Remodeling A Bathroom Shower
When folks decide to remodel a bathroom they get excited about choosing fixtures, tiles, glass walls and surrounds, radiant floor heat and colors. What most folk don’t think about is water proofing their shower.
There are several great systems to choose from in order to water proof your shower. This article will address one method. Since this article was written we have discovered a second, more efficient method, focused below.
Planning Your Shower:
Planning a bathroom remodel or a new shower starts early on.
When planning on remodeling a bathroom shower, If you plan on installing a high end custom glass shower door like Basco Shower doors you need to plan ahead of
Prior to the contractor starting any work the client should discuss how thy want the shower to be laid out and make sure all contractors know that custom glass is being installed. For example many people want body sprays and will ask the plumber to install them without thinking about their spray pattern. If a glass door or custom neo-angle glass is to be installed, and body sprays are directed toward the glass seams or door, you can guarantee that the glass will leak.
Discussions and thought should be given on how the client will use the bathroom. Will they be growing old in this house and need this shower to be wheelchair accessible someday? What about blocking for grab bars?
Installing A Copper Shower Pan:
Once the bathroom is demo-ed to the studs and the shower location and size is determined we open the floor for the plumber to plumb in the drain and any necessary plumbing or vent lines.
When this is complete we install a new sub-floor and then coat the area under the shower with a rubber membrane like Grace ice and water shield. Our plumber supplies and installs a copper shower pan and connects it to the plumbing drain.
We recently started using the Wedi Waterproof Showering System which eliminates needing the plumber for the copper pan and the tile setter for the mud floor inside the pan. Check out this system and why we like it so much here, by clicking the link above..
Framing Shower Half Walls and Preparing For Glass Walls:
After the copper pan is installed we cut luan plywood and place in in the copper pan to protect it from the plaster and tile contractor. If we did not build this first we then build out half walls , add blocking for grab bars, shower sprays and where the glass walls will terminate.
For blocking I usually install a 2×4 stud pocket. A pocket is comprised of three studs. Two studs are installed in similar fashion to other wall studs and the third stud is installed sideways. A standard 2×4 pocket creates a continuous, 6-1/2″ wide, nailer for the glass installer to mount their glass walls and doors.
Installing Tile Backer-board:
After insulation the walls we install 6 mil plastic on the walls int he bathroom prior to installing 1/2″ Durock cement backer board. Durock is a cement based product that is water -durable and mold resistant. It does not swell, rot or disintegrate and is specifically designed to be used a s a tile underlayment.
We cover all areas that will see water with Durock making sure to mesh tape and cover all of the seams with thin set mortar., especially the corners and threshold areas.
After the cement backer board is installed the tile setter created a “mud bed, mud set” or “dry pack” mortar shower floor. The term mud floor refers to tile setters using a 3/4″ Portland cement and washed mason sand sub-surface mix to create a floor to adhere their floor tile. “Mud-Setting” that long been accepted as a best practice for a long lasting, durable, flat and level floor.
This floor is pitched from the walls towards the drain approximately 1/4 inch per foot.
How To Waterproof Your Shower:
The past two decades has shown a huge improvement in shower water proofing, including liquid waterproofing solutions. I use HydroBan which is a 2-coat, liquid waterproofing paint on product made by Laicrete.
Hydroban is a single component, self curing rubber polymer that is applied to all the surfaces in the shower that will see water. I like using it for the ease of application and the fact that it has a load bearing and crack isolation membrane features and does not require fabric in the field, coves or corners.
One gallon covers 50 square feet and the second coat reapplied 45 minutes after the first coat.
NOTE: When using the Wedi Waterproof Shower System you can eliminate this step.