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Unread 11-11-2022, 08:47 AM   #91
RifRaf
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I understand that the most common (and quickest) way to begin installing wall tiles within a shower is to first affix a ledger board to the backer wall (spaced and leveled correctly) and tile up from there… but the Wedi instructions stated that no fasteners should be installed anywhere in the Wedi wall panels up to 12” above the shower floor. The reason being is that Wedi feels if fasteners are installed too close to where the wall boards are joined to the pan, there is a chance the fasteners could push on the wall boards and break the Wedi sealant joint at the pan. I’m sure I would have been fine if I used the “ledger board method”… but why take any chances.

So… I decided to install my first row of wall tiles (both back and side walls), let the thinset cure for at least 24 hours, and work up from there. Before I applied any thinset, I fitted the first row of tiles using spacers to create an 1/8” gap between the floor and wall tiles. I then set up a laser level to confirm that the top of all back and side wall tiles were on the same plane.
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I used razer blades on top of the 1/8” spacers to “fine tune” the levelness of all tiles. Once I had all of the wall tiles adjusted so that the laser line was split between the tiles and the wall board (photo below), I taped all of the spacers to the shower floor so they would not move when I install the tiles with thinset.
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Question…
  • While I did maintain an 1/8” gap between the shower floor and all shower wall and curb tiles, is it ok to have a smaller gap between the back wall tiles and the side wall tiles of about 1/16”- 1/12” (red arrow)?
NOTE: I do plan to use a 100% silicone caulk on all tile plane changes.
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Unread 11-11-2022, 08:51 AM   #92
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Mike, I would consider 1/8th" to be the minimum gap there. Either the width of a grout joint or 1/8th", whichever is greater.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-11-2022, 08:28 PM   #93
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Thanks CX! I'll maintain an 1/8" gap on the inside corners of the tiled shower walls.
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Unread 11-11-2022, 09:10 PM   #94
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And there's nothing at all wrong with starting with your first row as you did, and if I were to tile my shower floor first (I don't), I would do just what you did. No advantage to using a ledger board above the first row if you've already set your floor tiles.

Keep in mind, though, that there are ways to use a ledger board that do not involve mechanical fasteners through the wall waterproofing.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-23-2022, 08:58 AM   #95
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CX, Thanks for the feedback!

I got both the shower and bathroom floor protected so I was able to start installing tiles on the shower walls.
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I really have to tip my hat to those that install tiles for a living… there is a lot involved with getting the tile installation done correctly in a timely fashion. When I first started to install the shower wall tiles, I was too concerned with “working neat” and cleaning all of the thinset out of the grout joints as I was placing the tiles. This was taking way too much time. But I did find an installation method that worked for me. I began to install a few rows of tiles (without any regards to thinset within the grout joints) and let the tiles/thinset set-up for about 3-4 hours. After this set-up time, the tiles were not going to move… but the thinset had not completely hardened. I began to remove the leveling clips by cutting the top/middle of the clips with wire cutters and pushing the cut portions until they snapped of cleanly.
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After removing the clips, I used some of the cut spacers to clean out the grout joints. The thinset was kinda like a dry paste consistency and it was somewhat easy to remove from the grout joints. I also cleaned any thinset that was on the surface of the tiles with a plastic scraper and a damp sponge. After this “clean-up” was completed, I reinserted some of the cut spacers into the clean grout joints (just in case some tiles wanted to shift). These cut spacers were also easy to remove the next day after the thinset had hardened.

Had I waited until the next day to begin removing the leveling clips and clean the hardened thinset from the grout joints, it would have been a nightmare and taken me forever! I know this method is time consuming and may not work for everyone… but for a first time “diy” tile installer, it helped me tremendously (both mentally and physically).

I kept installing tiles using this method until I got to the point of finalizing the niche location and cutting the hole in the tile for the shower valve collar.
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Unread 11-23-2022, 09:54 AM   #96
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Whatever works, 'eh Mike? I'm so consumed with working neatly that when setting large tile format tile I don't comb the mortar onto the wall, I comb it onto the back of each tile, one atta time. Is one of the (many) reasons it seems to take me 2 years to do a bloody bathroom.

Good luck with the circular cut out for the valve. I use a 5 gal bucket, my ancient Bosch jig saw with a diamond blade and the orbital function disabled, and a squirt bottle of water. Drill a starter hole if necessary, cover the saw shoe with painters tape, and go slow, keeping the blade as close to the edge of the bucket as possible. Fine tune if necessary with a dremel and ceramic bit. Takes a while but works.
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Unread 11-25-2022, 09:28 AM   #97
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Dan, Thanks for the advice on cutting a hole within the tile. That is one precise hole you made!
I wound up applying the same method I used to cut the toilet flange hole into the floor tile (angle grinder with 4” diamond cut-off blade - post #76) for the shower control valve/collar hole. After transferring some careful measurements onto the tile, I started by cutting the hole into the back side of the tile about 1/2 way deep… and then flipped the tile over to the front side and finished cutting the hole. This worked out pretty well.
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Next on the list, I placed the wedi niche into the opening I had cut into the wedi board. I had originally cut this niche opening when installing the wedi boards for this shower wall where I thought the niche would be positioned so the bottom of the of the niche would line up with the shower wall grout line… but I had not completely cut out the flange portion of the opening just in case any up/down adjustments to the niche would be needed (post #44). It turns out my initial measurements for the niche were right on the money!
  • P.S… since this was a pre-made niche, I installed and grouted the back portion of the niche tiles at the same time I installed/grouted the shower floor tiles (as this was much easier for me to do when the niche was lying flat).
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I then traced around the outside of the niche flange onto the wedi board (red dashed line). I cut out the traced portion of the wedi board with a razer knife.
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I placed the niche into the shower wall for one last “fit check” before final installation. All looked good… so I installed the niche with the specified stainless-steel screws/washers and wedi sealant.
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Last edited by RifRaf; 11-25-2022 at 09:36 AM.
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Unread 11-25-2022, 10:19 AM   #98
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Nice job, Mike. What's your plan for the tile edges around the niche?
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Unread 11-25-2022, 10:32 AM   #99
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Thanks CX!
I purchased some pencil trim to finished the exposed edged of the ceramic tile that will be used to finish the inside of the niche.
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There will be a lot of careful measuring and shimming so that the tile installed on the bottom of the niche will have a very slight slope into the shower... and align with the pencil trim.

I may have some questions about the best way to install/affix the pencil trim... since only a small portion of the pencil trim will be embedded into the thinset (and to also leave room for grout joints).
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Unread 11-25-2022, 10:46 AM   #100
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Below is a representation of what I am aiming for with tiling the niche.
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Unread 11-25-2022, 11:03 AM   #101
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Yep, that'll work. Thinset mortar should be adequate to hold that trim.

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Unread 11-26-2022, 09:01 AM   #102
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Niche Questions

Using the photos below, I have some questions about installing/finishing the pencil trim joints within a shower niche.
I will be affixing the pencil trim with thinset. My questions are regarding the various joints within the niche.

Name:  Niche Questions.JPG
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GREEN Arrows – Where the pencil trim meets other pencil trim, is it ok to butt these pieces together... maybe with a very thin layer of silicone between the joints? OR, should I leave space for a 1/16” grout joint?

BLUE Arrows - Where the pencil trim meets the inside niche tile, is it ok to butt these pieces together... maybe with a very thin layer of silicone between the joints? OR, should I leave space for a 1/16” grout joint?

RED Arrows – Where the tile changes plane within the niche, should I caulk these joints (100% silicone)?... or is it ok to grout these joints?

YELLOW Arrows – Where the pencil trim meets the outside shower wall tile, should I fill these joints with silicone or grout?

Sorry for all of the rookie questions… but I thought it is best to ask before proceeding.
P.S…. CX, I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your photo.
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Unread 11-26-2022, 09:37 AM   #103
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Very nice use of the photo, Mike, and I wish sometimes I had learned to use a computer to that degree.

But only sometimes. As for your use of the photo, even we Neanderthals understand the concept of Fair Use to the extent that your use is clearly acceptable. I think.

As for each and every one of your arrows, there would be at least a small gap in my installations. And, contrary to industry standards, I feel sure that in each case in that particular installation I would have grouted that gap. The shower was done 7 or 8 years ago, and I've heard no complaints. And I would have heard, as I re-built that particular house next door to the first house I built in this area back in 1985, and for the same customers, who are now my very good friends. They'd let me know of any problems.

I also remember that as the first (and only, unfortunately) shower I did with the USG Durock Shower Membrane over CBU (a first for me), and it was grouted with the then-very-new Custom Fusion Pro single component grout.

Technically, you could argue that each of those joints should have been filled with a flexible sealant. Technically, I could argue that only some of them qualify. The construction and stability of your particular shower will mostly determine whether you can get away with grouting those joints or whether you should, according to industry standards, use a flexible sealant in at least some of them.

End of holiday fairy tale and too-long answer to your question.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-26-2022, 10:19 AM   #104
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CX, Thanks for the quick reply and your thoughts on this subject.

I will plan on leaving small gaps between all of the joints represented by the arrows. I was leaning towards using grout in all of these joints (if butting was not recommended)... but may use caulk on just the tile plane changes (Red arrows). I can always make my final decision at the grouting/caulking stage of this project.
  • Other then the visual aspect, are there any other benefits to using grout vs caulk on ALL of the niche joints (on a well constructed and stable shower)?
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Unread 11-26-2022, 10:23 AM   #105
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None that I'm aware of, other than ease of application. Just grouting everything does have that advantage, in my opinion.
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