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Old 09-21-2018, 01:25 PM   #1
pdbrantley
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I'm trying to build a curbless shower using drypack, cement board, and Redgard.

I am in the middle of a complete master bath remodel. The previous tile job was horrendous. Besides looking terrible there were a lot of functional issues. Screws through the liner, 1/4' Hardie board on the walls with no waterproofing, all the tile was attached with mastic. While doing the demo I discovered that the curb, some of the shower entryway framing, and the center of the shower subfloor was water damaged and needed to be replaced. So I decided it would be best to do a total gut and redo which would also allow for some design changes.

Since this is a rather small bath (roughly 8'x5' including the shower area) I'm planning to open up the space by removing the shower "entryway" and going with a curbless shower. I think this will make the space look better and will give the option of "aging in place". I'm also planning for the entire bath to function as a pseudo wetroom. The shower area will be tiled to the ceiling and the bathroom area will be tiled about 4ft up and all tiled area will be tanked with Redgard. There will also be a fan/light combo in the shower ceiling, and the shower will have a frameless glass door. I figure with this setup I can go with drywall for the bathroom walls and ceiling and greenboard for the shower ceiling. Most of the water and moisture should be contained in the shower area, but if there is a spill, backup, etc in the bathroom, it shouldn't be an issue since the whole area is tanked.

So, that is the general idea. What's getting me worried is trying to make she shower curbless. There are a few constraints I'm working within. The first is that I am not comfortable cutting or notching the joists. The second is that the bedroom has 3/4" hardwood on the subfloor, so I don't want to build the bathroom floor up much more than that so there is a smooth (low) transition at the threshold.

Right now the thought process is as follows:

Bathroom Floor
  1. Laminate a sheet of 1/2" plywood on top of the subfloor using wood glue and screws that don't reach through to the joists. (I'm doing this because the existing subfloor is only 1/2")
  2. Attach 1/4" cement backer board (Durock) to the plywood with thinset and screws
  3. Make a very small buildup of thinset on the Durock at the threshold to the bedroom. Maybe 1/8" and feather it out into the room just to be sure the threshold is the highest spot.

This should give me an overall bathroom floor height of roughly 1" including the tile so it should make for a pretty easy transition to the hardwood.
So far I have only completed #1, and cut the Durock to shape.

Shower Floor
  1. Cut out existing subfloor.
  2. Add blocking and joists as needed to secure where the subfloor was cut
  3. Add 2x4 nailers 3/4" below the top of the floor joists.
  4. Cut 3/4" plywood to sit on top of the nailers and be flush with the top of the joists. (These are to be attached with construction adheasive and screws long enough to bite into the nailers and joists)
  5. Lay down tar paper and secure with metal lathe.
  6. Pack a mud bed with standard 1/4" per foot slope.
  7. Install a Kerdi drain

This should make the shower floor about 1.25" below the bathroom floor (not including tile). The shower is 4'x4' so with a 1/4" per foot slope, the mud bed should be roughly 3/4" at the drain which seems to be about the minimum recommended thickness. So far I have finished #1 - #4, but I haven't glued and screwed the plywood pieces yet.

Then the plan is to put 1/2" Durock on all the walls that will be tiled, use thinset and mesh tape on the face seams, and use silicone on the edges where faces change plane. Then tank everything with Redgard using reinforcement tape in corners, edge seams, and on the transition from shower pan to bathroom floor.

A couple of folks on Reddit were concerned about this plan and suggested that I post here.

I know there are a few issues to think about, and I've tried to address them the best I know how.

Flooding
Since there is no curb, if the shower drain backs up, the bathroom and surround area may flood. To address this I am adding a second floor drain in the bathroom area and planning to make the threshold the highest spot in the room before tanking. I'm thinking that in doing this, if the shower drain clogs water should leave through the bathroom floor drain before flooding into other areas.

Moisture Control
Since I'm removing the framing that really separated the shower from the bathroom, I want to keep the bathroom from getting soaked every time a shower is taken. I think an exhaust fan, and a glass door should be sufficient to take care of this.

Mud Bed Cracking
With the subflooor being made up of separate pieces, and the mud bed being on the thinner side,I know I may be at risk for developing cracks. The only thing I can really think to do here is use a richer mix or possible a latex admix with the mud.

So that's all I got. Should this work? Am I crazy?
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Old 09-21-2018, 01:50 PM   #2
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Theres alot here...I'll try and address most.
1. If you only have a layer of 1/2" to start I would be a little worried. In that situation I would be more inclined to to remove the 1/2" and replace with 3/4" tounge and groove. Using a full spread glue and screwing the sheets MIGHT work but it wouldnt be my first choice.
2. Fine there
3. You'll need to feather pretty far out depending on tile size and layout.

Shower floor
I would skip the kerdi drain, buy a cheaper one made for a traditional receptor, and research the divot method for your pan. That is a better way to build a pan with liquid waterproofing.

Walls
CBU corners need to be taped and as well, I would skip the silicone on CBU vertical seams if that's where you planned to use it.
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Old 09-21-2018, 01:57 PM   #3
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http://finpan.com/products/shower-systems/clearpath/

This is the solution you desire. It's perfect way to accommodate your situation and maintaining the hardwood height. Any questions about it just ask, it's rock solid solution. I've used the panels multiple times on outdoor decks with excellent all weather success.
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:17 PM   #4
pdbrantley
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Quote:
Theres alot here...I'll try and address most.
1. If you only have a layer of 1/2" to start I would be a little worried. In that situation I would be more inclined to to remove the 1/2" and replace with 3/4" tounge and groove. Using a full spread glue and screwing the sheets MIGHT work but it wouldnt be my first choice.
2. Fine there
3. You'll need to feather pretty far out depending on tile size and layout.

Shower floor
I would skip the kerdi drain, buy a cheaper one made for a traditional receptor, and research the divot method for your pan. That is a better way to build a pan with liquid waterproofing.

Walls
CBU corners need to be taped and as well, I would skip the silicone on CBU vertical seams if that's where you planned to use it.
Yeah... I've been obsessing about this a while.

1. That would have been my first choice, but if I cut the existing subfloor I would have to add some extra blocking underneath that would make it a huge PITA. The floor was in pretty good shape to begin. It was previously supporting a 2" mud bed with two layers of ceramic tile without any issues. So I feel confident with the lamination. I was also very meticulous with the surface prep and used a full contact, water resistant wood glue. I'd imagine it should be pretty close to 1" plywood.

3. Planning to use 2" porcelain hex on the entire floor, including shower.

Shower Floor:
I had looked into the divot method, but I didn't know how well it would work with the thin mud bed. But I like it as it is certainly cheaper.

Walls:
When you say "taped" do you mean with the Redgard reinforcement tape, or mesh tape and thinset? I was planning to use silicone on all plane change edges: walls and floor. I was thinking that this with Redgard reinforcement tape would allow the walls to move or shift a bit without cracking whereas thinset might crack? Then thinset and mesh tape should be fine on the face seams because they shouldn't move in relation to one another?
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:22 PM   #5
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Joe-Tile

That looks like it would be a good fit for my purposes, but unfortunately I can't devote $1200 to the shower system.
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:20 PM   #6
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At minimum all seams and corners need mesh. If you are using redgard fabric that will work also. Thinset doesn't really stick to silicone which is why I would leave it out.
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:12 PM   #7
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Since you are using a shower door, You'll want a small speed bump where the curb would usually be. Usually 1/4 inch high is enough. That way the door can seal when closed but won't drag the floor when opening and closing.
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:29 PM   #8
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As a side note. I'm trying to identify that thing running parallel to the joists that's about 5 or 6" in second photo? It might be a galvanized duct, but if it's a fibrous covering with a sort of wrapping on a pipe, it's more than likely asbestos. It's nasty stuff if the fibers get airborne. If inhaled, they stay in lungs forever, I'm told.
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:52 PM   #9
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rmckee84:
Is thinset in the corners not likely to crack?

Davy:
I really don't want any kind of barrier at the transition, even small.

I'm tiling the entire floor in 2" hex. Since it can take a bit of slope could I build up under where the door will be? I'll be using a sweep. Would this help minimize scraping.

Or is there another type of door I could use instead?

Carbidetooth:
It is a galvanized metal AC supply. The insulation is yellow fiberglass and there is some sort of paper on the outside. The seams are tapped with asbestos tape, but I think I'm fine other than that. However, I still wear a respirator any time there is airborne dust.

Also, as an update:
I've decided to add in-floor electric radiant heat. I've primed the CBU, and damned and caulked the perimeter and closet flange. I'm going to stick and staple the mats down tomorrow and cover them in SLC. This will also give me another 1/4" or so of thicknesses on my mud bed which I'd see as a pretty good thing. I'll update with some photos tomorrow.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
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Old 10-02-2018, 05:58 PM   #10
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Finished pouring the SLC and packing the mud bed. Everything went pretty well other than I forgot to include the thermostat wire before pouring the SLC. Gonna go at it with an angle grinder and cut a channel for two sensors then embed them with thinset.

Sorry the only photo I have of the heating mat on the floor has my wife being silly in it.

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Old 10-02-2018, 06:48 PM   #11
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Hi Philip. The sweep is what I'm talking about. You don't want it dragging the floor every time you open and close it. I don't know of another type door. I usually build in a small hump. I can see your concern with doing that with hex tiles. I would probably use a row of square tiles for the door to seal up against. I'm sure you want a much cleaner look than that.

Tell your wife it's okay. Cx's legs are all we usually get to see here on the forum and your wife's legs are much easier on our eyes.
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:33 PM   #12
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Yep, whole hellofa lot better than lookin' at CX's legs.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:42 AM   #13
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agree about the leg... be thankful your wife appreciates this work.

When did you use the SLC? before the mud bed? i'm confused.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:58 AM   #14
pdbrantley
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Thanks fellas! I passed along the compliments and the wife was very pleased with herself. (Un)fortunately, I haven't been around here long enough to see much of CX's legs, but it sounds like that may be a good thing.


Davy,

I see what you are talking about with the sweep dragging the floor. I was originally just going to "live with it" But you've got me to seriously consider it as a design issue that should be solved now, instead of hated later.
However, you are right that I want the cleanest possible look. So, I did some searching and found a product that looks like it will work for what I want to do. Links and photos below. But basically it's a half-domed, clear acrylic extrusion that is siliconed to the floor so that the sweep for the shower door flops over the top and rests just on the inside when closed. Having this should keep the sweep 5mm or so above the floor to prevent dragging. And being that it's small and clear I'm thinking it won't be very noticeable when the door is open, and pretty much blend in when the door is closed. Any thoughts or experience with this?


Teddy,

Yes. I damned off the bathroom area from the shower and bedroom. Then poured SLC, waited for it to set, removed the dams, and packed the mud bed up to even level with the SLC on the bathroom floor. Sorry the pictures in my previous post are attached in reverse order.


Threshold:

https://www.wholesaleglasscompany.co...t-Plastic.html

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Old 10-04-2018, 09:22 AM   #15
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With the popularity of curbless showers on the rise, I've wondered about rising glass hinges similar to what I've seen on conventional doors. Although I haven't discussed with my glass supplier, Googling "rising shower door hinges" brings lots of what appear to be possibilities. Might be worth investigating.

For me, the planning, implementation and $$ may not be worth it as the primary goal in most cases appears to be one of optics, My curbs are minimal already and do provide some containment should junior decide to plug the drain somehow. In common parlance, "the juice isn't worth the squeeze". YMMV
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