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Bubba and Skeeta Shower Tile Job


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A hearty good morning to all!

Well, this morning I'm inspecting a two year old home. The owners have a lease with option to buy and have some legitimate concerns. One is the master shower (photographs below). They started experiencing water through the ceiling below.

The builder rushed out and caulked around the collar for the controls, did some minor re-grouting and applied a sealant to the junction of the shower floor and surround. Of course all of that was pointless. The builder finally tore out the ceiling and still never found a convincing apparent path for the water, but did more grout and sealant tweaking (humor).

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As a past disaster restoration contractor, and understanding that the leak took two full years to develop, I'm reasonably sure the seat construction is the likely culprit.

The seat construction is enough to raise real doubts about the pan installation and the flat tile around the tub. Hence, I plan to call for the entire shower to be ripped out and replaced, including a properly constructed and tiled seat along with the flatwork around the jetted tub.

Here's where I'd like some input: Anyone can deduce that the present seat construction is just plain dumb. Salt treated wood is constantly swelling and ceramic tile never had a chance applied directly to a surface like that.

It has, however, been years since I've been quite this involved with ceramic tile installation and am ignorant regarding what the latest practices are regarding seat and shelf construction. So, I'd love for Hs in the brain trust intimately familiar with ceramic tile installation to throw out some known systems - be they fiberglass structure, etc. I honestly don't know what's out there these days.

What a mess!

Thanks in advance.

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There are dozens of systems out there designed to make showerpans easier to build, but in my opinion there is no substitute for a good old fashoined mud bed. They simply aren't that tough to build, I think I was a teenager when I built my first. Follow the proven standard and you'll be just fine, let someone else experiment with plastic wedges, foam shims or the miriad other silly systems out there.

As far as the bench is concerned; you can either rigidly install it in the framing stage and detail it with membrane, or provide ample mounting surfaces for it at the framing stage then install it as unit after the surround is tiled. Personally I'd rather see the latter, a few bolt holes will be far easier to deal with than detailing and tiling around a bench.

I googled 'best practices for tile shower' and came up with lots of DIY type info. This explaination is a little general but it might get you or your client at least looking in the right direction: http://www.hgtvpro.com/hpro/nws_ind_nws ... 86,00.html


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Well, as a start, I despise built in shower benches. Showers are a weak link technology, and benches are a weak link.

I vastly prefer single slab shelf systems, usually stone. Before substrate or waterproofing barrier, install bullet proof blocking. When the tiles done, bolt in stainless angles to support the bench. Waterproof the bolt holes with a little flashing, similar to deck flashing. It's easy. Caulk. Shower.

There are a couple fold down benches made of stainless with teak seat slats; they're pretty nice in a steam shower.

If you gotta have a bench, wrap the bench with IWS (self adhered 40 mil, Grace or equal), then wrap the vinyl liner up over the bench. I fight with every tile sub on how high to take the liner; they all wanna go up 6", and I wanna see 2'.

Substrate (cement or hardibacker like Jeremy said), tile.

If it's a steam shower, vapor barrier the whole box.

Or, Kerdi. Kerdi is a remarkably smart system. As much as I like installing mortar bed shower systems, Kerdi will dominate, imho.

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There's a link to the Kerdi system in the article a posted. The whole thing is brilliant except for the damned EPS. No way I'll ever be convinced that styrofoam is a suitable substrate for tile, especially on the floor.

I used the system in my shower. I have zero issues- no cracks, no broken grout, no leaks. I'd use and recommend the system without reservation.

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