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Unread 11-09-2019, 01:48 PM   #1
gwald
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rob's tub to curbless shower conversion

I’m converting my bathtub to a curbless walk-in shower. I’m hoping that I can get some comments/suggestions, etc. about what I’m planning. I’m happy to get any links that you think might be useful.

I have a couple of pictures and a quick sketch.

Right now, the subfloor is 5/8” and my goal is to use a Schluter sloped pan with a line drain against the wall. I’m hoping there is a line drain with an outlet on the side since that is where the existing trap is located, about 15" from the wall. I’m going to use kerdi on the walls. I’m thinking of putting the shower valve control near the entry, opposite from the shower head wall for convenience.

In the picture of the trap, there is a line level with the top of the 5/8" floor. It's 4" from the top of the subfloor to the top of the trap.

thx for looking!
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Unread 11-09-2019, 07:11 PM   #2
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I just finished building a very similar shower. I used the schluter shower pan, and I would not recommend using it if you are using tile with any lipage. The pan doesn't have enough slope if tile isn't perfectly flat.

What is your plan for lowering floor in the shower area?
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Unread 11-09-2019, 09:50 PM   #3
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roughly, this is what I'm thinking,

- the current bathroom floor: 1" (subfloor+underlayment)

- new bathroom floor: about 1-1/8” (3/4" plwood subfloor + 3/8" tile)

- want to match shower pan at highest point with bathroom subfloor, 3/4". I'm not sure how thin the pan is at the lowest point, so I may need to play around with the numbers, but roughly 1/4" slope across 3 feet would be 3/4"

I think I can do this by sistering joists in shower area to have a shower subfloor level with the tops of the joists.

Thanks Spencer84 - Glad to benefit from your similar experience. My tile is going to be very flat and uniform, same tile I used in another bathroom, and there is no issue with lippage. I don't get why the schluter pan was worse lippage-wise.

Let me know what you think!
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Unread 11-09-2019, 10:13 PM   #4
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I think he meant if your tile didn't lay perfectly flat, there might not be enough slope in the tray to counter that. The trays I'm familiar with are all sloped at 1/4" per foot, which is the bare minimum slope for a shower floor. The lowest I'll go is 5/16", and I usually set them at about 3/8". With some pebbles, I'll go up to 1/2".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob
- new bathroom floor: about 1-1/8” (3/4" plwood subfloor + 3/8" tile)
You'll have a problem there, as you can't set tile on a single layer of plywood and expect it to last. Assuming your joists meet the L/360 minimum guideline, and the subfloor is in good shape, you would want to at least use a tile membrane like Ditra or Stratamat, both of which are 1/8" thick, to set your tile over.

But back to the joists. Have you run the joist specs through the Deflecto to see if they will support a tile installation? And what condition is your plywood floor in? Any damage, soft spots, rotting, etc.?
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Unread 11-10-2019, 12:42 AM   #5
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I used the exact same tile and tray in the master bath, but with a curb and I'm not having any problems with it.

Yes, for sure, going to use Ditra! I used that in the master bath too!

CORRECTION:
- new bathroom floor: about 1-1/4” (3/4" plwood subfloor + 3/8" tile + 1/8" Ditra)


I'm replacing all of the subfloor that is bad which is around the tub/toilet and will sister any "bad" joists, so all subfloor will be in really good shape.

I just ran deflecto and it came out @ L / 857, so I'm good there!

Thanks for reminding me about the details Kman - exactly why I'm here.
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Last edited by gwald; 11-10-2019 at 01:02 PM.
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Unread 11-10-2019, 09:14 PM   #6
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I was starting to put some orders together for all of the shower parts and I see that for the kerdi-line-offset-outlet channel body the longest that they offer is 49-1/4". My tile to tile measures about 58-3/4 lengthwise, quite a bit longer. The center outlet version goes up to 70-13/16".

The center outlet would really be a pain to use joist-wise.

Any ideas for a different brand of offset outlet line drain that would be kerdi compatible? What's the alternative, slope the tile at the drain ends in a little bit? Or just not go the full length?

thx
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Unread 11-11-2019, 07:36 AM   #7
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Unhappy

Rob, think you'll need to add about 1/4" ish to your overall new floor height to account for thinset mortar between the plywood and Ditra and between the Ditra and tile. The extra height helps where the main floor meets the shower floor, but maybe not so much at the threshold at the bathroom entry door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob
I'm replacing all of the subfloor that is bad which is around the tub/toilet
Think you said early on that the existing plywood is 5/8", so you'll be replacing ALL the ply, yes?

I'm willing to bet the foam pan will be approximately 1" at it's thickest, and 1/4" ish at it's thinnest. Add approx. 1/8" of mortar under it and you're at 1 1/8" before tile. You'll need to do the math to see how that squares with the floor outside of the shower.

Can't help with the linear drain, I used a center drain for my curbless install.

Just an observation; having the shower valve opposite the head will result in a rather long stretch when adjusting the water temp. I'd be inclined to center the valve on the long wall. Mrs. Rob's feet might get a little wet when first turning it on but she may appreciate being able to regulate the temp a bit easier. Or install separate flow and temp valves.

I've never see a framless bi-fold. Interesting.

Edit: No idea what I did to produce the purple frown above, but please disregard.
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Unread 11-11-2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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Thanks ss3964spd for commenting - really appreciated!

Thinking it through over the weekend plus taking in the comments, I have several changes,

- CORRECTION#2: new bathroom floor: about 1-1/2” (3/4" plywood subfloor + 3/8" tile + 1/8" Ditra + 1/4" thinset)
It's looking like both the shower and bathroom floor will have to be dropped down to the top of the joists. need to work through the numbers. I think the pan is going to be pretty thick at the outside edge!

- Since I can't find an offset outlet line drain that is long enough, I'm going to add a little diagonal corner bench on the drain wall at the entryway so that I can use a shorter drain.

- And, I'm going to tie in the diagonal bench with an end-2-end bench on the drain wall, so the drain will be at the foot of the bench and can be shorter

- And, yes, going to move the control valve, to the side wall (thx!) above the bench so that you can control the water while sitting on the bench with the hand held head that slides up and down right there as well, pointing at the fixed wall


regarding bifold doors:
I put one in my other shower, a little different but same idea as these and I really like it, much more than a big door
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSO5e_rwvQM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgYYPkzfO48
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Unread 11-11-2019, 04:50 PM   #9
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I, too, had to recess the subfloor for the entire bathroom in order save 3/4" to make the curbless design work. A lot of work, that, but worth it to me. But keep in mind that even if you do recess the 3/4" subfloor to be between the joists you're still going to need at least another 1/2" on toppa that, then your mortar/Ditra/mortar/tile (and the foam pan). You do need to have a smooth, flat, stable, and - since you're using a foam pan, level (very level) surface to stick your Ditra and foam to.

IMO, a corner bench is a nice addition. Also, and definitely IMO, you might want to mock up the bench you're considering placing along the long back wall (maybe use cardboard). Since you're working in a 3'X5' space, and a useful bench depth for sitting ones bum upon would be a minimum of 1' I'd think, you may find the long bench consumes too much floor space, effectively changing your floor from 3X5 to 2X5, and you'd probably also wanna change the center line of the shower head(s).
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Unread 11-11-2019, 05:14 PM   #10
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ss3964spd - I’m ok with a threshold at the door which could hide some of the increased height if it's too high and it would also act as a dam for possible bathroom floods. I put a threshold in after a flood on another bathroom – first line of defense!

Like you mentioned, my plan was to actually tack together a mock-up bench once the floor is in for the space issue you mentioned. I’m also looking at other folding benches that hang from the wall, etc. Maybe I could have a corner bench at each side, instead.

I'm starting to think it might be easier to just mud the pan rather than spend time trying to get the right foam one and making it work. not sure yet...

I haven’t researched the sister joists much. I was thinking of 2x6 or 2x8 against the existing 2x10. Another thought I had was to use 1’” flooring. Is that over-kill. Curious what you did and how it worked out.

regarding the shower head, were you suggesting to offset it from the center?

thx
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Unread 11-11-2019, 05:32 PM   #11
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Mudding the pan would almost certainly eliminate the curbless option, Rob, since mud needs to be a minimum of 3/4" at the drain, which then means it's going to be at least 1.5" at the perimeter so you have enough slope. Depends, of course, on how much height you have to work with at the entrance to the bathroom, and how much of a difference in floor height you can tolerate between the bathroom and the adjacent room.

From a ergonomics point of view, and again only IMO, the bench along the long wall will consume too much floor space in an area that is 3' wide to start. If you did a 1' deep bench there then it's now only 2' wide, and you'd want to center the shower head on that 2' wide space, otherwise you'd not be able to stand directly under the head.
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Unread 11-11-2019, 05:47 PM   #12
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I was thinking that the linear drain channel body would sit directly on the subfloor with the mud pan level with the top of the channel body, just the way it would sit with a foam pan surrounding it, but mud instead of foam.

I'm guessing you were thinking about the channel body on top of the mud?
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Unread 11-12-2019, 07:13 AM   #13
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Everything I've read here about mud says that it needs to be 3/4" at it's thinnest in order for it to remain stable/in one piece, regardless of what drain system will be used. If that holds true, and you place the drain against the long wall, and you have 3', and you use 1/4" slope per foot, the mud will be 1.5" thick where the shower floor meets the main floor.

You'd have to build up the main floor 1.5" to meet the shower floor. And once you add in mortar and tile you're looking at about 2" of total main floor thickness.

That 2" of finished floor height might put you well above the threshold at the bathroom entrance.
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Unread 11-12-2019, 11:27 AM   #14
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Kman--Schluters tub replacement base (38x60) only slopes 1/8"pf.(1%)
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Unread 11-12-2019, 12:53 PM   #15
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Same would be true with the Durock foam trays, Eric. Not sure just how they get code approval on that. Perhaps you know?
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