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Unread 06-02-2021, 10:50 AM   #1
Ode
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Cutting Schluter shower pan and other noob questions

Hi there.
New to the forums but I’ve done a few tile jobs that have held up well. I’m about to take on a bathroom remodel which involves tearing out existing tile floor (and hardibacker underlayment), tile shower surround (durock backer board), and fiberglass shower pan (center drain).
I’ve decided to go with the Schluter shower “kit” but since I’ve never worked with the stuff I have a few questions:

My current dimensions are 48”w x 32”d.
The two Schluter kits that would fit this space would be the 48” x 48” or the 38” x 60”. Either option would require me to cut the pan down to fit my space:
  • For the 48x48 kit I’d have to rip 16” total (8” off each end to keep the drain center) the 48” side remains uncut
  • For the 38x60 kit I’d have to rip all four sides: 6” and 12” total or, 3” and 6” per end respectively.
The price difference between these two kits is $77 more for the longer 38x60.

My first question is. Which would be the better kit to cut down? I’ve read you don’t want to cut too much off these pre-sloped kits because you affect how the slope angles intersect(?)
How much is too much or can I get away with ripping 8” off each end of the 48x48 kit and save almost 80 bucks? See attached image for visual dimensions.

Second question. Schluter's thinset mortar (for adhering the Kerdi to drywall) is not available in my surrounding area, including HD and Lowes. Mapei is easy to find but they have LOTS of “thinset” options. What would be the good alternative to Schluter’s thinset? Doesn’t have to be Mapei just needs to be available and compatible with Kerdi.

I’m sure I’ll have more questions as I tear into this rabbit hole of a bathroom.

Thanks!
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Unread 06-02-2021, 11:22 AM   #2
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Welcome, Ode.

I would strongly recommend that rather than saving 80 bucks you save yourself 4 or 5 hunnert bucks, eliminate that foam tray all together, and make a shower floor of deck mud to perfectly fit the footprint and drain location and provide the required slope to drain and a level perimeter while eliminating any problem with your subfloor not being level.

The materials are dirt cheap and the labor's free.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-02-2021, 12:15 PM   #3
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Also, Ode,

The type of thinset mortar to use with Kerdi, Ditra, has been discussed in these pages many time.

The short of it is, go ahead use something like Custom's "Versabond" from HD. Many here have used it without issue. I'm sure Mapei has a similar modified that will work equally as well.
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Unread 06-02-2021, 01:52 PM   #4
Ode
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Thanks for the replies guys.

CX, I had a feeling someone was going to direct me away from the Schluter pan and go the mud route.
That's okay. I feel like that's the better, more robust option anyway I've just never done one before but I have been watching some of Sal DiBlasi's videos and it doesn't look too terribly difficult.
Do you suggest the tar paper and metal lathe technique or a thinset-type bonding agent as a base layer between the deck mud and plywood subfloor?

Dan, thanks for the reply to my other question. I understand the thinset question is probably beat to death on this forum. I wasn't able to come up with the right search terms to get good topics to come up.
Also, I got a bit of information overload going on after spending the last 3 days lurking on the forum.

Cheers!
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Unread 06-02-2021, 02:20 PM   #5
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There is only the cleavage membrane and expanded metal lath option for use over a wood framed subfloor, Ode.
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Unread 06-03-2021, 01:06 AM   #6
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Ode, I just did my first mud bed after cx suggested it, and it was not bad at all. I used about 9 50lb bags of mud, and mixing it myself was fairly easy to do as long as you're prepared. The Sal videos have exactly what you need (lathe, membrane, mud, kerd drain. My biggest concern was the pot life of the mud, and it turns out there was plenty of time to work with it before it hardened. I also sprayed with water and covered with plastic when done, which you'll also find debated on here if you search. In the end 2 hours of work and it's a rock-hard perfectly sloped pan.

I honestly don't know who the foam trays are made for given that you need a flat floor and a certain shower size for them to work.
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Unread 06-03-2021, 10:04 AM   #7
Ode
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Thanks for chiming in Cliff! Good to hear it was relatively straight forward for you.
This will definitely be the way I go.

Nine 50# bags huh? What are your pan dimensions and substrate?
First floor, second floor, concrete?
What did you use for a slip sheet?

I'm installing on a second floor with plumbing access through the ceiling in the garage if I cut a hole (which I will just to be sure the drain is right). I'm now worried about the weight of the mud now.
The subfloor is 3/4 ply (not osb). I'll probably throw down another layer of 3/4 to stiffen it up.
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Unread 06-04-2021, 12:29 AM   #8
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Hi Ode, mine is a second floor osb 3/4" T&G. I used 4mil plastic for the membrane. Dimensions are about 48x48" with a triangle bench cutout. I think my kerdi drain was 1.5" above the subfloor and roughly 2.25" to the farthest wall. I had no access from below, so I set the drain right before starting the mud bed and used a wetter mud batch around the drain as schluter recommends. Btw, you can find deck mud calculators easily online, or just calculate it yourself since it's pretty trivial.

Can't tell you whether your floor is strong enough, but I had a mud bed from the original shower and wasn't worried.
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Unread 06-05-2021, 07:22 AM   #9
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Wouldn't hurt, Ode, if at this point you went ahead and checked to be sure the framing is suitable for a ceramic tile installation, if you've not done so already.

The drill we usually suggest; running your joist measurements through our "Deflecto" tool (top of this page in the dark blue bar).
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Unread 06-05-2021, 02:24 PM   #10
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A cement mixer makes preparing the deck mud easier if you can borrow or rent one, but you can mix it by hand or easier with a drill, but the drill can't be a wimpy one!

The foam trays work IF you've prepared the area well and can save a day's labor for the pan formation and the wait for it to cure. You can be flood testing and tiling faster, so while that isn't usually a big deal with a DIY'er, it might be for a pro in a production situation. Schluter sold a few railroad cars worth of kits to Syracuse university that they remodeled all of the dorms with...went very fast...lots of identical showers. I used one at my mother's house that was 400-miles away so I could get it done and inspected quicker. I had to send the inspector some info as he had not dealt with one like that before, but all went quite well.
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Unread 06-05-2021, 05:13 PM   #11
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Good lord, Jim, how many dorms that university got?!! A full semi trailer is only about a quarter car-load as I recall and them trailers hold a lotta stuff. And I can carry a Schluter shower kit in one trip as I recall, and only the floor is bulky at all.
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Unread 06-05-2021, 06:55 PM   #12
jadnashua
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They typically have about 23K students enrolled at a time...not sure how many of them live in dorms, though...
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Unread 06-11-2021, 01:43 PM   #13
Ode
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Are you folks into DIY demo/remodel "progress" threads?

I'll save you all the gory details of this bathroom update turned nightmare project but the short of it is, what started as a simple project to update my bathroom has turned into the whole room being gutted down to the bones.
Water damage- check
dry rot- check
bad tile installation and poor drywall patches- check
rotten subfloor- check
mold and more dry rot behind the shower tile- check

I'm now forced to do a total remodel and plan to document the process as I go.

Wondering if you folks are into those types of "living" threads?
I think it would be quite beneficial for A) other folks in the same boat as me and want to learn from the mistakes I make along the way, and B) I'll be on these forums regularly anyway asking for advice as I go. Might be nice to keep all the questions related to a single project under one thread.

If its something you'd rather not have cluttering your forums I understand.

I will still come here for questions and advice tho!
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Unread 06-11-2021, 03:10 PM   #14
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Seems you've already got a thread for this project, Ode. If that's the case, I'll combine you with it and you can suggest a new title.

And, yes, we want all the project questions to stay on the same thread.
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Unread 06-11-2021, 03:28 PM   #15
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True, that is a thread related to this project but its taken on quite a different animal than where I was first going with the original thread.

When the time comes to adding more content I'll let you know and have you change the title. Thanks!
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