Shower pan choice

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Doing a new master bath. Of course, doing all my own cabinet work as I am a woodworker. Anyway, going to do a zero threshold shower. Down to three competing waterproofing systems:
Schluter/Kurdy board. The orange stuff made famous buy Homes TV show. Well understood. Seems to work. Watch for build-up in corners. Pan requires reframing floor as it is a couple inches thick.

Laticrete. Very similar. A little cheaper, but not significant. New only a year ago. Same issue with the floor. Slightly better permeability, but not significant for a shower. Would be for a steam room or a comercial install. A little stiffer wall board.

Vim. A bit more expensive, but the molded pan only requires removing and re-blocking the subfloor. Not trimming the joists, sistering and blocking. They don't have a wall product, so would use the Laticrete board system.

Going to use RedGuard on the rest of the bath. Good luck in the past. A zero threshold is likely to splash water across more of the floor, so I want it water-proof, not resistant.

Does anyone have any real positives or negatives for the three systems? Any gotchas, catch-22s etc?

Any view on if the new Spectralock 1 is really as good as epoxy grout? Epoxy grout it no fun to do.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Have you ruled out the Durock system? I used it for a master shower system a few years ago and it’s held up so far. It was a bit cheaper than Kerdi. The kit includes everything needed besides the drain cover. The instructions were clear and I didn’t experience hiccups during install.

I’m not sure if you plan on using the membrane or red guard on the shower walls but a gotcha was mixing the mortar to the right consistency to not fall of the wall but thin enough to use the tiny teethed trowel. Other than that it was fairly straightforward process that went quickly.
 

Rjgooden

Big Ron
User
I put a 3x5 shower in my master bath a couple of years ago with the schluter kerdi system. I also went without a threshold and waterproofing to the rest of the bathroom. I did a lot of research and found the kerdi system to be the easiest I have had zero problems or hiccups with this system and would do it again if needed.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Dont want to do a mud pan?

1: Skill.
2: I want it to work for as long as I am here. Not fail in 5 years like the traditional methods.
3: To do a mud pan would require even deeper re-framing of the structure.
4: Even harder to bridge a mud pan to a full waterproof system.
5: Drain seals are notorious for leaking

I am not a tile guy locked into trade practice of 50 years ago. I am not building in obsolesce. I have torn out "traditional" jobs in every house I owned due to them failing.

Others, all in one post:
The Johnbridge comments on Hydroban liquid waterproofing. Sounds very much like the experience I had with RedSeal. I would probably choose it as a slightly newer product. I did use a reinforcing mesh when I did the RedSeal shower over cement board in the corners. They have this new super duty adhesive/caulk stuff now that obsoletes the tape. Advantage to the Laticrete system is less build up in the corners.

Durock, or other cement boards are cheaper. Used it last time. The product is not waterproof but requires a full membrane installed over it. The Kurdi or Laticrete foam boards have the membrane integral and the material itself is closed cell foam so it can't absorb water even if there is a pinhole. Far better than sheet rock, but now obsolete. Might use it around the soaking tub as there is no shower and the liquid membrane is probably good enough for 50 years.

I see they have better gaskets for sealing the valve and head than the mess I did last time.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
1: Skill.
2: I want it to work for as long as I am here. Not fail in 5 years like the traditional methods.
3: To do a mud pan would require even deeper re-framing of the structure.
4: Even harder to bridge a mud pan to a full waterproof system.
5: Drain seals are notorious for leaking

I am not a tile guy locked into trade practice of 50 years ago. I am not building in obsolesce. I have torn out "traditional" jobs in every house I owned due to them failing.

Others, all in one post:
The Johnbridge comments on Hydroban liquid waterproofing. Sounds very much like the experience I had with RedSeal. I would probably choose it as a slightly newer product. I did use a reinforcing mesh when I did the RedSeal shower over cement board in the corners. They have this new super duty adhesive/caulk stuff now that obsoletes the tape. Advantage to the Laticrete system is less build up in the corners.

Durock, or other cement boards are cheaper. Used it last time. The product is not waterproof but requires a full membrane installed over it. The Kurdi or Laticrete foam boards have the membrane integral and the material itself is closed cell foam so it can't absorb water even if there is a pinhole. Far better than sheet rock, but now obsolete. Might use it around the soaking tub as there is no shower and the liquid membrane is probably good enough for 50 years.

I see they have better gaskets for sealing the valve and head than the mess I did last time.
I followed his instructions on 2 mud pans and zero leaks after 12 years. They are simple and cheap to do in ANY shape. A mud pan doesnt require any more structural work than surrounding tile floor would require. Typically wont allow more than 1/16" deflection between joists loaded at something like 400# (going by memory, could be more or less.). The old school method (concrete on flooring with no liner will leak once you have a crack ). This technique uses the liner under the mudded base. If you can do woodwork to some degree of accuracy, a mudded shower pan is a no brainer as far as ability. I just prefer the size flexibility and the cost associated.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
If even a low curb, a mud pan works, but I need a zero curb. To get the required slope ( large shower) the edge is too high, so need to drop the joists about an inch, much like the Schulter or Laticrete. 12 years is not my plan. Try 50.

For a zero curb, the entire floor needs to be integral and water proof up the walls a foot. So the suggested method is the membrane on the top side. Different from the old copper or EDPM liner under the bed. Drain needs to be designed for the top membrane. I can't raise the floor as that just puts an obstacle at the door. This is planning for future accessibility issues. Walker or chair.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
You can do what you want, but none of those products you mention have been around long enough to know how they will hold up over time (50 years? hahahaha) , mudded showers have been however. Reminds me of 30 year shingles, lifetime siding etc...
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
But we know the old methods won't. I know, some will keep doing what they always have. New products do not always work if you don't know how to install them. You have an industry that is trying to convince us we need to re-do our kitchens and baths every 10 years. Fat chance.

30 year shingles are about right unless you do not maintain them and have moss issues. Hail will still do them in. Slate is good for several hundred, clay and cement tiles more than that. Newest steel roofs have a 50 year warrantee.
Lifetime siding? Well, I know of one building in Japan that has been in continuous use since 747 with wood siding. Cedar shingles are good for about 50+. Properly maintained ship-lap going well over 200. I think my cement board siding will last well past my lifetime. It still needs painting every 20 or so years. Vinyl? Probably not as it slowly outgasses the plasticizer and gets brittle. Subject to damage. Aluminum could easily last 100, but it gets a bit ugly.
 

Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
You have to cut them. Hand saw if it is along a wall and , me ? the rest I use a skil77 worm saw or a sawzall.
If you can double the joist up with a 2x4 and use it as a guide, makes it easier
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Trimming is not hard. One then has to sister with at least a 2 x 6 unless you want to hire an engineer to approve it. Glued and screwed. Then additional blocking to clear the drain and support the pan around it.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
So destroy the structural integrity of the floor, possibly load bearing to have a curbless shower?. I dont know how you could sister a 2x6 long enough to compensate for the horrible stress riser youve created unless you tearup all the flooring around it for 4 or more feet on either side.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Yes, you do need to continue the sister joist(s) well beyond the cut down area. Even better if you can get it to a plate. ( I can on one end) With crawl space access, no need to tear up from the top.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Yes, but you have to dig up and lower the floor. ( or raise the rest of it)
There are drawings for all this on the Schluter , Laticrete and ViM sites.
 

redknife

Chris
Corporate Member
Most of my experience is with Schluter. As to your questions, I think getting preformed corners is beneficial to avoid corner buildup when compared to folding Kerdi. It is more expensive to buy preformed corners. In general, following manufacturer’s instructions and those of the TCNA handbook help ensure a durable install. Subfloor structure appropriate for tile size and application is paramount. I don’t have any gotcha’ s for the Schluter when used as directed.
Mixing and matching waterproofing product lines is common but introduces possible weak points at the interface and generally voids the warranty (FWIW). Redgard, of course, is faster and cheaper for the walls.
I don’t know if you are getting the work inspected, but the curbless design sometimes impacts the pan leak test. You can build a temporary curb to fill the pan for the test but best to coordinate with the inspector so that expectations are aligned.
I have leaned on the John Bridge books and forum quite a bit.
good luck
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Yes, I have seen suggestions on how to do the leak test.
If you buy the "kit" it comes with inside and outside corners. I was only thinking liquid for the floor and walls outside of the " wet room".

When I build or modify structure, I use the basic civil engineering practice to make it obviously big enough. Story: Freshman statics, the professor asked what was the value of pi. As expected, some smart ass rattled off about 20 digits. His answer was "NO! It is 3." We are going to make it ten times stronger anyway. Of course we calculate better than that, but point made.
 

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