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Unread 03-07-2007, 10:29 PM   #1
Podunk
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river rock shower floor

I have a customer that has selected a tumbled, river rock pattern for a shower floor. This pattern is a webbed square foot piece of smooth rocks that are somewhat irregular on the edges, but seem to fit together when laid out properly. Any tips on laying this stuff? Seems grouting will be a pain. And does it go under the adjoining shower wall or butt up against it?
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Unread 03-07-2007, 11:01 PM   #2
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hi pod - got a first name.

those irregular edges are called "puzzle cut" because they fit together like a puzzle. You have to orient them correctly for proper fit, and you need to experiment with different combinations to get the most seamless look. Done properly you will be hard pressed to find the seam when you are done.

they're really pretty easy to work with. One thing you don't have to worry about is "lippage" because I suspect there are all sorts of thicknesses so nothing is exactly the same height.

I think this is one case where you want to run the floor under the wall tile - much easier to get a straight line on the tile than the rock. you really get a nice clean look that way. Grouting was really not that bad, but you will use a LOT of grout.

check this out.

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Unread 03-07-2007, 11:38 PM   #3
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Hello Po' Dunk,
You'll find also that the area around the drain doesn't quite fit with the pebble pattern. If you just cut out the stones around the drain, you'll end up with big gaps in some places and tight joints in others. I prefer to take apart a sheet and hand-piece the area around the drain for a better fit.
I also recommend using a stiff brush to clean the stones after grouting, instead of a sponge. A whisk broom or a block brush can be used to knock the grout from the tops of the stones and to smooth the areas between them. Let the grout set up firm before brushing and keep a shop-vac handy. I think it's a superior finish for the pebbles mosaics.
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Unread 03-08-2007, 10:45 PM   #4
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yo, Po! (is that a real name?)

one advantage us DIYers have over the pros is often time. While I'm way to slow to feed myself doing this stuff, I'm not "on the clock" either. It took me some time and lots of trial-and-error, but here's a pic of my drain. All the cuts were made with a 3-1/2" diamond blade on a RotoZip. A couple of the stones came loose and had to be set by hand. All-in-all a real PITA, but it worked out. Grout is SpectraLock, btw. I would not want to do this with a round drain.
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Unread 03-23-2007, 05:03 PM   #5
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Question

My wife & I are a few weeks away from beginning a makeover in our tiny master bath that features a smallish stand-up shower (54" x 30"). My wife has picked out some nice 12" slate tiles for the walls and she really likes the idea of using pebble tile for the floor.

I wondered if anyone has dealt with Natural Stone Outlet (naturalstoneoutlet [dot] com). The price certainly seems reasonable. We're leaning towards either the "Ocean" or "River Rock" pattern. I'd sure appreciate hearing from someone else who has used this company or their product - buying something like this sight unseen is a little daunting...

Also, how much overage do I need to factor when purchasing something like this? Given that 54" x 30" = 11.25 sq ft., would I be okay to buy 12 or is that cutting it too close?

Btw, Sandbagger, that square drain grill looks great!

Rob
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Unread 03-23-2007, 05:43 PM   #6
jadnashua
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Double-check with your local inspector...30" may be too narrow - it was quoted here recently - I thought it was 32".
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Unread 03-24-2007, 10:27 AM   #7
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Rob - the math doesn't work that way, especially for this type of 'tile' and an area this small. Since you are looking at a nominal 12x12, best bet is to round UP to the next whole foot. That would be a 5x3 - giving you 15 "tiles." That should give you plenty to work with and allow you to move the pattern around to get the best fit to walls and drain.

With the puzzle cut you don't actually get a full 12x12 on an individual sheet. You have those tabs and slots that interlock with adjacent sheets. When you get to a wall you must either cut the tabs or fill the slots. There's a lot of finessing to a floor of this nature and you want plenty of room to adjust. Plan on a lot of dry fit time before you mix any pookey.

if that stone place is the one in San Diego I think I got several samples from them. Name sounds familiar. We were close to going with them before we stumbled across something we liked in a local shop we were just cruising through. Friendly folks and easy to deal with as I recall.

and yes, I'd look close at that shower width.
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Unread 04-07-2007, 06:37 AM   #8
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That is a great looking floor. I'm doing a similar shower floor with riverbed stones with the hand laid patter matched sheets.

Question is, what size trowel do I use for the thinset? I would think a deep "v" notch would work the best for coverage. What size though? Stone are anywhere from 3/4" to 1 1/2" dia., random pattern.

Also for cutting, I have a rotozip, use a dry blade? Diamond?

Thanks
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Unread 04-07-2007, 08:54 AM   #9
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Welcome aboard, Rob. Hi Bob.

Bob, try standing barefoot on those tiles. Some people are not comfortable doing that. I'm one of them. The flat sawn stones work much better.
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Unread 04-07-2007, 09:21 AM   #10
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Art

Nice job on the floor! Looks great.
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Unread 04-07-2007, 09:23 AM   #11
simpsonb
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Too late John, already bought them . We did try standing on them and they are very comfortable actually. When I grout I plan on bringing up the grout a bit so I don't get too any deep pockets for water to sit in. This will also add to the comfort level. But even w/o grout these stones are comfortable. That was one of our concerns when choosing these and tested them out first. Thanks for asking though

What trowel size should I use to lay them?

Thanks
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Unread 04-07-2007, 10:31 AM   #12
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Last time I installed them I used a 1/4 by 1/4 square notch, and I didn't get on the tiles until after the grout had dried. Maybe I'm just a tenderfoot, eh?
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Unread 04-07-2007, 02:03 PM   #13
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Thanks John, I was concerned about coverage with a square notch but the stone are big enough I think it will work. Could I use a deeper "V" notch? Any advantages?

I thought my wife would be sensitive with these stones because she has very sensitive feet, mine not so much, but she's fine with them. We wanted something different and I guess this is it. She didn't like to look of the flat cut stones but these she loved, me too. We're putting 12x12 Tuscany Travertine on the walls with a darker black vain in it to compliment.

I was thinking of doing the entire floor first, stone and grout, let it dry a week and then start the walls right on the floor. I would cover it a pad and cardboard to protect it.

I'm putting in the Kerdi as we speak, just taking a break now, your book has been a big help! Thanks for taking the time to write it!!
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Unread 04-07-2007, 02:15 PM   #14
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Hi Bob, the deeper the notch, the higher the thinset will stand and possibly give you trouble when grouting. With pebbles, you can get by with a little steeper pitch on the shower floor. Another 1/4 inch from wall to drain will make for less standing water and it won't be any more slippery with that many grout joints.

I'm a tenderfoot too, I didn't like the way the pebbles felt and I had my socks on. The homeowners loved it. I do like the looks though.
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Unread 04-07-2007, 02:21 PM   #15
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Bob - I used a v-notch on mine, but can't recall the depth.

I would do the walls first, but you'll want to run the floor pebbles under the wall tiles where they meet. That way you don't have to worry so much about trimming the pebbles too straight and you'll have a nice straight corner. If you're doing a straight pattern you can use your ledgers to tile 2nd row up, set the floor, and then do the first row trimming as needed. Or you can find a spacer that works as a gage to set the first row, then floor last. That's what I did and it turned out 1/2" drywall was just right. Actually I didn't have a first row - we did a diamond and the spacer was the only way to go for us.
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