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Unread 12-23-2021, 06:12 PM   #1
pfeathers
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New bath in the log home basement

Hello All, and Happy Holidays.

New guy here, my wife and I are working on a basement bathroom in our log home. Its on a concrete slab and will contain a walk in shower and a claw foot tub. We have everything torn out, had to do some plumbing changes to meet code for the upstairs shower.

I have been reading John's book Tile Your World. I already know that I am not going to be a "Mud Man" sorry John, and will probably go the Kerdi route. We do have Home Depot and Lowes but apparently they don't stock the Kerdi products. Local tile store carries the Wedi stuff. I see John has a book on the Kerdi method, I might have to pick it up.

Right now we are redoing some wiring and then I need to redo some copper pipe with PEX and rough-in the shower and tub valves. Our south wall, the long wall of the shower, is concrete up about 6.5 feet then I have two rows of logs. I need to frame this up so it will accept the sheetrock or other substrate. Then it will be about time for the shower pan.

I am sure I will have many questions as this project is a little different in that is has a ceiling and wall portion that is log not traditional framing. I look forward to some help resolving some of these issues.

Owen
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Unread 12-23-2021, 08:09 PM   #2
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Welcome, Owen.

Comes time for your questions, some photos will almost certainly help. Probably be required, actually. You can attach photos from storage on your computer using the paper-clip icon above the Reply dialog box.

As a general comment, though, you'll probably want your new framing for the shower to be fairly independent of that log structure. Movement and ceramic tile installations don't play well together and traditional log structures are prone to a good bit of movement.

Keep in mind also that you don't hafta be a mud man to construct a traditional shower receptor and they work just as well with CBU walls as they do with mortar walls. Can save you much dinero, too, if that's a consideration.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-25-2021, 02:04 PM   #3
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Pictures and Plans

Thanks CX. Our home was built in 1980. I had not considered making the south wall independent of the logs.

Our lowest log is 94 inches from the floor. We were planning to put in a ceiling below the ceiling upper floor logs, with recessed lighting. The lower 1 and 1/2 logs on the south wall will be below the ceiling height. The 1/2 base log that sits on the concrete wall is proud 2 inches with respect the the concrete face. Wires run just below the log against the concrete. My thoughts were to frame on the concrete with 2x4 but instead of frame on edge frame on the flat, give us a little more shower width. This is done in other basement walls and foam sheets are inserted between concrete and sheetrock. I was going to cut the 1/2 base log down flush with the face of the 2x4. Of course the 2x4 would have to be notched to accommodate the wiring. I had not considered floating the upper portion, , the 1 and 1/2 logs amount to 17 inches below the ceiling height.

The shower is going to be walk in with a nice shower curtain, with the smallest curb I can get away with. The tub is going to be a short clawfoot with the water service from the wall. The tub drain is good at 2 inches but the shower is an old floor drain at 1 1/2, think it should work.

Anyway, open to all ideas, and I am all about saving money. I like to do quality work, but I am always conscious of cost. I am sure you folks have seen something like this and know how to handle it.

Picture order:
Dimensions
Southwall
West wall
Eastwall
Full view south wall
Full view north wall
Roughtin for shower and tub valve.
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Unread 12-25-2021, 06:33 PM   #4
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You plan to have a ceiling at the level of the top of the first half-log we see in the south wall photo, yes?

You'll certainly need to do something with that wiring, including re-locating that connection (receptacle?) box someplace where it can be permanently accessible.

I would not want my new framing attached to that log at all.

The drain appears closest to the center of the shower footprint is the one you intend to use for the shower? I see a leave-out just east of there. That is also a drain stub-up? Does the center drain have a P-trap under it?

The height of the curb on the outside will depend a lot on the method of construction you intend for the shower receptor. Traditional would be at least 1 1/2" higher floor than would be a direct bonded waterproofing membrane type receptor. The traditional being the less expensive.

In either case, the common building code requirement is that the top of the curb be a minimum of 2" above the top of the drain. The tile industry also requires that the top of the curb be a minimum of 2" above the shower floor. The first is law, the second a good idea. Especially with your plan to use a shower curtain to close the opening, I would want that 2" above shower floor to be an absolute minimum consideration and I would make mine higher than that.

Let's start with that and see what the younger eyes see in your photos to comment upon.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-26-2021, 11:45 AM   #5
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Hi Owen,

I don't expect everyone to become a mud man or mud woman; it's an option. Tile Bathroom Remodeling will probably do a better job of informing you than the Kerdi book.
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Unread 12-26-2021, 07:50 PM   #6
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Work to be done

Thank you for the comments.

John Bridge - thank you for the guidance on the book. I enjoyed the humor in your Tile your world book, and I was just goofing around when I said I would not be a "Mud Man". Actually I would not mind, I don't know if I have the skills at this stage but if it turned out to be best application for my situation, I would learn.

With regard to CX question: We have some preliminary work to be done before we start on the framing and the pan. In the Picture,

"A" represents some copper piping that needs to be removed and replaced with PEX. It goes all over the place, some of it haning too low and some of it sticks out beyond the studs.

"B" is the electrical that needs to be relocated. Previous owners handy work all to be reconfigured.

"C" represents the ceiling level on the south wall. As it happens it is right between two logs and is about 94 inches from the floor.

"D" - Notice a crack in the concrete wall. I have been measuring this over the years and it is not getting any wider. Any comments on this? The are no cracks in the concrete slab floor.

The drain in the center of the shower does have a P trap, and that is the one we intend to use for the shower. The tub drain has a P trap as well. The square hole in the shower area nearest to the west wall is the old water service, a water heater use to sit over the top of the hole and that wiring on the wall provided the juice. That water service has been disconnected due to a water leak under the slab and the square hole will be filled in with concrete.

Curb height info is fine, thank you.

We are going to do electrical tomorrow and do the concrete fill in as soon as possible. Then our next step is to place our rough in valves in place and do the PEX work. I think after that, we will be ready for framing.
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Unread 12-26-2021, 08:15 PM   #7
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You can certainly replace the copper water lines if you want, but I've never had a problem with any such pipes inside the house so long as it was Type L. I've had much problem with it under SOG concrete foundations, but never in the house.

Can't speak to your foundation crack. If it is, in fact, stable, your framing should be able to isolate your tile work from it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-27-2021, 09:17 AM   #8
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If by "rough in valves" you are including the shower valve you should probably wait until the framing is done, Owen. Those valves need to be set at a specific depth relative to the face of the installed tile.
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Unread 12-27-2021, 12:28 PM   #9
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If you go with Wedi board for the shower you might look into adhering the board directly to the concrete without any framed wall. There's a method for doing it and Kerdi-board might let you do the same thing.

Your project is an interesting application with the logs above. So, I don't know what the foam board manufacturer's would approve. Maybe they bless it but with fasteners up top? I don't know. But it might be worth looking in to if that appeals to you.

Further, I'm questioning your valve placements. You're going to have a tough time reaching in there to turn them on without getting wet. And it looks like you're thinking about putting the transfer valve nearest the entrance?

What is the plan for a door on there? Are you going to have a door and will it hinge on the glass?
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Unread 12-28-2021, 07:17 PM   #10
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Electrical Done

Update - Electrical is done, actually learned a little about what goes to what circuits in the house. Did not get to filling the square hole on the floor, will do that tomorrow.

CS - Copper pipes are going as they are 40 years old with hard water. In some that we have removed, you could see green corrosion in the pipe. Plus it is a jumbled mess with some below the ceiling level and some stick out beyond the studs. I am not removing all copper, just what is exposed.

ss3964SPD - with regard to rough in valves, initial my concern was wall thickness, but then I figure with PEX and it's flexibility, I can move it in our out at a later date. If I put in the 2x6 backer board for the valve with screws, then it is easy to back them out and move the backer board in and out to accommodate the wall thickness when I solidy the shower build. Bad idea?

Tiger Mountain TIle Inc - transfer valve planned to go on east wall. The shower controls will be on that wall as well. Purchased the Pulse Kauai shower system with wand and rain head. We have friends that have this setup (see pic) and the transfer valve is right below the Pulse system. We are not planning on doors to the shower, merely a nice shower curtain.

Next project is fill in the hole and then do the PEX. After that framing.

Questions - To frame on the south wall solid to concrete and floating on the logs? The whole south wall to be floating? Anybody do any log homes?

With respect to log home, most folks are concerned about log shrinkage in terms of diameter of logs. New log homes do shrink and that has to be accounted for. They shrink a great deal in diameter, but very little in terms of length. When we had our windows done, there were many contractors who would not touch a log home, Yikes, shrinkage! They would drive up, see the log home and drive off. But we found a window dealer who did log homes and he said, your logs being 40 years old are really not going to shrink any more. The installed them like a normal house, and it has been 10 years and they still open and close nicely.

I need to solidify plan for framing and then shower construction. Traditional pan? Kerdi? Wedi? CBU? Mud Job?

Any thoughts and expertise would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Owen
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Unread 12-28-2021, 07:34 PM   #11
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Traditional receptor and mud walls if you're capable of that.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-29-2021, 09:05 AM   #12
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PEX really isn't all that flexible, Owen, so your ability to move the shower valve in/out while keeping it plumb and square to the finished tile surface, while not stressing the connections, will depend on how the PEX is run; length, bends, joints, and framing members it goes through and how close those are to the valve body.

Any female/male connections, like those between the PEX and the valve body, still need to be relatively square and straight.
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Unread 12-29-2021, 09:29 PM   #13
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Ok, I have done a little research about interior framing in a log home and it is recommended, when connecting a stud to the log that a slot be cut in the stud and to use a lag bolt with a washer to fasten the stud, allowing the log to move freely. The base log it is not necessary but the full log above it could move a little bit. Lengthwise not an issue but vertical movement is possible. So, that is probably the way I will go. Then the south wall will be basically hard attached to the concrete but floating on the two logs.

I need some advise on shower walls. Kerdi, CBU, Mud Job? I am retired and have lots of time if I stay healthy. If I keep working on this project my wife has informed me that I can probably stay healthy. I would like the best job for the least amount of dinero, but for her, I want it to look really nice.

In reading Johns book I read that tiling planes that change should be caulked for CBU and Kerdi but a mud wall is OK? I personally have not seen caulking in a tile job except around a tub. Does a mud job shower make a better shower. Is it something the average DIYer can do?

Ultimately I need to figure out wall thickness but want to settle on a wall type so I can think this through. Remember, I gotta keep going on this, you know, to stay healthy.

Owen
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Unread 12-29-2021, 10:37 PM   #14
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Ah, yes, on my planet, that situation is known as "Root, hog, or die!"

I would personally recommend you not fasten to those logs at all at the top of your new framed wall. And I would make the new wall a traditional 2x4 structure, not framed "on the flat" as you proposed. Your drawing shows 36 inches available and I think the additional two inches lost would not outweigh the opportunity for a more stable structure and more insulation.
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Originally Posted by Owen
In reading Johns book I read that tiling planes that change should be caulked for CBU and Kerdi but a mud wall is OK?
Not technically correct. The industry standards call for a flexible sealant in the tile surface at all places where there is a change of plane in the backing material. That applies regardless the backing material type. While it is less likely there will be serious grout cracking in such a joint in mortar walls than CBU walls, much depends upon the framing behind the walls in either case. But, regardless those considerations, the standard still requires the flexible sealant for reasons of movement accommodation, both due to the backing material and the tile surface itself.

Despite that, many showers have been built with all such joints grouted. Some of them mine. Doesn't make it right, just makes it factual.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen
Does a mud job shower make a better shower.
I would give that a yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen
Is it something the average DIYer can do?
I would give that a qualified no. It is something anyone of moderate aptitude and capabilities can master, but even that person is unlikely to be successful on his first try. If he has at least seen it done once, his chances of doing an entire shower on his second try will be substantially better. It ain't rocket surgery, but it does require some learning and a developed touch. If SWMBO is willing to consider such learning on the job as progress, you might wanna give it a try.

On the other hand, if the criteria for progress requires not starting over on any tasks, you might be in some jeopardy. Will it be worth the risk to have done your own mortar shower? Up to you. With today's methods and materials, very long lasting showers can be created without the skills of a Mud Man. You'll hafta decide what's to be considered tolerable in your house.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-15-2022, 10:09 AM   #15
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Still at it

Continue to work on the bathroom. Have taken advise and will do floating framing on the south wall. Logs have been notched and prepared to accept the joists. I am ready to tackle the water pipes. Much of the pipes are too low for the ceiling or are sticking out past the joists, so they need to be redone, either copper or pex.

I have not decided whether to redo the problem areas with copper or redo it with pex.

My system consists of a a main 3/4 inch copper for hot and cold and then it branches then to 1/2 inch. For instance it branches to 1/2 for sink and washer dryer in utility room, or branches to 1/2 for sink and toiled in the room that I am working on. It also has some branches to 1/2 for the toilet upstairs and also to the kitchen sink upstairs. Water comes into the house an adjacent room. It's probably pretty typical.

I have read that ID of 1" pex is same as 3/4 copper and 3/4 pex is same ID as 1/2 copper.

When replacing copper of specific size to pex do I need to replace the 3/4 copper with 1" pex and the 1/2 inch with 3/4 PEX? Or would it be feasible to just use 3/4 for all the pex runs and then connect to existing 1/2 copper?
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