Swanstone shower pan & tile walls

clairesprojectJuly 1, 2010

I am hoping some one can help me. I've been lurking here for a while, gathering ideas for my bathroom remodel. (Thanks everybody!) I've decided on a swanstone shower pan and tile walls. But I am confused about two issues: what to use to seat the pan and then how to get the grout in the tiles below the backerboard and over the flange.

I've read to use thinset mortar mix, gypsolite, or sandmix concrete. The current swanstone instructions say to use thinset mortar. Is there an advantage to using something else?

I am also confused about how (where) to set the pan. I thought the idea was that the tile did not touch the pan, so that if there was movement in the pan, it wouldn't impact the walls, and so that water would not wick up into the tile (grout, really, I guess) from the pan. The directions say that the pan has to be about 1/4 inch away from any wall, so that the backerboard will line up flush with the inside edge of the flange. But the directions are really to then attach the swanstone panels, not for tile.

If I install it like that, and then tile, the bottom of the tile ends up basically attached to the flange. When I read about this on the John Bridges forum, it seems to say that the backer board should overhang the flange by a 1/4 inch - that is, the backer board is not level with the flange, but juts forward a bit, and then the tile is set basically 1/4 inch in front of the flange, and does not actually touch the pan. If I do that, how do I get grout in between the joint for that last inch of tile?

Or am I completely confused?

I would be very grateful for any help anyone could give. There are a lot of great tile folks out here.

Thanks so much.

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You can use anything you like to fill the gap behind the tile. Its only function is to back up the bottom of the tile so it can't be kicked and broken. Thinset is my usual "go to, but I've also used grout and sand mix on occasion.

I thought the idea was that the tile did not touch the pan,

No, the idea is that the pan flange comes up behind the tile, while a vapor barrier comes from behind the cement board, and in front of the lip (or the cement board gets a waterproofing membrane) so that all water stays in the pan. The caulk joint between the tile and the pan is what takes up the movement.

When I read about this on the John Bridges forum, it seems to say that the backer board should overhang the flange by a 1/4 inch - that is, the backer board is not level with the flange

The backerboard should NOT overlap the flange, but rather come down right TO it. Otherwise, the flange will tend to push the bottom of the cement board out, rather than having the wall come straight down to the pan. Once the cement board is in place, before the tile goes in, fill that joint between the cement board and pan with whatever you like, so that the tile has some kind of backing behind it. Once that's done, install your tile. After the tile's installed, grout everything, including that last inch or so, as normal.

I don't know who's telling you to overlap the flange by a 1/4". You want to give me the url to your thread?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 7:38PM
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I think I am not explaining myself very well. The backerboard is 1/2 inch and the flange is 1/4 inch; because the backer board is thicker, it ends up sticking past the flange by just a bit under a quarter of an inch -- tiny gap between the studs and the pan. That is what I mean about the 1/4 of an inch overhang - not that it covers the flange.

The Swanstone instructions say to leave 1/2 inch between the backerboard and the pan. Is that the joint I should caulk? And if so, is the idea that the caulk sticks to the poly, the backerboard and the flange?

This is the thread that seems most similar to what I am doing:


This one talks about furring out the studs so the backerboard comes over the flange:


Here it talks about having the backerboard come over the flange:


    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 12:36AM
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You can fir the studs out, if you'd rather, but I prefer to just bring the cement board down to the top of the flange. It's just as good, and alot less hassle, and cost to the homeowner. In your case, it's be alot less hassle to YOU, being you're DIYing it.

As for the cement board sticking out past the flange, that's fine. The resulting gap would be filled with thinset, grout, or sand mix (whichever's easiest for you). The tile would then be installed as usual, and then the resulting joint between the tile itself and the pan, would be caulked.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 11:26AM
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I realize this is an old thread but I thought I would put my two cents into the mix. I have set a neo-angle Swanstone shower floor in thinset and put up Hardiebacker, according to the instructions, leaving a 1/2 inch gap above shower floor flange (to prevent wicking). I then applied Laticrete WaterTight Floor-N-Wall over the Hardiebacker before I installed the tile with thinset. I think I will apply glass fiber tape over the 1/2 inch gap and apply multple layers of the WaterTight membrane to cove the gap. I think this will make it so I can apply grout to the verticle gaps between the lowest row of tiles. I then will apply silicone caulk to horizontal border of shower floor flange and tile.

1 Like    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 11:55PM
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