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Unread 06-17-2020, 02:26 PM   #1
nmeyers
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Nick's Master Bath

Hello everyone, first post. Just want to say how much respect I have for what you do. The more I learn about tile setting, the more I see it as one of the last vestiges of true craftsmanship we have left. You all have so much diverse knowledge and skill to pull off what you do. The combination of artistic and mechanical skillsets-I'm simply amazed.

And this forum is also impressive. I just finished medical school, and only wish I had a similar source of gracious advice and knowledge to have helped me through it.

I have a bit of time off before the next phase of my medical career right now, and my wife is about to deliver our first child any day now. So I figured it would be a perfect time to tear up our god-awful master bathroom and get reacquainted with some tools. I worked for a few years as an apprentice pipefitter before med school and was excited to finally do some actual work again. And it has been truly fun relocating some copper and sheet metal, taking out dividing walls and the tub, etc.

But now I've gotten into the details of the shower design and installation, and I'm swimming in circles. I feel like I'm back in first year of med school. Every day I seem to come across some new technique or constraint that complicates or improves upon the plan I'd been developing.

So I'm curious what suggestions you all might have for what you would do with this space. I've been reading all I can find here and elsewhere, and do have some ideas in mind for the design, but I'm really curious what your initial take might be. My wife does love the curbless/doorless/linear drains, but I realize that is a complex endeavor.

I've tried to put all the relevant details in the sketch, but to emphasize:
--the north exterior wall is not easily accessible (where the joists rest) because of the pitch of the roof
--L/416 2x10 16"OC douglas fir, 3/4 plywood subfloor
--there is 1 1/4" of drop from the adjacent room floor to the top of the joists
--The toilet cannot be significantly relocated without taking apart the house
--The walls enclosing the furnace exhaust in the corner seem to be an issue for the shower footprint. I have sketched them to reflect the maximum width possible (42") by relocating the toilet within its joist bay and maintaining 15" laterally from its center to the wall on its right.
--The ceiling begins sloping to the north wall about 4 feet away from it, limiting the use of that floorspace.

I'm in no rush, not trying to go super cheap (or break the bank), and I will say that I enjoy a challenge and am probably a bit crazy.

So please let me know what you think! Thanks very much, Nick
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Unread 06-18-2020, 05:48 PM   #2
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Welcome, Nick.

Per your PM, yes, the lack of specific questions can certainly slow the response to threads such as yours. "How do I put a shower somewhere in my house?" is just not an easy thing to answer for even the most creative of our all-volunteer army of helpers, although we've got a few who'll try when they see the thread.

I'm first having a bit of difficulty sorting out exactly what you're showing us. The top of your drawing coincides with the bottom of the photo to the right of it. Would that be correct? There are walls in your drawing that are not reflected in the photos. Would that also be correct?

What is the additional drain we see that appears to be kinda in the center of your open space?

The first step is to decide what size and shape your shower might be. It appears you've done that. Second step would be to determine what type of shower receptor you plan to use and what waterproofing method. If you plan to do a curbless, doorless shower with a linear drain within the constraints you have, you'll need to plan on a direct bonded waterproofing membrane construction and plan to waterproof a good deal of the floor outside the shower. I have personally built such a shower in the space you outline, but that was a sunken (step down) floor on a concrete slab on grade floor. Doing the same over a wood framed floor is certainly possible, but a tad trickier.

I would actually recommend a center drain and a curb with a doorless entry if you can sell that to Mrs. Nick. But that's entirely up to you. Even then you're still gonna wanna plan on waterproofing outside the shower a good bit as there will still be a bit of splash-out to deal with.

Let's start there.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-19-2020, 05:50 PM   #3
nmeyers
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Specific questions

Thanks very much CX. I apologize for the lack of specific questions. I was trying to get the seasoned and creative eyes here to offer their ideas without my novice bias. It's probably my medical training-I learned the hard way not to ask for a consult and start with my diagnosis. But in any case, I'll give it another shot with your guidance.

First to answer your questions:
-I added some labeled images to help with orientation (sketch has north at the top)
-You're correct the exterior wall in the sketch is not visible in the picture, it's not on the second floor with the bathroom. I was trying to show where the bathroom joists actually span to (behind that short wall). It's hard to convey, but there is steep roof pitch that cuts into the north ceiling/wall of the bathroom.
-I hear you about floor waterproofing issues outside the shower, and my wife said she'd think about the curbed version, and I definitely will push for it just based on your suggestion.

Specific questions:
1. What are your thoughts on a curbless shower with a linear drain at entry, sloping up toward the back of the shower (using a foam tray or deck mud)? I came across some threads on this. There was a lot of doubt about it from the experts at that time, but that was 8 years ago, and I've seen a lot of installations using this approach with apparent quality results. Can anyone share their experience with this technique and what issues if any arose in its actual use? Has anyone seen/heard of problems with water constantly flowing out the door? I messaged with a builder that says he's done several over many years with no callbacks (I do realize this is not necessarily meaningful to you all, and there could still be problems). Also, I know this not a typical installation, but I'm not concerned about code/resale problems here.

2. I'm considering a Schluter KERDI-LINE low profile linear drain on recessed plywood panels in between joists with blocking/ledges. By starting at the top of the joists, I think I'd have a ~1 1/4" height to the top of the tile at the drain (thinset (~1/16"), drain body/foam shower tray (7/8"), waterproofing membrane/thinset (~1/16"), and ceramic floor tile (1/4")) Is this accurate?

3. On that note, how much do height do you assume for thinset in planning? I know it will get flattened, but I'd guess it's not a negligible thickness. I'm trying to gauge how close to the floor of the next room I'll end up.

4. On Schluter's installation video for their recessed curbless shower, for the surrounding bathroom floor, they show plywood subfloor, then ditra, then tile (I attached a screenshot). I know that typically you recommend a 1/2" underlayment in addition to the subfloor before the uncoupling membrane and tile. I'm sure this is somewhat dependent on exact joist conditions, but how critical is it to have underlayment between subfloor and uncoupling membrane/tile in your view? I'm not going to be doing any large format floor tiles, btw.

Thanks again for your time, patience, and guidance.
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Unread 06-19-2020, 09:52 PM   #4
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1. Nothing has technically changed in the past eight years. Some people will think it's a good idea, some won't. I have no first-hand experience with the method. Hopefully you'll get response from someone who has.

2. I dunno.

3. Don't worry about it on accounta you can't change it. Make your floor suitable for your tile installation and make transitions to other floor coverings as needed.

4. The second layer of plywood is subflooring, not an underlayment. The Ditra in that case is the underlayment for your tile. Schluter does not require a second layer of plywood over joists at 16 inches on center. I prefer more subflooring, but I don't make Ditra.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 09:20 AM   #5
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I don't know why anyone would want to run the water towards the entrance. They're asking for trouble in my opinion. I did install one as a secondary drain.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 03:15 PM   #6
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Joist Damage/Sistering/... or just give up and roll out the VINYL?

Thanks again CX, and thanks Davy-I agree drain at the entry seems very undesirable, was just trying to get creative to avoid lowering the floor. I'll keep researching curbed options. I just don't think I can start recessing joists without first losing my mind.

Toward that point, I think I first have to tend with some damaged joists from some really determined plumbers that came before me.

I have labeled some pictures and numbered the joists for reference.
I'd really appreciate some input on how to proceed.
THE BAD:
Joist 1-intact, Joist 2-two big notches (4.5"x2", 3.5"x2"), Joist 3-two big notches (3"x3", 3"x2") Joist 4-one notch (3"x3") and one huge hole (6.5"x3").
Pictures have more details.
THE GOOD:
There are well framed partial first floor walls that joists 1, 2, and 3 rest on below.
The joists are all square and in plane, without any excessive knotting/cracking, douglas fir 2x10s, 16"OC.

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS:
1. Is it possible/worthwhile to sister joints from above? Underneath, I have a huge living room ceiling with popcorn finish that I'd rather not disturb. I've searched on here and elsewhere for examples of this technique without any success. I understand the optimal technique is to get the existing joists in proper position, and then use the sister to reinforce this new position. But is it possible to do something worthwhile without jacking up from below?

2. Given the partial walls below joists 2 and 3, could I avoid sistering them? The notching is all contained in the ~5.5' span of the joists that will only have 3.5' of tile on it (the last 2' of the joists are under/behind the north wall of the room). The remaining ~8' of the joists are supported at 3 different points below.

3. Any special concerns on sistering a joist with severe alteration? I am concerned about joist #4 which has a big notch and a big hole and no support below, aside from at its ends. I can access the top plate it's resting on, on the south end of the room. So I was thinking I'd get a sister started there and go as far as I could to the north end of the room (11.5' of the total 13.5' span), glued and screwed. Should that be enough to make up for all that damage?

Thanks again.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 04:17 PM   #7
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Nick, you can find links to a couple good notching and boring guides in our Liberry. I've yet to meet a plumber who could read and follow such easily accessible printed material. And such material was very accessible even before the days of the Internet. And most code compliance inspectors in my experience would let the plumbers get by with that sort of damage because the plumber would tell them it was necessary and there were no alternatives.

Check out one or both of those guides. I think you'll find that you've got some unacceptable alterations to your joists. I can't tell what constitutes the center of your spans, but you'll need to determine how much of that notching would be acceptable in that regard. None of the notches appear to be of legal depth. If those walls under #2 and #3 joists are support walls, you can probably get by with the notches in those joists, but the #4 joist is in serious trouble.

Since you're removing some of the drain plumbing you will be able to repair some of the un-compliant boring, but that shower drain plumbing, if it's to remain in the same location (same joist bay) is gonna be tricky. In theory at least, you can drill for a 2" drain line through two adjacent joists and have the holes of acceptable size and still have acceptable slope, but you'll need to be paying close attention. And you'll need to move that parallel drain line away from the joist far enough to allow a straight pipe to be drilled through there.

That said, it's your house and you can fix it as well as you can and you can tile over anything you're comfortable with. Since you're removing some of that drain plumbing, you'll be able to sister without regard to the holes in them since you're joists would have been adequate were they not butchered.

Don't count on this being a comprehensive critique. I'm sure there is lots I can't see and some I've just overlooked. I think you can make a suitable floor, though.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 05:53 PM   #8
nmeyers
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Thanks very much for the detailed response CX. Plumbers... haha. The fitters would never let me get away with calling them plumbers.

I read up on those guidelines and that was the reason for my post/concern-you're exactly right that all the notches are larger than the 3" x 1.5" size permitted for a 2x10. They are not in the center third of the span though thankfully. Sorry, I should have made that clearer.

1. To clarify, when you said "repair some of the un-compliant boring" do you mean with the sistering or is there some kind of strapping you'd suggest to repair it otherwise?

2. And is not having access from below a dealbreaker for sistering? I've read many of your posts on sistering and it's clear that it needs to at least cover the middle 2/3rds of the joists, and that you prefer it to be held up until the glue dries. But if there is not a sagging issue (mine are thankfully not sagging), is access from below not as important?

Truly, thanks for your replies.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 06:20 PM   #9
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Did you determine whether the two short walls under your joists are load-bearing?

1. I meant with the sistering.

2. Not a deal breaker. I always prefer to un-weight the existing joists when sistering, but it's not a requirement. So long as you glue and properly fasten the sisters to the joists and allow the glue to properly cure, you should be fine. You can also remove any sag by sistering with straight material slightly above the top of the existing joists. You can bring all the joist tops into plane using that method, too.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 08:08 PM   #10
nmeyers
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Got it. I will get on with the sistering then, using the guidance from you I've seen elsewhere in this forum.

Well, to me it sure seems the short walls are load bearing in that they are perpendicular to the joists, the joists above them are all flush to their top plates, and they are framed 16" OC and originate on the first floor below. Also when I stand on the joists and jump on them, I can't get them to budge from those plates they're on.

And I forgot to mention, thanks for emphasizing the concerns about slope of the drain pipe running perpendicularly through the joists. I will need to lower the elbow at the stack where the drain turns downward to make that happen; a bit tricky but doable.
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Unread 06-20-2020, 08:49 PM   #11
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To be properly load bearing those walls must continue down to the foundation and they should have double top plates unless the joists are stacked directly on the studs. If they're load bearing that will remove a good bit of the problem with the butchered joists.

You'll wanna make a final decision on your drain type and location before you start drilling holes for the drain line.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-23-2020, 02:15 PM   #12
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Question Subfloor question

Thanks again CX, I'll heed your advice.

I've gotta a decision to make about the subfloor. I'm trying to decide between:

1. a single layer of 3/4" plywood on the joists (then uncoupling membrane, then tile)?

--OR--

2. a layer of 5/8" plywood on joists, then 5/8" underlayment, spaced 1/4 of the span between joists (then uncoupling membrane, then tile)?


Is option 2 worth the cost/effort? Approximately how much added risk of failure am I looking at with option 1? I know there are no hard and fast rules here, just looking for your wisdom.

I ask because I've seen a lot of the manufacturers' installation videos showing option 1.

With my sistering, I'm at L/416 or better for the joist deflection in the room.

Thanks everyone.
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Unread 06-25-2020, 05:46 AM   #13
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In my opinion, Nick, given your L after sistering I would be fine with a single layer of 3/4" ply with something like Ditra on top.
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Unread 06-25-2020, 08:33 AM   #14
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All of the manufacturers of tiling substrate material will accept a single layer nominal 3/4" plywood subfloor over 16" joist centers as a base for their products, Nick and it's even above their absolute minimum requirements.

Not sure I follow Dan's reasoning that your reduced joist deflection gives you more leeway in your subflooring requirement, but the sistered joists do reduce the between-joist span somewhat, which does improve your subfloor rigidity. More subflooring is better. How much better and where is the cut-off point in the cost/benefit ratio is not really a clear line.

It's all a bit of a crap shoot and my personal preference is to put a nice concrete SOG under the tile, which is frequently not a good option for second story subfloors, eh?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-26-2020, 09:48 AM   #15
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Wood questions

Thanks a lot Dan and CX. I understand--> no hard and fast rules. I think I will just go with 3/4" BCX subfloor.

A couple of questions:

1. Will this work?
https://www.menards.com/main/buildin...4431327232.htm

2. I'm going to use square edge sheets and use strips of 1x4 to reinforce the gaps between the plywood panels. I know I read a post by CX at some point detailing this technique, but of course I cannot for the life of me find it now.
I thought I'd put a couple of screws through each panel into the strip underneath, between the joists. Does that sound good?

Thanks as always
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