difference in your suggestions on how I deal with the mud pit.
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Unread 10-06-2010, 05:05 PM   #11
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Yep, see that alla time down there, Steve. But still don't nobody go to jail.

If you're willing to give up the dropped shower, yes, you can pour a new slab in that hole. Rather than Tapcons, I'd recommend you drill into the existing slab and insert some re-bar dowels. I think #4 bar (half-inch) driven into half-inch holes will be fine. Then I'd tie some #3 or 4 bars to them across the hole for reinforcement and pour concrete.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-06-2010, 05:29 PM   #12
steve73
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CX,
When you say "willing to give up the dropped shower" ... what am I giving up? I am just loosing about 2.5 inches of my 8 foot walls right? Is there some redeeming quality to having a mud pit under my master bath? What is my other option other than slab?

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Unread 10-06-2010, 07:09 PM   #13
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Well, if you're only dropped that far, you're not giving up much at all. I generally drop mine 5.5" and end up with a bit of a step-down into the shower and no curb.

With what you have, I'd just fill it flush with the rest of the floor and move on.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-06-2010, 08:10 PM   #14
steve73
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It wasn't really dropped at all. The tile near the curb was actually at slab height. If I stick a level across and measure down to where the top of the drain was from slab hight it is just under 2 inches. So if I pour in a slab and then with preslope and slope I am guessing the new drain will be about 2 inches above slab instead of below. I don't think I am going to notice loosing 4 inches on an eight foot wall. I guess I might need to consider moving the shower head up a little. The shower head was 80 inches above tile so will probably still be a comfy height. Is there a "normal" height above tile for the shower head?
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Unread 10-06-2010, 10:32 PM   #15
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Hi Steve, usually it's one or two rows past the shower head. I like to go up to the ceiling with the tile.
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