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        Shower walls built into shower pan or above it? Sign In/Join 
        posted
        I've read through several tutorials online on how to build a shower pan and noticed that some people have different techniques with installing the cement board walls. Some install the walls before the shower pan mud pack so the walls are imbedded in the pan (to secure it since you can't put screws in the bottom ~6" of the walls). Other people install the wall after the shower pan is created (about 1/8-1/4" above pan) and don't have screws in the bottom ~6".

        I wanted to get the thoughts from those who prefer one technique over another and why. Are there any real advantages or disadvantages to either method?

        Thanks.
         
        Posts: 15 | Location: MN | Registered: Oct 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        The timing on the backer installation really doesn't matter. What is important is that everything overlaps from the top. The liner on the walls must overlap the liner used for the pan. As long as you are using a waterproof material like concrete backerboard, it really makes no difference if it's installed above the mortar of the base or if it's embedded in it.

        Generally, for good construction, it is best to leave your backer material above the material used for the base. This come out from way back when water resistsnt drywall was used as a backer. This material must remain off the base otherwise it would wick moisture.

        So basically, it's better to overlap and keep the backer off the base but either way can work as long as you use the right material.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10428 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        Concrete backer board is not water proof!
        Your still going to need a water proffer like Red Guard to seal out water.


        joecaption
         
        Posts: 18032 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        In re-reading my post to clarify: Concrete board is waterproof - in that it will not be harmed over time by being immersed in water. There's a piece of Hardibacker on display at one of my suppliers - it's been inside a plexiglass box filled with water since the late-90's. So if it's installed in a place where it gets wet frequently it will not be harmed.

        However, concrete backerboard is not waterproof in the way that it will repel all water. Tile, grout and concrete board will all allow moisture to pass through.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10428 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Mr T,

        It's difficult to answer your question without knowing which method of installation you're doing.

        In general, I like to install the wall backer first and then the deck mud to lock the walls in, as you mentioned. But that can vary because some methods require a pre-slope and others do not when a surface waterproofing method is used.

        Gotta know more.

        Concrete backer is NOT a waterproofing method in a shower system. Yes, water does not hurt it, but in a shower system the idea is to keep water within the shower. Neither tile, grout or concrete board can do that totally. A shower has to be waterproofed before any tile is installed. So again, need to know the installation method.

        * Hardiebacker or Durock samples in a water filled glass cube. It's a trick of sorts. The water used is distilled or purified and therefore neither contains nor picks up any bacteria. Of course nothing bad will happen. Since both products are made with cement, we know cement becomes stronger and harder as it ages especially if kept damp. I have a suspicion Hardie can swell a little since it's 90% cement, but it's impossible to notice on a small piece.

        Jaz


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks all for the feedback.

        joecaption - I understand that the concrete backer board is not water proof, I planned to have plastic stapled to the studs behind the backer for any moister that may get through. Is a water proffer like Red Guard really necessary for this?

        JazMan - sorry for not providing more detail initially. My plan is to use the quick pitch sticks to create the pre-slope then place an oatley membrane on and then do the final mud pack (again using the quick pitch sticks). As mentioned above I planned to put plastic on the walls before the cement board is installed.

        My concern with having the cement board above the pan is that since there can't be any screws in the bottom ~6" will there be some flex or movement in the board over time that could affect the bottom row of tiles?

        My concerns with having the cement board in the pan is 1) water is more likely to wick up the walls (with having the plastic on the studs there should be no issues with this but still something to consider) 2) if for any reason the walls need to be removed then the whole shower pan will need to be redone as well.

        I think I am leaning toward completing the shower pan and then install the cement board about 1/8-1/4" above the pan.
         
        Posts: 15 | Location: MN | Registered: Oct 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        The tile board gets waterproofed on the face of it.
        Do not use any plastic behind it, that will form a double vapor barrier.
        Tile board in not water proof so yes you have to use a product like Red Gard.


        joecaption
         
        Posts: 18032 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I would do a completely waterproof/water tight Kerdi shower instead, or at least a hybrid version. But if you wanna continue with the traditional method.......

        Do the pre-slope. Installed the shower pan. Install the concrete backer on the walls leaving 1/4 - 1/2" gap at the bottom. Caulk this gap. Place the final deck mud. Build the curb. What's your plan for that? Careful because if you fasten the backer on the curb the shower pan will now be full of holes. There's so many variables on building a good shower.

        That's why it's best to build a surface applied membrane shower. Why allow the substrate to get wet every time the shower is used?

        Jaz

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: JazMan,


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks for the feedback.

        joecaption – my understanding is the plastic behind the cement board is the all the vapor barrier I need, it’s probably preferred but not necessary to waterproof the face of it. I know I could go with a Red Guard but that’s more time and money I don’t want to spend on this.

        JazMan – I would have gone with a Kerdi shower if this was for my main bathroom but this is a small guest bathroom that will not be used very often so I couldn’t see spending that much for the shower.

        I will continue with my original approach of doing it the “old” way. For the curb I will be using the curb perfect kit which screws to the outside of the curb so there are no holes inside the shower pan. Will the cement board walls really get that wet? I would think the tile and sealed grout would keep most of the water from soaking through so the plastic behind the walls will be just fine.

        Thanks.
         
        Posts: 15 | Location: MN | Registered: Oct 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        Big mistake.
        Your getting suggestion from people that do this stuff for a living and our reputation is only as good as our last job.
        It's your house but your going about this wrong and at some point it's going to fail because of you not willing to spent the little bit extra to do it right.
        Grout is not water proof, sealer is for nothing more then keeping the grout from getting stained and makes it easier to clean not 100% water proof it.
        Sealers wash and wear off just from use and cleaning.
        Once the water gets to the tile board the tiles will start falling off.
        If it got though the tile board to the vapor barrier it will be to late. There already would have been mold growing in the wall and loose tiles by then.


        joecaption
         
        Posts: 18032 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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