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Old 02-22-2019, 04:20 PM   #1
arachelbird
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Rachel's steam shower

Hi all,

I'm a new poster, but I've been reading a ton from this forum lately in preparation for building out my new master bathroom. It's been incredibly useful, thank you all!

I'm looking for advice on a few questions. I'll provide some background first.

I'm doing a complete gut and remodel on the first floor of a house built in the late 40s. We are turning part of a previous bedroom into a master bath where we will have a small walk-in steam shower with a curb, glass on one side, and a linear drain (no bath - tub will be added elsewhere in the house during phase 2). We are sistering joists to ensure the floor is appropriate for tile. The existing subfloor (previously had hardwood on it) is 3/4" boards placed at a diagonal over the joists; no tongue & groove. Prior to tiling we will add 3/4" T&G plywood placed perpindicular to the joists to the entire room, then add ditra heat mats to the non-shower part of the room.

We are planning to use large format ceramic tile (12x24, rectified) on all walls, the bathroom floor, and the shower ceiling; and smoothed river rock for the shower floor. The shower will be completely tiled; the remainder of the bathroom will be tiled 4' up the walls.

We are planning to have the glass for the shower sit along one edge of our vanity. The vanity will have a quartz waterfall counter -- so the veritcal quartz waterfall piece on that side will have its exposed face inside the shower.

My questions:

1. Our bathroom dimensions aren't in perfect increments of 24" (plus grout). We are installing the tiles stacked (vs staggered), and our designer recommended we cut the tiles so they are even widths on all walls, vs having a column of obviously shorter tiles (e.g. 5 columns at 20" vs 4 at 24" + one at 4"). I have never cut tile before. Is it totally normal or totally crazy to plan to cut every tile?

2. Inside the shower we are tiling to the ceiling; the rest of the bathroom we'll tile 4' up the wall. I don't know that I've ever seen a shower where the tile stops inside the glass. How much (if any) width of tile do we need going to the ceiling outside the shower glass?


I'm sure I'll have many more questions as we progress with construction, but those are the main ones for now. Thank you!
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Old 02-22-2019, 07:21 PM   #2
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Welcome, Rachel.

1. It's not at all unheard of to cut every tile in a shower layout, but that's up to you and your designer. It's either what she suggests or three columns of 24" tiles and a column of 14" tiles on each side.

2. You certainly don't want your vaporproofing to stop inside your steam enclosure and you don't want your tile to stop short of your vaporproofing. How far beyond the glass is partly an aesthetic consideration, but I'd want my tile to extend at least, say, three inches.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 02-23-2019, 10:57 AM   #3
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Hi Rachel,

Or . . . you could use a different size tile. There'll be some cutting, though, no matter what size you use.

Most showers have a back wall, which is the wall you face when you enter the shower. I think it's important that the tile field on that wall be balanced from side to side. On the side walls it's not as important, although there should never be any "skinny" cuts anywhere.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:11 AM   #4
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Work is finally moving on the steam shower!

I built the mud bed yesterday, thanks to countless hours reading this forum and watching some Kerdi and Sal videos on YouTube. Today itís feeling very solid, but I do have a few areas that chipped / crumbled when I pulled out the placeholder for the linear drain. (I felt better screeding off a placeholder piece of wood vs the kerdi-covered drain channel, and saw Sal use this approach for a linear drain.)

My question: can I patch these areas with thinset when I place the drain and kerdi membrane? Is there another product I should use to patch them? Or do I need to tear everything out and re-do?

Pics coming shortly - having technical issues.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:26 AM   #5
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Hi Rachel,

The floor looks good from here. Yes, you can use stiff thinset in the voids. The thinset police won't like it, but it'll work. Check for loose mortar throughout the floor.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:52 AM   #6
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Do you have structural plywood on the top of that bench? Or is it just durock directly to framing?
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:46 PM   #7
arachelbird
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Hi Lou,

Itís durock direct to the framing. Plan to have a 2cm quartz slab for the top to match our counters, not tile. Would you recommend adding plywood as well? I actually have a piece that exact size that we took out to save height but could quite easily add it back under the durock if there are structure concerns.

John - I have poked at, knocked on, and vacuumed the whole top of the slab - the rest seems quite solid!
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:48 PM   #8
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Iíd add some structural ply to the bench top
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:50 PM   #9
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As I see it the plywood wouldn't be to support the quartz as much as add rigidity to the whole structure. The bench needs to be one with the walls and floor or as close as one can get.


If there's a series of frames like I see on end, the resistance to racking is good in two axes, but lacking in the one going from front to back. Imagine pushing a foot against the top inside corner where vertical meet horizontal. If the only thing keeping framing from moving laterally is Durock, that's a problem.


By the way, what's the finishing intention where bench meets curb? That whole thing is typically in a single plane.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:36 PM   #10
arachelbird
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There is additional framing across the bench top - Iím attaching a pic from earlier in the process. Note there is also framing along the bottom front now (behind the durock and mud bed), had not been added in this pic.

For the bench and curb area - we are going to build our vanity so it shares a side with the shower / sits on top of the curb there. The shower glass will sit on the top edge of the vanity and run down the front of the waterfall edge. Iíve seen pics where a tub deck becomes a shower bench - similar design concept. Attaching a sketch that shows the front view (shower on the left) as well as from inside the shower facing out.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:08 AM   #11
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I would add a couple of supports to the front of that bench if you haven't already done so. That single 2x4 will sag over time, and possibly crack your quartz top.

You can probably add them from inside when you remove the top piece of Durock. It'll also add some rigidity and support to the Durock on the face of the bench.
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