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Unread 10-06-2020, 05:31 AM   #16
Kman
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Those wall boards cannot be run to the floor and held in place by the mud floor. The manufacturer does not allow them to be buried in the mud.

Quite frankly, they're not a good option for the method being used. Because they can't be buried, and you're not supposed to penetrate your waterproofing below a line that is 3" above the curb, that means the bottom few inches is hanging loose with nothing to secure it.

But more importantly is the penetrations of the waterproofing layer near the floor and on the inside of the curb. Those need to be fixed.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 05:54 AM   #17
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Nobody likes to be wrong but refusing to admit when you are, is just plain dumb, especially when faced with cold hard facts. I think you should send this guy packing. If you shower is built incorrectly then it is only a matter of when not if, it is fail.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 06:24 AM   #18
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Hi Kevin,

In California everybody, including tile contractors, is required to be licensed and bonded. You can easily check it out by calling the state registrar of contractors. The GC, if licensed, will have posted a surety bond that you can lien.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 06:43 AM   #19
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Sending him packing is not easy, at least according to Google. We signed a home improvement contract and from what I have read it is quite binding between both parties.

I will look into the surety lien. Thanks for the tip.

We have a building inspection tomorrow Wednesday - I assume the city inspectors will not pass the lathe with staples. I am anticipating another struggle with the contractor to get it fixed correctly after this.

He doesn't care about the quality of the work he is doing. For the 24 hour shower pan inspection, his plan was to fill it up the day of right before the inspector arrived - he actually told me this like as though I would be on his side to do it that way. I ended up using buckets myself the day before to fill the pan. All he cares about is the pretty looking tiled end product he can show future customers. If it fails in a few years, he knows he already has been paid and can deny his building defect led to problems.

All his subcontractors are not licensed, including the tile guy. In this part of the country, most of the subcontractors can't speak English. I don't mean that as an insult, it's just a fact from my experience so far. I assume they all have worked on their trade as part of a crew in the past but are not able to get a license themselves. So they ply their trade for GCs and under the GC license, probably for bottom dollar compared to a licensed outfit. I get the feeling this is the typical subcontractor arrangement for most GCs, at least in California.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 08:06 AM   #20
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Welcome, Kevin.

Your binding contract presumes, if it doesn't actually state, that the work will be done in accordance with product manufacturers' installation instructions, current industry standards, and building code. If your contractor is violating those requirements (he is) the binding part becomes a lot less binding. You may be required to allow him an opportunity to correct his errors, but if he refuses to do so, you can, indeed, "send him packing" in most instances.

I wouldn't count on your local code compliance inspector to save the day. You may need to educate him about the deficiencies, as well.

The narrow strip of lath at the bottom of your shower walls might be something they think they're copying from one-coat mud shower construction they've seen where the wallboard is left out at the bottom and metal lath is stapled to the walls and hangs down over that bottom area but is not fastened there at all. What they're doing is not the same at all and along with the improper receptor waterproofing penetrations is also gonna leave a construction joint between that narrow mud area and the wallboard above. Not a good thing.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 08:33 AM   #21
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TY for the info.

What would be the proper installation at the bottom of the shower wall then? I know hot mop is a west coast thing, but from a couple of friends that have done remodels they say their contractors also used hot mop + hardie backer. It seems like that is a typical construction here in LA.

It measures 8.5 cm from the hot mop floor to the bottom edge of the hardie backer board. My shower curb is 3.5inches tall (two 2x4s on end). So could he just staple the lathe at the top two inches beneath the cement board since per code no staples can be placed in the 3 inches above the shower curb?

Or, from searching on the forum, should the hardiebacker board be extended to have the edge terminate 1/2" from the top of the mud bed, since it should not be embedded in the mud due to the wicking action of the fiber cement board? Does that mean they should do the mud bed first before placing the lower piece of hardiebacker? But then again, no fasteners are allowed in the 6.5" from the shower plan floor up the wall... so not sure how they will fasten the bottom part of the hardie backer.

I appreciate all the input. I have no preexisting knowledge in any of this, but neither does my GC unfortunately. And unfortunately communicating the proper way of doing it to the GC and his subcontractor is going to be a struggle
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Unread 10-06-2020, 12:48 PM   #22
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I didn't realize that the board was Hardiebacker...guess I didn't look close enough! There are two different build methods in the TCNA when using a conventional shower build (hot mop is sort of a variation of that) for the two different classes of cbu...HardieBoard is classified as a fiber-cement board, which, per the manufacturer and according to the TCNA (the industry bible) prohibit a fiber-cement board from being embedded into the setting bed...it must stop above it.

As has been mentioned at least a few times, you CANNOT penetrate the liner below 3" ABOVE the top of the curb. If you were to flood test the pan now, it will almost certainly leak. The hot mop (liner) IS the waterproofing...tile is a decorative wear surface.

If they were going to float the walls, what's there might work, but your curb is still a mess.

FWIW, they call thinset THINset for a reason, if you try to install it too thick, it tends to shrink and crack, not something you want under tile, especially in a shower. You can't use deckmud that thin on the walls to make up the thickness of the wallboard, but might get by with fat mud, except that you've got holes in your liner below where they should be.

Hot mop is popular in that part of the country, I think, because you have lots of cheap(er) labor that is willing to put up with the smell and mess of doing it that way. If it was such a great method, it would have worked its way across the country. It didn't, for a reason. It can work, but you can't be putting holes in it!
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Unread 10-06-2020, 03:27 PM   #23
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When I worked in Cal,prior to 2000,hot mopping was a southern Cal thing. In northern Cal,at that time,inspectors were pretty strict as far as codes etc. As others have mentioned,in Bay Area at that time,no penetrations were alllowed,3”s or below,top of curb etc. Oakland for example,had a code for screws,securing metal lath. Lath had to be secured at least every 6”s on stud.

I would suggest you research your local/county codes,to verify your contractor/s are in compliance.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 06:21 PM   #24
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I'm nearly sure they are planning to mud the curb and bottom section of the wall with fat mud. They've learned how to do just enough mud work to be dangerous.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 06:44 PM   #25
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This is a single coat mud job from about 10 years ago. There is green board behind the tar paper and lath but it stops about 10 inches up off the floor, so that makes for a similar situation like you have. I have lath covering the whole wall and a scratch coat along the bottom. There are no nails or staples down low so I lean concrete bricks against the lath to hold it against the wall.

It's fine if they were planning to mud the whole wall but they would have been better off using a true cement board and run it on down into the floor mud. The cold joint between the mud and Hardie can cause problems but doesn't always.
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Unread 10-06-2020, 09:20 PM   #26
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That is a super helpful picture. Analogous to your picture, could he just staple at the very top of the lath to the waterproofing paper or stud behind, below the hardiebacker but above the hot mop so that it is within code (> 3.5" high shower curb + 3" = 6.5") and just let the mud eventually hold the bottom of the lath against the shower wall? I am so exhausted by this whole project that I am not looking for a perfect solution but one that is workable. I am also buying big tiles (24x48"). Does that make a difference?
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Unread 10-07-2020, 05:01 AM   #27
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Looking back at your picture, they held the Hardie up about 6 inches above the curb height so they could have stapled the lath across the top and let the bottom just hang there. Then they could have put a very thin scratch coat of mud and used bricks or something else to keep the lath pushed against the wall. The bricks are only needed over night until the scratch coat of mud sets. Then they could have mudded the bottom section flush with the Hardie.

In your case, everything I just mentioned has to be real thin since the 1/2 inch Hardie controls the mud thickness. It's not easy to get two layers of mud along with the lath in a half inch of space. In my case, I'm mudding the whole wall so I can add as much thickness as needed to get a plumb mudded wall.

Your shower has a couple issues. The cold joint we mentioned that may or may not move and cause problems. And, you have a pan that is full of holes. We never know how bad the shower will leak but it likey will leak a little if you were to fill it with water over night. Water might not leak out onto the floor but a few drops every time you use the shower will rot the curb and lower studs within a few years, maybe sooner.

It's hard to say if larger tiles would help the situation. It all depends on how much movement you have. If there's enough, it'll crack large tiles that bridge over the cold joint. And movement is likely with a small amount of moisture leaking into the wood framing.

I wouldn't tile over the pan you have. I'd walk away from the job first. I wouldn't risk it.
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Unread 10-07-2020, 07:53 AM   #28
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Thanks that is helpful. I actually had an outside tile guy not associated with my GC come and look at the shower stall. He says one thing that may help is using a decoupling membrane at the cold joint? I should have asked what he exactly meant but didn't. Not sure exactly how that would work? I'm assuming just cutting a 1 foot wide strip of DTRA or something like that and putting it just at the joint?
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Unread 10-07-2020, 08:50 AM   #29
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Well the Los Angeles city building inspector just came today and says the construction passed. He says that the hot mop seals around the staples... Says that hot mop is used on roofs and sees a lot of constructions where the roof is nailed through and the hot mop doesn't leak for decades. I don't know if that is really true or not. All I can do at this point is to let him proceed, document with a bunch of photos and videos and the archive of this forum thread should problems arise in the future. Thanks to all for your counsel.
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Unread 10-07-2020, 10:00 AM   #30
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FWIW, it's a clear violation of the California Plumbing Code section 408.7:

https://up.codes/viewer/california/c...fittings#408.7

The last paragraph of that sections begins: "Linings . . . shall not be nailed or perforated at a point that is less than 1 inch (25.4 mm) above the finished dam or threshold." Stapling is clearly perforating.

Cheers, Wayne
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