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Unread 01-06-2021, 09:13 AM   #76
ss3964spd
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And proud you should be, Skyler, it turned out very nice.

DIY'g clearly isn't for everyone but, as you have found, for those willing and able to take on the challenge the reward is usually well worth it.

My primary reason for doing myself generally isn't about saving money, though that's a perk. Given everything I did in my most recent bathroom remodel I'm certain it would have cost twice as much had I hired it all out. But I'm more driven by quality of work. It is just so terribly difficult to fine someone who will execute to standard I have, that I expect.

Looking forward to seeing you back for the next one. Looks like I'll be starting the demo on my next one this coming weekend.
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Unread 01-06-2021, 01:08 PM   #77
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Curb looks great to me. great job.
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Unread 06-13-2022, 07:42 AM   #78
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Unhappy

It is with much sadness that I've returned to this thread to ask for further advice. A year and a few months after completing this shower (and using it daily), my curb has failed.

A long crack along the long length of the curb has developed. It started as a small crack across the short length of the curb, under the glass door mount. Then, a crack perpendicular to that developed, though it remained small. Then, over the course of about a week, the crack spread to almost the full length of the curb. Subsequently, the crack has opened up about 1/32", where I can visibly see a separation. You'll notice in one of the photos that this separation makes it so that one half of the marble tile under the door mount is darker because it's wet, and the other side of this crack is light, because it's not wet.

There are no cracked titles along the sides of the curb.

The curb is built of 3 stacked 2x4"s – the bottom two are red cedar and the top is pine. Between the bottommost 2x4" and the concrete slab below is a generous spread of construction adhesive, meant to act as a moisture barrier between the slab and the lumber. The vinyl pan liner comes up over the curb and continues all the way to the floor on the other side. I am certain that the pan liner did not leak prior to tile, after tile, and prior to the (professional) installation of the door. I've attached an image where you can see the liner.

Over the liner was installed metal lathe, then it was built up with type M mortar.

Under the marble tile on top of the curb is a generous amount of thinset – more than there should be. I built the curb with too much slope into the shower, and when I was tiling it I removed some of the slope by building it up with thinset.

I have a few theories about what has caused this crack:
  1. The thinset on top was too thick and had air pockets. Over time, the weight of the door finally broke through one of these air pockets, which broke the tile in one (or more) spots, and the stress of this downward force caused the crack in the weak marble (it's 3/8" thick).
  2. The shower door installer punctured one of his screws through the top of the pan liner, which has let water intrude, which over time caused the pine board to swell (upwards?) and crack. However, when the door installer came, I had the installer physically show me the screws that he intended to use and based on math, they should not have touched the pan liner. But, perhaps he ended up using longer screws, or 3/8" tile + (at least) 1/4" thinset + 3/4 mortar on the curb are longer than the 1 1/4" screws the door installer used, somehow? Frankly at this point I don't know how long the screws were that were used, but at the time I evaluated this specifically and was comfortable with it.
  3. Moisture has made its way up through the slab (crossing the ineffective or incomplete? construction-adhesive-moisture-barrier), which has caused the wood to swell, which translated through to cracks on the top of the curb.

What do you think happened? And my next question, how should I fix this? I read in the John Bridge Kerdi book that he had several problems with wood curbs and he ended up replacing several with bricks. I figure at best, I need to remove the top row of tiles, discover and fix any air pockets, and retile the top of the curb. At worse, I need to open the curb up and replace the wood with bricks, while patching over any liner holes or tears that I cause or discover along the way.

I've included several photos showing the failure. I've tried to highlight the crack in some of the photos with a red line following close to the actual crack. Any help or advise is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Unread 06-13-2022, 10:01 AM   #79
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We're certainly sorry to hear that, Skyler.

First, I went back through the thread and could not see where you had actually ever done a MVER test on your slab in that bathroom. Was that ever done? If so, what was the result?

That cracking is not what I'd expect to see if the problem was the wood core of your curb getting wet and expanding, but it's certainly possible. The moisture coming up from the SOG is also possible, but that's usually not a problem (unless there is a very high MVER) with a traditionally built receptor. The only time I've known that to be a problem is with the newer direct bonded waterproofing membrane receptors where the wood curb is completely encapsulated in the membrane, including outside the curb onto the floor. I've never experienced, nor read here about that being a problem with a traditional liner installation.

And even if the liner was penetrated by the fasteners for your glass installation, I would expect to see the problem start with the sides of the curb moving outward, rather than cracking only in the top pieces. I suppose it's possible that the wood is swelling and the bond between the top tiles and the curb is sufficient to crack the soft marble tiles rather than separating at the joints between top and side tiles, but.......

Unfortunately, I can also not think of a good explanation for the cracking you actually have. And the only way I know to diagnose the problem would be to remove at least the glass enclosure and the cracked tiles.

Let's see if we can get some other opinions?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-13-2022, 11:00 AM   #80
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Hi CX,

Thanks for your reply – I was hoping you'd see my update.

Regarding an MVER, I did not do a test in the bathroom specifically, but I did test on the room opposite the back wall, and the hallway opposite the valve wall for the purposes of installing wood flooring, and I don't recall the exact results but I believe they were somewhere between 3-5 lbs. Certainly less than the maximum 8 lbs that was allowed by the flooring glue that I was considering using at the time. I will try to find the exact results and post them.
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Unread 06-14-2022, 09:03 AM   #81
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It looks like the crack is about the area where the stone and curb meet.

1. Did you make your curb out of mud and lath or did you fasten backer board on to it?

2. What if you tap around the 3 sides of the curb? Do you get some hollow sounding spots?

3. Also, it looks like the curb is mitered? Did you epoxy that mitered edge together?

4. Are people stepping on the top of the curb to enter and exit the shower?

also, if you put a straight edge across the curb, does the cracked part dive maybe down on the edge or dip at the crack?
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Unread 06-14-2022, 10:04 AM   #82
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Hi James,

I'll have to check on the hollow sounds and straight edge check later, but to respond to your other questions:

1. Lath and mud. There's no screws anywhere near the pan liner, except the door, which I don't *think* should have been long enough to penetrate it.
3. Mitered: yes. Epoxy: no. Just thinset and grout.
4. Very, very rarely. My wife and I have been pretty (unreasonably?) afraid to step on it.
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Unread 06-14-2022, 05:39 PM   #83
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A couple questions here. How did you fasten the lath to the curb? Did you staple/nail it on top or the inside? You probably won't know the answer to this but the screws may be short enough to not reach the liner but what about his drill bit? How deep did he drill?
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Unread 06-16-2022, 07:35 AM   #84
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OK, got some answers to ya'lls questions.

If I put a straight edge along the sides of the curb, no, I don't see any dips or bulges – nothing significant enough to be noticeable, at least.

I didn't fasten the lath to the curb in any way, I just squeezed it over so that it held itself in place. After I installed the lath, and after I mudded it, I did a 24hr leak test to ensure that I had not punctured the liner, and I had not.

I taped on the curb all over and didn't hear any hollow sounding voids. At least nothing that stood out.

Regarding the drill bit length, that is a good question and I have no idea. I spent so much time thinking about the length of the screws that the length of the drill bit didn't even cross my mind. I've drilled enough tapcons that you'd think I would have thought of this, but sadly I didn't. The glass installer has been around for 10+ years and has great online reviews, so, I would hope that he would know enough about shower construction to be safe, but who knows.
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Unread 06-16-2022, 05:43 PM   #85
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In my opinion, if he wanted to be safe, he wouldn't drill into the curb at all.
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Unread 06-16-2022, 06:10 PM   #86
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Davy,

What would you use instead? Just silicone?
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Unread 06-17-2022, 07:25 AM   #87
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It's hard to know what's going on here. Is it water intrusion and it's pushing the sides out? Some other sort of movement?

I think you're going to have to pull a couple of those tiles off the top and take a closer look.
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Unread 06-17-2022, 06:03 PM   #88
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The door installers I use never drill into the curb, only into the jamb. Silicone only on the curb.
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Unread 06-17-2022, 07:54 PM   #89
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The door installers try to scare you with the silicone option only, saying that if anyone ever fell in to it, it would topple over "sure, ok, I'm firm on not drilling in to my curb, OK I guess we can do it this way. I use a reputable company in Kansas City the drills in to 5 curbs a day but we have a understanding that they never drill in to mine,never had a problem!!!
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Unread 06-21-2022, 08:11 AM   #90
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My plan is to call the shower door installer back and ask him to kindly remove the door and later re-install it for a fair price. Then, I'll pull off a few tiles and see what I can see, and I'll share what I discover here.

Unfortunately it's going to be at least 3 months before I can think about tackling that. I'm still working on this renovation one room at a time, and I'm currently in the middle of remodeling my kitchen, so this will have to wait until after that.

Hopefully it's not a problem to keep using this shower until then. I figure if it's been leaking for the past 15 months or so, what's the harm in 3 more? As long as it doesn't get worse and over stress the door anchors into the walls.
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