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Old 03-11-2018, 04:50 PM   #1
Viva
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Questions about shower, mudpan, and waterproofing

Hello all. I am concerned about our shower and mudpan and really need information and advice on how to move forward. We hired a family member to tile our floors, shower, and around our bathtub. He has experience laying tile, but we knew going into this that he is not a professional, and it would not be perfect, which we were ok with. We did our best to make sure what we wanted done was within his skill set, and had different options in place to ensure that. We also knew that we would be an opportunity for him to gain more experience in different areas. We have had to let him go for a few different reasons. All that is left to do is the shower tile, tub tile, and grout the shower floor tile. At this point, we just want it done and are confident we can do it ourselves, but i have some concerns before we begin. I have read that greenboard is ok to use behind tile in the bathroom, and since we are not tiling up to the ceiling i am not concerned about the weight, but to my understanding it should be sealed with redgaurd first. The green board has been primed and painted, I have no idea why, so i am wondering if that will cause an issue with the redguard and tile? My biggest concern is the shower floor, and i just want check if this is even an issue. Family member built the mudpan, and tiled it, but to our knowledge there is no liner/membrane anywhere in the construction, just a vapor barrier(paper) underneath. Since we have to seal the marble mosaic before and after we grout, will that waterproof it enough? I was thinking about using a small brush to paint the redguard into the space between wall and mosaic tile after we seal it. Will that help waterproof it, or is it unnecessary?

Any suggestions, tips or advice are greatly appreciated! Here is a picture of the shower floor.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:08 PM   #2
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I will let the more knowledgeable members chime in. But if it is true what you say that there is no membrane or pan liner under the shower floor tile, your shower WILL FAIL. It will leak and cause damage to your house. The shower floor is the most critical part of the shower, and getting it right is of the greatest importance and requires the most knowledge also (slope towards drain, solid drain to waste line connection etc). If your family member was learning the ropes on this job, I am afraid there might be more wrong than is evident to you.

Don't proceed with more tile work until you've received some advice here. And no, grouting and sealing grout will not waterproof your shower! Only a properly installed liner/pan will.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:19 PM   #3
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Sorry to tell you, but it sounds like you may need to start over!

First, greenboard has not been approved for use in a shower for ages.

Second, there must be a waterproof liner that is sloped to the drain and be able to hold water without leaking BEFORE you install any tile. Neither tile nor grout is the waterproofing...they are decorative wear surfaces.

RedGard is not approved for use over drywall or greenboard (moisture resistant drywall) in a wet area. Regular drywall is fine outside of the shower and above the height of the showerhead.

There's more than one way to build a reliable shower. Each of them has very specific materials and practices that must be followed to result in a reliable shower. It isn't particularly hard, but is VERY detail oriented. At least from what you've indicated, none of the approved methods was selected or followed.

We'd need a bit more info to help determine if anything can be salvaged.

On the floor, outside of the shower, there are a couple of critical things.
1. The joist structure must meet the minimum strength requirements for tile. That differs, depending on whether you're using ceramic (porcelain is a type of ceramic) or a natural stone. Natural stone requires 2x the strength of the structure verses ceramic. You can determine your suitability for tile on the floor by using the 'Deflecto' tool above in the menu bar.
2. The subflooring must be sufficient. It needs to be stable and thick enough to support the tile in between the joists. The first layer (if more than one is installed) must be tongue and groove or have the seams supported from below so the edges can't deflect separately. If it's planks, you must have a layer of plywood on top. If you have natural stone tile, you must have a second layer of ply.

There are more details, but chew on those first and get back.

There's some good information in the 'Liberry' accessible from the blue menu bar above.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:21 PM   #4
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Welcome Gen.

Where do we start? With a dumpster. There are so many things wrong with that shower. There is no saving it. It's DOA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen
we knew going into this that he is not a professional, and it would not be perfect, which we were ok with.
Not perfect and completely wrong are 2 different things.
This is an expensive lesson.

Sorry for your loss.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:57 PM   #5
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Gen, I would get back with the family member and find out exactly what was done regarding the pan. I'm not sure what you mean by the vapor barrier paper he installed.

Like the others, I'm concerned about it.

As far as the green board, I couldn't tell if you were talking about the shower walls or the bathroom walls outside the shower.
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:59 PM   #6
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This is a terrible situation but I am really happy we decided to finish the jobs ourselves so I was able to catch this before everything else had been finished. I was hoping there would be a way to salvage it if it was as i suspected, but i don't even know if there is a liner between the durock and mud and I can't get an answer from him.

I am not sure what kind of joists they are, or how far apart, but i do know they are in good condition. There is 3/4 wood floor, 3/4 plywood, and 1/2 durock outside of the shower and everywhere else the floor is tiled. The floor tile is 12/24 porcelain and other than a few minor things, there doesn't seem to be any issues with it.

All I know about the vapor barrier is that it is a type of brown paper to prevent moisture from coming up from the crawlspace and is between the wood and plywood. This is throughout the whole house and I just learned it was done for hardwood floors so it may be irrelevant to this.
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:17 PM   #7
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Davvy, The greenboard is throughout the bathroom including the shower and around the tub. I've found mixed reviews everywhere else online about using it in a shower, but the people who do use it say it's fine as long as a waterproofer is applied. Redguard was what i heard most. We have a powerful fan in the bathroom, and aren't worried about the weight of the wall tile.
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:01 PM   #8
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Gen, RedGard does not list green board as a suitable substrate. You're asking for trouble if you proceed with this.

https://www.custombuildingproducts.com/TDS/TDS-104.pdf

Green board is not much more than regular drywall with a waxy green paper coating. I recently disposed of both, regular drywall and green board. They were sitting side by side next to my garbage bin. Before I could cut them up to dump them, it rained. After the rain, both substrates just crumbled in my hands. There is some sort of mythology about green board that it is suitable for wet areas such as showers. I've been told this before by "knowledgeable" folks who believe in this. It is not true.

I've been where you are now. Tearing this substandard installation out and starting fresh will save you pain and frustration later. And also money. If you want to do the work yourself, stick around here and learn. If not, hire a professional. You will use your shower thousands of times. It needs to be built well and right.
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:06 PM   #9
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According to USG, the manufacturer of MR (green) board, it is not to be used in wet areas;

6. Not suitable for use as a substrate for tile in wet areas such as tubs and showers, gang showers and other areas subject to direct water exposure. 7. Use as a tile substrate is limited to tile installed according to the most current TCNA and ANSI specifications.
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Old 03-12-2018, 11:00 AM   #10
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Thank you so much for your help. We will be bringing in a professional to redo the mudpan and make sure there are no other problems with the installed tile. We will also be replacing the greenboard with durock where he tells us it needs to go. Thanks again!
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:08 PM   #11
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This should make for good conversation at holiday dinners with the family. If he is even invited. Put him at the kids table.
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