How to deal with shower curb and surround...

phiwwyJuly 11, 2012

With custom showers - where you have a shower curb and 1/2 wall, how do you treat the threshold (solid surface/stone I assume) and the vertical edges of the shower entrance (bullnose or solid surface) and the horizontal edge of the 1/2 wall (solid surface makes sense, match the threshold)?

There will be a glass door and glass panel - essentially all glass on the 1 shower wall.

Last question - what do you do on the bathroom side of the shower wall - beneath the threshold (tile or paint - and if tile - the floor tile or the shower wall tile), and also on the 1/2 wall. Should the 1/2 wall be tiled? What if you don't wish to tile the rest of the bathroom walls? Would it look OK to tile underneath the shower threshold with the shower field tile (white subway) then continue that along the 1/2 wall? Fortunately in my application, the 1/2 wall ends at the toilet wall, which is short so I could extend the 1/2 wall of tile across the back of the toilet as well.

I have one other wall under a window, which I would not tile, and probably just use the regular wood baseboard at the bottom.

Open to suggestions/ideas. thanks.

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We used 2cm pieces of our granite on the shower curb, shower seat and niche shelves, as well as the threshold between our bedroom and bathroom. We used 3cm granite on the top of the pony wall to be consistent with the vanities. On both sides of the shower door, we used bullnose tile.

We used a travertine base molding/skirting throughout the room and the shower so we continued that under both sides of the curb. On the room side, we had to trim off about 1/2" of the top of the pieces to fit under the granite curb and maintain a consistent profile. On the shower side, we trimmed off the top half of the skirting and just used the plain lower half.

Here's a pic from the room side...

You can't see it in this view, but the vertical surface on the bottom half of the pony wall has bullnose tile as used on the left side of the door.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 8:24PM
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I used 2cm granite slab (antique brown in a leathered finish) on the shower curb, the cap for the knee wall, and the side of the knee wall adjoining the threshold. I continued the tile from the shower's interior walls on both sides of the knee wall and underneath the shower threshold on both sides (but that makes more sense in my application, where there is a tub abutting the knee wall). I understand your questions, but it kind of depends on what you're doing outside the shower. As you can see from the other bathroom above, that would not have made sense in my bathroom.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 8:39PM
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I went to a remnants yard and found some Caesarstone, raven I think, that worked well for my curb top.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Regarding the cap on your pony wall: Did you install the cap before you installed the wall tile, and notch an L-shaped piece of tile around it, or did you install the wall tile first and notch the cap to fit around it?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 7:07AM
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I'm working on one like this right now. What we're doing is the same as the first pic in this thread-- using granite for the curb top, and the top of the pony walls, but on all vertical surfaces, as well as the header where the top of the glass will attach, it will all be doubled bullnose.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Bill, can you please explain what you mean by double bullnose and why that may be necessary?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 7:41PM
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One bullnose facing in, and once facing out, capping the inside and outside of the wall. If you look at the first pic-- the jamb next to the two cabinet doors, and then the bottom of the header, that's two bullnose back to back, giving a finished edge to the two outside corners (at the inside and outside finished faces). I'll see if I can find any close up pics to show you from a previous job.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:07PM
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My contractor cut the cap to fit. The granite and marble place wouldn't install the shower pieces. I hadn't yet caulked in some of the pictures above, so it's more finished looking now.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Here's a pic of the doubled bullnose:

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:23PM
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hmmm oh yes I see. thank you for posting. I think I like this approach as opposed to the granite on the vertical. thank you again.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:26PM
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Here is a close-up of the doubled bullnose on our pony wall:

Our tilesetter used bullnose on the inside of our shower soffit but he miter cut larger tiles on the wall where we needed something wider than 3"...

It was details like these that drove me crazy. It seemed like so many conversations with our tilesetter started with "So, how do you want to handle ____" and it was something that I hadn't even considered. Things got pretty complicated with all of the 45 degree angles in our shower.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:59PM
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I'm sorry... I don't know what that first pic won't stay rotated to a vertical orientation. Argh!

I'll try uploading the image to GW directly...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 10:03PM
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or you could use Schluter trim. We did this in two of our bathrooms, but they were not both done the same way. I don't think either of our tiles had a bullnose available.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:06PM
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Things got pretty complicated with all of the 45 degree angles in our shower.

Complicated? you wanna see complicated?? This is the shower I'm working on right now. I've been in this shower literally for a week and a half, AFTER the pan and waterproofing was done:

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 8:33PM
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Wow, Bill, now THAT'S complicated! I hope you bid that job on time & materials!

We used a tilesetter that had done 5 large bathrooms in our commercial office building. He did a great job there but apparently he's not a finesse tilesetter as one ought to be for residential work so our shower was a stretch for him. I had to laugh at the look on his face when I told him I'd give him pictures of our completed shower for his portfolio. I don't think he's going to be advertising for that type of job in the future!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:34PM
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Yep-- Custom and commercial work are two completely different trades. I know-- I do both. :-)

My first 10 years in the trade were as a union tilesetter out of New Haven, Ct.. When my family's company went under in 1990, I was out of work for a while, and ended up moving to south Florida, and going to work for a guy who did nothing but multi-million dollar homes in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and the Keys. It was like learning a whole new trade all over again. It also brought back my love of the trade. I got burned out on the commercial work. I didn't care for the whole get in, bust it out, get the check, and go back and repair if needed. I much preferred taking my time, and doing it like every single piece of tile counted. Funny thing is, now I even do my commercial work like that. :-) That's how I end up with commercial work like this:

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:55PM
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Very, very cool!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 11:11PM
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Thank you all for your most helpful responses. I'm leaning toward bullnose(s) on the vertical edges (no 45s in our shower) and solid surface on the threshold and pony wall. Under the threshold (the wall part) I'm still unsure, but I'm pretty sure it will be tiled. I think maybe I'll wait and decide once it's under way (or is that nuts?) - whether to put the white field tile on that small part, or to use the floor tile (gray). Thanks again, all. And the pictures are very impressive - great looking showers and work!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 8:19AM
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