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Axhammer 07-19-2013 08:15 PM

tile shower replacement with new tile
I have a 35 year old house and I have remodeled everything with the exception of the bathrooms. I removed a 3rd bathroom that went unused, and converted it into a walk-in closet for my wife. I am going to remodel both remaining bathrooms, and they are situated adjacent to each other between the three bedrooms. Both have tile floors with water plumbed underneath to warm the floors in the winter. Both have tile about half way up the walls. The master BR bathroom is the one I am going to do first, I would like to finish it quickly as I have some spare time for the next month, so I plan of doing it starting tomorrow.
The bathroom in question is small, it has a small cabinet with one sink, a toilet, and a tile shower. When I removed the other bathroom, the shower in it had a type of (lead?) liner that protected the house structure from water damage. I am assuming this shower will have the same thing. No big deal, I'm going to rip everything out this weekend. I plan on re-tiling the entire bathroom floor, lower half of the walls, and the entire shower, as it was previously. I learned how to cut and lay tile, grout tile, and everything else involved when I tiled my kitchen a couple years ago.
My questions are concerning the membrane to put under the shower tile to prevent water leakage, and what type of system to put under the tile to warm the tile in the winter. Hopefully someone can get me up to speed on there two issues.

Thanks in advance!

oh'mike 07-20-2013 05:34 AM

How to build a shower - Building a shower pan with pre-sloped mortar bed, liner and curb.

This method is what I use most frequently---Check with Schluter about their premade pan and surface membrane---

You have a heated floor right now---hydronic---how is that built? If you can stick with the hot water heat you have your heating question---is the floor in good shape right now? No cracked tiles or loose grout?

joecaption 07-20-2013 05:54 AM

One concern I would have is that old in floor heating.
It was common years ago to just install copper tubing and pore the concrete around it.
Copper reacts with copper and will leak at some point.
Several of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes were done this way and all of then failed.

Axhammer 07-20-2013 07:27 AM

The floor in both of these bathrooms is sill in solid condition, and the grout seems to be in place for the most part. There are several stress cracks that run across each bathroom floor, that would indicate a high floor joist underneath. Everything is 35+ years old and in need of replacement, and I figured it would be a good time to replace the subfloor heating system.

Someone mentioned a shower pan, are these good long term solutions?

I believe using mortar, thin set and tile would be the best, long term, long lasting, leak free shower drain floor, but I am open to all suggestions!

When you install the membrane over the previously sloped mortar, what holds it in place? And then, what goes on top of the membrane? Thin set and tile? It seems like it could shift and separate over time? I take it you DO NOT anchor the membrane anywhere that needs to hold water, because you do not want to puncture it, leading to leaks in the future, so that means it is anchored at the drain, and up high on the wall, and the back side of the curb. This means the membrane is floating, is it not? What holds in place for the next thirty years?

Aren't there new subfloor heating systems that are powered by electricity vice hot water re circulation? It would be nice to have the option to program when the floor gets heated, and then maybe save in heating costs by not heating the floors during other times. I definitely want to do this part right, I am only doing this job once.

One and done!

Thanks again for all the comments, I'm all ears at this point.

Axhammer 07-20-2013 07:29 AM

I'm in NC, just south of the Tidewater area.

oh'mike 07-20-2013 03:48 PM

There are many electric heating methods for floors----all seem to work well and can be controlled by a thermostat or timer---

I like the economy of hot water heat and would consider updating the coils and perhaps adding a separate zone for the bath.

Did you read the link in my previous post? Preslope first--then clamp drain and membrane---then deck mud to form the base for the tile---

Axhammer 07-20-2013 04:04 PM


Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 1218449)
There are many electric heating methods for floors----all seem to work well and can be controlled by a thermostat or timer---

I like the economy of hot water heat and would consider updating the coils and perhaps adding a separate zone for the bath.

Did you read the link in my previous post? Preslope first--then clamp drain and membrane---then deck mud to form the base for the tile---

Yes, Mike, I did read/view the link. It seems like after the mortar has cured, and the membrane simply lays on top of the cured mortar, the membrane is held in place by gravity, and the drain clamp, and where its tacked around the walls and curb. It just seems like a delamination waiting to happen, because it is never really bonded together from the beginning. What goes on top of the membrane, prior to the tile?

oh'mike 07-20-2013 04:09 PM

Look at the link again---after the membrane a layer of deck mud is placed over the membrane---let me look at the link again----

oh'mike 07-20-2013 04:11 PM

Look at the last four pictures in the link--this shows the deck mud and curb ---

Axhammer 07-20-2013 04:36 PM

OK, the membrane is sandwiched between two layers of deck mud, the deck mud in those pictures looks to be dry, is that normal? What is the difference between deck-mud and mortar? it looks the same. I guess they will have all of these supplies at HD or Lowes? Is that drain a special, adjustable drain?

So the drain pan gets deck-mud, and the walls and ceiling get backer board, then the tiles go down with thin-set, and eventually grouted. Is there a special thin-set for the walls and the ceiling, more of an adhesive? Is there a special grout for showers?

As far as the floor heating, I figured during the tile removal process, I would be removing the previous membrane, coils, deck-mud and everything else above the wood floor structure, and install all new. Does that sound right?


oh'mike 07-20-2013 06:33 PM

I'll cover the deck mud first----deck mud is a dry sort of mix---you can use masons mortar or mix your own according to the recipe in the article --

The mix is wet only to the point that it will form a ball when you pack it like a snow ball---the deck mud is packed into the pan to form using a level and a wood float or board---high spots are shaved off with a steel trowel.

The curb uses 'fat mud'---which is a wetter mix than the deck mud---look at that article again.

Walls,floor and ceiling will use a good grade of powdered modified thinset.

As to grout? I use Latacretes epoxy grout for most showers---you might consider it--however, if done wrong the epoxy grout will ruin the job---so read the instructions first.

Axhammer 07-20-2013 06:48 PM

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Thanks Mike, your info is helping me to understand how this project will be completed. What about that drain in the link? Do I have to replace the current drain and install a new one? I guess I'll understand that drain better after I remove the old shower deck. Tomorrow I go to work with a hammer and a chisel.

oh'mike 07-20-2013 08:00 PM

The drain is a membrane clamp drain---sold at the Home Depot---however, I get mine at the plumbing sipply house--there I get one with a heavy cast square cover--much easier to set tile to a square cover.

Expect to change the P-trap as well as the drain set----that is an old shower and the piping may be in need of updating.

Axhammer 07-21-2013 05:45 PM

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OK, I removed the shower wall tile & backerboard, ceiling tile & backerboard and floorpan, which is a soft heavy metal, I think it's lead sheet metal. I will remove the bathroom wall and floor tile tomorrow. One more day and the hard part is done! The demolition part of the job.

Axhammer 07-21-2013 05:50 PM

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The floor structure appears to be in good condition, without any evidence of leakage, so I guess that's good news.

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