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Unread 09-30-2022, 09:46 PM   #1
TileMT
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Bathroom Remodel -- Planning Stage

Hey all!

Been lurking for a while, and excited to finally start on a bathroom remodel after doing some foundation repair due to a poorly built shower rotting out some joists. Its pretty much a down-to the studs and crawlspace reno of the room. We've created this rough plan:



My first questions:

1) As you can see in the drawings, we're putting the shower (4'x6') in a corner, and to keep it very bright and open are hoping to do one fixed-glass panel, one pony wall with glass panel, and a frameless glass door. I've tried to indicate the direction of door swing. The question is -- can the pony wall/fixed panel above it support the weight/torque of the hinges of a frameless glass door? I can add blocking beneath the subfloor so that the pony wall is very well-secured on the bottom, and likewise can add blocking so its well-secured to the wall, but I haven't seen a lot of guidance on this. Curious to hear about design ideas for this.

2) The shower will be curbless, so were kind of keen on avoiding small-format tile and using the same tile as the rest of the bathroom envelope cut inside the shower itself. I've watched a lot of videos online with contractors showing off their envelope cuts, but haven't found any explaining the rules of thumb for the max size of a cut tile, how many cuts there should be, etc. I see some with many relief cuts, others with minimal, etc. We plan on using the preformed 48x72 Schluter pre-formed pan with center drain. The linear drains look sexy, but the extra $600+ in cost for the drain + grate is hard to swallow. I drew out what I was thinking envelope cut for 12x24 tile. Would this achieve sufficient slope? I haven't seen the pre-formed pans in person yet -- are they "bowl" shaped, or do they have some sort of rectangular slope to them? Would love to read any resources with guidelines on the "rules" for envelope cutting.

Really appreciate the help!

-Sean
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Unread 10-01-2022, 08:37 AM   #2
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Welcome, Sean,

I don't believe I've seen any reference to a pre-formed foam shower pan engineered specifically for large format tile that has been envelope cut. They'll be bowl shaped. Keep in mind that one very good reason for using a small format tile in the shower area is to reduce the possibility of slipping. Wet tile is slippery; the grout lines of small format tile provides traction. You might consider a large format main floor tile that has a matching mosaic. Is what I did in mine. Function over form. Or, not.

Given your desire for a curbless shower, understand that the pre-formed foam pans will be at least 1" thick around the perimeter. To achieve a curbless design you'll need to recess the shower floor, or increase the height of the main floor, possibly both. Also keep in mind that subfloor those foam pans get installed upon need to be really, really level.

Your wood framed pony wall is going to flex, regardless of how it is affixed to the framing. It will. Mine did. You might consider a corner bench which will add some rigidity to the pony wall. Adding a solid surface cap and end piece, installed using thinset mortar will also mitigate the flex. I was amazed how solid mine was after those were installed.

I don't honestly know about hinging a 3/8" thick glass door from the pony wall/glass panel combination. Best to talk to a glass company or two. Understand, though, that if you install a door with its bottom edge just fractions of an inch above the floor you'll eliminate the use of a bath just outside the door. Given the size of the shower, and the position of the entry, you might consider not using a door at all. Solves some issues, but introduces another; the shower will be colder. I didn't use a door. It is colder. I'm ok with that.

Given the position of the shower head and the position of the entry consider where you might place the shower valve. Want to avoid getting wet and cold when first turning the water on.
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Unread 10-01-2022, 09:49 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response!

Quote:
I don't believe I've seen any reference to a pre-formed foam shower pan engineered specifically for large format tile that has been envelope cut. They'll be bowl shaped.
Gotcha, thats good to know. I'm relying on videos I've watched showing people using this technique on the schluter pre-formed pans. TileCoach has one titled "Installing Large Tiles on Shower Floor (Tutorial)" that got me interested in it. I don't think I'm permitted to post links yet. Would definitely be interested if anyone has had bad experiences with this from a water-slope reason.

Quote:
Keep in mind that one very good reason for using a small format tile in the shower area is to reduce the possibility of slipping. Wet tile is slippery
We did select a tile that is extremely textured, it has a "pebble-glaze" that is quite grippy/even a little abrasive, so I don't think the slip hazard will be too high.

Quote:
Given your desire for a curbless shower, understand that the pre-formed foam pans will be at least 1" thick around the perimeter. To achieve a curbless design you'll need to recess the shower floor, or increase the height of the main floor, possibly both. Also keep in mind that subfloor those foam pans get installed upon need to be really, really level.
"Luckily" we're basically rebuilding the floor from scratch after replacing several joists, and "luckily" we have a lot of vertical space to work with due to the previous design choices of the DIY owner back in the '80s. I attached a photo showing my efforts from a few weeks ago. The previous entire bathroom floor was about 4'' of wire-enforced concrete (above a crawlspace) that I had the privilege of removing, so I'll be able to recess the area of shower floor easily.

Quote:
Your wood framed pony wall is going to flex, regardless of how it is affixed to the framing. It will. Mine did. You might consider a corner bench which will add some rigidity to the pony wall. Adding a solid surface cap and end piece, installed using thinset mortar will also mitigate the flex. I was amazed how solid mine was after those were installed.
Great info, thanks for the warning. To clarify, when you say "solid surface cap", you mean as opposed to tiling the top and the exposed narrow end-side of the pony wall, to use some sort of solid marble or porcelain slab piece without any grout lines? I guess I'm struggling a little bit to understand how the top piece would affect stiffness. I totally get how a bench would help though, acting as a diagonal brace. I'll have to discuss that with the lady of the house, we had decided against a bench. Do you think even one of the foam benches would help in this manner?

Quote:
Understand, though, that if you install a door with its bottom edge just fractions of an inch above the floor you'll eliminate the use of a bath just outside the door. Given the size of the shower, and the position of the entry, you might consider not using a door at all. Solves some issues, but introduces another; the shower will be colder. I didn't use a door. It is colder.
Do you mind clarifying what you mean by "eliminate the use of a bath"? I'm not sure I follow that point. I'm definitely considering a compromise of installing ditra-heat under the shower floor, and forgoing the door, but haven't decided yet. Will contact a glass company or two to check, thanks.

Quote:
Given the position of the shower head and the position of the entry consider where you might place the shower valve. Want to avoid getting wet and cold when first turning the water on.
Yep, definitely going to try to install the shower valves in the pony wall so we can just reach in and warm up the shower.

Thanks again for the tips!
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Unread 10-01-2022, 11:16 AM   #4
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Sean,

"Envelope" shower floor have been done many times, and probably over a bowl shaped pre-formed foam pan. The challenge is getting proper thinset mortar coverage between those large flat tiles and the underlying and definitely not flat in any plane pan.

Removing that 4" of concrete certainly gives you plenty of vertical wiggle room.

Yup, solid surface as in single pieces of stone, or a man made product, or even a single piece of ceramic tile. Grout joints will introduce week points. One end of the pony wall will be securely fastened to the wall framing, the bottom to the floor framing. It isn't going to move much there. The SS pieces themselves are very stiff. When installed on a bed of mortar, and when that mortar cures, The rigidity of the SS and the mortar stiffens the whole wall. A stout shove would probably break the mortar to SS bond but the occasional hip or butt bump won't bother it. I used soap stone for mine, which matches the corner benches and vanity tops. A foam bench might add some stiffness, but might be more of a challenge to make it structural. Finally, Mrs. Sean might find a bench useful as a foot rest. Pic below shows one of the two corner benches I installed.

Apologies, I omitted a key word; "mat". Bath matt. The glass door won't clear a bath mat

Ditra heat under the shower floor isn't going to make the shower warmer, IMO. I have DH on the main floor and while it is a wonderful, foot warming luxury it doesn't do squat for making the bathroom air any warmer. My experience is I'm only cold when first starting to towel off, and a good bit of the shower floor tile is warm from the hot water. Not running the exhaust fan until after showering will help but, of course, excessively humidifies the entire bathroom.

Instead of a fixed shower head you might consider a "hand held" rod mounted one. Will make it much easier to clean the shower when doing so becomes necessary.
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Unread 10-01-2022, 06:40 PM   #5
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Built With Foam will make an envelope foam tray. I've not used this company but I have heard of these custom foam trays here in the forum. They have six or so drain manufacturer choices as options, including the Schluter Kerdi drain.
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Unread 10-05-2022, 12:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for the link. It does seem like a cool company, but it looks like it comes with a pretty hefty markup, and doesn't even include the waterpoof layer that a schluter kerdi-pan comes with. I'm hoping to stay within the kerdi eco-system if possible. I did a pretty thorough search of the forum for posts envelope cutting tile and using kerdi pans but I didn't see much.
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Unread 10-11-2022, 02:19 PM   #7
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Next question: fixed glass panel placement

We're planning on using a 4x6' pre-formed schluter pan. We'll of course use kerdiband to waterproof the transition from the shower pan to ditra underlayment outside the shower. As you can see in the tile-layout above, we'll have a grout line at the short edge of the shower pan. Should the fixed glass panel be:

1) directly above the shower-pan/floor transition (on the grout line). Is this a bad idea? Seems the most natural

2) an inch or two inside the pan (seems weird to run the glass panel on a sloped shower pan)

3) an inch or two outside the pan (glass is on flat floor, but there is an inch or two of flat floor within the shower with no slope).

4) Change the tile layout so there isn't a grout line at the pan/floor transition. Put the panel directly above the pan/floor transition which no longer has a grout line. This one is less appealing to me but want to hear honest thoughts.

Thanks again for the help all!
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Unread 10-11-2022, 03:22 PM   #8
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Thanks for choosing Schluter products for your project, it seems like you've done a lot of the pre-planning. Installing the glass is always a bit tricky since you want to do it in a way that doesn't compromise the waterproof layer. Our Shower Handbook includes some information specfic to curbless showers on page 38 that may help (although not about where to place the glass specficially), or if you contact our customer service specialists they can connect you with someone that can walk you through your details.
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Unread 10-11-2022, 04:57 PM   #9
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Hey Dan, nice to meet you!

I tried to follow the link to the handbook but it didn't work from me. Could you try linking again? I actually did reach out to your customer service reps with regards to questions about envelope-style floors and to be honest I was pretty underwhelmed with the response. They basically just said to follow TCNA standards. When I followed up and asked for more detailed guidance with regards to achieving good coverage on Schluter pans with envelope cuts, they told me to contact the tile manufacturer...

I see at least one example in your online gallery showing this style of cut with a schluter pan: https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us...-inspirations/
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Unread 10-11-2022, 06:23 PM   #10
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Sorry about that, I fixed the link in the previous post so others wouldn't have that issue. There are lots of Youtube videos on our channel as well.
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Unread 10-11-2022, 06:33 PM   #11
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Have you considered a Schluter Deco-SG for your glass panel. I have a 4 ft wide glass panel that is in this channel and it is at the edge of the transition to the foam tray but sits on the floor not the foam tray. I also have a channel in the wall so there are no clips, it is a very clean look. Let me know if you want to see a picture.
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Unread 10-11-2022, 06:55 PM   #12
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If you're looking for a clean look, Phil, why not just set your fixed glass in a grout joint without any kind of hardware at all. Very clean look.
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Unread 10-12-2022, 04:16 PM   #13
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@Phil I hadn't actually seen these before, and just looked them up a bit. Interesting! So for the fixed-glass panel on the short-edge of the shower, that would eliminate the need for any clips on the horizontal surface? I'm guessing silicon is still used to prevent water from pooling in the channel? Would love to see some photos if you want to show it off! Do most glass installers know how to work with these? Are the profiles rigid enough where they would allow any bending during the tile process and maintain a straight enough line for the glass panels?

@CX, when you say, "set it in a grout joint", do you mean leave an extra-big 3/8 or 1/2 gap between tile, and actually place the glass down in between two tile? Couldn't that lead to chipping the glass between the two unfinished tile edges?
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Unread 10-12-2022, 04:24 PM   #14
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also, does the use of these profiles help or hurt the tolerance of the glass installation to out-of-plumb walls? Off the top of my head, it seems like it would help, because small gaps might be hidden inside of the profile?

On the other hand, it seems like if you used both a wall-channel and a floor-channel, then you had best be bang-on the installation of the two channels being exactly square with one another, since a glass panel wouldn't tolerate at all the two channels not being square..does that sound right?
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Unread 10-12-2022, 05:48 PM   #15
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Not great pictures but here you go. It just drops into the channel and both sides are caulked. There might be some pads on the bottom. Channel is very rigid. The channel is may 3/8 deep so it does allow for some out of plumb even when using a wall channel. Our installers came out and measured after I was done and if it was out of plumb they would have cut the glass to match. I think that is common. I do have two clips on the ceiling, really only needed one, not sure why they put one right next to the wall.
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