okay for curbless shower to use a shower pan with regular drain?

elphaba_gwJune 23, 2012

Bottom line question: is a curbless shower with no kerdi but using a shower pan with a regular drain instead of a linear drain a big mistake?


Just received a bid for our hall bath. It will be a total gut job. Our (old) house is "pier and beam", i.e. not on a slab which makes installation easier I am told.

Main question is about the curbless shower info in the bid. Contractor indicates the following: "vinyl shower pan for curbless shower". Does this sound okay?

It is my understanding that using a "linear drain" is very expensive. Also, I'm not sure about using "kerdi" (especially since I'm not sure what it does). From what I understand about kerdi, it is an expensive sheet often used in bathrooms to cover the floor to avoid leaks?

I haven't talked to contractor about bid yet but I suspect he doesn't plan to use kerdi - our house is old but in a nice neighborhood - probably about a 50-50 chance it will be a "tear down" when we sell. We plan to live here at least for 10 more years so not too concerned about resale. We don't consider this a "budget" remodel - we are willing to pay a good price though not totally on the high end - somewhere in the middle maybe.

Size of bath is 7.5 feet by 11 feet if that is important. Will not just be for guests.

Feedback welcome.

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With a curbless shower, I see two issues you may be facing.

If he is planning on using a traditional rubber liner, a pre-slope under the liner is required. This slope is a minimum if 1/4" per foot from the drain to the farthest wall. In this case, I assume that to be the entry. I fugure that to be about 2 3/4" higher at the entry than at the drain. The rubber or vinyl liner sits on this and a FINAL mudbed is then formed over the liner. As you can see, there will be issues with no curb and how you'll terminate the slope to a feather edge at the entry. I don't see how that can be done.

The other issue is with the liner itself. I see no way to attach it to a mudbed that would have to end at a feather edge. These liners are designed to go UP the vertical walls about 6-8" and nailed into place.

Having built these before, scrap the liner and use the Kerdi. It's a bulletproof install, you only need ONE mudbed as the material is bonded directly to the mud and you can generally extend the Kerdi six or eight inches into the bathroom for a bit more insurance.

On one hand, yes...it's a bit more cost, but realistically, it's also a shower you'll probably never need to repair or replace. The Kerdi is under $1.40 sq/ft. Their drain will run about a hundred bucks.

On the other hand, you only have the cost of one mudbed, you eleminate the vinyl liner, as Kerdi is completely waterproof, you can save by using standard drywall in the shower as opposed to cement board. This is what Schluter recommends. Bottom line is that you'll pay a little more but get a far superior shower.

If your tile installer isn't comfortable or familiar with Kerdi, find one that is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kerdi Shower Handbook

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 12:56PM
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I would also add that their handbook also shows a "pre-fab" floor assembly available. Due to your size, not really applicable and, far cheaper to do a traditional mudbed. If they had one that would fit, you'll pay about $300 for one. Mudbed materials are about $50.

Also, the handbook goes into "Barrier-Free" showers. (curbless)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply. It has taken me a while to do some reading so I understand your reply better. Bottom line is that it is very clear to me that I really need to ask some serious questions about the vinyl shower pan working with the curbless. I'm getting additional bids so I haven't gotten back to the original contractor yet. Wish there was an easy way to know in advance whether a contractor REALLY knows what they are doing in this kind of project.

But thanks again -I have better questions to ask the next guy. Questions are always good, IMO.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:47AM
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