Do it yourself!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Installing Ceramic Tile In a Walk In Shower Using Schluter Products

There are an unlimited number of shapes, sizes and designs for showers as well as methods of construction. Having done tile work for the last 20 years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard complaints about leaking showers. I’ve used this system for the last 15 years and haven’t had a single leak.

  • Kirdy inside corners: Special preformed corners that are placed on the inside corners around the bottom of the shower. 
  • Kirdy liner: Covers the bed or pan.
  • Kirdy band: Covers all the joints on the walls.
  • Hardie Backer Board: 3x5 sheets of cementious board that are screwed to the walls.
  • Hydro Ban: A liquid rubber that is brushed or rolled on the walls as a sealer
  • Prepping the shower:
    Once the plumber has installed the water lines you can hang the backer board. Schluter says, and they actually recommend that you put the Kirdy liner the liner right over sheetrock,  but I am still a little bit leary of a leak from the inside. The backerboard, while not waterproof, will tolerate a lot more moisture than regular sheetrock or even green rock. It cost a little more to build a shower this way but I feel like it’s a much better system.

    1. Connecting the drain: There should be a 2” drain line stubbed up through the floor that will need to be cut so that the outside edges of the Kirdy drain will be about 1” above the floor. If your making your own pan with 3x1 mix the mud bed should be at least 1” thick underneath the drain. If you’re using theKirdy Tray it will need to be cut to length so that the drain sets right on top of the tray and connects properly to the drain pipe. The drain is connected with pvc cement.
    2. Applying the Kirdy liner: Starting at the bottom,the liner will cover the entire bottom of the shower (cutting out the drain hole). Then the Kirdy bands are applied. These bands come in 5” or 7” widths. 5” is usually good enough for the flat joints and 7” for the inside corners. The bands are applied with thinned down thinset and a 3/16 v notched trowel or 1/4” square notched trowel.I’ve started using a 6” sheetrock knife, just like applying sheetrock tape.
    3. Schluter teaches the use of a solid sheet of the kirdy liner on the walls but I have had better luck just covering the seams and then using a liquid latex membrane called Hydroban. Probably any latex waterproofing membrane would work but this one seems to work best for me. It is made by Laticrete and is rolled and brushed on, covering all of the walls and joints giving you a very well sealed area to apply your tile. Two coats are required.
    4. Both methods are good, I just feel more comfortable with my method. I’ve never had any problems with either one.
    5. There are several options that you might want to consider, such as benches and soap dishes (recessed or surface mount) that will require additional prep work. All of these options should be considered before applying the liners and latex membrane.



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