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Unread 04-11-2021, 08:49 AM   #16
midwest girl
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CX - thank you for your reply! I really appreciate it. Also, I do apologize for the emotional outpouring in my post last night. My health issues have had a significant impact on my life - and therefore, my SO’s life. Last night, I felt like I had to defend myself - and prove that I wasn’t being overly cautious/paranoid about the install because of my health vs. if I was an average “healthy” person.

My SO thinks that all of my “issues” with the shower began simply because I received some inaccurate advice from Houzz on Wednesday - which then led to a flurry of “reckless googling” on the Internet. What he failed to understand is that I didn’t just happen to stumble across this forum in the past few days. I actually discovered JBF about a year ago in anticipation of moving back into my home. I found the discussion threads very interesting - and just kept clicking away! Also, I’ve not been randomly reading stuff on the Internet. I’ve only received my information from (i) JBF (and JB’s books), (ii) some pros on Houzz (which info I confirmed by reading posts on JBF), and (iii) watching installation videos re: Kerdi on YouTube uploaded by Schluter.

Thanks again for your help. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow morning . . .
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Unread 04-11-2021, 08:56 AM   #17
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CX's points are correct. I am considered an expert as well as a voting standards committee member. He wants proof I can email you a CV.
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Unread 04-11-2021, 09:08 AM   #18
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I should have added that I've had access to Dave Gobis for the better part of 20 years, too.
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Unread 04-11-2021, 09:42 AM   #19
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Dani, at this point you know more about installing a shower correctly than your installer. It's not your fault, he should know everything we've talked about. I believe Dave Gobis is the one that said that 4 out of 5 showers are built wrong. We see this in nearly every shower we tear out. It's not often we tear out a shower just because it's old but it's usually from installation errors similar to what we see in yours.
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Unread 04-11-2021, 11:03 AM   #20
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I am so glad that I started this thread yesterday. All of your comments/advice has made me feel much better.

Dave - I may take you up on that. Hopefully, I won’t need to!

CX - your comment continues to show how different this forum is to the other one. Made me smile.

Davy - I actually find all of the technical information interesting - guess that’s my “nerdy” side coming out (Chem E undergrad degree - both of my daughters tease me about being a nerd!).

My SO actually asked me how long I plan to live in this house - implying that if it fails, it won’t be for several years - and I’ll have sold it. I told him that I have NO IDEA - maybe I’ll die in this house. Here’s the thing - even if I knew I was going to sell it in just a few years, (i) this is NOT just an aesthetic issue, (ii) it’s not okay to pass a problem on to someone else (plus, a Seller’s Disclosure Statement is required when selling a house here - unless the it’s sold “as is” - seems like a red flag to me), and (iii) why would you pay for something that you know is defective? Would you purchase a car (paying fair market value) knowing that the chassis is defective???!!

BTW - I don’t want to give the wrong impression. My SO is a good guy. I think that his stress at work + my stress over this shower = NOT GOOD.

FYI - I haven’t spoken to my SO since our “discussion” last night . . .

I sent the SC a text this morning. I simply related my understanding of how a clamping drain works, and how a Kerdi surface membrane works with a Kerdi bonding flange drain. I then asked if he would explain how the water drainage works in the shower as currently constructed. I acted like I was just confused. He sent a text back saying that he’s happy to fully explain tomorrow morning - he also said that if I’m uncomfortable, he will rip it all out.

I feel “guilty” about having to ask him to rip everything out. I guess I just need to remember that I raised the issue when there was only a liner sitting on the subfloor . . .
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Unread 04-11-2021, 03:10 PM   #21
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I wouldn't hesitate to have them tear it out and start over. Showers built like this might last for years before showing a problem but so many times they last only a couple years or less. I replaced one a couple months ago that was only 6 years old. Not only were the joists under the shower rotten but extended out 4-5 ft out beyond the shower. It ended up doing 30K in damage.
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Unread 04-11-2021, 07:13 PM   #22
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Dani, don't feel guilty. You are paying to have a properly constructed shower built in your home. If he cannot do that, find someone who can.

Davy is right, you know more than your installer. In fact, there are hundreds if not thousands of weekend warrior/DIY'ers here on this forum who know more than your guy....why? Because we have listened to CX, Davy, Dave G and many, many more professionals/experts here on this forum.

Hang in there and don't let him do it wrong!
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Unread 04-12-2021, 08:12 AM   #23
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Davy and Snets - thanks for your support re: tearing it out. It’s 9 a.m. - my SC will be here shortly. . .

On Saturday night, my SO asked me why we could t just buy a Kerdi adapter drain vs. ripping everything out. I explained that part of the Kerdi adapter drain needed to be installed prior to the deck mud. . . So, he found a possible “work around” for it.

My SO apparently decided to do some research on JBF. Below is a screenshot of the text. He’s linked a thread on JBF from back in 2006. The OP asked if there was a way to attach a Kerdi drain to the current drain which had already been installed in deck mud.

If this is an acceptable solution vs. ripping everything out - I’m all for it! I have no idea how messy it will be to remove the deck mud at this point - I’d love to avoid having any extra dust running through the house.

The difference I see between the thread he sent me vs. our situation is that the OP (i) was doing the work, and (ii) changed his/her mind about the type of shower system after the fact. In this situation, I thought that I was having a traditional mortar bed shower pan installed that complies with code (pre-slope). I know a lot more about Kerdi than I did a few days ago.

Based upon some of my reading on JBF, using Kerdi for a surface waterproof membrane may be preferable when installing a marble mosaic tile on the shower floor (less chance of discoloration due to tiles retaining water + less chance of efflorescence). So, Kerdi may be the better option?

Please let me know your thoughts about the proposed fix. I apologize if I should have added a link to the thread - I seem to remember reading something that said I’m not supposed to do that (either in the “rules” for the forum or maybe in someone’s thread where they linked to another JBF thread).

Again, if we can fix this without ripping everything out, and be in basically the same place as if it was installed originally, then that’s perfect!

Thanks!
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Unread 04-12-2021, 08:20 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dani
Based upon some of my reading on JBF, using Kerdi for a surface waterproof membrane may be preferable when installing a marble mosaic tile on the shower floor (less chance of discoloration due to tiles retaining water + less chance of efflorescence). So, Kerdi may be the better option?
No evidence to support that I'm aware of, Dani. A direct bonded waterproofing membrane (Kerdi, etc.) may exacerbate the problems.

The only way I'm aware of to avoid problems with the use of light colored marble on shower floors is to avoid use of marble in that application.

Using the Kerdi Adapter Drain will raise the height of your shower floor substantially and will require the installation of another mud bed on top of the one you currently have. If you elect to use a direct bonded waterproofing membrane for your shower receptor, I'd still recommend removal of what you've got, installation of an appropriate bonding flange drain and a new mortar bed properly constructed with at least the minimum slope to the drain.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-12-2021, 10:33 AM   #25
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CX - that’s exactly what I told him on Saturday. I don’t want to have a HUGE shower curb. I told him that another layer would need to be added - which would require that the curb be raised.

The thread he read, offered a suggestion of removing only part of the cement - just directly around the drain - in order to make room for the Kerdi drain. My thought is - while it would be less cement removed = less work (?) = less mess (?) - if you’re removing part of the deck mud, why not just remove all of it? That way it can be done correctly.

Oh - I received a text from my SC - he’s not feeling well today and will be here tomorrow morning instead.

Question - while I’m not soliciting advice over on Houzz anymore - I did read through some comments. Attached below, is a screen shot of one of the comments. It has to do with missing blocking between the studs - I’ve asked for clarification. He’s looking at the same photos I posted originally.

Thanks!
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Unread 04-12-2021, 11:42 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dani
if you’re removing part of the deck mud, why not just remove all of it? That way it can be done correctly.
Precisely. That's what you want done.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dani
Oh - I received a text from my SC - he’s not feeling well today and will be here tomorrow morning instead.
Or he's actually doing research into the correct method of creating your shower receptor. This would be a good thing.

If you change to a direct bonded waterproofing membrane type of construction, the missing blocking is no longer an issue. But the comment by Creative tile is otherwise correct. And while he's also correct that you can locate a professional consultant through the NTCA, that's not something you need at this point and such services are not inexpensive. Dave Gobis (earlier) is one of the consultants you'll find listed there, by the way.

If you were to add a geographic location to your User Profile, you may be able to locate a professional installer here on the site to replace your current contractor if necessary.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-12-2021, 08:24 PM   #27
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Dani, I believe you are also welcome to post in the Professional's Hangout Forum to find someone on this board in your area who may be able to help.

If that is not the case, someone chime in, but I have seen such posts over there with replies. Lots of helpful folks here like you have already found out.
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Unread 04-12-2021, 09:19 PM   #28
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I will update my profile and add my location. Hopefully, I won’t need to find another tile professional, but who knows. . .

It appears that most of the professionals prefer a surface waterproof membrane vs. a traditional mortar bed - is that correct? If I’m going to start from scratch, I want to have the best system installed. The next question is - how do I know if he’s the right person to install it????? Do most professionals attend some type of training class or do most learn it directly from working with another professional who has mastered the system? I apologize if I’m “over-analyzing” this.

CX - if my SC is not a kerdi expert, and I go with a traditional mortar bed shower pan installation, would you mind explaining “blocking” to me? If it’s too involved, I can research it. Just let me know.

FYI - I asked the pro on Houzz (who pointed out the blocking issue) if he would elaborate. He hasn’t responded. That seems to happen a lot on that forum - people make comments about something being done incorrectly, but they don’t provide any details. At least in this instance, the pro who made the comment actually included what the issue was - many times someone will just say something like, “Wow - you’re F’d!” - and that’s it!!!

After reading several thread on here where you all have helped people install their own showers, I almost want to do this myself. At least I would know that no steps had been skipped and the right materials had been used. . .

Don’t get too scared, you all have been too nice/helpful for me to purposely torture you like that!

I just realized that my assumption above about most professionals using Kerdi was logically flawed. I’ve been reading threads on JBF where individuals have been looking for guidance on using Kerdi. The pros responding with advice are probably ones who have chosen to use Kerdi vs. traditional installs. I haven’t read nearly enough general shower installation threads to be able to see which system the majority of professionals prefer.
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Unread 04-12-2021, 09:59 PM   #29
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Dani,

The wood blocking they are referring to is like the pic in post 17 here. The horizontal wood "blocks" between the studs at the bottom of the wall.

It provides the necessary backing for the deck mud and liner.
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Unread 04-12-2021, 10:12 PM   #30
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A prudent installer will take training to understand and practice how to install new materials, but that isn't a requirement, and doesn't always happen. Some will then end up getting a less than ideal end result. It depends on how good they are at reading, interpreting, and then executing the manufacturer's instructions. A first timer can produce a good result if he does his research.

There are other surface waterproofing materials out there, and they all will work when installed properly. I prefer a sheet membrane, like Kerdi, over liquid ones, as there's less chance of runs, pinholes, thin spots, or excess material, which can affect the overall end result. With a sheet, the critical spots are the seams.

Building a shower is very detail oriented, but not technically hard. You DO need to have some understanding to make it all work right. What one might THINK is right, may not be, and that error can cascade to an unreliable end result. And, what's right with one build method and set of materials often is not correct when using others.

The TCNA handbook is the industry bible that refers to the relevant specs and codes, so it doesn't stand alone as a total reference. It contains numerous reliable ways to build a shower...one needs to pick one, and use it. They each offer their own advantages.

If you want to see how one builds a Kerdi shower, view some of the many videos over on their website www.schluter.com

Noble and others make some sheet membranes, and Noble is a bit older than Schluter. Schluter has facilities all across the world and has been doing it for nearly as long.

In one class, it was referenced that somewhere between 70-80% of the tiled showers built in the USA were not done to industry standards. So, looking at it that way, having one done right puts you in the minority by a 4:1 ratio bad:good. That's pretty sad. That's probably why many people may love the way a tiled shower looks, but say they'd never want one for the problems they create.

A shower doesn't have to leak to have problems, and many of those 'failed' ones may look great on the surface. What's most important in a shower is the guts; the tile are a decorative, wear surface. Unfortunately, people tend to judge the quality of the shower by how it looks, not how it functions. One can fail in months, but it may take years, depending on use, and exactly what's wrong. A properly built shower drains, so there's no standing water, either above or beneath the surface. Deck mud on top of a conventional liner is very porous, will normally in a well used shower stay damp, but not wet, since the water that does get beneath will seep out and down the drain fairly rapidly. With no slope on the waterproofing layer, it can and will accumulate, at least to some level.

What the industry catalogs as marble covers a very wide spectrum from just a little harder than limestone that isn't very strong and can wick moisture, to one that is very dense and hard that is (almost) impervious...some marble is definitely not recommended for use in wet areas, some is okay. It can look wonderful...when it's new, but that may not last. Many things will etch and potentially damage marble, even the densest stuff, so you must be very careful about any cleaners you use. The safer bet is a good porcelain tile that is made to look like marble. SOme is crap, some is very difficult to tell from the real stuff, but a porcelain absorbs a VERY small amount of moisture slowly, and usually will dry out in between uses.

FWIW, I'd have a copy of the Schluter Kerdi Handbook on hand as a reference, either digitally, or print a hard copy (or they'll mail you one). Using the materials and tools correctly is critical to a good end result. Note, using all Schluter approved materials will involve NO VOCs, which, in your situation is probably a very good thing.
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