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Old 07-08-2001, 11:40 AM   #1
Amelia
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Wink

Hi Rob, hope you're having a wonderful Sunday! the shower pan will be installed over the plywood subfloor. Although we will need to install some sort of Vapor barrier I assume, correct? thanks for your speedy reply Rob! Talk with you soon.
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Old 07-08-2001, 03:26 PM   #2
Rob Z
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Hi Amelia

This is the way I have installed countless shower bases, and the efforts will result in a solid, creak free base that is level (helps with the tiling) regardless of the subfloor (frequently NOT level).

Follow the rough in direction for location and size of hole in the subfloor to accomadate the drain.

Staple down roofing paper or 6 mil poly with expanded metal lath over that. Leave the hole for the pipe uncovered.

Test fit to make sure the opening is correct for clearance, square condition, etc.

Mix sand and portland cement in the ratio of about 4 to 1 (or use a premix like Sakrete Sand Mix) to a very wet consistency. How wet? If you are using a mason's hoe with two holes in the blade, when you push it into the wet mud, "fingers" of mortar will push through like Play-Do.

On a flat surface, temporarily prop or shim the base so that it reads level. Look underneath to estimate how much space needs to be filled - it may be as little as 1/2" at the drain and as much as 1 1/2" at the edge. It will vary based on the brand that you buy.

Trowel out the wet mud in amounts slightly more than needed to fill the space estimated from before.

Set the base down in the mud. Stand in it, press on it, push it in so that you can get the base level in all directions. If it ends up just a little off the subfloor it's okay. If it is more than 1/2" or so off the subfloor, pull it up and remove a little mud and reset. Strike off any mud that has oozed out of the front. Mud that has oozed out the sides or back is okay to leave alone.

At this point you will know whether your mud was wet enough or is too dry. If the base can't be pushed down, it is too dry !

Stay off the base for a day and let the mortar harden.

Next step-hooking up the drain!

Rob

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Old 07-08-2001, 03:33 PM   #3
Rob Z
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Amelia

Have you bought the base yet? If so, what brand is it?

Is there access from below? It is easier that way, and slightly changes the explanation.

Rob
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Old 07-08-2001, 09:31 PM   #4
Amelia
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Prefab shower

Hey Rob! O.k..... yes we have purchased the shower stall already, and no, there is not access from below. Yhe shower stall that we purchased is from American Shower & Bath (ASB) and it's a Neo-Angle Shower Enclosure kit 36" X 38". My husband has already replumbed, so that the drain hole is in the right spot and we put the "shower pan part" down to be sure everything fit properly, and it does.(just to see if it fit, not permanent or anything, we haven't done anything permanent except plumbing) SO, basically, we need to know what to do next. We will be tiling the floor and the back walls of the shower to match. the kit already provides the front enclosure portion with lovely glass doors. We purchased this kit at Home Depot. I REALLY, REALLY appreciate your help Rob!!
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Old 07-09-2001, 06:19 AM   #5
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Amelia

I'll check in today when I get home. Get ready to be a plumber.

Rob
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Old 07-09-2001, 07:56 PM   #6
Rob Z
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Hi Amelia

I'm not familiar with the brand you have, so I don't know if it has an integral drain (built in) or one that you have to assemble onto the base. If it has the type that you assemble, then follow the directions and use clear silicone on the underside of the drain flange. Apply it gerously, and use mineral spirits to clean up the excess that oozes out after tightening.

You may need a large pair of slip joint "Channel Lock" style of pliers to tighten the big nut on the underside of the drain. Don't forget the rubber and the fiber washer.

Most of the drain fittings I see are made of ABS (black plastic) and can be broken by over tightening.

Hopefully, your trap (below the floor) is braced or other wise supported. When you lower the pan down over the pipe it can push down a bit on the trap.

Set the base in mud as discussed before. Let the mud firm up before the next step. Make sure there is enough pipe coming up into the drain.

Lubricate with liquid soap the rubber gasket that came with the drain and slide it down over the pipe in the area formed between the drain and the pipe. You may have to use a flat bit screwdriver or a small block of wood to coax it down tight. Sometimes it's a battle getting them in, sometimes it's pretty easy.

I use an inflatable rubber balloon and stop up the pipe and fill the base with water. Any leaks around the rubber gasket will reveal themself in the form of tiny air bubbles.

A 2" inflatable balloon by Cherne ( the brand I buy) costs about $20. It inflates to 40 psi with a bicycle pump. Even if you buy one of these for only this project, it may be worth it to catch a leak before water ends up downstairs.

I hope this helps. Let us know how you did...

Rob
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Old 07-14-2001, 03:43 PM   #7
Amelia
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Question ???

Rob, Hi again. I'm not sure we are on the same page as far as the shower pan is concerned. The shower pan is prefab fiberglass and my husband already plumbed the drain and is in the process of installing the "braces" for the shower doors and plumb the shower head. The shower came as a whole shower kit from Home Depot and the directions didn't say anything about setting the fiberglass base onto mud?? I am mostly concerned about tiling the back walls and floor, so it's water-tight. See it's a corner shower kit, so it sits in the corner of the bathroom and you can tile the two walls that make up the back of the shower and then the doors close out the front of the enclosure. Do you see more what I mean? How far above the shower head should I tile as well? I hope you get this, thanks so much for your advice and keep it coming!!!
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Old 07-14-2001, 04:24 PM   #8
Bud Cline
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Just want to stick my head in the door to say that setting the base in mud is a good idea. You may not agree now but give it two years.
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Old 07-14-2001, 05:24 PM   #9
John Bridge
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Hi Amelia,

Bud is right. Using a little mortar under the pan will keep it from flexing while you stand in it. Even the best of acrylic bases will experience fatigue after a while.
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Old 07-22-2001, 04:56 PM   #10
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Question Expanded metal lath???????

Rob, Hi again! and thank you John and Bud for adding your comments as well. O.k.... we are currently ready to put the mud bed down to set the shower base in, but I have a couple of questions first. In you first entry where you told us how to set the shower base in a good, level, mud bed, you said to "Staple down roofing paper or 6 mil poly with expanded metal lath over that."
1. What the heck is "expanded metal lath."???
2. We will be stapling the 6 mil poly all over the bathroom floor and walls, but should we also put the "expanded metal lath," over that as well; everywhere we put down the 6 mil poly?
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Old 07-22-2001, 06:10 PM   #11
Amelia
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OH! and...

OOps! I forgot to ask you something on my previous thread. What is the best way to cut the cement backerboard to get the most accurate cut?? We have every kind of saw pretty much and if you could recommend a particular blade (diamond coated, etc.)OR do you recommend cutting it by hand? Please try to be pretty detailed, my husband gets irritated if I'm ever vague at all. He's a "black and white" guy and I'm a "grey" girl for the most part.
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Old 07-22-2001, 06:28 PM   #12
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Hi Amelia

I cut cement board with a grinder with a dry cutting diamond blade. It's very accurate. You can get an el-cheapo Dewalt grinder at HD with a dry cutting wheel for about $100. If not, use a carbide scoring tool made for cement board and a rub brick to clean up the edges. Cost for the two: about $10-15.

Expanded metal lath is a nasty product that is galvanized and requires tin snips to cut. The pattern of the grid looks like little diamonds about 1/4" across. Don't be surprised if the experts at HD don't know what it is or where it is. You need to install the poly and lath anywhere that you are floating mud. Poly can be installed behind cement board on shower walls. Poly is never installed behind / under cement board on a floor.

See if this sku number works at your local HD for lath (722-000). I have to tell them each time I go in to buy it cos they dont know what it is or how to look it up.

Keep us posted!


rob

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Old 07-22-2001, 06:57 PM   #13
Bri
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I'm Lost...if Amelia is putting in an acrylic shower base..then why is she putting wire lath? If the wire is for the mortar under the shower basin, then all I have to say to that is "Good Grief"!!...talk about over kill. I'm all for doing the best job possible..but let's not get silly.

(And may I apoligize ahead of time if I don't know what I'm talking about)

Brian
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Old 07-22-2001, 07:20 PM   #14
John Bridge
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Bri, you have to remember that Rob was schooled by Michael Byrne. Overkill is the name of the game. I'll never accuse him of building anything that'll fall apart, though.
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Old 07-22-2001, 08:06 PM   #15
Rob Z
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It may be over kill to set a shower receptor in a base of mud (with a piece of lath to reinforce the mud), but it does solve the following problems:

1. out of level perimeter to set tile on, because the subfloor isn't level
2. creaking and flexing shower floor that causes numerous complaints from homeowners, which can't be fixed after the installation is complete
3. flexing floor that eventually causes the rubber gasket to leak

The manufacturers of the brands I have used all say in their instructions to bed the product in a bed of mortar or hard setting plaster (not drywall mud).

I think the extra hour (or less)it takes to mix some mud and set a shower receptor in (or a bath tub) is well worth the effort.

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