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Unread 06-06-2015, 05:32 PM   #1
amodoko
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General Questions w/ Pics on 1st Time Shower Pan Build/Install

Hi guys, I'm a bit of a newbie to shower installs. My first real big project with tile I did was a few years ago and it was removing a tub and enclosure and installing a new tub and tiling the surround. It went well and am satisfied with how it turned out (although I need to make the caulk lines prettier, but I can fix that later).

But now I have a new task ahead of me, and it is removing a shower and enclosure and building a new one with tiled walls and a tiled shower pan. The shower pan build is the "new" part to me.

I've done some research on the subject but still have a lot of questions.

So I've already removed the old shower and pan and am ready to start dealing with building the shower pan.

If anyone here doesn't mind answering a few questions, I'll just list them below. I greatly appreciate any help as I do have a lot of specific questions.

1) First, one of the walls, the long wall, is an exterior wall. Do I need to install plastic sheeting there (there never was any there to begin with, but it looks like there used to be green board there) before I build my shower? Or can I just install Durock, then Red Gard the Durock cement board, then tile and be okay?

2) When removing the old fiberglass shower pan and drilling into the rubber gasket around the drain so the pan would remove easier, I ended up nicking parts of the PVC drain (as you can see in the photos) with the drill. Does this need to be repaired in some way before I install an adjustable drain kit? Or does the adjustable drain kit have something in it that kind of takes care of this issue?

3) As you can see from the photos, there is a hole in the concrete subfloor where the PVC drain is located. Obviously this needs to be filled. I was wondering what is the best way to fill in that hole so that when heavy/human weight is standing on the newly tiled shower pan, that it holds securely? Do I need to install plywood over the cement floor and then build my mortar bed? I'm a bit confused about the proper way to both fill that hole and to ensure it supports weight well.

4) Does anyone know specifically what kind of drain kit I need to install? There seem to be so many and I'm unsure if there is something specific I need to be looking for in order to install a drain prior to laying out the mortar bed/shower lining/etc.

5) When building my shower curb, if I end up just installing over my concrete floor, can I just use bricks and thinset to create the curb? Does it matter what type of bricks I use? If I end up having to lay down plywood to fix the hole issue (as mentioned above), then I can use plain/regular 2x4s, correct? I have heard that you should never used treated wood for some reason (maybe because of moisture content I'm assuming) and you should never create a wood curb if you are installing over a concrete subfloor.

Thanks in advance for your help. I am a bit overwhelmed with the idea of building a mortar shower pan, I can handle the wall prep/tiling but the shower pan is completely new to me.
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Unread 06-06-2015, 06:25 PM   #2
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Hi Amodoko, welcome!

Looks like you got a good start in things. Quick question to get things moving; is there a trap under the slab?

Re your concerns about the mud, building a mud bed is no harder than plumbing, water proofing or tiling. You just take one step at a time.
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Unread 06-07-2015, 08:09 AM   #3
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Hi, thanks so much for the response. You're right, taking it one step at a time is the way to go when something's new to you. I was a bit concerned about building a shower pan since I've just never done it before and I wanted to make sure I water proof it correctly.

And to answer your question, there is a p trap under the slab (if that is what you were asking). I took a photo to show you. I've attached it below. Thanks so much for your help, it is greatly appreciated!
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Unread 06-07-2015, 09:01 AM   #4
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Wow, that's a big hole! Ordinarily I'd have said fill it in with sacrete to level but that not going to work here. I think I'm seeing steel structural elements under the concrete, is this in a multistory condo building?
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Unread 06-07-2015, 10:08 AM   #5
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Exactly! It is a condo that is 2 stories. I am the first floor and there is a condo directly above me owned by someone else.
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Unread 06-07-2015, 10:18 AM   #6
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Ok, so what's at the bottom of the opening we see? Not that it matters since we won't be filling it in.

How wide is the opening in the concrete around the drain? Kerdi drains require a pretty good sized opening (5")so it may be fine as is. I'd defer to CX or one of the other pros here but you may be fine just with the mud floor installed over the concrete with metal lath to to strengthen the area over the openings.

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Unread 06-07-2015, 11:17 AM   #7
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The stuff that you see at the bottom of the hole in the concrete is mostly what I think is pink fiberglass insulation with like a silvery backing I think. It is supposed to be glued or stuck to a concrete section/wall underneath but has come off over time. The shower is right next to an exterior wall so I'm assuming they were trying to insulate the air a bit below the condo too. There are also a bunch of other things down there also, like wood scraps, nails, basically a ton of leftover construction stuff and random things. If you look around more and to the sides (not in photo), most everything below the condo is just dirt.

The concrete hole is irregular and slightly oval in shape. It has a diameter of about 11 inches on the longer section and a diameter of about 7 inches at its shorter section. But if you're just talking about the distance from the sides of the drain (not the inside of the drain hole) to the edge of the concrete hole, then the distance ranges from 1.5 inches to about 4.5 inches.

Yeah, I was thinking that I could do something like metal mesh and then creating the shower pan bed over it but wasn't sure if that would be strong enough.

What do you think with regards to the drain pipe damage? Do you think this needs to be repaired? Kind of annoyed that I damaged it with the drill... I should have just tried prying out the rubber gasket little by little instead, lol.
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Unread 06-07-2015, 12:00 PM   #8
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Pretty common for the builder the throw all kinds of crap down in those areas. poor practice in my opinion but it happens all the time.

Not sure I see any damage to the pipe other than the few chip at the top. The pipe will need to be cutoff a couple inches below the floor to mate with the drain (varies based on mud floor thickness) if that helps.

The hole is pretty big, wonder if you can put a layer of exterior grade plywood down over the entire shower floor and build your floor over that with a cleavage membrane and lathe?

Problem is I'm not sure if that's proper over the concrete. Should be fine since you won't any moisture wicking up through the concrete.

Any recomendations, CX?
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Unread 06-07-2015, 03:27 PM   #9
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Welcome, amodoko. Please change that permanent signature line to a first name for us to use.

PC, I can't tell just how that floor is constructed. He/She says there is dirt under most of it, suggesting that it is essentially SOG. And I can't really tell how thick the existing concrete might be there. Perhaps we can get more information on that.

If SOG I'd rather not see a sheet of plywood installed over it to make the hole smaller, but it could be done. If the concrete is thick enough (4" or so), I'd likely drill in some dowels, put something under it for a form, and pour more concrete in there for a patch.

I'd first wanna know what kind of shower pan was to be used so's I'd know how large to make the hole and whether to install the drain first.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-07-2015, 03:36 PM   #10
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CX, based on the picture I thought the slab was only a few inches thick laid over a structural support of some type. That's why I asked if this was a Condo, although I have to admit I was surprised when amodoko (AM) said it was the 1st flor.

Can't tell for sure but it looked like brick or something at the bottom. If it is typical SOG I'd skip the plywood and just fill in the hole.

AM, is the slab laid directly on grade and that hole is just where the pipe comes up? Or does the space extend under the slab like a small crawl area (for tiny people).

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Unread 06-08-2015, 06:56 PM   #11
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Thanks for the responses. CX, I tried changing my signature but for some reason it won't let me. I don't know if maybe I am missing something, but I can't seem to find an option to edit it. Maybe there is some software conflict. I click on my name, it takes me to my profile, I can see my signature but no way to change it. If I can't change it for some reason, you can call me AM.

I've attached some photos to help with describing what I see. Basically, the concrete looks to be roughly 2 inches thick.

In reference to what kind of shower pan I wanted to install, I was planning on creating one with a mortar bed and then just tiling the shower pan. Kind of like this one from the floor elf:

http://floorelf.com/how-to-create-a-shower-floor-part-1

I was going to try to use his website to help me with creating the shower pan.

As far as what the space is under my condo, you can see pipes and dirt everywhere. And there is space for a small person to crawl down there. I would want to avoid doing that if possible, but you can access it through a small door on the back of my condo.

I've attached photos to show what I see. I basically just stuck my hand down the hole and took a bunch of photos to show the space. I also took photos to show how thick the concrete is as well as a photo of the exterior wall where I believe the insulation should be stuck to but instead has fallen off.

Also, for some reason all the photos came out sideways even though they are normal on my computer. So just for reference (even though it's easy to tell), the right side of the each photo posted is up in real life and the left side of each photo is down.
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Unread 06-08-2015, 07:33 PM   #12
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You've definetly got a engineered concrete floor: I'll double down on my recomendation to place a base (3/4" exterior grade plywood, 1" Kerdiboard?) over the entire shower floor and build up from there.

I'd be hesitant to use tapcon or other penetrating fasteners in that floor. Seems like you could set the plywood down over the concrete using an approved adhesive.

If you are planning to use a Kerdi drain, you'll want to cut a 5" hole centered on the drain line to accommodate the base of the Kerdi drain before you set the base.

You can wait on the doing the base until you have the plumbing and kerdiboard (or wallboard of your choice) up on the walls.

What are you planning to install for the wall board / water proofing layer on the wall.

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Unread 06-08-2015, 07:46 PM   #13
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Quick follow up, what part of the country / world are you located in?
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Unread 06-08-2015, 08:34 PM   #14
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Okay, so what do you think the first step for me should be? Should I first get cut the PVC down that is nicked, couple it with PVC cement/primer to another new pipe to extend it far above the ground so I can later cut it down to the right size for the tile-in drain?

I honestly don't even know yet what the first step should be. I need to research this more I guess.

For the walls, I was just planning on attaching durock to the studs, then painting on Red Gard, then thinset, then tile. I've never used Red Gard before, in the past I used 6 mil plastic sheeting but I wanted to try Red Gard this time to make it easier to waterproof niches.

And I currently live in the US, in Missouri.

But at this time, I'm not too sure what my next step should be. Should I decide between a normal tile-in drain or Kerdi drain first? Or should I extend the PVC pipe above ground significantly first? But I do realize I have a lot of reading that I need to do now, lol
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Unread 06-08-2015, 09:56 PM   #15
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If you'll click on UserCP in the dark blue bar near the top of the page and look to the left you'll see Edit Your Details, where you can add your geographic location, among other things, and Edit Your Signature where you can change the permanent signature line.

While I'm not really thrilled with the 3/4" plywood remedy, I honestly can't think of a simple alternative and that might work well enough now that we see what you have under that floor.

You need to decide what kind of shower pan you intend to build before you can go any further. Steps are pretty simple after that.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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