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Old 04-14-2019, 11:32 PM   #1
Tradwater
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Yet Another Curbless Shower help (I have pictures!)

Hi guys. Ended up over here from Reddit. I've been planning on a master bathroom reno for some time, and with helpful in-laws and a dumpster in the driveway, the time is nigh.

The bathroom is very open, but original from the 90s where large useless tubs and tiny shower stalls seemed to be the norm. The plan is an open shower, freestanding tub, heated floors and a storage-centric vanity. All new tile, of course, and even the toilet will get swapped out.

The pictures were built from Ikea's planning tools, so not all fixtures are accurate but dimensions are.

Entering near the vanity from the master bedroom, and a large opening for the closet on the left. Both rooms have laminate hardwood, so I'm concerned about raising the entry/exit floor height by too much.

Items of note:

- Second floor on wood framing
- Mid-90s build
- Colorado
- Ceramic tile
- Planning on Suntouch Heatmatrix underlayment with WarmWire
- Glass partition by closet to keep spray from closet
- External tub filler not pictured, but will be located by the window
- The toilet is in an enclosed space (affectionately called the Wizz Palace) which is why it looks weird on the drawing







Items of concern:

1) After recently freaking out about how I'm going to achieve the slope for the shower without raising the floor by several inches, I discovered the method of removing the subfloor, adding ledger boards and blocking, then adding cut plywood to be flush with the top of the joists. This will give me a 3/4" recessed area that I intend on installing a Kerdi shower pan or similar. Is this an acceptable method?

2) I'm planning on adding 1/4" backerboard for the rest of the bathroom, with a 12" gap of subfloor around the recessed shower pan to extend the slope with dry-pack mortar. This is 1 1/8" total thickness at the transitions. I'm not sure on the thickness of the laminate, assuming 1/4", but is this acceptable?

3) Where should the drain go? If I were to make this a "wet room" (which I basically am) should I add a second drain, if so where?

Thanks in advance. I'm sure I'll have other questions but #1 is the biggest.
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:32 AM   #2
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I'm currently tiling the shower walls of my own curbless shower/master bathroom job, Trad.

Yes, you can pull the subfloor and add cleats to the sides of the joists (I'm assuming that your joists are typical lumber, and not engineered) to recess the 3/4" plywood (and is what I did with mine). Be aware, though, that you'll then need to go over that with a layer of 1/2" ply (exterior glue/Exposure 1). Reason for that is the ply between the joists is pretty stable, while the joists themselves are not. It is also unlikely you'll manage to get the top of the ply dead even with the top of the joists all along their lengths.

Also, since you are considering using a pre-sloped foam pan for the shower the floor under it needs to be darn level. The foam pans have the minimum slope of 1/4" per foot built into them so if your floor is out by even 1/8" you just cut that minimum slope by half.

A foam pan of that size will likely have a 1" high perimeter. IOW, when you set the pan atop the subfloor you'll then have to raise the rest of the floor 1" to be even with the pan. While you could recess, and make level, the shower pan area only that'll only work if the rest of the floor is also level.

Drain wise, I used a center drain, which would work well for you. Since your tub will have to sit on a non sloped section of the floor I'd view the shower pan starting at the long front of the tub, and position the drain midway between the tub and back shower plumbing wall.

I used Schluter's Ditra Heat under my floor tile. Laticrete makes a very similar product, Strataheat. Both heat mats are only 1/4" thick and can be stuck directly to plywood, which may save you some height over the product you are considering.

IMO, your 3' ish long splash wall may not be long enough.
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Yes, you can pull the subfloor and add cleats to the sides of the joists (I'm assuming that your joists are typical lumber, and not engineered) to recess the 3/4" plywood (and is what I did with mine). Be aware, though, that you'll then need to go over that with a layer of 1/2" ply (exterior glue/Exposure 1). Reason for that is the ply between the joists is pretty stable, while the joists themselves are not. It is also unlikely you'll manage to get the top of the ply dead even with the top of the joists all along their lengths.
If I'm reading that right, that's a lot of work for a net gain of 1/4" recess. Isn't using a premade shower pan supposed to help with that shift from the joints, versus making one from mud?

I think I'd rather put a linear drain more central to the room and slope the entire bathroom and deal with the <2" threshold at the entrances.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:36 PM   #4
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recessed floor curbless shower

Trad,
you have a couple of simple solutions for your curbless shower. you could check rapidrecess.com for their brackets to easily lower the plywood flush with the joists it does not matter if you have dimensional lumber or engineered joists with the rapid recess. the other option is to check out quickdrainusa.com
and install the linear drain at the entrance of the shower and slope up to the back wall. this is a installation we have been doing for years and works extremely well. there are 4 different drain covers or grates that go on our drains that are designed to capture 100 percent of the water. Our showerline drain is the most popular drain we manufacture. it is a PVC drain body with stainless steel clamping collar and grate, so when install all you see is stainless
steel. you can do a traditional install with our clamping ring, a pvc liner and motar slope if you like traditional installs or use topical liquid or sheet and secure your waterproofing to the flange of the linear drain. our sloping panels are very easy to install. they are made of PET which is recycled plastic bottles and are 145 lbs per square inch density. I am the tech for quickdrainusa and teach how our products are installed here in Denver. you are welcome to visit the shop and see my mockups of how the drains and pans are installed. email me with any questions Craig@quickdrainusa.com
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:16 PM   #5
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Schluter has a new system for curbless showers. A new thinner pan over the recessed plywood (but without the extra 1/2" mentioned above). It's designed to match up with Ditra Heat or Ditra XL.

https://sccpublic.s3-external-1.amaz...r%20Detail.pdf
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:24 PM   #6
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Rich,

Thatís what I was talking about. Is that an official installation by Schluter? Itís sort of casually represented but exactly what I was thinking of doing. From what I can tell itís the same pans, just recessed.
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:23 AM   #7
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Interesting.

Eliminating the extra layer of ply over the recessed ply, and placing the tray directly in contact with the joists, will require some very careful construction details. If the top of a joist is proud the tray will have a hump so the joist would have to be sanded. If low, a possible weak spot that the thin tray probably won't bridge.

In any case, using dimensional lumber for the ledgers presents a challenge since it's thickness can vary along it's length and is unlikely to be straight. Heck, the joists themselves may not be of uniform height, or might be twisted/leaning. Finally, the whole thing still needs to flat and level. If one levels the just the shower floor foot print, but not the rest of the floor, they might have a height issue where the two tiled surfaces meet.

Not trying to rain on the parade, but Schluter's pretty picture, where all is flat, square, even, gapless, etc won't be reality.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:39 AM   #8
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Dan, all good points. The joists would all need to be level and in plane with each other for this system to work. You could get a pretty good idea by checking the existing subfloor for flat and level before committing to this system.

It's an official Schluter method. They were demonstrating it at a recent builders show that I attended.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:07 AM   #9
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I hear ya Rich, and the system might have worked for me, had I not needed a custom sized tray. That it can sit directly on the joists (which I thought I needed to avoid) is a useful feature.

Just a beef I have with "marketing" leaving out significant details.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:02 PM   #10
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Thanks Rich and Dan.

I think making sure the recessed subfloor is level is a function of verifying the joists are straight and level to each other, and then making sure the ledgers are properly spaced down 3/4". The one installation I saw had a couple spacers made from the existing plywood to verify the ledger depth, checked for level, then nailed in place. Do it all again once the recessed plywood is in place.

Then the Kerdi tray is affixed with thinset, which should account for any low spots if they should exist.

It's a bunch of work, and I'm really wondering if it's worth it. I really want to do a linear drain near center of the room, which would be a wedge-shaped pan, leaving a slope at the tile where the tub and shower 'meet'. This can be handled with Schluter Showerprofile-S but I'm trying to decide if this would look strange.

I mocked up how a curb would look, and it's not bad. Infinitely easier. Just doing a simple John Bridge 3x 2x4 method. Also made the glass fixed door 36", which would be about half the length of the shower.



Last night went to a dark place where I'm questioning my sanity and turning the adjacent closet into a wet room.

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Old 04-16-2019, 12:25 PM   #11
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It is a lot of work, Trad, and was worth it to me. Since my entire bathroom floor was neither flat or level (and I was using LFT) I had to and level the whole thing. Would I do it again? Yup, and probably a heck of a lot faster. LOL

That closet would make a heck of nice shower, and is screaming for digital shower controls.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:33 PM   #12
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That closet would make a heck of nice shower, and is screaming for digital shower controls.
I think you're what they call an enabler.
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