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Unread 02-21-2005, 01:02 AM   #1
sdunn10
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Arlington, MA
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Bathroom renovation - new to everything!

Hi all, I've been working up to renovating my bathroom for the last couple of months. All guidance has come from two books, The Meredith Brooks book from HD and the Black and Decker Complete Guide to Bathrooms.
The books were great, but I really wish I'd found this forum before now, in the couple of hours since I found it I've learnt more than in 2 previous months.

So, the project...renovating a small bathroom (8' x 5') and planning to put in a full length custom shower pan (roughly 5' x 2 1/2').
3 shower walls - Wonderboard (exterior wall will have a glass block window)
Other walls - greenboard
All ceiling - drywall (this decision was based on advice in one of the books that said that greenboard and CBU was too heavy for ceilings). I'm not currently planning to tile the ceiling although depending on advice from you folks this may change).
The floor I ripped out was 1" thick so I'd like to build the new floor to the same level to avoid problems with the transition between rooms.
I got some 'regular' 3/4" plywood (didn't know about CDX, BCX or CCX until 2 hours ago!) to lay on top of the 5" floor boards that form the subfloor.
On top of this I plan to lay 15# paper, metal lath, mortar for the pre pan, CPE (or PVC if I can't find CPE), more lath and a final layer of mortar in prep for 2" tiles. The curb will be built up of 3 2x4s with CPE, lath, mortar and finally tile on the side and marble on the top.

First problem I hit was with some bricks that are currently sitting in the in the exterior wall cavity and are deeper than the studs by about 1/4". I'm think about just chiseling them flush with the studs. Time consuming but might be the simplest solution. The two other alternatives that I came up with was to attach strips to all the studs to make them flush with the bricks, or to remove the bricks altogether (they're quite loose as it is so they're providing questionable support I think). Any thoughts? (I'd post a picture but I can't seem to get it to appear in this message).

Questions:
1. is the 'regular' 3/4" pine plywood suitable for the shower base?
2. similarly, are the 'regular' 2x10s and 2x4s OK for the stud bays and curb, or do I need to revisit this decision.
3. is drywall OK for the shower ceiling? Is it still OK if I decide to tile?
3. if I can't find CPE what weight of PVC should I go for? I mentioned CPE at Home Depot and got a blank look so I'm thinking I may have some problems there.
4. what other names might 'building paper' go by? Again, Home Depot looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language (might have been my Scottish accent however!)
5. ditto 'metal lath' (I really didn't have much luck at HD today ;-)
6. For the main bathroom floor, how would you recommend I build up the 1" floor? I'll be putting down 6x6 Interceramic tiles and the 1" includes the tiles. The previous floor was a mud job which I tried not to break up but after a day of backbreaking work I gave up trying to chisel out 2x2 tiles and ripped up the whole floor.

Any and all help/advice greatly appreciated,

Scott.
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Unread 02-21-2005, 07:09 AM   #2
David Taylor
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Hi Scott and welcome to the forum.

Let me first say that drywall and greenboard weigh essentially the same. CBU is heavier, but can also be used on the ceiling if you increase your screw density during installation.

If the bricks are loose, then by all means take them out instead of shaving them down. It'll save time and you'll take out some of your day-to-day frustrations by hitting something.

I'm not a big fan of pine plywood on the floor of anything, since it is very sensitive to moisture.

To save you some time and more frustration, I'll direct you to the Liberry where you'll find the Shower Construction threads. If there ever was a project that could use the Kerdi system, yours is it. No blocking is necessary and you can use regular drywall - it'll also take you about 3-4 hours to make the shower ready for tile, whereas you'll be spending days prepping it the old way. Read up and come back with any questions you might have.

Outside the shower area, you can easily meet up with the floor in adjacent areas. My suggestion would be to use 1/2" plywood, then Schluter Ditra over it. The tile, with thinset, is applied over that. I'm assuming your Interceramic tile is 5/16" thick, which is their norm. With all three products together, you'll be right at 1".

I'm a big fan of mud, but if it comes down to meeting established floor heights - Ditra is usually the way to go. It's much easier to install than CBU or any board for that matter.

Lastly, lose those two books and invest $23.95 in John's. He's no comedian and if you can get past the pages with his pictures, you'll find a wealth of knowledge about completing your project - including a whole section on the Kerdi shower.
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Unread 02-21-2005, 06:15 PM   #3
John Bridge
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A scot by the name of Scott. How many times is that going to happen?

Hi Scott.

Dave's my buddy and all, but in my part of the country the only plywood you can get is made from southern yellow pine. It's good stuff.

Other than that, I concur with most of what he said.
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Unread 02-21-2005, 08:58 PM   #4
David Taylor
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Dang it, John's right again.

I've noticed the recent flood of Brazilian pine over the past three years, so watch out for it. SYP is perfectly fine.
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Unread 02-22-2005, 07:28 AM   #5
sdunn10
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Structural concerns

Thanks for the advice.

I was inspecting the plumbing work and noticed that to get the angle on the drain pipe from the shower the guy had cut a 3" notch into the 7" beam that runs perpendicular to the floor boards and would be right underneath the person that is showering! The two beams to either side of this one are 8" and 14" away. I'm definitely no engineer but this doesn't seem good, and putting a mortar bed on top of that and then a 200lb showerer makes me nervous!

Am I right to be concerned or is this OK?
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