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Unread 04-01-2005, 02:16 PM   #1
Viking Girl
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SpectraLock grout and new fangled membrane questions

Hey everybody. We gutted and remodeled our master bath last year. We built the shower floor with help from this site and John's book, tiled the walls, the ceiling, everything! And it is gorgeous.

Anyway, I'm going to help a friend tile their tub (with a shower) surround this summer. I just heard about two new products and wanted some opinions.

1) I heard about a new (new to me) grout called SpectraLock. The one installation I saw it used in had this grout in the corners (rather than caulk), which was over Durrock. The installer said SpectraLock is supposed to be really hard and more waterproof than other grout. What's the word from you guys who are in the know?
2) The installer also told me that he had used a new-type liner (new to him) that is kind of like a thin fabric that is applied all the way up the walls. He said you "glue" it to the walls with thinset, overlapping it, then apply thinset directly on top of it and apply the tiles. He said he therefore didn't use any liner or membrane behind the Durrock to protect the studs. Is this OK? Again, I haven't heard of this stuff, but I suspect some of you have or some of you use it. I really don't like using tar paper (kind of bulky) and thought this might be an option. What's your opinion, and what's it called?

Thanks for any help you can give!
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Unread 04-01-2005, 02:36 PM   #2
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You want a vapor barrier on the studs first and formost. Sounds like he may mean ditra or a like probuct for the waterproofing aspect. Technique sounds good at this point. make sure they skim and tape all butt joints and inside corners etc. before waterproofing stage begins. Then no mastic PERIOD use thinsets in your shower it fears no water. Good Luck..
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Unread 04-01-2005, 03:00 PM   #3
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Hey Viking Girl--

Spectralock is an epoxy grout that claims to be totally colorfast, non staining, and color-uniform. I used a dark brown color in my steam shower and floor, but never would I use it in the corners. I know some folks would, but I've heard that stuff is so tough that should there be any movement in the opposing planes, that the tile would crack before the grout would. Not good, so I'd only use caulk in those situations. As for the product itself, from what I hear it's harder to apply than regular grout (only ever used Spectralock) but the finished work looks great. And the idea that there'll be no staining from water or mildew or anything else really sold it on me.

The membrane you heard about is most likely Schluter Systems' Kerdi, or something similar. It's a totally impermeable (assuming correct installation) membrane which can be applied in shower applications over cement board or even regular sheetrock (!). It's stuck on with thinset mixed thinner than normal. In this case, you would not want to use any type of vapor barrier behind the wall, on top of the studs or anywhere else. This is due to the risk of creating a "moisture sandwich" and subsequent mold growth if moisture should ever get through, however unlikely. I think I'd have used it if this site would have discussed it then like it does now--sheetrock is tons easier to cut than cement board.

Hope this helped.......................Jason
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Unread 04-01-2005, 09:24 PM   #4
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Jason, so where on this site do I find directions for applying this kerdi stuff? And why is one of you telling me to always put a barrier behind the cement board, but the next one saying apparently not to with the kerdi stuff? (I understand the moisture sandwich thing, but I just want to be clear on this.)

Jason, by the way, I'm a fellow Minnesotan down in Redwood Falls.
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Unread 04-01-2005, 10:05 PM   #5
Tool Guy - Kg
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Because they are two fundamentally different sytems of installation.

CBU requires a moisture barrier because it will see dampness/moisture during its lifetime. We know that grout is porous and will allow some moisture to pass through it. The barrier prevents the moisture from reaching rot-able wood studs. As an alternative to tar paper on the backside, you could put Redgaurd on the face of the cbu and be done with it. In this case you are installing the barrier on the face, rather then the back of the cbu.

And on the Kerdi system, the fabric IS the barrier. It is installed on the front of the substrate. It's so good that when properly installed, you are done. The bueaty of the system is that unlike conventional showers with cbu, there is no chance of anything deeper than the thinset holding the tiles on the wall getting wet. Because it is so waterproof, you can install it over drywall.

BTW Viking Girl, Go Packers!
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Unread 04-02-2005, 12:10 AM   #6
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VG --

There are a few places to get info on Kerdi shower building. One is the Liberry Shower Thread.

Another is the Schluter Systems website.

Yet a third is a book called "Tile Your World" by someone named John Bridge. I'm told there is a whole chaper on Kerdiing showers. It's available autographed in the online store.

Happy reading!
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Unread 04-02-2005, 06:52 AM   #7
Bugman
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VG, I used the Kerdi membrane on the shower in our new bathroom. Definitely the way to go. I haven't posted pictures of the finished shower yet, but the rest of the project can be found at:http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=9756

John's book is an invaluable reference, too.
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Unread 04-02-2005, 07:17 AM   #8
Viking Girl
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You guys are the best. I read John's first book and had been putting off reading his second. I guess I'd better buy it and be done with it. I had tried to find stuff in the liberry but didn't see much. Maybe I didn't look hard enough.

Thanks, thanks, and thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it.
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Unread 04-03-2005, 08:56 AM   #9
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VG--

Redwood Falls! Awesome. Hey, I heard a nasty rumor about there being some sort of shooting down there recently...something about a guy and his family? It's hard to hear about stuff like that in your backyard, especially involving kids.

Anyway, you're getting some good advice from a bunch of smart cookies (none of them is me ) about your project. Like I said, if I had to do it over again, I'd use the Kerdi system. Sounds slick as poop through a goose to me. I've done more than my share of researching on this site, and I think if you spend a little time doing searches with different subject headings you'll find what you're looking for regarding kerdi installation. In fact, just type "kerdi" in the search field, and you'll spend more time reading threads than the Vikings have spent in postseason play in the last 10 years.

Like tool guy says, you can do it either way, but not both. Redguard is what I used for the waterproofer in my steam shower, and it was pretty easy to apply. If it's a regular shower, no steam applications, tar paper behind the cbu would be fine. However, even if you have no plans to make it a steam shower, I'd still look into Kerdi. It just seems so simple. Slap some sheetrock up (I'd make it 5/8"), apply the Kerdi, and tile. As opposed to tar paper (PITA), CBU (PITA), and tile.

My .02.

Go Vikes!

Toolguy--I lived in Wis-CAN-son for a year and there was a house on the road I drove to come back the land of Purple that was painted ALL GREEN AND YELLOW. With green shingles. That wasn't yours, was it?

Jason
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Unread 04-03-2005, 07:30 PM   #10
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PharmD,
I think you're thinking of Red LAKE. Although we have had a couple of shootings down here in the last 2 years. REally crazy. All of them have involved Native Americans or Native American gangs. I'm a lawyer, and the local County Attorney is a good friend. Let's just say she's had her hands full the last 24 months.

I did order John's latest book. I'm pretty psyched to read it. If Kerdi ends up to be all its cracked up to be, I'm going to recommend to my friends we go with that. However, I don't think I could take the chance using sheetrock. Maybe use DenseShield instead, rather than cement board? I don't trust DenseShield normally. I should probably type that into the search field and see what comes up. If anybody wants to let me know their two cents on that idea . . .

Last edited by Viking Girl; 04-03-2005 at 07:48 PM.
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Unread 04-03-2005, 07:46 PM   #11
Viking Girl
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OK, nobody answer my last silly question. I've figured out how to use the search function, and boy, did I get an eyeful on the DensShield hate speech. I got it, I got it, I got it. NO DENSSHIELD. I'll stick with cement board because these are really good friends that I hope to keep for life. So, NO DENSSHIELD.
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Unread 04-03-2005, 09:57 PM   #12
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Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for ordering the book. We'll hand it over to Cliff Claven in the morning.
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Unread 04-05-2005, 07:36 AM   #13
Viking Girl
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John,
I can't wait to get the book. I know I'll get it soon via Cliff. Thanks for maintaining the site and letting all of us amateurs pick the pros' and others' brains. You guys are truly lifesavers.
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