Large shower remodel: floor pan dilemma

dgmarieJuly 26, 2014

My head is spinning. We have a very large walk in shower, roughly 80 x 80 square. It does not currently leak that we can tell. Its on the first floor over a basement. It's about fifteen years old and needs to be redone cosmetically. The tile is ugly and the current floor seems to be small tiles laid over larger tiles laid over god knows what. The small tiles have popped,off hence visibility to the strange double tile floor. Don't laugh.

We've chosen a porcelain tile for the floors and walls.

Two different quotes came in. Each prefers completely different shower install methods.

First guy wants a mud pan floor, dura rock walls. He has used kerdi some, but says our floor is too big for kerdi standard pan, and he's not familiar with another way to do the floor.

Second guy is younger says he only uses Wedi and mud beds are old school, prone to leak and we'd be fools (in so many words) to consider anything else.

This is a $20,000 master bath remodel. I'm not interested in doing things cheaply or hi techy. I just want it to be done quality and give me no problems.

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Some "old school" methods remain viable, but some become obsolete like rodding countertops and hand nailing roof shingles.

I don't like that the first guy doesn't have an alternative. Check out the younger guy's work. If it passes, I'd probably go with him.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:33AM
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Nothing wrong with a mud pan, nothing.

It's only job with a waterproofing and vapor proofing membrane is to slope the water to the drain. It's secondary purpose is to give the tile something to sit on.

Your young buck is right, they are old school and they do leak. That is how they are designed, get water leaks through them into the secondary weep hole in the drain. But, a waterproofing membrane applied on top of them keeps any water from even seeing the mud bed.

Your old school guy might just be too old. Kerdi can to over a mud bed just like it goes over the Durock walls. In fact many people find it preferable to have a mud bed instead of the styrofoam pan. The Kerdi just gets seamed on the bed like the walls.

Be sure to use the Kerdi drain or a Bonded Flange Drain if you use another sheet membrane. It's a must for the system. DO NOT let them talk you into a $15 drain and a divot method. Pay the $100 for the correct drain.

Wedi is fine except that the details to make it vapor proof for the steam unit are tedious and if not done properly will compromise the system. Much easier to do a correct job with a sheet membrane like Kerdi. That Wedi is also going yo be a problem getting properly secured on the ceiling, especially one 40 sq ft +.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:46AM
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Kerdi and a mud pan. 'Nuff said.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:10PM
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We had master bath remodel couple of years ago and the shower had to be totally gutted and some framing studs replaced due to termites--and found really bad original construction design...
our guy poured a pan to fit the drain which was not quite in right location--then used Kerdi over it and the shower walls--could have turned a firehouse loos in there and nothing would have gotten past that Kerdi...

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:23PM
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Thank you. I watched a Kerdi drain installed in a mud base on the official Kerdi YouTube channel. I liked it a lot.

I also liked the 24 hour water test schluter showed. Would you require that? Do you pros do it?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:28PM
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We're required by code to do a 24-hour test.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:47PM
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Tell your first guy that you can indeed do Kerdi over a mud base.

The sloped mud bed for Kerdi installation is just like a "preslope" mud bed for a conventional membraned shower. It's typically 1-1/4" thick at the drain, and slopes upwards to the walls.

Almost all of my Kerdi installation shave been Kerdi over a sloped mud bed.

If he's not comfortable with a sheet product like Kerdi, you can still use a flanged drain and instead use a "paint on" membrane like Hydroban on the sloped mud bed and on the walls. Then tile on the Hydroban.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:12PM
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I would suggest a a one piece shower pan with the slope built into it. flatten the floor and lower into place. The problem is you are dealing with 2 materials (concrete and tile) that can separate. Using a 'floating' unit that is one piece will give you that peace of mind (wont leak), and a very easy maintainable product. Doing an 80" x 80" shower pan of any shape is no problemo either :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Custom shaped shower base

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:13AM
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