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Unread 02-11-2021, 04:40 PM   #1
Bangtime
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Schluter drain issue

Hi. Have done a number of the Schluter shower bases over the years but today I wasn't thinking and had a blunder. I set the base and drain yesterday and was in the basement today doing the various plumbing connections. I got to the drain and had a helper keep some force on it from above while I inserted a short 2" piece. Then I went to put on the trap and didn't have him upstairs when I began to slide the trap on. I immediately felt movement above and knew right away that I broke the bond of the thin set. I ran up and what I believe happened was I only broke the seal between the flange and subfloor. The membrane ring looks perfectly fine; both the inner and outer diameter edges I see no cracks. (and I am anal about my work) My thought process is as the walls aren't on yet plug the drain and put in enough water to go out beyond the edges of the donut and do a 24 hour leak test. My other thought is as once this happened I didn't do the final drain connections below but once it is all glued it won't be able to move. In addition once the thin set, tile, and grout is installed everything will be pretty much locked in as all force in the future will be down. Also fwiw I typically only cut 4-1/2" holes so the drain is very well supported. Please advise. tia
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Unread 02-11-2021, 05:33 PM   #2
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Welcome, Jeff.

No way any of us will be able to tell what you've got without being on site and without even any photos. Or even with photos if your description is adequate.

This drain was set over a foam tray?

You managed to get the drain riser fully installed into the drain?
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Unread 02-11-2021, 05:47 PM   #3
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Yes it is a typical Schluter foam base install. Riser and trap installed. Just need to add a few pieces over to the "main" 2'" drain to complete. I could take a picture tomorrow and add here but looking at it closely as I said it looks great with the edges of the donut to the Kerdi membrane on the tray looking very much intact. And as I said was thinking to do a leak test of the drain area to confirm. Thanks for the reply. It will be pebble tile on the base.
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Unread 02-11-2021, 06:04 PM   #4
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If it looks OK and if it passes a full flood test (min 24 hours) and if the drain is properly connected, and you can detect no movement when putting weight on the drain, I'd expect it to be OK.

Pebble tiles on a foam tray is not such a good idea. These are pebbles that are not cut flat on the bottom?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-11-2021, 06:34 PM   #5
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I have advised against pebbles for drainage issues. They are the flat/cut variety. Sitting here thinking more about the drain, wasn't thinking earlier about which bond may have let loose; between the drain flange and that flimsy foam ring that many times gets loose from the rest of the base or between the foam and the subfloor? Guess I'll never know if it passes the leak test. Any suggestions on the pebble install (was going w/ a 1/4" x 1/4" trowel and his wife has her heart set on it) is appreciated. Thanks again for your input.
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Unread 02-13-2021, 02:29 PM   #6
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Tiling order

Thank you for your insights on my previous topic of the drain issue. Spoke to a Schluter rep since and he mentioned that only having been 18 hours since setting the base and drain there was a chance of it rebonding and when I went in yesterday went into the basement and gently pushed on the trap it seemed tight again (was not aggressive); a sigh of relief . Will now do the leak test this week. I noticed in past topics of discussion you mentioned doing pebble floors last. The showers I've done over the years always 1st: 2nd course and up, then floor, and then the bottom course. Would like to hear your reasoning on the pebble floor first. This is my first pebble floor, a bit on pins and needles, and I'd think it would make it easier to tuck in those pebbles under the bottom course/not have to be as "perfect". Any other tips would be greatly appreciated with doing the pebble floor. Thanks again.
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Unread 02-13-2021, 03:07 PM   #7
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I am not an expert at this but they will want to know if they are the flat pebbles or rounded pebbles.
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Unread 02-13-2021, 06:02 PM   #8
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See post #5, Phil.

Jeff, with the flat "pebbles" it's not a problem to tile the floor and cut your wall tiles to fit above them. It's when you use the rounded pebbles that folks generally recommend you tile the walls first, then cut your floor to fit.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-13-2021, 06:32 PM   #9
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Ok so then proceed in the order I've done the walls/floors in the past. If rounded then makes sense to do the floors last. Thanks.
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Unread 02-14-2021, 07:01 AM   #10
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Suggested trowel size and thin set consistency

Two other questions. I have 2 trowel sizes I was considering for laying the flat pebbles. Either 1/4" x 1/4" square or a 1/4" x 3/16" 'v' trowel. Thoughts on that? Also the other nightmare I continue to envision is over the years would keep thin set to to a minimum creeping into grout joints and taking the time to clean them out while it was wet; so any advice here on installation thoughts with respect to that issue. I'm looking at both sides; thinking a little stiffer to keep that to a minimum (obviously pressure is a consideration) on the other hand a bit wetter to ensure the bonding of the little pebbles. Thanks for all ideas, thoughts on this.
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Unread 02-14-2021, 09:30 AM   #11
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Jeff, you didn't mention how thick those cut pebbles are, but I used a 1/4X1/4 square notched trowel to set 3/8" thick 2X2's (roughly) on my shower floor and had good luck with that size trowel. I also found that cleaning semi-set mortar from grout joints is a whole bunch easier and cleaner than cleaning out fresh mortar.
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Unread 02-14-2021, 09:42 AM   #12
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Thanks for the input! I'd say closer to 1/4" thick and yes to the 2x2's. Same here with the ones I've done for customers re: trowel size and waiting a bit. My concern here is the fact that the base is a bit deeper; close to 4' and I've troweled on thin set a bit beyond the 12" squares of pebbles (so all those ins and outs of thin set are setting up and I'm concerned about the next row of 12x12 bonding to it so want to keep moving so I may have to go after the thin set that oozed up a bit sooner than what I usually would; if that makes sense. btw will be using All Set for setting.
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Unread 02-14-2021, 12:21 PM   #13
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Back to the drain issue

I keep thinking about this drain issue. I've had my biz for 31 years and have a very good rep. At this point of my career would like to keep that. The drain as I said seems to have rebonded but I have a tough time wrapping my head around that. Therefore I'm considering removing the thin set fleece collar and seeing/repairing whatever separated) including putting in a new Schluter drain if needed. As I mentioned before not sure whether the separation it will be between the foam collar and drain flange or the foam collar and floor. That being said how easy will it be or what method would be recommended to remove the fleece collar from the kerdi already on the pan; the thin set from the bare foam; will I be able to separate the foam collar from the drain flange if that is the case; BUT if the flange is firmly attached to the foam ring then I'm thinking just clean off the subfloor, backside of foam and reapply thin set and reinstall. But again will I be able to scrape off the thin set from that foam collar w/o destroying it? Again sorry for beating a dead horse but would rather be over prepared. I need a drink now.
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Unread 02-14-2021, 01:47 PM   #14
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Jeff, if you plan on any repair of that floor at all, I would recommend you plan on a complete removal of the entire foam floor and drain and start over with a mud slope and new drain.

There's no way you can remove Kerdi from a Kerdi drain flange and expect to re-use the drain or the Kerdi. You've gotta have clean fleece to bond to clean fleece to make the waterproof connection.

Did you do a flood test on your existing receptor after you determined the drain was no longer loose?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-14-2021, 02:49 PM   #15
Bangtime
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I did not do the leak test yet. I was going to do it tomorrow. As I said I applied some pressure to it Thursday (~18 hrs. after initial setting, did not get crazy) from below and was definitely not moving. Decided to give it until Monday to continue the rebonding process so to speak and then do the leak test. My concern is this. Even though it can be leak proof it could potentially move with human weight on it, therefore the tile/grout grout cracking. Am I wrong thinking this way? I'd love to move forward and assume everything will be fine if it is leak proof. So in summary it has now had from 2/11 until tomorrow,2/15 to be undisturbed and possibly securely rebond.
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