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Unread 02-10-2021, 07:31 PM   #16
mrgedman
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I think im missing something here, or its the carpenter in me... but why bother with bricks? Seems like a lot of work/effort for a curb that can be built with dry PT lumber, or a premade kerdi foam one for 50-60 bucks last i checked...
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Unread 02-10-2021, 08:32 PM   #17
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Well, Ged, I'm surprised your inner carpenter didn't remind you that there ain't no such thing as "dry PT lumber" unless maybe it's been stored indoors for a couple years. Or maybe if it's KDAT, but even that's suspect at times. The PT lumber shrinks and changes shape too dramatically at times to be useful in a structure to receive ceramic tile and it's for that reason we recommend against its use.

On concrete SOG floors, or in this case below grade, there is a concern with moisture vapor emissions when a waterproof covering of some sort is wrapped over wood that is in contact with such concrete. Properly placed concrete SOG over a proper vapor barrier material shouldn't be a concern and I've built traditional shower curbs using plain KD lumber over roofing felt without issue. But over an unknown slab, it could be a problem.

Using CMUs to construct curbs in that scenario is easy, inexpensive, and fairly versatile. I don't see any downside to the OP's choice in this application. But, as always, that's:

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-10-2021, 09:46 PM   #18
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CX,

TLDR- you guys know way more about this than I do. Wood can dry though...

There is indeed such a thing as dry PT lumber- its a practice I do when I can while building decks. I will, if allowed, buy 20-40% extra lumber, and stack and store it several months ahead of time in a dry place. Usually only a week or two in the summer will dry boards if sticker stacked in an unconditioned, yet dry place.

Finding just a few dry boards at a lumberyard/big box can be difficult, but I've done it plenty of times. Its pretty easy to tell how dry it is based on weight...

I'll only do this for critical boards- beams and rails, or rim boards. Lots of carpenters say to install things wet 'before they have a chance to move' and this is completely wrong in my experience. Once it is dry, it will be stable. If sealed properly, it won't be able to get wet enough to return to wonkyness.

All lumber will dry and stay dry if allowed to do so, given enough time.

Assuming the shower is waterproof, the only moisture migration would be from the bottom, the slab. Assuming it is attached to the concrete well, expansion across a 2x4 (3.5") will be next to nothing- 1/128" or less. If they are stacked high enough, I could see how this may be an issue. This is likely enough to crack joints, tiles, or plinths, so perhaps it is unacceptable. You know more about longevity than I do- but for every failure, there is a reason behind it- its easy to blame the wood, but more about that below...

I'd wager sill sealer or something similar would help to keep stuff nice and dry, considering everything else is permeable enough to allow some sort of moisture migration in and out.

Again, you guys have a lot more experience with me than this- likely the difference between a 5 year and a 30+ year project...

Thanks for the feedback
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Unread 02-15-2021, 09:15 PM   #19
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I have installed the bricks and it went well. mrgedman, I originally was going use wood but the stories I read mentioned shrinkage and cracking especially over a concrete slab. I used a thinset to set the bricks in place and it's doing great at this moment. The pan liner still needs to be trimmed past the curb and the lathe holds the liner in tight.

Originally, I was going to tile but recently changed my mind about tiling the shower floor. We want to do a concrete shower floor instead. I want to install concrete floor which will hold the lath where it is then mix up a batch of mortar to form the curb. Where I'm stumped is I'm not sure what type of concrete should be used for the floor. I read one of the topics here that said the portland/sand mixture that I used for my preslope, would not be a suitable material. Mapei tech recommend one of their products called Topcem Premix. Unfortunately I cant get that around here and wonder if there is a product that anyone else used for their shower. We want to stain the concrete then seal it. Any advise would be great.
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Unread 02-16-2021, 11:08 AM   #20
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Since I shouldnt use deck mud and need to use some sort of concrete, do I still use the pebbles around the weep holes?
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Unread 02-16-2021, 02:29 PM   #21
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Ok, I did some digging around and called the Quikrete company. They said any of their products will be ok to use for the floor just depends on how much aggregate you want in the mix. Aggregate is the larger pieces in the mix.

What has turned me back to tiling is the fact that you must wait 28 days before any stain or sealant can be put onto the concrete. It needs to be completely cured.
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Unread 02-16-2021, 04:33 PM   #22
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Tony, the aggregates in a concrete mix include both the fine aggregate, or generally sand-size material, and the course aggregate, which can range from pea-gravel to 4 and 5-inch stones. For the project you were anticipating the Quikrete Concrete mix (1101), with pea-gravel as the course aggregate, would likely have been the best choice from among their products.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-02-2021, 07:01 AM   #23
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I have a delima and hoping for a possible solution. My finished slope is quite sandy. I have read multiple posts talking about it being ok to an extent. I also read that if you "over work" the deck, it will result in a very sandy surface. I definitely did that. I swept up the sand and vacuumed it up. I'm feeling that I might have to pull up and redo the top mud deck. The deck is hard. If I stand on it, there is no footprints left behind. I have already finished the curb as well as mud and taping the hardibacker above the mud deck. Is there any other solutions other than removing the hardibacker and redoing the top mud deck? Am I creating a bigger issue since the curb was essentially done after the top deck was finished.
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Unread 03-02-2021, 08:49 AM   #24
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Hi Tony. Keep in mind, deck mud isn't supposed to be as hard as concrete. You want it porous so water will easily soak in as it flows to the weep holes. A sandy surface is normal but it does need to be hard enough to keep it's shape without eroding away when sweeping or vacuuming it.

Looks like you mixed it too dry or worked with it too long, allowing it to dry out. I would carefully bust it out and do it again. Also, next time slick the surface down with a steel trowel before you walk away from it. Doing that will make the surface harder.
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Unread 03-02-2021, 12:09 PM   #25
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Thanks for the reply Davy. I had a feeling I would have to redo it. I know my problem is working it way too much. I read that I should have it done within 30 minutes or so. When I dry fit the tiles, I noticed that my slopes werent as nice as I would like them to be. Just to be sure, I will need to take down the bottom row of Hardibacker to get a good level edge, correct? Does the fact that the inside curb is essentially sitting on top of the deck mud cause any issues?
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Unread 03-02-2021, 03:43 PM   #26
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I usually have several lattice sticks of different lengths on hand to carve the deck mud. Keep one end of the stick always pointing at the drain as you carve it. As you can see in the pic below, I have the stick notched to cut the mud consistent around the drain. That notch should be the tile thickness plus about 1/16 for thinset.

Take the Hardi down if you need to. Whatever it takes to get the perimeter level. It's not a problem if the inside curb mud is on top of the floor mud.
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Unread 03-02-2021, 07:14 PM   #27
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That is great advice Davy. I will implement that on this next try.

Ok here is where I am. It broke up and it really was fairly easy. I tried to use a mallet to no success so out came the hammer. I let the weight of the hammer hit the surface with a smidge of muscle. Nothing like hammering a nail into wood. The outside rim broke up into dust but the middle busted up into chunks. Right where the level edges were set then the slope began is where it broke up into dust. Guess I did not pack that part very well?
In the one picture you can see the mud still under the curb. Do I need to get that all out as well and then pack new mud into the void?

When I make my next batch, should I use little more water?
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Unread 03-02-2021, 07:20 PM   #28
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Probably not on the water. Pack the perimeter better this time. Cover the finished product with polyethylene sheeting while it cures for as long as you can afford to leave it before tiling.

No need to remove the mud under the curb.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-17-2021, 06:47 PM   #29
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An update where I am today. It is going a little slower than I would like it too but it is what it is. I finished my second attempt on the top deck over 2 weeks ago. I covered it with plastic and then cardboard and let it sit. 1 week ago, I decided to knock out the waterproofing of the walls while I waited for the deck to dry completely. I did step on the cardboard to get it done and figured it would be a good test. So here I am today, I removed the coverings and checked the deck. At first glance, it looked good until I ran my hand across the surface and it came up just too easy as seen in the picture. What am I doing wrong here?

On my first attempt I used Portland Cement and sand to the recommended mixture with maybe a little bit more water than advised. When I mixed it, it held together, crumbled and did not leave my hand clean. Which makes me think that I used a little bit more water than I should have. Now on my 2nd attempt, I used the Sand/Topping Mix and sand to the ratio recommended by this forum. I was very happy with the results.....it held together but crumbled when touched while leaving my hand clean. So I began the top deck and I had a heck of a time packing it. When I would.... lets say "pound it", it would not pack tight. It would act like I smashed the sand castle everytime. I used the trowel to get the surface smooth and straight. I did use different lengths of wood with it notched as Davy advised. I used less water on the second attempt and think this is why packing it was difficult. I will have to tear up the 2nd attempt and give it a go for a 3rd time. Wish I could reuse the 2nd attempts product for something else rather that throwing it away.

On my 3rd attempt, I plan on using a bit more water so I can pack it tighter and use the Sand/Topping Mix with sand. Any advice
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Unread 03-17-2021, 09:36 PM   #30
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OK after the last post, I began breaking up the top deck. It broke up into smaller portions with little effort and literally turned into dust (should have wore a mask). This does not compare at all to my first attempt. I picked up a chunk of it and could easily crush it into dust. That isn't good.....ugh!!! I'm assuming that this tells me its all in the water amounts that I used.

So my 1st attempt I used the ratio from here for Portland cement mixed with sand (play sand)and probably used to much water and absolutely over worked it. Which is why the top of the deck ended up so sandy but it broke up into big, hard chunks.

2nd attempt, I used Sand/Topping mixed with sand(ALL-Purpose sand) and I'm guessing I didn't use enough water although enough for it to cling together and leave my hand clean. Never truly hardened and when stepped on, it didn't leave an indention but if I ran my hand across it, I created a pile of dust.
I wonder if I had used more water in my 2nd attempt, would I be posting about this right now.
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