Installation of Laticrete Linear Drain (Part 2)

by Roger

72 hours.

That’s the answer to your question. 72 hours. Three days.

Your question, by the way, is ‘Now that I have my linear drain in and my shower deck fabricated how long do I have to wait before installing my Laticrete HydroBan to waterproof everything?’

That’s a great question!

72 hours.

If you don’t yet have your linear drain installed and your mud deck fabricated – you’re in luck! You have time to do that. Go read this first: Installing a Laticrete linear drain (part 1)

Then you can go on that three day bender vacation.

‘Why 72 hours?’, you may ask. Also a great question. Negative hydrostatic pressure.

‘What is that?’, you may ask.

You’re getting me off track here, stop with the questions. I haven’t yet written that post. The short answer is vapor dissipation from your mud deck putting pressure on the back of your membrane which may cause it to become unbonded. So don’t do that. Let’s move on…

Installing the first layer of hydroban on shower floorNow that you’ve installed your drain flange (the lower portion of the drain) and created your shower floor you need to waterproof it. Being that the drain is actually called the Laticrete HydroBan linear drain – we’re gonna do that with Laticrete HydroBan.

Hydroban is an elastomeric liquid membrane which is brushed, rolled or troweled onto your substrate to waterproof it.

Installing the second layer of hydroban on shower floorMy preferred method is a trowel. I use a 1/4″ x 1/4″ v-notch trowel and install my first layer with the notched side then let it cure. This will leave about 1/4″ ridges on your substrate with cured waterproofing membrane. With hydroban you are able to install your second layer after only 2 hours! The second layer is then installed with the flat side of the trowel, essentially filling in the ridges.

The membrane is painted up onto the edges of the drain flange (all outside, horizontal edges) and creates a single seamless waterproofing layer for your shower floor right into your drain.

After that cures you have a waterproof membrane with the proper thickness and you can begin installing your tile.

If you’ve read the first part (and if not – why not???) you know there were a couple of idiosyncrasies in this shower I needed to deal with, all due to the width of the shower. One of them was the need to have the drain flange run under the wall substrate – cutting the wall so it actually sits inside the drain.

HydroBan shower floor waterproofing with a linear drainWith hydroban this is not a problem! You’re able to paint the membrane up and into the drain over the floor and down the wall, seal it at the bottom where the substrate is inside the drain, and continue it out into the drain a bit. This creates a single, continuous layer of waterproofing from the wall into the drain pan. You don’t need to worry about any water getting to the bottom of, or behind, your substrate. A perfect product to create a perfect solution in a great many installations.

Since we’re working with the tile-in version of the drain, and it’s currently just steel, we need to put something on it to allow the tile to properly bond to the steel. Guess what we’re gonna use for that.

That’s right – HydroBan. Good guess…

The HydroBan will bond (tenaciously so) to the steel, and the thinset will bond to the hydroban. Almost like the whole system was made to work together, right?

All you need to do is brush a couple layers of HydroBan into the drain grate channel and let it cure. It doesn’t necessarily need to be absolute full coverage – no need to waterproof it. You’re more concerned with creating a proper substrate to bond the tile. Once cured the HydroBan will do that very well.

With this particular shower I’m doing a complete custom mosaic floor with flat river rock. The best way to get this type of tile into the drain is to first arrange the rock into the grate and get it where you want it, then flip it upside down and pull the grate off. You should be left with just the line of upside down mosaics in the shape of the drain. Then install thinset into the drain grate and flip it back over the mosaics. When you pull it up you should have the mosaics in the drain grate in the proper placement and all flat and level on the top. Like this:

Once that cures you’re all set. The tile or mosaics in the drain grate get grouted just like the rest of your tile. It is removable for maintenance and, when in place, is nice and solid and blends into the installation.

Although I’ve used the mosaic river rock on this installation the use of a Laticrete linear drain allows the use of any size tile you want. If I wanted to install a single 3 foot by 3 foot tile on the shower floor I could have (don’t do that – it’s slippery). The single, flat plane allows you to take your installation and design from wall to wall, including your shower, in the entire bathroom without breaking it up with the smaller mosaics required for a regular concave shower deck.

Linear drains are one of the best products to become readily available in the last few years. They are extremely popular and becoming more in demand every year. They are, in my opinion, heading toward becoming the standard for custom showers in the near future. Laticrete has made them available with a fine product and coupled the use with one of their quality membranes to become a complete integrated system which is extremely easy to install.

I have installed these drains from five different manufacturers and Laticrete is, BY FAR, the easiest, quickest and most straight-forward installation. It is a painless installation and always sets any installation apart from every other diy shower around. Get one! You won’t regret it. If you don’t, well, every time you stare at that little round drain grate in the shallow bowl of your shower floor you’ll kick yourself.

Due to several requests I will now answer the question that seems to be absolutely baffling everyone that has read either of these posts: Yes, one wall in the bathroom is painted green and the other is painted pink. It’s paint. You don’t want to get HydroBan near that other pink waterproofing. The HydroBan beats it up and takes its lunch money. Besides, I tiled over that pink wall with glass.

It looks better now. :D

glass wall tile installationGlass wall tile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can click on any of the photos below to view a full-size version.

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Mike

Hi Roger,
I am building a similar shower and am at the stage of applying the hydro ban. I lowered the floor to allow the use of the Laticrete linear drain along the back wall opposite the entrance. I followed Laticretes installation instructions to the letter. Set the drain from wall plate to wall plate with 1 1/2 inches of mud below the flange rising 3/4″ over 3 feet to the entrance creating a 1/4″ per ft slope with the mud bed. At the entrance I transition to ditraheat membrane for the rest of the bathroom floor. I then set the cbu sheets, holding them 1/8″ above the mud bed and drain flange and caulked the gaps at the floor wall and corner transitions. Next I taped (mesh) and thinsetted the vertical corners. I have 2 questions for you.

1. Should I tape and thinset the floor wall transition before applying the hydro ban or will the hydro ban and 6″ fabric be suitable to assure a long lasting seal? Laticrete seems to say you can do it either way, but if I can avoid additional build up in the corners without compromising this potential problem area I’m all for it.

2. How should I detail the transition between the deck mud and the ditra heat membrane at the shower entrance. The substrate is 2 layers of 3/4″ Advantech over 2 x 10 joists on 16″ centers for the floor and under the deck mud. Should I caulk the tile at that joint or will the grout be adequate.

Thanks in advance for your advice. As a fellow tradesman, it is refreshing to encounter someone as yourself, who has a genuine desire to “do it right” and not compromise quality work. I have learned a lot from reading your articles.

Reply

Brent

Hello!

I am remodeling a bathroom that has a 4’x4’ shower. The new shower will be curbless with a 48” linear drain positioned against the back wall. I plan to lower the shower floor to accommodate the necessary slope from the bathroom floor to the drain. I am using 12”x24” porcelain tiles on the floors and walls in both the bathroom and shower in a 1/3 broken joint pattern.

My tile contractor is very good with traditional waterproofing (4 mil plastic and cement backerboard on the walls and a mud bed + shower pan + mud deck on the shower floor) and overall tile work but has never installed a linear drain or used topical waterproofing products.

Questions:
1. Is it possible to install traditional waterproofing on the shower walls and topical waterproofing on the shower floor with a linear drain and achieve a waterproof shower that will perform over time?
2. If so, is there a topical waterproofing product that you believe would work best in this situation for the shower floor in terms of performance and ease of installation?
3. If I cannot mix the traditional and topical waterproofing methods, could you recommend a solution for both the walls and floor based on ease of installation, installation time required, quality materials and “reasonable” price – I know these products get pricey?
4. I plan to work with a carpenter to lower the floor to accommodate a 2” drop from the bathroom floor to the drain, which I believe is standard code. Is this a standard requirement for a curbless shower too (non-ADA compliant)? Assuming a mud deck and topical waterproofing, by how much would I need to lower the floors? Do you believe a ½” slope per foot would be too steep both visually and to stand on in a 4’x4’ shower? If not, do you have any suggestions on how to make this work? I would prefer to not install the linear drain at the shower opening.

Thank you!

Reply

Roger

Hi Brent,

1. No. If you have a topical floor you need topical walls.

2. N/A

3. Laticrete hydroban or redgard would be your cheapest options, but still not cheap.

4. Non-ada compliant simply requires a 1/4″ per foot slope like a normal shower. Your local building codes may require more, but technically dropping it 2″ and having 1″ of deck mud at the back wall and drain sloped up to 2″ is sufficient.

Reply

Ted

I have some Redguard left over from an old project but got the Laticrete bonding flange from our local tile store. Will it work using Redguard to bond the flange in (as long as I don’t ask/tell Laticrete :whistle: ) ?

Reply

Roger

Hi Ted,

Yes, provided your redgard is still good. The shelf life, once opened, is about a year if I remember correctly.

Reply

Peter

Roger,

You responded to one my my previous questions and it was very helpful! I have made some significant advancements since then in renovating my shower, but there is one thing that is still baffling me (and looking at this post it looks like you will know the answer). I need some tips/techniques for grouting a river rock floor like the one in this post. I’m thinking that regular grouting techniques will not work, so I must ask; Do you have any tips and techniques?

Thank you

Reply

Roger

Hi Peter,

Order four times as much grout as the square footage requires (seriously) and take your time. That’s about it. Give it one initial wipe down, let the grout set up fairly firmly and wipe it down again. Wipe lightly, getting the haze off the pebbles without digging down into the joints. It’s a complete pain in the ass, but there is no real easy way to do it. Other than that – it’s just like grouting regular tile. :D

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Peter

Thank you!

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Jason

Roger,
I’m currently planning a remodel of my master bath in my slab-fouundation house. Planning on Ditra-heat for the bathroom floor, conventional doored shower with minimal curb (2″ above drain, 2″ wide).

Does using Ditra-heat outside the shower suggest Kerdi waterproofing in the shower? Instead of perhaps HydroBan and a laticrete linear drain? I was thinking linear drain along the front wall of the shower.

Also, I’ve read your instructions on installing tiles on the ceiling. The tile I’m interested in are a glass pattern where the largest tile is 2×2, so that leaves out making circles in the thinset. Is non-sag thinset my best option?

Reply

Roger

Hi Jason,

The floor outside the shower rarely dictates your waterproofing method inside. You can use whatever you like. Directly outside the shower, should you use the linear drain, I would fill the ditra heat with thinset (about six inches out), let that cure, then paint the hydroban over it as well, just to catch any rogue water.

No bullseye with 2×2, you just need to make sure you get the entire mosaic fully embedded. If one of two of the individual mosaics on the sheet are not embedded it could pull the entire sheet down. Non-sag is not required, but wouldn’t hurt.

Reply

Michelle

I was sure that there is a requirement for a 2″ drop in rise from a shower entrance to a drain for a curbless shower (assuming you’re not waterproofing the area outside the shower). Did I read correctly that you were advising 3/4″? That would sure make notching my joists easier but I thought that some code or another requires that if 2″ of standing water is at the drain, that the water still all be contained within waterproofed area. That would only be possible with a two inch rise. What am I missing here?

Reply

Roger

Hi Michelle,

You’ll need to check with your local building codes – that is a regional requirement in some areas. It is 2″ here as well, but is not a universal code.

Reply

Jeff

Hi Roger,

I have been enjoying your website and all of the wonderful information. I purchased your topical membrane book and have been following directions to the tee. But now I have a problem that I need some urgent advice on.

After forming the shower pan with the deck mud, I waited 72 hours to let it cure heeding your strong advice about hydrostatic pressure. I then applied a thin skim coat of modified thinset (Versabond) to the deck mud in order to create a nice substrate for the Hydro Ban to bond to. Waited another 24 hours.

I was initially set to trowel on the Hydro Ban, but panicked because it wasn’t going well and changed to applying it with a paint brush. After the second coat and realizing that I had used a little over a gallon to cover about 90 square feet, I was concerned that the Hydro Ban was not to the specified thickness. The instructions stated that a gallon covers about 50 sqft. So I applied a third layer to the floor and changes of plane.

I waited 12 hours to start my flood test. The color was a solid olive green and there weren’t any tacky spots – I had even boosted my thermostat to 73 degrees to help the cure. I stopped my flood test after about 20 hours satisfied that it was holding, noticing no difference in the height of the water and feeling pretty good about my project.

When I came back after checking my drain for leaks, I found that the floor had all sorts of bubbles. Auuuuggghhh! I used a utility knife to cut the bubble and water was released. Under the water bubble appears to be my second coat of Hydro Ban. It seems like the third coat of Hydro Ban didn’t bond well to the second coat or that it hadn’t completely cured.

Using a rag, I was able to get rid of the bubbles by working them out, but I am all concerned about the bonding surface for the next layer. My flood test was giving me good results, but now I am all sorts of concerned.

What do I do now? Is it sledge hammer time? :bonk:

If I could attach a picture I would.

Thanks!

Jeff

Reply

Jeff

Here is an update from the good people at Laticrete. I spoke with technical support, and the gentleman said that I likely did not wait long enough for the last layer to properly cure completely through. He said the first layer cures quickly because it cures from both sides, but any subsequent layer takes longer and longer to cure because it cures from the outside in. So even though it had the appearance of being cured on the outside, it probably wasn’t cured under the surface. Tiny pinholes in that top surface likely allowed the water to get under that layer and form the bubbles.
His suggestion was that I could have repaired it by cutting the bubbles and applying another coat of Hydro Ban. However, the best approach was to scrape it off the pan and start with new. I assumed yesterday that this was going to be the only approach that would give me peace of mind, so I had done that yesterday. I am now down to the bare deck mud/thinset skim coat substrate and will apply the two layers again. This time I will wait at least a full day after the second coat to ensure it is fully cured.

Reply

Roger

Okay, same reason, different approach. :D I’m sure they tell the tech line to have people scrape it off, sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner.

Reply

Jeff

Thanks for the info Roger. Nothing like doing things twice when you don’t have to, eh? Oh well. At least it gives me confidence that if I experience it again not to make too much of it. Your experience gives me peace of mind that I was doing things right and actually CAN follow directions.

Reply

Roger

Hi Jeff,

Don’t panic. :D

Believe it or not it’s normal. Really. The bubbles are from the final layer of hydroban going down before the previous layer was not fully cured. Once you get it thick enough it takes longer for each subsequent layer to cure. While it may seem that the bubbles were created from water getting under the final layer, it’s actually moisture releasing from the underlying layer while it’s still curing. Your floor is just fine, although it doesn’t seem like it.

Believe me, the first time it happened to me I had my rep down there and gave him a very salty ear full before he explained to me what was happening. I have done this, then let it cure an additional day and tested it again, it worked perfectly. It is kind of a form of negative hydrostatic pressure, but from the underlying layers of hydroban – not the deck mud. It’s won’t cause the layer to release, though.

Reply

L

Big debate on the home stretch (I’m from The Derby City so always it’s horses). When using HydroBan 1/4″ v-notch trowel method…was my plan and understanding to let first the 3 water to 1 HB primer roll on coat dry at least a couple of days. Then the first troweled on ridge coat to dry overnight before the final ridge smoothing over coat AFTER first was firm to avoid dips. Being told second trowel coat HAS to go on while first is still wet. Which correct ? Which easiest for best outcome/most goofproof and waterproof?
Many many thanks

Reply

Roger

Hi L,

Being told by whom? I do it the way you planned to do it, let the first cure. Who is telling you that?

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LaNell

Oops….was.all.the way through ordering your book set and was thrown off line.
From Naples Fl
P.S. want the e books pretty soon

Reply

Eamon Byrne

Hi Roger,
I recently bought your topical waterproofing advice – very good and many thanks.

I’m installing a Laticrete linear drain. The youtube install video shows the drain being set on the morter bed, and THEN the drain to be connected to the waste using the no-hub clamp. Shouldn’t that be the other way around? If it was already set how would I reach down and tighten the rubber clamp?

Secondly, I’m concerned about mixing the 3701 fortified mortar. Do you think a paddle attachment to my drill would do it, or can I just mix it by hand?

Reply

Roger

Hi Eamon,

You can do it either way with the drain. You can only do it after if you have access below the subfloor (like a wood floor over a basement or crawlspace). A paddle attachment should be just fine, you can also do it by hand, but I don’t recommend it.

Reply

Jon Ross

Hello Roger,
In the shower with a linear drain installation do you have to use a mortar bed? My shower will have warm wire. Waterproofing will me with Hydroban. My plan is to:
1. Build the floor on a slant by shimming the joists to create the ¼ inch slope. Then attaching ¾ inch plywood to those joists. Then attach ½ inch plywood to the ¾ inch plywood. The last step would be ¼ inch Hardibacker with thinset under it and screwed down with backer screws.
2. Attach the warmwire to the floor.
3. Skim thinset over the warmwire and up to the lip of the linear drain.
4. Hydroban over the top of all of that.
Would this method lead to premature failure or other problems?
Thanks

Reply

Roger

Hi Jon,

You need to use deck mud rather than shimming joists and all that. Deck mud compensates for movement transference through the amount of sand. Movement from the substrate will not transfer through to movement in the waterproofing membrane or tile. On a floor regular seasonal movement is fine, in a shower it may compromise your waterproofing.

Reply

Jon

Thanks so much for the help. During this project so many questions arise and your site is where I go to get my answers. You have made my projects better.
This shower is going to be enclosed to the ceiling. Ceiling will be tiled and Hydro Ban used for waterproofing. One wall is an outside wall and the ceiling is below a cold attic. In one reply to a question about a “mold sandwich” you recommended slitting the vapor barrier holding the insulation in on the outside wall. The Laticrete site contradicts this advice and they say when constructing a steam room, “(Laticrete) always recommends using both a vapor barrier, placed on the framing… prior to further construction and Laticrete Hydro Ban”. I am not doing a steam room but I live in a northern climate and there will be a lot of steam trapped in the shower while showering. So my questions are:
1. Do I need to have a vapor barrier on the studs in addition to the Hydro Ban for my totally closed in shower?
2. If not then should I slit the vapor barrier that is currently on the outside wall and the ceiling?
3. Nobel Seal TS technical specifications indicate that it is approved for steam room applications with a water vapor permeance of 0.15 perms (Hydro Ban is 1.247). Should I change to Noble Seal TS for my installation?
4. Just for my own knowledge can Noble Seal TS be used in conjunction with Hydro Ban? I.e. Noble Seal TS on the walls and Hydro Ban on the floor (overlapping the wall Nobel Seal TS with floor Hydro Ban).
Thanks!

Reply

Roger

Hi Jon,

1. No. A vapor barrier is used in conjunction with a topical membrane ONLY when building a steam shower. It is a matter of steam infusion. You will not get that in a regular shower, no matter how much steam you have (without a generator).
2. Only on the wall.
3. If you choose to do so, either will work just fine. See steam infusion above. :)
4. Yes. But neither company will tell you that. :)

A steam shower is a COMPLETELY different construction and application than a regular shower, enclosed or not. Most things pertaining to a steam shower are not required in any type of regular shower.

Reply

Jon

Thanks, thanks, thanks. I scour your site to answer the many questions that come up as I build this shower. Most questions are answered and your site has been so helpful. If my questions have been answered elsewhere I apologize.
1. What is the minimum thickness of the mortar bed? I am using Laticrete 3701. Laticrete spec sheet says for unbonded mortar bed installation the minimum thickness is 2” and that installation of a cleavage membrane be placed (in) approximately ½ the depth of the bed.
2. Is the minimum thickness of the mortar bed less for a bonded mortar bed? For a bonded mortar bed Laticrete instructions do not address a minimum thickness. My installations will be on wood.
I am planning on using “What a drain” linear drain and I am trying to figure out how high the lip should be placed? Obviously the lower the lip height (mortar bed depth) the lower the curb can be, which is 4.5’ away.
Thanks!

Reply

Roger

Hi Jon,

Do you have a link for the particular specs you are citing? A cleavage membrane never goes in the middle of a mortar bed. Wire reinforcement perhaps, but not a cleavage membrane. In smaller showers a total 1 1/4″ thickness at the drain is needed. Same with bonded or unbonded. A minimum 2″ thickness with wire reinforcement on an unbonded mortar bed is called for with a floor (a flat one, like outside the shower), but not necessarily in a shower. I believe the specs you may be referring are for dry-pack for a flooring application.

Reply

Jon
Roger

Yup, that’s dry pack for floors. I don’t think they have one specific to shower floors.

Reply

Jon

Well that is a little confusing, thanks for the clarification. I will use 1 ¼” thickness at the drain and finish with 2 3/8” at the far wall for the mortar deck.
1. Is it OK to us ½ inch HardieBacker for the curb?
2. Is it better to screw the HardieBacker together to get the height (3”) or thinset them together?
I plan on etching a trench in the mud deck to lay the warm wire and then skim coat thinset over the mud deck and the curb, which will have the warm wire in and out wires laying on top.
3. Any flaws?
4. Better way to do it?
Thanks again?

Reply

Roger

1. If you are using a topical waterproofing method on your floor yes, hardi is fine for the curb.

2. It is better to use 2 2×4’s and screw hardi to them.

The above assume topical waterproofing. If you are using a traditional method on the floor it needs to be wet mud on your curb.

3. Dunno

4. There’s always a better way to do it. Most of the better ways haven’t yet been figured out, though. :D Better is relative. Every method works if done correctly, it depends on what you’re looking for with your waterproofing (other than being just waterproof). It’s better to say that there are different ways to do it, but your way is as good as the others.

Brooks

Thanks for the great site! I have learned a lot here.

I am your neighbor just to the south, and although I know there must be people who carry it, I seem to be having a heck of a time finding anyone who carries the Laticrete products in the Boulder/Denver area. I think Design Materials in Denver carries them, but that is a long haul. Do you get your grouts/mortars/hydro ban locally? Suggestions? Thanks!

Reply

Roger

Hey Brooks,

I order most of my stuff through Florida tile up here, I think design materials will likely be the closest place to you. You can go here to find the closest supplier.

Reply

chris

the bathroom I am doing shower in is on second story above the kitchen…I really don’t want any leaks…would it be possible..and smart…or stupid..to apply red guard to the diamond metal mesh instead of using roofing paper?….I would staple down the mesh then apply the red guard …let it cure, then do the preslope….I AM PARANOID about a leak showing up on my kitchen ceiling! I would then do the liner…slope etc…just like you taught me in your download….btw…awesome! :rockon: :rockon:

thanks for your imput

Reply

Roger

Hi Chris,

That wouldn’t do any good at all. The roofing felt is there to prevent the plywood from sucking moisture out of your deck mud prematurely, thus weakening it. That’s it, it’s not there for any type of waterproofing at all. The method, followed correctly, is completely waterproof, as is any method when properly executed. Adding, removing or substituting steps in the process may actually cause problems where none exist.

Reply

chris

Do I put up cement backer board on shower walls before installing mud deck? I am going to use redguard on the durock. thank you

Reply

Roger

Hi Chris,

When using redgard you can do it either way. That is the easiest.

Reply

Dee

Hello Roger,
I have a question from the linear drain beer zone: I’m putting in a shower with 2 open sides – both 48″. The shower stall is a rectangle 4′ x 7′ with one side completely open with an adjoining 7′ side open 4′ and connecting to the open 4′ side. I’m looking at joining 2 linear drains in an L-shaped configuration. I want the installation curbless and I can’t lower the floor in the showeral (is that even a word? -5 spelling) area (I did mention this is from the beer zone, didn’t I?)

Any suggestions other that more frequent visits to my shrink or AA group?

Thanks

Reply

Roger

Hi Dee,

You can install the drains at the open edges of the shower and slope the shower floor up to the shower walls. The water will drain into the drains rather than running out of the shower. Similar to the one in this post – but two of them.

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Dee

So there shouldn’t be any problem joining the 2 linear drains with a 45* miter? Or would I be better served butting 1 into the other?

BTW, I followed your suggestion you gave me about a month ago on using construction adhesive to vertically level out walls and bring the HardieBacker even with the sheetrock (didn’t seem to do much for corners out of square but if the room ain’t square the room ain’t square). Very clever and very easy with excellent results. I have a very short list of go-to guys on the Internet and you are one of them.

Reply

Roger

You’re probably better off butting them to one another. Mitering them compromises the drain channel and if not done perfectly could create very serious problems. Butting them would be better.

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Dee

Thanks for the opinion Roger. It’s always good to talk with someone who actually has some experience and knows pretty much what they’re talking about. You’ll probably hear from me again next time I get myself tiled into a corner – all the painting’s done so…

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Kevin

I remember u said the mud bed at the drain is 1″ thick n slope up to the wall. But the pic 7, 8, 9 9 show the mud bed at the drain is very thin. May be I’m confused or I just don’t get it

Thnx

Reply

Roger

Hey Kevin,

You’re only seeing the thickness on the outside of the shower where I’ve installed 3/4″ of plywood. The height inside the shower at the drain is 1″+.

Reply

Kevin

Hi Roger

I have completely demo n clean up my shower. The drain has been moved to the 34 inches length of the bathroom floor. I for sure will create a slope from the bck wall to the drain, n the dry side will be flat.
One question before I proceed regarding material to create slope. I saw someone on utube using thinset to do it, then attach cement board top. How is that compared to conventional way of using cement n sand .

Reply

Roger

Hey Kevin,

I wonder if he’ll put up the video when his shower fails?

Thinset is stable up to a maximum of 1/4″ – and that’s pushing it. Beyond that it shrinks, cracks and crumbles. Should be fun under the shower floor. Use deck mud – please! :D

Reply

Bill

Hey Roger,

Back again with another stupid question…. I’ve got a 28″ wide opening (32″ total width minus 4″ wide curb) and of course Laticrete’s drain comes in 24″ or 32″ which are really 26″ and 34″ with the flange on the bottom part of the drain. Would you:

A. Use the 32″ drain, bury the extra under the curb, and hacksaw the top drain piece to fit.

B. Use the 24″ drain, build a small corner on the curb to take up the extra space at the opening, modify the mud bed to slope water out of that corner.

C. Insert your much better idea here

Thanks!

Reply

Roger

Hey Bill,

Hack saw was the best idea I could come up with at the time. If you have the ability to widen the entire shower so the inside is 34″ that would be best, but it isn’t always possible. I think that trying to build out a corner or anything else to compensate for the smaller drain will look horrible. Since you’re putting it at the end of the shower maybe you could use the smaller drain and build a bench over it. You could have the front of the bottom of the bench 1/2″ off the floor to cover the drain and build a slope on the sides of it.

That, however, is the type of thing I play with. Not necessarily always a good idea to experiment with stuff if you don’t know all the aspects of it. The only caveat I would give for that type of installation would be the cleaning out of the drain, you’d need some type of access to the drain beneath the bench.

Reply

Bill

Ok Roger, I left out the detail about the drain being at the entrance to the shower.

I do think my best option is the 24″ drain and have purchased one with my life savings. Since my words have not been helpful, let’s try pictures.

This link should have 2 pictures taken from inside the make believe shower with the 2×4 curb on the right and the drain at the top where the entrance would be. Tell me which one you hate less!

https://plus.google.com/photos/102795805926152770339/albums/5871699732371274353

– Left picture — Curb makes a corner (symbolized by the little piece of 2×4) to pickup the space between the drain and the curb, door hinges from the left wall.

– Right picture — Curb stays straight (no corner) and the drain meets it on the right side, the wall on the left is built out (again, the small 2×4) and the door hinges from there.

Thanks for the tips!

Reply

Roger

I would do it like the right picture with the straight curb then, rather than building that wall out like that just build the curb around that end of the drain (so it’s an ‘L’ shape with the little 3″ on the end of the drain) then from the inside corner of the drain create a 45 degree angle to the wall. So your curb will still be built out like the photo with the 2×4 on the end but from inside corner of the drain that 2×4 then extends to the wall at a 45.

That will maintain a consistent slope and you don’t need to slope the floor right behind that 2×4 piece, the angle will direct the water to the drain.

Reply

Bucyrus

Solid Glass or Sheet Glass Kitchen Backsplash
Hi, do you have info on DIY solid glass backsplash install? I am interested in how to estimate cost, resources for purchasing material and how to deal with outlets. Is relocating wall switches and outlets to under cabinets a good idea?

Thanx

Reply

Roger

Hi Bucyrus,

I do not have any information on that because no one does it. If you have ‘sheet glass’ it is not a tile nor is it intended to be used as such. While you can get extremely large format glass tile (it would need to be 18″ minimum – and for glass that’s HUGE) you’ll still have vertical grout lines. A full sheet would need to be custom manufactured which, while it can be done, I highly doubt you’ll find a single manufacturer willing to do it and warranty it beyond the time it takes to leave the warehouse.

The problem with it is that glass expands and contracts extremely differently than any other building material. Bonding it to one of those materials (your backsplash substrate) will cause it to crack eventually. That’s why you see swimming pools with glass mosaics, not glass sheets.

Reply

Bucyrus

Dear Roger.

You bring up many good points and I sincerely appreciate it. Should you have time, there is a demo of the install process on: How to Install a Solid Glass Backsplash: How-To: DIY Network. I would really like to know your opinion on this process.

Thanx, Bucyrus

Reply

Roger

That is not considered a tile installation. The frosted glass is free floating, so you’re essentially just sitting the glass on the counter and locking it in at the top with the quarter-round (or, as they state it, “find a creative way to lock it in”. They do not mention leaving space for expansion around the edges or tops, which absolutely needs to be done.

It can be done apparently, I just wouldn’t do it. I’ve also never seen it done. It seems to me like one of the products and methods that look absolutely great in a magazine or in a photo but in real-life situations I don’t believe it to be very practical. One of the big red flags for me was right in the first paragraph: “Use gloves (or suction cups) when handling the glass, as the oils from your hands will leave fingerprints”. If the oil from your fingertips will leave prints and stains on your glass how in the hell would you keep it clean in a kitchen? :D

Reply

Gil Villegas Jr

Could I build my shower pan using DUROCK then creating the slope with the Mortar and finally Redgard or Hydroban everything?

Also, is it ok to use Redgard instead of Hydroban on this drain?

Reply

Roger

Hi Gil,

You can, but it won’t last – so no. Mortar is rigid, deck mud is not. The reason for so much sand in deck mud is to allow regular structural movements to happen without it cracking your shower bed and, in turn, your shower tile. Use deck mud. You can have durock under it, flat on the floor, if you want. But it can’t be framed with a slope or sloped, it won’t last long-term.

It is fine to use redgard with the laticrete drain. Blasphemous, but fine. :D I don’t think you’ll get a warranty from either manufacturer, though.

Reply

L

Dear Roger
Whilst I try and figure out why my tablet lost book download, a quick question.
I have a rough concrete floor in shower after I hammered it all out. With a huge weep hole…first step?? Do I mud in cleaned out weep hole? Then do I put a thin coat of thinset a day before the mud preslope?
If not…??
Sorry you have to rerun answers for the same thing.

Reply

Roger

You can just fill that in with deck mud as you form your shower floor.

Reply

Kevin Phan

Hi
I urgently need ur advise on my project. I’m trying to replace a tub w a curbless shower 60″x30″. The linear drain will be at bck wall sloping up to the shower door.
A) I’m stuck at deciding about how low I should depress the shower floor. Some said 1.5″ and 2″ .
B) do I need to slope my restroom floor too?

Reply

Roger

Hey Kevin,

1. 3/4″ for the slope difference from front to back plus the height of your mud bed at the drain. If your mud bed will be 1 1/2″ at the drain (which it should be) then you need to drop it 2 1/4″.

2. If you want to, but no real need to as long as the water is contained in the sloped area by a shower door. Always a good idea to waterproof six inches or so outside the shower area, though.

Reply

Kevin

Hi Roger,

Thank you very much for your advice. Just to clarify my understanding.

1. I will have to lower the floor by 2 3/4 to accommodate the 1/2″ plywood.
The lowest point of the mud bed will be 1 1/2″, where the drain resides
The highest point will be the same level with the main floor

2. I will apply 6″ of waterproof membrane to both end of the slope n the sides

You may ask me why I don’t hire a pro to do this. I interviewed 3s contractor n they don’t seem to know what they r doing, while asking for $2500 for the job. Heck, I will carefully do it myself with urs and others advise.

The main challenge for me now is depress the floor. I’m not sure how the joints look like beneath subfloor. I may have to sister some beams. I can’t wait to do it this weekend. Any advise about lowering the floor?

I will post n link pictures to ur page.

Reply

Roger

1. Yes.

2. Yes.

Lowering the floor in any structure varies so wildly that I don’t give advice on it. You’re messing with your house’s base structure – just research and be damn sure you know what you’re doing before you cut into anything. I would also check your local codes to see if there’s anything specific you need to do. Your city’s building department would be a good place to start.

Reply

Kevin

Roger,

for your project,
1. did you have to lower the shower floor
2. did you have to raise the restroom floor higher than where the drain is?

for #2, if you didn’t raise the restroom floor, then will it be flooded if there’s an overflow in the drain?

thanks
Kevin

Reply

Roger

1. No

2. No.

Yes. If I did raise the floor and the drain overflowed it would still be flooded, no?

Reply

Kevin

Thnx for quick reply Roger

That’s really good to know.
I would definitely use ur method than lowering the floor.
1. Did u set ur drain on 1 1/2″ mud that slope backward
2. If so, the other side of the drain has 1 1/2″ mud too?

Thnx
Kevin

Reply

Roger

I have 1″ of mud on the shower side which slopes up to the back wall from the drain. The dry side has 3/4″ plywood with ditra on top of it, so same height.

Reply

Kevin

If I understood u correctly, u added ditra and 3/4″ plywood on top of floor of dry side to level w the 1″ of mud on the wet side?

Reply

Roger

Yes, but not in that order. :D

Bill

Sorry, you may have answered this somewhere, but did you use Hydroban directly on the less-wet side of the linear drain or some other substrate? How far did you go with the tiling, or better asked, do you need to tile on this side of the linear drain? :?:

Reply

Bill

Very cool, I’ve got a similar idea using a curb on the left side which should work assuming I can get the curb right to the edge of the drain. I don’t suppose anyone has seen that before so I can get it into my thick head?

Also, I understand Laticrete was nice and gave you the drain, so you didn’t choke on the $400 price. Is there a tile-in linear drain out there at a more reasonable price so I can afford the tile to go into it?

Reply

Roger

Hey Bill,

Not sure how you plan on doing a curb only on the left side? What are you doing with the front? Guess I need to get that into my thick head as well.

All linear drain are price comparable – they are not cheap, any of them. I regularly ‘choke up’ $400 – $1000 for each linear drain I install. :D

Once the substrate on the dry side was set then yes, I put the hydroban on that side as well. The entire bathroom floor is tiled as well, the hydroban only goes six inches outside the shower. When properly built you’re only dealing with splashed water anyway.

Reply

Bill

Hey Roger,

Thanks for replying, you run a great site.

To answer – referencing your project, the back wall and the right wall would remain, the left wall would become a curb with a glass panel, and the front would be the linear drain with a glass door. The front with drain is on the short side (30-32″ wide) and the left side curb on the long side (58-62″ long).

Couple more questions if you’ll put up with me:
– What substrate did you use on the dry side on top of the plywood, if any?

– You said you modified the drain, do you have any details or closer pictures of how you did that? I can’t tell if you were only referencing how you buried the bottom part in the wall, but assume you also had to cut down the tile-in tray?

– With the above described layout, I’m trying to get the linear drain plus curb to be in my desired width, is there a minimum width the curb needs to be in practice so it doesn’t fall over?

– Laticrete’s generosity aside, do you have a preference on $400 linear drain? I’ve seen a few at $300 in my searching the internets.

Thanks again!

Reply

Roger

Oh, gotcha. That will work just fine, you’ll just have a curb and glass rather than the wall. Easy enough.

I normally use kerdi on my bathroom floors, this was no different. I installed the kerdi, filled it and let it cure, then put the hydroban over it. You can also use kerdi-band with kerdi-fix attached to the drain flange to waterproof it.

All I did was cut down the insert to the correct length with a hack saw. That’s it. If you look closely at the insert in some of the photos you’ll notice on the left side of it there is no vertical end and the ‘tabs’ on the bottom only has one. It was just a hack saw.

You can build a curb an inch wide if you want, it just needs to be at or less than 1.5 times high as it is wide. So if it’s 1″ wide it can only be 1 1/2″ high.

My preference really is laticrete’s drain. While they all work when properly installed, theirs is the most straight-forward and easiest installations.

Reply

Bill

Got it, now I see the handy hacksaw work and realize it doesn’t really matter. Good info on the curb also, time to research curb contruction options that can yield a small finished width curb.

Getting back to the dry side substrate, I want to make sure I’m reading appropriately… You put the Kerdi directly on the plywood in the entire dry side of the bathroom?

Much appreciated!

Reply

Roger

Nope, I put ditra on the dry side. Kerdi is for walls and shower floors. :D I get them backwards all the time while I’m typing, brain doesn’t stop and I’m answering a lot of questions. Sorry about that. I put the ditra right to the plywood, fill the cavities with thinset, then use the hydroban (or kerdi-band).

Reply

Kevin

Hi Roger n Bill

I found this linear drain by aco for $191. It’s a plus version
http://www.walmart.com/ip/QuARTz-by-ACO-46.7-Wavy-Bathroom-Linear-Shower-Drain/23480283

It’s so cheap..wonder why so

Regards

Reply

Roger

Because it is not a topical linear drain, it’s a clamping linear drain. You need two slopes and a pvc membrane. ACO installation instructions.

Reply

Pat

Roger,

Can a clamping linear drain, such as the ACO drain mentioned above, be used at the entrance of a curbless shower? (specifically for a 3′ opening of a stall size shower)

Thanks,
Pat

Reply

Roger

Hi Pat,

Yes.

Mark

Roger,

Could you please clarify something for me? In the link you provided above for the ACO drain, they list two types of drain assemblies:

1) A plain edge shower channel with a clamping flange with CPE membrane on a plywood floor.

2) A flange edge shower channel with a flexible coupler on concrete.

Is there any particular reason why one could not install the plain edge shower channel, clamping flange and CPE membrane on a properly prepared concrete slab, following the same procedure outlined in the joisted wooden floors diagram?

Second: You mentioned that the drain would be pitched in ‘both’ directions… I assume that is front to rear. Do we not need to be concerned with a slight pitch from each end (left/right sides of the drain) towards the center under the CPE membrane?

I ask because I’m looking at my own shower project where the fiberglass one-piece shower enclosure was not supported underneath and eventually cracked. (48″ wide, 36″ deep, center drain.)

I recently tore the whole thing out and I’m left with the studs, the concrete slab, and the 2″ stub up for the drain. The more I looked at it, the more I wanted to use a linear drain at the front/doorway without a curb, and continue my large format tiles I have planned for the main bathroom floor into the shower. (Lowes Item number: 519266 – 7.72″ x 47.4″ porcelain tiles, CF – 0.88 dry and 0.66 wet.)

My thought was to saw cut the slab in the shower area and doorway and rework the drain pipe to allow for the linear drain to be set across the front of the shower. Set the new drain pipe, then set a form that is cut to the same diameter as the drain body flange around the drain pipe, with release agent and plastic on the outside. Repour the concrete and float the initial depth and let it cure… then pull the form and set the drain body flange in place on the concrete. Good idea? Bad idea?

From there, my plan was to lay the initial mortar bed in place, pitched 1/4″ per foot towards the drain, then lay the CPE into place, apply the second mortar bed and pitch (rear to front) and follow up with thinset and tile. Do you see any fault in my plan? More work than I need to be doing?

In regards to the tile: It is indoor/outdoor rated, is supposed to be impervious to water, has a 0.66 wet coefficient of friction… is that sufficient for a shower floor with that size tile, or should I cut the tiles down to a smaller size to increase the amount of grout lines and add additional friction points? If so, what size would you recommend? 8)

Many thanks!

Mark

Reply

Roger

Hi Mark,

In concrete the coupling needs to be shielded with a metal covering since it’s buried in concrete. I don’t know if that’s how they distinguish the two or not, I don’t us ACO all that much.

If your drain flange does not go wall to wall, if you have tile on the sides, then the sides need to be sloped as well. If the wall tile sits over the ends of the flange then you don’t need to worry about it.

Those tiles are just fine for the floor.

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