Steam Shower. Kerdi vs AquaDefense advice needed

jdougjoJanuary 30, 2013

I'm about to remodel my master bath. I've got bad arthritis so I think I want to invest in a steam shower.

After using the Internet to research it seems the consensus is that Kerdi is an excellent choice to water/vapor proof the enclosure.

I've used one tile guy for a number of years and when I asked him about it he said he has built a number of steamers and is familiar with Kerdi by prefers using liquid (he mentioned AquaDefense).

His description of using liquid waterproofing was "Everything in the process is basically the same except for the waterproofing which gets two coats of liquid over underlayment and fabric in the corners to seal completely."

Should I be comfortable with this? Or, should I ask him to use Kerdi? Or should I look elsewhere? I've been very happy with him in the past. He's got over 30 years experience in tile setting.

Any advice?

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I don't believe that AquaDefense is a vapor barrier, which is what you need for a steam shower. If he isn't comfortable with Kerdi, I would look for someone else. Noble also makes a vapor barrier, which would be just as good as Kerdi.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:06PM
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AquaDefense can be used in conjunction with a vapor barrier. Your tile selection can affect your decision to use Kerdi. I recently finished 2 tub surrounds which were 100% glass tile. The tile manufacturer specifies modified thinset and Kerdi specifies unmodified. There are many different opinions on modified vs. unmodified with Kerdi. I wasn't willing to risk it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:00PM
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"AquaDefense" is not a vapor barrier like you mentioned catbuilder and I would look for someone else as well.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:02PM
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Although he says he's done many steam showers I don't get the impression he knows that much about their construction. Like the fact that they need to be vapor proof as well as waterproof and even the reason you build them with a sloping ceiling.

But, the work he did with the granite and tile in my guest bath and kitchen was excellent at a fair price with very little hassle so he's a find in that regard.

I'm not sure he's ever tried Kerdi. Would it be a huge risk for me if I was his first try? He's a smart guy with tons of experience so my guess is he could do it well.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:32PM
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I sometimes hesitate for someone to experiment with a new system for his "first time." Having said that, Kerdi is relatively easy to install and the learning curve isn't very steep.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Well,somebody has to be the first. Maybe he'd give you a discount?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 7:18PM
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Kerdi is fairly easy. The Kerdi Shower thread that I posted years ago was my first Kerdi install. You have to start somewhere.

And if he's a decent and conscientious worker, he might actually be more meticulous than most with this being his first Kerdi installation.

Though I haven't touched it in years, RedGard is a topical membrane that's a vapor barrier too. The thing is, with topical membranes on a shower floor I prefer to use a flanged drain instead of using a divot method with a clamping drain. With RedGard, you'd have to use the divot method in order to maintain the weep holes.

So Kerdi would work.

Or he could use Aquadefense, but only in conjunction with a vapor barrier behind it.

Me? I'd use Kerdi.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:26PM
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