Questions about Installing Sliced Pebble Shower Floor

Kendall2June 15, 2013


We've purchase some tan sliced pebble for our shower floor and I've been reading threads about how to install it. We appreciate the advice to reposition the pebbles along the edges to make sure there are not seams. I still have a few questions.

1. What size trowel should we use to apply the thinset?

2. How thick should the thinset be? 1/8"?

3. I read one post that suggested placing the sheets about 3" from the walls and then filling in the edges with loose pebbles, placing flat-sided stones along the walls. Is this a good plan? I wanted to dry-fit everything before applying the thinset but with so many loose pebbles we would have to fit them while the thinset is drying. I'm nervous that we'll run out of time to arrange the pebbles before the thinset hardens.

4. How close should the pebbles be set to the edge of the Kerdi drain? Do we have to install the top of the drain at the same time that we set the pebbles or can that be done later?

5. Any suggestions for what color grout should be used with tan sliced pebble? (It is from the Stratastones website.) The pebbles are various shades of tan. I've read that the grout shouldn't match the pebbles because it can make them "disappear". We'll probably us Mapei Bone grout for our wall tile. It is a tan tile called Onyx Sand from Home Depot. Since the pebbles are different shades, it might be difficult for the grout not to match some of them. I'm afraid that white grout would get too dirty. Would a contrasting dark grout look best?

6. We plan to install the pebble floor before the walls. Is this okay? I've heard that it's ideal to install the walls and leave out the bottom row but I would be too afraid that the bottom row wouldn't fit after we installed the floor since we aren't experienced at tile installation.

Thank you for any advice.

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Much depends on the wall tile. With Kerdi, you can do it either way, though. The perimeter cuts are more forgiving if the floor is in before the final row of wall tiles. Measure out the height you want the tile to go to...ceiling or ? Using some 1"x 2" strips, finish nail or screw them in place and tile the walls. Next day, remove them and fill the holes with Kerdi-Fix or a silicone caulk.

Now you can tile the floor. Put the full pieces close to the walls and fill in with individual pieces cut to fit. Work from the back wall out is easiest. You can use a 4" grinder with a diamond blade to make the cuts. Fit/cut the tiles to within 1/8" of the drain.

I would try a 3/16" inch trowel first. Spread some thinset, set a few tiles and then pull them up to check for complete coverage. If not enough, go to a 1/4."

Use enough thinset so that you don't get it squeezing up between the tiles...and don't mix it up too thick. Make it a bit like mayonaise. Use a rubber grout float to evenly "bed" the tiles. Do a section at a time so the morter doesn't dry out.

The next day, you can measure and cut the bottom wall tiles to fit. I like to use little wedges underneath them to make them fit tight.

I leave the drain cover on. Use blue painter's tape to mask it to the edges...trim flush with a razor. Much neater when you go to grout.

Generally, grout should be lighter than the darkest pebbles and darker than the lightest.

You might consider using Quartz Lock grout, which is a urethane grout, premixed and requires no sealer. Another good one, available from Home Depot is their new "Fusion" grout...also premixed and quite good. Not the cheapest, but the floors aren't a big area. Can also be used for walls.

Best of luck on your project!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Thank you so much, StoneTech, for taking the time to answer my questions.

You leave the drain cover on while you're setting the floor pebbles or just when grouting them?

Thank you for the grout suggestions. Our shower floor is about 31" x 72". Would the cost for urethane grout for this area be more than $75? I've read that urethane grout can be difficult to remove from stones if it dries too long. I might not have the nerve to risk such a disaster happening.

I've never heard that grout should be lighter than the darkest pebbles and darker than the lightest. In that case, the grout would probably match some of the pebbles but maybe that's okay.

Would anyone else like to share a specific grout color that you've used with the tan pebbles? Thank you.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:07AM
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