teak mats in the shower?

writersblockAugust 3, 2013

When looking around for shower kits to compare prices with local quotes, I found a Vigo shower the odd size I need. What interested me most, though, was that in one of their photos they show using a teak mat over the acrylic floor.

If we wind up going with a custom built base and tile, it's moot, of course, but I did wonder if we do use an acrylic shower base if the teak is a good idea or a bad one.

It looks very nice in the photo and seems like it might preserve the finish on the acrylic somewhat, and I've seen a few references in online reviews to their making an acrylic base feel sturdier while you're using it.

Or would this just be asking for disgusting mold problems under there? Anyone tried this?

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I know Sochi has another tropical wood that is like teak, ipe, or something like that. Maybe she will post. You know that very nice modern bathroom she did last year, with the "live edge" walnut counter.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Ah yes, Sochi's spectacular bath. But I think there the ipe decking is over tile, IIRC. I'm wondering what a simpler mat would do to acrylic in the case of my humble little bath. :)

Sochi did mention having to lift out the ipe for cleaning.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Sophie Wheeler

It doesn't stop the base from needing cleaning. And if you have poor ventilation in the shower, or leave the door shut after showering, you are just asking for mold. It would also have to fit very snugly, as in custom made for the base, in order to not shift around and scratch the acrylic.

If an acrylic base is installed properly with the proper mud underneath, it's a fairly solid surface. All else is in how you clean it. The big problem with most acrylic bases is that there aren't many out there that are made with higher standards and are thicker. Most are thin budget models that aren't set correctly. And then you have people clean them with Comet that scratches them or some chemical that melts the acrylic.

However, if you're doing a standard sized shower, nothing beats the sturdiness of a cast iron pan. Look at Kohler for that. Second choice would be something solid surface like Swanstone or Corian. It's thicker, and the material is solid all the way through, so if it's scratched, the scratches can be sanded out. Just like a Corian countertop.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Thanks, hollysprings, but:

>However, if you're doing a standard sized shower, nothing beats the sturdiness of a cast iron pan.

I completely agree, but the problem is that this is a 32 x 40 shower with no room to expand, which limits pre-made choices a lot. I'm pretty sure we'd have to someone do it from scratch if we don't use one of the few acrylic ones we've found. I'm not opposed to that, under ideal circumstances would much prefer it, but this is an inexpensive townhouse and any upgrade/renovation doesn't really add any value--they're worth what they're worth. Just doing it because of problems with the existing setup.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 3:57PM
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    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 6:47PM
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What if you added a very shallow floating shelf on the side of your shower wall, maybe about 3 inches deep with a lip along the edge, kind of like those shelves that you can find in any store that sells things for declutteering and organizing. What if you had a teak mat that you could pick up off the floor and slip behind the ledge on the floating shelf and lean against the shower wall so that it could 'dry out" between showers?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 11:53PM
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The wood mats aren't a huge negative. As has been mentioned, they simply need to be sized so they can be removable for cleaning.

I built a house for friends years ago, would have been back around 2000 or 2001. They're boaters, so in one of the bathrooms I installed a teak and holly floor, and in that same bathroom the shower had a teak mat.

I was over there two weeks ago, everything still looked great. They lift the mat about once a month for a visual check and a cleaning if needed.

In larger showers I've dome segmented wood mats.

Mats are usually teak, once in ipe.

Merry Christmas to all! Or a merry holiday of your choice.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Wow, didn't realize this thread had come back to life. Thanks very much, elphaba and Mongo. I guess at this point I'm just wondering what I'd need to do on the contact points to avoid damaging the acrylic surface.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 10:37AM
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@ writersblock - have same questions as you, found your post searching for answers.

Ideas for dealing with pressure points would be appreciated.

Everyone - THANK YOU for your comments!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I miss some threads the first time around so they look new shiny and new when someone bumps them. Didn't notice the old date.

As far as contact points, it depends on the your base. If the shower pan is rock solid, then you can have something as basic as four easy points of contact, spaced as needed. If the mats are large, then wood flex could come into play. Intermediate points might be needed to prevent the mat from flexing.

Acrylic/plastic bases are another animal. Ir can depend on how they are set. Some get well supported. Others don't. I'd really want to see the bottom of the base, they usually have some sort of a ribbed structure. I'd try to locate my pads over the ribbing instead of over an unsupported flat area. I hope that makes sense.

I think when in doubt and when installing over a base that might flex, try to make your support pads a bit larger rather than smaller, or add more pads.

And as a tip, I'll often make the mat, I'll make the pads, but I won't attach any support pads to the bottom of the mat. I place the unattached individual pads on the sloped shower pan where I think I want them. Then I place the mat over the pads. I check for rocking and rolling, and I'll adjust the location of the pads until the mat is level and well supported.

If I can mark the locations, I'll do so. If not, I'll lift the mat, leaving the pads on the pan. I'll place double-sided tape on the pads. Then reset the mat, adhering the pads to the bottom of the mat. Then lift the entire thing out, mark the pad locations on the bottom of the mat, then properly attach them.

Obviously with a custom fitted/supported mat you'll want to reset the mat with the same orientation each time after removal. It might be obvious due to the design, or you can mark the underside of the mat.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Thanks again, Mongo. Very helpful, as always.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 5:33PM
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