Tile Shower pan advice needed!

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by clapped_r6, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. clapped_r6

    clapped_r6 The Spoad Warrior

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    rebuilding a downstair bathroom, on concrete slab.

    i had pulled out the 36x36 70's fiberglass shower earlier. galvanized plumbing was leaking.

    i'd really like to tile the shower instead of a replacement fiberglass unit, and ran across this:

    http://www.schluter.com/8_4_kerdi_shower_kit_6551.aspx

    a friend of mine said he wouldn't install that particular system, he thought embedding the waterproof goretex like layer in mud was asking for trouble.

    does anybody have any particular recommendation of a good shower pan to tile over? i don't want leaks, i don't want to pull it apart in 5 years, i want "one and done".
    #1
  2. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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    Doing it right involves making the box of wood, lining it with a rubber membrane (that's about 1/16" thick) laid in such a way that it is folded with no cuts on the floor or walls for the first couple of feet, set the drain, lay the bed of mortar, properly pitched on the floor and door dam so the water runs to the drain set the drain trim, then tile and grout.
    I think.

    Laying the membrane and mortar bed properly is the hard part, and that's where the leaks are going to happen if it gets done wrong. That IS the way high end homes have their showers made though.

    It's worth spending a few hundred $$$ to have a good tile guy come in to do the pan at least to the point it is ready for you to lay tile on it.
    #2
  3. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    I just did one using the Kirdie Schluter system, it makes good sense so I'm hoping it never leaks. Expensive stuff but hopefully worth it.
    #3
  4. Joetool

    Joetool Been here awhile

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    Mortar beds and rubber membranes are old school outdated tech. Your friend does not understand how the system works and has obviously never used it. Schluter systems when installed EXACTLY according to spec will outlast your house.
    I had to re-do ALL the tile in the Denver Mortons restaurant several years ago. Mortons is a national high end steakhouse chain. I had to warranty the work. They regularly hose down the floor with boiling water (this is there whole backline, where the cook) I used the 'Kerdi system" which is almost like a floating floor, and the membrane on the walls. They have been very happy with it.
    Every shower pan built with the mortar bed system I have ever pulled out, had cracks and leaked. They dont flex at all and tat is part of there downfall.
    I have down a lot of "high end homes" and all were Kerdi. A lot of old tile guys just don't want to change to a newer technology . Kerdi has been proven to death in Europe.
    Using a mortar bed in this day and age is like using a typewriter to send e-mail...
    #4
  5. scottalot

    scottalot Blank Space

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    What about buying a pre-fabbed pan made out of compostie or whatever it is they're made from.. A little expensive, but would think they would last forever as well..
    #5
  6. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Nothing wrong with using shower pan material, and 1/2 durock on the walls, been doing that for 25 years, the ditra or schluter system just puts more money into the tile suppliers hands in materials and will cost more on the install. The pan and durock keeps supply cost down and allows the installer to still make the same amount of money on the job.

    In Kentucky a typically shower pan install $175, durock about $25/sheet labor and materials, $25/sq ft for shower mud floor., compare the cost of that to the ditra system materials.

    The ditra system was made to take some of the craftmanship out of tile installations. Which ever intall you go with make sure the person doing the install is not just a hack and don't go w/ the low ball bid, jack legs are a dime a dozen, and if you have a leak with a jack leg your screwed!!!

    Worst par w/ you job is the drain is in the slab and will have to be cut out.

    as for PVC pans leaking- yeah if some jack leg didn't know how to fold the corners or put nails to low when hanging durock on the walls. PVC pans don't degrade over time and sure as hell don't crack unless your referring to the cracks in the tile and mud floor and that's not what causes leaks!!

    The PVC pan is what water proofs the floor, not the tile and concrete under the tile!! Water does seep past the grout and the mud floor does get wet, there are weep holes in the drain flange which drains the mud floor. It's not a lot of water but is necessary.

    Lead and tar paper pans from the '70's and back have outlived there usefulness and most which have seen constant use are probably leaking.

    If lacking skill many may prefer to use a preformed shower fiber glass or composite pan, or due price savings in eliminating shower pan and mud floor labor. If using a fiber glass of plastic pan make sure to set it in a mud bed so it doesn't crack and leak over time!!!
    #6
  7. clapped_r6

    clapped_r6 The Spoad Warrior

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    thanks for the data point. the kerdi system looks the most flexible

    that's what i've seen as well. i would like to put in the "new hotness", whatever that is

    yeah. one problem i have is that the drain is not exactly center to the floor, where the kerdi can be manipulated around that. the pre fab pans i've seen don't really allow that to the same extent. (and no, i'm not moving it, it's in concrete!)
    #7
  8. clapped_r6

    clapped_r6 The Spoad Warrior

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    and that's 2 of the kerdi benefits i can see, is that my tile guy (me) could do it AND i don't have to cut the drain out
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  9. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    pay attention to the drain and make sure it IS TO SPEC, take no short cuts on that. If you don't get the drain seal right your going to have a leak. It only takes a pin hole to cause major problems!
    #9
  10. DHC-2

    DHC-2 Adventurer

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    Schluter system is the best. Light, strong, pre-sloped pan, easy for the DIY'er, drain system is fool proof. I think the drain is the part that most people mess up with 'homemade' pans.
    #10
  11. scottalot

    scottalot Blank Space

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    Understand not wanting to move the drain with it in concrete. That's what I did when we bought our house and I re-did the master shower. It was a bit of the PIA. Good luck with your choice whichever direction you decide to go with.
    #11
  12. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    BULLSHIT. You don't know what you are talking about.

    I have been a tile setter for nearly 40 years. A properly done mortar bed shower will last the rest of your life. I have seen showers that were 80 years old with no problems.

    All of these other "systems" that i have seen are designed so that someone who doesn't know what they are doing can build a shower.

    The Kerdi system shower floor costs more, takes longer and is of a lower quality than mud set tile.

    Kerdi is for goobers who don't know how to properly build a shower. Unfortunately that describes most of the "tile setters" nowadays.
    #12
  13. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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    If they weren't leaking, you wouldn't have to mess with them... and yes, I've seen a few that caused problems. Seen a great many more that have been in for decades though.

    Like I said, they're not easy to do RIGHT, but when they are, they last. I built one in the house my ex now owns - been watertight for 13 years so far.
    #13
  14. Joetool

    Joetool Been here awhile

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    Whatever dude. I have pulled out over a hundred mortar beds in San Diego, Olympia, Wash. West Virginia, And Denver, EVERY SINGLE ONE was cracked or leaking. Your obviously one of the old school "scared of change" tile setters contributing to the problem. Ditra systems, and others like it, were not designed for the 'do it yourself'r, They were designed to solve a PROBLEM. The 'problem' is that a lot of houses...MOVE and FLEX; Which a mortar bed can't handle. Just because a lot of people like to work on their houses themselves and LEARN about how to do shit on their own, doesn't make the system they use inferior.
    The fact that without knowing me you started with "BULLSHIT. You don't know what you are talking about. " Proves my point.
    Your obviously taking this personally.

    Steam engines, and balloon framing used to be cool too... so were biplanes, and wood cook stoves; at the time they were state of the art. The fact that your unwilling to move past "80 year old" technology just means your doing your customers a HUGE diservice. If you have been doing this for "40 Years" I am going to assume your at least approaching 60? The houses built now are not anywhere in the realm of 'Built to last', so are you going to stand behind your mortar bed in 10 years when the homebuilder who built the sub standard house is long gone and the house flexes and your 70?
    Should we still use thatch to roof houses ? It lasts and doesn't leak (but boy the rats sucked); How about pressure tanks without T&P valves (they 'Last' a lot longer than those so called new fangled modern hot water heaters, but boy the explosions sucked)?
    Calling me a "goober" in an internet forum where some one is asking an honest question because your afraid of change or unwilling to "LEARN" is retarded.

    Take your tools, get on your horse and ride back to the 1900's...
    #14
  15. Joetool

    Joetool Been here awhile

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    Your right; I too have put in mortar beds, and mine don't leak either; but the original poster was asking for advice and I gave some based on MY experience. That doesn't make it right for him, it's just information for him to use in his decision making process.
    However, even when done right down to the most minute detail, they are wholly dependent on the structure they are built on being solid; not so easy on the west coast where there are earthquakes, or the east coast where the structure they are built in may be over a hundred years old, or in this day and age of "cheapest contractor".
    Although I know I can do a motar bed well, I will usually default to a system that I can not only warranty, but one that will withstand the structure, AND environment it is built upon, for well past what I will be around for; In MY OPINION, that is rarely now, a mortar bed...
    #15
  16. Lafitte

    Lafitte on the lake

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    After Hurricane Ike in 2008 , I built this shower using the Kerdi system.
    Sold house in 2012. In that time there were no leaks and NO MOLD in grout lines. It wasn't that expensive initially and I would use it again.

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    OK Rufus and I are the only "tile setters" here posting and he is absolutely right.

    Cracks in the motor bed don't cause leaks!!!!! Your statement of a cracked motor bead being the cause of the leak is not what causes the leak. A pvc pan will not crack or tear (unless movement is very excessive like inches) ,nothing personal here just the plain truth. I suspect if the pan leaks then it's tar paper or lead.

    There's more to tile work than just slapping the stuff on the walls. Something to consider- For the cost of the Kerdi system and materials one might find that getting a tile setter to do the job might not be that much more money, and worth the difference. If you consider if you screw up and have a disaster, worst case or just have a rough job with staggered joints, thinset oozing through the joints, toe holds on the walls and no trim pieces to finish edges....the list goes on.

    Of course there are some people who are capable of doing a pretty decent job and hopefully the OP has the skills. In my case kerdi just takes money out of my hands to sell a product. Is it any better? I don't thinks so. It takes me 3-4 days to do a shower ( not 8 hr days though), many do it your selfers will take 1-2 weeks for a basic shower. Another consideration is what's your time worth.
    #17
  18. Joetool

    Joetool Been here awhile

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    I guess putting tile in for the last 16 years doesn't qualify me as a "tilesetter". I should call Morton's and tell them the 2000 square feet of tile I had to demo and replace in 5 days was done by an amateur...

    When I get 4 more years experience is there a club I apply to to become a real tilesetter; do I get a card:lol3
    #18
  19. cgk64

    cgk64 Adventurer

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    I would only use 40 mil pasco pan liner, if done right it will not leak. Never tried kerdi looks scarey to me.Been doing tile for 25 years.
    #19
  20. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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    There's more than one way to skin a cat, tile a shower, or plumb a house. Back in the '90's, grey poly pipe was the cure-all end-all to any plumbing problem... 'til they found out it leaked:1drink... I prefer copper. Pex is easy, but sloppy.

    There's nothing wrong with proven technology.
    There MIGHT be something wrong with the latest/greatest.

    If I had to start building a tile shower for myself tomorrow, guess how I'd do it?
    #20