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Unread 09-17-2008, 09:16 PM   #1
Jeremy_M
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Shower Remodel - Metal Studs and other questions

Hi. This is my first post but I've been reading this forum for some time.
I'm a DIY'er and this is my first shower tile job.

The curb is concreted and I have put in the mortar(toping mix) shower pan with the following order: pre-slope > Pan Liner > final layer Slope

Now to my internal delmia conflicts.
  1. I have 16" on center metal studs. I have not been able to find cement board crews that are self tapping. I have read where people used regular self tapping drywall screws but this seems like a bad idea. Should I just predrill a TON of holes? These are not very thin metal studs.. seem to be pretty hardy.

  2. I have read that the liner will cause my cement board to bend out slightly at the bottom. The liner thickness doesn't seem like it would be much of a problem, but I'm not interested in cutting corners. Should I furr the metal studs, and if so how would I go about doing it with metal studs?

  3. Water barrier - I was planning on 6mil plastic behind the cement board. Should I be worried about the cement board screws puncturing the barrier with metal studs? Would it be better to hang the cbu and then redguard it insted of the plastic barrier?

  4. I was going to hang the cement board 1/4" above the pan and then caulk the gap. Is that a bad idea? Any Input?


Thanks so much for anyone that could give a quality answer. I'll be sure and post up some pictures when I'm done.
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Unread 09-17-2008, 09:30 PM   #2
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If that was my job I would screw and glue 3/4" ply to studs screwed @ 8" on center. pre drill ply so as to suck up to studs. Then poly down to pan and cbu install per instructions over that. I would not worry about screws through poly. Make sure to hold the ply about 2 in. above the pan and run the cbu just short of the pan.
Just the way I would do it. Im sure others have many more ideas that would work as well.
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Unread 09-17-2008, 09:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input Kid. Unfortunately the shower is pretty small so I would really like to avoid putting up 3/4" Plywood all around. Perhaps thats the only answer short of pre-drilling
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Unread 09-17-2008, 09:46 PM   #4
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oh, if size is an issue maybe wedi board?
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Unread 09-17-2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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Welcome, Jeremy.

1. Those screws are certainly available out there. CBU is fastened to steel studs alla time.

2. Yes, you need to fur out your studs to accommodate the liner, especially in the corners. Do you have metal studs because of a restriction against combustible materials in the walls, or for other considerations?

3. There is no problem with the screws penetrating your moisture barrier behind the CBU. Yes, it's counter-intuitive, but it's OK. Really.

4. The bad thing is that you didn't install the CBU before you installed your final mud bed. Best way to attach the wall board at the bottom is to trap it behind that mud. You can run the CBU close to the top of the mud and trap it behind the floor tile in your current situation, but it's not quite the same. There is no advantage to the caulking the bottom of the CBU that I can see, unless you're using that to help secure the wall board, which won't do much good, either. You do understand that you may not use any fasteners below the top of your pan liner, right?

I'm not at all sure for what purpose our new friend Jeremy (The Kid) would have you install plywood over your studs. Perhaps he will return and explain his reasoning for that.

I would recommend against doing that, favoring instead an installation in compliance with the CBU manufacturer's instructions.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-17-2008, 10:10 PM   #6
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Thanks for the welcome cx,

I generally fur out my showers so the cbu can float over the liner. THe ply would achieve this. as well as allow the installer to not have to pre drill every hole in the cbu.

I relize putting up ply throughout the shower would be overkill, but I think it would just be easier to sheet the wall and install the backer. Obviously the liner should not be screwed threw, but i belive the ply could float the last 10" or so. and also you would be able to screw the cbu in the field as well as on 16's.
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Unread 09-17-2008, 10:20 PM   #7
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The CBU could be attached to the studs as easily as could the plywood and the CBU does not require any fastening beyond the studs so long as they are on 16" centers. And the plywood is more apt to cause more problems than it might solve, since I don't see it solving any.

If furring is desired for the pan liner, it need not be more than a quarter-inch at thickest and could easily be accomplished with narrow strips of thin plywood over the studs. That's if any combustible material is allowed back there at all. We still don't have an answer to that.

If you're in the trades, Jeremy (The Kid), please come over to the Professionals' Hangout and start a thread of introduction and give us some background and meet the other pros. You'll find us a pretty friendly group hereabouts.

Also helps the visitors if you put a bit more professional biography in your profile so they can see who/what is answering their questions. I, for example, have no idea what a "GC" is in the way of profession.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-17-2008, 10:22 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply CX. I've read many of your posts.

I was able to find a reference on another site that "Grabber" made the screws I need, and after a search of their site I did indeed find them. Now to find who sells them. I'd post the link but it won't let me. [Grabber Item# XGCB8125SD]

I believe it's metal studs because of firecode reasons and also because it's in a new construction low-rise condo.

I'm aware I can't puncture the pan liner when I put the CBU close to the pan. I'm kicking myself now that I realized it would have been better to put up the CBU before the final bed layer. For some reason I was worried about wicking at the time.

How would you recommend to go about furring the metal studs?
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Unread 09-17-2008, 10:29 PM   #9
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You can add that link in your next post. It's an anti-spam measure we have in place.

I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to tell you to fur the studs with if you are fire code restricted against combustibles. Might get away with some wood strips back there, but I'd wanna axe your code compliance authority before I did it.

Let's wait to see if some of the guys who do a lot of commercial work have some good furring material suggestions. I'm a residential guy and rarely even encounter metal studs. They can be pretty easy to work around once a fella gets used to the idea, though.

The much dreaded wicking in that area is just not a problem if you've installed an appropriate pre-slope under your liner as you have. Gonna be nothing out there to wick, eh?
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Unread 09-17-2008, 10:45 PM   #10
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I have never had for fur out metal studes so don't know what to tell you there.
I was thinking that if you couldn't find the proper screw. Use drywall screws made for metal and then Redguard.
Good Luck
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Unread 09-17-2008, 10:48 PM   #11
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thanks for the invite cx,
I to am a mostly reidential man. May have been a little un developed in my earlier response.
If you are honoring a fire code situation, you could possiblly rip down 1 1/2" rips of 1/4" cbu attach to studs and then hang your substrate.
Just a thought.
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