Cement Plaster vs. Cement Board Shower (in California)

1929SpanishFebruary 25, 2012

I've been digging around and read a number of posts, but am still confused.

We're in CA and are in the middle of an addition to our older home. The addition is wood frame on a raised foundation. We're adding a bathroom with a 3' x 8' all tile shower (no shower pan). The plans call for a felt/wire mesh/cement plaster application.

What are the pros and cons of this application compared to cement board?

Also, I think the drain is a little off center but need to measure it this afternoon. The drain is closer to the wall than the shower curb. Any potential issues (besides the look) with this placement?

I'm going to post and run....will check back later. Thanks in advance!

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1. You get extremely flat vertical surfaces, which is important for large tiles.
2. The resultant wall should be stronger than cement board screwed onto studs.
3. The floated floor/ shower pan will fit the space perfectly being hand crafted.

1. Thicker than cement board ~ 1" to 1.5".
2. Requires skill and time to construct.
3. More expensive.

For large format tiles, it is the only way to go if you want a good looking and well built enclosure.

The people doing the work will have to ensure that the floor is properly sloped to the drain. If the crew has been doing floated floors and walls (chicken wire + motar), it will not be a problem.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Thank you. This is very helpful.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 3:23PM
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1929Spanish - We also live in California, in a 79 yr. old house. When we remodeled the original front BR, our GC used the exact process you've described for a tub surround tile replacement. He explained that yes, it was more costly than cement board, but that it would hold like steel. Now we are reno-ing the master BR, and he's doing the same thing again, on floated floor and walls. When I questioned him and the plumber about siting the drain off-center nearer the wall, they said that it was a better shower experience not to stand on a centered drain (that had bothered me in the old acrylic shower). If you have a good GC/tile guy I think you'll like the results.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 3:45AM
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@Sable - thanks...is your drain closer to the long wall, or closer to the short wall with the water source?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 9:31AM
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Our drain will be closer to the long - 48" - wall. If you were to place the actual shower itself on the short wall, then the drain would be there.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Mud walls are far superior when compared to lightweight shower construction.

An added bonus...with the reinforcing mesh wrapping the corners from wall to wall, there will be no dissimilar movement. So you can grout the corner joints instead of having them caulked.

The only place where they can sort of get funky is the exposed edge of a mudded wall, where you can see the thickness of the mud wall. If your existing framed walls are out of plumb, then the mud man will float the new walls perfectly plumb. So on that exposed edge, your thickness of mud might vary, from 1" at the floor to 1-1/2" up high, for example.

If your existing walls are out of plumb, it's an issue you can talk about with your man ahead of time.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 8:35PM
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