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Unread 09-13-2022, 10:17 PM   #1
traderfjp
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Don't Shoot Me

I've been reading like crazy trying to understand best practices for my install.
I was originally going to install Kerdi but its hard to get in my area and the big box stores that sell it have most of the boards ripped up. I'm a DIY person who has successfully tiled before (years ago) and am very capable with tools and thinking out of the box. Here goes. I am doing a tear out and remodeling of our bathroom which is 15 years old and inherited with house. Currently we have granite slabs on our shower walls and a slate shower floor that slopes to the middle and a wood curb. The granite is pretty hideous. Under the granite is old school hardi board. The floor seems very solid and doesn't leak. The curb will be replaced with Kerdi. Here is the plan. Don't shoot me but would love to get feedback with the materials that I want to use.

1. Remove everything but keep the floor since it will be a huge hassle to get to the drain pipe to move it. I also am on a budget so I don't want to put in a Kerdi drain pan which would allow me to trim to fit to existing drain.

2. Install Hardi board with Hydo defense on walls. leaving an 1/8 size gap between boards to allow for movement. Use mesh tape and modified thinset to "seal" counter sink screw heads and seams.

3. Use Aqua defense on all mesh taped areas.

4. Here were things get murkier for me.

5. First - run the hardi board with hydro defense 1/4" off floor. Sand floor with 100 grit orbital sander, hand sand grout lines, vacuum -wipe with denatured alcohol, apply Mapei primer to floor tiles and 6" off floor on walls. Kerdi likes unmodified while Hardi wants modified thinset so the primer should allow the unmodified to stick to the hardi. Paint all seams, screw heads with Aqua Defense. Not sure if I should put two coats on the floor tile.

6. Apply Schluter unmodified thinset to floor- cut Kerdi membrane to floor and install. Use Kerdi corners and a 2" overlap where the wall meets floor and tie in curb via Schluter videos.

I could paint the Aqua defense on the entire floor pan which would be extra protection but it may be needless.

7. Apply unmodified thinset over membrane and lay stone floor stones. I won't go into lifting the drain but there are kits and DIY videos on successful ways to do this and not get any leaking.

8. Apply Porcelain wall tiles with modified thinset. Grout and enjoy!

We are doing vinyl over the floor tiles.
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Unread 09-14-2022, 07:02 AM   #2
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Welcome, JFP,

The first thing that comes to mind with your shower floor plan is that you'll be creating a potential moisture trap. There is a water proof layer, possibly a traditional shower pan liner, under the existing shower floor, so by painting on a primer and covering that with a membrane, any moisture that is in there, or gets in there, will have no way to evaporate.

I think a safer bet would be to remove the floor tile and whatever is under it. You could then rebuild the receptor using a single slope mud bed with a membrane on top and a compatible drain assembly. Doing a mud bed means you don't need to use a Kedi pre-formed pan and you don't need to move the drain. You could also do a traditional pan with a pre-sloped mud bed, a pan liner, and then a second mud bed.
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Unread 09-14-2022, 07:28 AM   #3
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I appreciate the advice and I think you are right. . I could easily remove the existing tile but I've never done a mud bed so I'm Leary about that. I could just buy the Schluter pan and that would solve the problem of making a mortar bed. However, how would I deal with the issue of Hardi requiring modified thinset and Schluter requiring unmodified thinset? Thanks for posting.
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Unread 09-14-2022, 10:05 AM   #4
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Thinset for Kerdi Pan and Hardiboard

Hi,

I am installing a Kerdi shower pan and curb with Hardi - hydro defense walls. The Kerdi product uses Schluter unmodified thinset while the hardi board requires modified to stick. How can I make this work? I was thinking of using Mapei primer 6" up the walls, tie everything in with unmodified thinset and then tile the rest of the shower with modified thinset - using porcelain tiles. Will this work? Any help appreciated. What modified thinset is best?
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Unread 09-14-2022, 11:47 AM   #5
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Welcome, FP.

I've combined you with your original thread for continuity and so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered.

When you start mixing methods and materials, you frequently will encounter conflicts among the various manufacturer's recommendations. In this case, if you were to use gypsum drywall, as Schluter recommends, you'd use their choice of thinset mortar (well, you could). But since you've elected to use a CBU as your backing material, you have a choice of which manufacturer's recommendations to follow.

Given that all CBU manufacturers, and all other direct bonded waterproofing membrane manufacturers (ANSI A118.10) recommend the use of a modified thinset mortar (ANSI A118.4), that would be my choice here.

Schluter is well aware that there are many, many modified thinset mortars available that will work just fine with their products and, indeed, they even make one that they recommend and charge a premium for. See my warranty information below.

Then, of course, you have the conflict of using the MAPEI liquid-applied waterproofing membrane over the Schluter Kerdi, which may work just fine, but you really don't know and it's not recommended by either manufacturer.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-14-2022, 04:57 PM   #6
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Thanks CX for taking the time. You are right about mixing different systems but my dad was a plumber and I remember what happens to the drywall when the show body leaks behind the wall. I know it's done all the time but in good conscious I can't bring myself to do this and honestly I hate foam backed board. I went into Lowes and most of the Kerdi board had bent edges and the membrane was coming loose from the foam. This is from improper handling and is not a dig at Kerdi. I called Schluter today and they said that they sell All set which is modified thinset and it will work anywhere in the Kerdi system. This will satisfy Kerdi and Hardi. I decided not to fool around so I'm doing a full rip out and will bite the bullet and the overpriced Kerdi floor drain and accessories that go with it. I found a grout by Mapei with a sealer built Ultra something and it's quick set. From what I gather there has been many horror stories because tradesman use paddle mixers which create heat and if you put a little less water than you should at it's hot where you are working it can be a nightmare. I read that mixing it by hand will work best and to do small areas. Schluter doesn't make grout from what I can tell. Do you have a grout you like that has a sealer built in so it always looks nice. Also, is 1/16" grout lines ok with porcelain tiles. These tiles look like old barnwood. Thanks again. I hope this thread help someone. I will try to take pics and add commentary as I go along in the project.
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Unread 09-14-2022, 05:42 PM   #7
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If the "show body," or any other plumbing leaks behind the wall, chances are you'll need to tear out the tile anyway, so what difference what wallboard you used? And does that mean we should use CBU in lieu of gypsum wallboard everywhere in the house that has plumbing? Gonna be a lot of CBU, non?

I am not much in favor of sealing cementitious grout in showers at all, FP. I think many people have a somewhat distorted view of what penetrating sealers will and will not do for grout and ceramic tile.

If you want something that does not even accept sealers, you might consider an epoxy, which I don't much recommend on shower floors, or one of the newer "single component" grouts on the market.

But my recommendation is for a cementitious grout everywhere in the shower and if you're prone to drinking a lot of coffee or red wine in there, just be sure the shower is on first, eh?

I avoid all grouts and thinset mortars that include the word rapid in the description. I do all my mixing with a spiral ribbon-type mixer in a cordless drill. I avoid mixing in hot environments and use cold water and haven't had any problems with regular cementitious grouts.

The grout joint width will depend upon your tiles. The industry recommendation is that your grout joint width be three times the difference in size between the largest and smallest tile in your layout. To get that down to 1/16th of an inch, you'll need tiles that are very, very well rectified.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-15-2022, 12:56 AM   #8
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I remember the faces of homeowners when my dad would break the tile around their shower bodies. It broke their heart. I,ve leaks in the wall at two houses I've owned. In one house I was going to vinyl side the following year so I opened up the wall from the outside to get to the shower valve and then made the repair. The house I'm in now also had a leak behind the wall. I was able to go into the next room, cut the sheetrock and make the repair. If I had sheetrock up and Kerdi the wall would have been shot. So in some circumstances Kerdi is not always best. Hopefully I don't have to deal with that again. Anyway, the floor tiles are loose outside the shower, touching the curb. So putting in the pan will give me a better night's sleep and everything should tie in nicely. I have a friend that is going to make a stained mountain glass scene for the half wall that buts up to the shower door. It should look nice. For flooring we are using Korolok vinyl. It's world's apart from anything I've seen in vinyl. It's amazing what is being done with this stuff. The looks and feels are amazing. This will allow me to keep the tile floor that is there without making a mess. The floor has lots of cracks so I would never do another tile floor without Ditra. But honestly I love this new vinyl so it will save lots of time and money and look great.
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Unread 09-15-2022, 08:11 AM   #9
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I've done two showers in my current house using foam board (and one using Hardie Board), FJ, and if I ever do another shower I'll use foam again. Easy to handle, easy to cut, easy to install. Perhaps you have a different place to shop other than Lowes or Depot. Stores that are more tile centric will likely have better quality stock on hand and you can inspect the sheets before buying. You can probably also get them in 4X8 sheets instead of the more common 3X5's, thereby reducing the number of seams.

As for grout, Mapei's Ultracolor FA, which is what I think you were referring to, says no sealing required but I can tell you that no sealing required does not mean waterproof. I used it on the floor of the bathroom I'm currently working on; if it gets wet it will change color, which indicates the water was absorbed. When it dries it returns to normal. It is quick setting and pot life is short. Still, it was nice to work with and clean up was pretty easy. If you use it, measure and mix small batches. No way I would mix it, or any other tile setting and grouting material, by hand - just too difficult and time consuming to get it thoroughly mixed.

You absolutely don't need Schluter's thinset mortar. Lowes and Depot both carry a reasonably priced modified mortar that will work just fine. I used Custom's Versabond to install Ditra in both baths, and used the same to install the floor tile onto the Ditra. Used it also to install the wall tile onto the foam board.
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Unread 09-16-2022, 10:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FP
The floor has lots of cracks so I would never do another tile floor without Ditra.
Once again, a matter of expectations. Ditra is not a crack isolation product. I can't say, of course, what may have caused the cracking in your previous tile floor, but I can say that Ditra may or may not have helped. It depends upon what caused the cracking.

And if the cracking was caused by some sort of vertical movement of the substrate, even a real crack isolation product is not likely to have helped. But if it were caused by horizontal crack displacement, the crack isolation product would be the better choice for potential protection.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-16-2022, 01:53 PM   #11
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Interesting. Learning a lot.
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Unread 09-16-2022, 05:15 PM   #12
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Kerdi is (or at least was, when I used it) mail-orderable. And a mudbed is not that hard, is cheap, and gives a superior and adaptable surface.
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Unread 09-16-2022, 06:56 PM   #13
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I ordered the pan. It's about 400.00 for everything. Not too bad. I'm Italian so I need concrete board on the walls. If I was doing a job a week or so I would use it since it must make life so much easier. I would never use the membrane over sheetrock but my daughter did in her house and it came out nice.
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Unread 09-16-2022, 09:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I'm Italian so I need concrete board on the walls.
I'd need a lot of help with that one.
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Unread 09-17-2022, 06:47 AM   #15
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Keep in mind, FP, that the pre-formed pans require that the subfloor they are installed on be very, very level. You won't know how level, or not, your subfloor is until you demo it. Also be aware that the pre-formed pans are the same thickness around the perimeter. If you slice a side or two off the pan to make it fit the foot print of your shower floor it will now be thinner were the cuts were made, which in turn may mean the bottom edge of the bottom row of tile may have to be lower over those cut ends in order to maintain the same wall tile to floor tile joint width.

So, foam wall boards are unacceptable, but a foam floor is?
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