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Unread 08-23-2007, 09:25 AM   #1
GlobalTerrain
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Ok, I bought the Kerdi, it will be here tomorrow

I was removing the caulk and stained grout from the bottom of my shower, and ended up removing a tile to discover the backing (cement board?) was rotted.

In a couple other places near the bottom of the walk-in shower, I see the grout is almost black there too. I suspect there is a fairly large portion of the bottom part of the shower that has rotted. Maybe 12" by 3', best guess without removing the tile.

My plan is to keep removing the tiles until I expose all the rotted part. Cut out all the bad backing (to nearest stud), then staple in some plastic to create a vapor barrier. This far I'm pretty confident, more concerned about the next part.

I'm reading that I should find and cut to fit "hardiback board" (using standard sheetrock screws?) to fill this new void and serve as my backing, just not sure it will have the proper thickness? Then use fiberglass tape adn thinset to even out and hold the tile in place. Then reinstall the removed tile and grout.

I'm probably missing a step or too, looking for advice. Should I use a grout sealer?

I'm hoping to not have to demo the entire shower, I'm really not too handy trying to keep this as simple as possible. I was actually tempted to just spray in some greatstuff foam and replace the tile then grout, but realized this would only postpone my problems and likely make them worse.

I noticed the original backing board did not extend below the plastic shower floor, as I would have suspected. Is this ok? Is it ok to just put the new board to the edge and silicone well.

I'll try to post a picture, I'm a newbie, first tile project, need basic advice, thanks in advance!

GT

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Unread 08-23-2007, 10:15 AM   #2
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I'm sure someone much more knowledgable will come along and provide more details, but it's likely that your approach will also just postpone a "real" solution to your problem.

You need to at least remove the whole shower floor and the bottom couple rows of wall tile. Then you can install a proper shower liner and mud bed with a pre-slope.

These guys are awesome about helping people through the process!
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Unread 08-23-2007, 12:02 PM   #3
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I'd seal the grout

After I finished tiling the bathroom floor (before I started the shower - complete demo tho), I sealed it and stayed off it for a few weeks. I can find out the name of what I used and post it if you like (seemed expensive), but when I tested it, the water beaded and slipped around like rain-x on a windshield.

The way I understand it the idea is to channel out as much water as possible as fast as possible. This minimizes water penetration and eventual, well, roted floor. Sealer plays a role.

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Unread 08-23-2007, 02:03 PM   #4
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I am advanced amatuer, also doing bathroom reno. Can tell you this: cement backer board, especially hardibacker, won't "rot". You probably had either plain gwb or greenboard. I'd agree with river-wear, that you are probably just postponing the inevitable. You probably have mold growing, and it is also likely just a matter of time before the rest of the shower goes. Bite the bullet. It is painful short-term, but much better to get rid of the problem now. If I understand correctly, many local building codes won't even allow gypsum-based products in the wet areas anymore. Good luck.
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Unread 08-23-2007, 04:35 PM   #5
jadnashua
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Yep, cbu doesn't degrade in water, so if it is soft and rotten, it's not cbu. HardiBacker is a brand of cbu, so it, or any of the other versions would be okay. The lower 2-3' of any shower are where it is most susceptable to water intrusion, but the whole thing could have problems. It sounds like there was no vapor barrier, which could mean that the wall structure could be waterlogged and potentially moldy. Around the lower part, you should see a waterproof liner coming up to at least 3" above the height of the curb...you didn't mention seeing that. If there is no liner, and the walls were made with drywall or greenboard (neither should be in a typical shower), there is no vapor barrier, and if you can pull the tile off and clean the stuff off the back, installed with mastic, then you really should consider tearing the whole thing out and rebuilding it so it will last.
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Unread 08-24-2007, 04:34 PM   #6
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Worse than I thought

Great advice, thanks!

I kept removing tiles trying to find the end of the soft backboard. I saw some green here and there, so I think that is what it is. It was terribly molded. I ended up with a 3 square foot section of tile on the back wall. I took a couple tiles out of the other wall, and it seems much better.

I was wondering if the water source could have been coming from the outside? My neighbor noticed most of our houses (about 7 years old, built by the same company) had cracked seals around the air vents on the roof. So maybe the water was coming in there and finding itself running down my shower wall? I see no indication downstairs, probably from the shower itself.

Question: The wood framing the outside wall is black (molded) as well. But doesn't seem to be rotted, can I just clean it with bleach or is it time for me to call in a contractor? Also, the insulation was wet, and I haven't used the shower for a couple days (no rain here either), I think it was trapped moisture back there.

I'm soaking the tiles in water now, hope to clean them enough to replace after I put in hardi board to replace the hole I made.

Any comment/tips welcome, this is my first tile project.

GT
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Unread 08-24-2007, 04:44 PM   #7
Brian in San Diego
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GT,

If you are soaking the tile in water and they are cleaning up, then you, my friend, have much bigger problems than you realize. Sorry to lay that on you, but thinset won't come off of tile even if it's soaked indefinitely. I wouldn't be surprised if your shower tile was set over greenboard using mastic. To quote my friend Art (sandbagger)..."When in doubt, rip it out!" Trying to repair that shower is an exercise in futility IMHO.

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Unread 08-24-2007, 08:05 PM   #8
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Bigger project than I expected

I'm getting the feeling my simple 'patch job' has stretched into a full demo and rebuild. This is out of my league, but I'll enjoy the demo!

After reading the intro to the newest John Bridge Book about the Kerdi shower, that is exactly my problem and solution.

Questions:
1) Would I likely be able to keep the shower door, or are they too integeral?
2) Will it be necessary to remove and replace the plastic shower bottom, is this necessary for the Kerdi system?
3) Is there a shower option that I can just put in the hardiboard, and have a brand new, completely enclosed shower unit just installed, without tile?

I know these are novice questions, and I am researching now, just trying to get some bigger picture advice and rely on your collective knowledge.

Thanks again for the input.

GT
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Unread 08-25-2007, 01:50 PM   #9
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"better than Durock?" 3 questions

I'm completely demo and rebuild my 35"x36" shower, had a mold/mildew problem from the original construction (green board used), seven years ago. After reading here and visiting a few local tile shops, I've decided to have this professionally done.

I'm asking better questions, like what do they use as the substrate, most use Durock, some use other materials.

Question 1: If we go with the Durock, should we still use Kerdi to line the pan and walls? Most of the local tile folks were unfamiliar with it or didn't recommend it because they use Durock. Is this right?

Question 2: Which there was a survey feature to this forum, whould like to ask what is your vote for the best shower backing material:

Hardibacker

Wonerboard

Pro Tec

DensShield

Rhino Board

Question 3: One of the tile guys said he typically built the floor, but he would be ok putting in a shower pan if I wanted that, which is the better choice? The Kerdi pan's and system seemed like a better option, thoughts?
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Unread 08-25-2007, 02:06 PM   #10
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As far as which cbu, i don't think that's as important as making sure they use a vapor barrier.If they question this disregard them.The pan in my opinion doesn't matter either as long as they use a preslope, once again, if they look bewildered move on to the next.Read our Liberry on this.
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Unread 08-25-2007, 02:31 PM   #11
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Some basic definitions

Thanks Dave, I'm reading fast and furiously on this topic now. Just found this excellent over view of the differences written in 2004 by Joe Grady, author of Ceramic & Stone Close-Up:

"In 1995, the TCA Handbook added Fiber Cement Underlayments. This product is a dispersed fiber reinforced cement backerboard and underlayment. The use for these products may be found in various TCA details. For walls, it appears in detail W 244-03. A thinset mortar installation is required. The floor detail is F 144-03. Again, thinset mortar installations should be applied. Two examples of this type of product are Hardibacker, made by James Hardie Building Products, and Custom Building Products’ RhinoBoard. These products may be used in wet areas.
Another example of backerboard found in the TCA Handbook is Cementitious-Coated Foam Backer Board, such as Custom’s EasyBoard, Bonsal’s Propanel and Wedi USA’s Wedi Board. These products are polystyrene that is covered with fiberglass mesh and cement coated. These also may be utilized in wet areas, and can be installed over studs and subfloors. The W 246-03 wall detail in the TCA Handbook allows ceramic tile installations using thinset mortars, either dry-set or latex-modified thinsets.

The CBU was the workhorse of the industry. This is a cement-based product, as the name implies, stabilized by fiberglass mesh. It is totally waterproof, and ceramic tile can be installed with dry-set mortar, latex-modified mortar, epoxies and/or organic adhesives (Type I only).

It’s worth noting that, if the CBU has been stored outdoors and installed “wet,” organic adhesives may not function properly. The CBU must be dry. There are currently a number of producers of this type of cement board. Among the available products are Custom’s WonderBoard, Fin Pan Inc./T. Clear Corp.’s Util-A-Crete and ProTEC, USG’s Durock, and National Gypsum Co.’s Permabase. "
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Unread 08-25-2007, 03:40 PM   #12
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Hi GT, gotta first name??
I like to use the PermaBase. It's a little lighter than most, is a little more forgiving than some, it takes a screw real close to the edge better than most, and is easy to score and snap as well as using a drywall saw for holes. That's MO, and the most important part you'd need to check out the installers for is their plan for waterproofing the shower. A CBU alone will not stop the transfer of water.
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Unread 08-25-2007, 03:51 PM   #13
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If you are going to do a Kerdi Shower System then you can put sheet rock on the walls. There is no needs for CBU the Kerdi mat is the waterproof membrane and the vapor barrier. If you can't find a contractor that is familiar with the Kerdi Shower System you should download John's Kerdi Shower installation ebook and ask that prior to submission of bid the contractor read the book and initial that he has and understands it and knows where to come ask questions.
Good Luck
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Unread 08-25-2007, 07:14 PM   #14
jadnashua
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Note that the Kerdi pans can be cut, but should be done symetrically if you don't use them full size. Also, the floor must be level before you install the pan, so that may increase the labor rather than shorten it verses a "normal" pan.

You can also make any sized custom pan using deck mud (a 5:1 mix of sand to cement), then install the Kerdi over it so you are not limited to one of the styles Kerdi makes.

The labor saving of only one layer in the pan, drywall on the walls, and the benefit of a truely waterproof layer right under the tile means the shower dries out quicker and is pretty bulletproof.

Another option, which I think is quicker to install is a Wedi shower. Similar benefits - a waterproof layer right under the tile. they have more pan sizes and it is easier to extend or customize them, but Kerdi system trumps them for total flexibility because of the ability to use a mud base of any size and drain location.
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Unread 08-26-2007, 05:51 PM   #15
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Smile what's next?

I've taken out the entire back wall (3 walled shower, 34"x35"), removed the insulation, cleaned out the mold and scrubed with bleach, replaced insulation new. I've also purchased 18" Porcelain tiles and some trim pieces.

I'm debating weather to keep or replace the plastic shower tub with another or go with the Kerdi solution. I'm leaning toward buying a new shower pan complete and just drop in.

I was wondering if I could but some Kerdi to line the bottom of the pan and up the walls a bit, or do I have to stick with the factory 'solution'?

I also bought the spectraLOCK for grout after reading the recommendations here, but because I just grabbed it at Lowe's, it's unlikely to be the 'pro' version, but I think still superior to most.

At this point my main question is: if I demo the other walls and replace with Durock, will I need felt or Kerdi or will the large porcilain tiles and spectra be enought? Should I put a 6 mil plastic sheeting up or will that trap the moisture.

Thanks again for everyones advice, I'm talking to a lot of sales people, but hold the views on this board much higher.

GT
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