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Old 07-14-2009, 09:59 PM   #1
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Bathroom tile question


I hired a local handy man recommended by a colleague of mine to install a new bathroom. He claims to be a laid off and insured, licence plumber. Anyhow, this bathroom replaces a previous smaller bathroom and closet. The bathroom and closet had once shared an interior wall that has been taken down. At the far end of the room will be installed a two person shower with 2x2 ceramic tile floor and 18x18 travertine tile cut into 9x18 rectangles for the wall. There is a 14 inch deep bench along one of the three shower walls. The fourth wall facing the bathroom is glass and it includes a hinged door.

At the start of this project the contractor presented me a list of materials which I arranged for. Everything was delivered and he was to complete the project over a two weeks time period while I and my fiance were away on vacation. I returned from vacation to find him barely half finished... okay, maybe it's more like a quarter finished. Yes, I'm frustrated with the delays and his excuses, but I can deal with that. My question for you... how concerned should I be that cement board or no other tile backerboard was used on the shower walls? When I originally discussed this project with our contractor he explained that cement board would be used on the shower floor and walls. Instead, he has only used cement board on the floor - in fact, the entire bathroom floor (not just the shower).

I've also noticed that he's used no rubber water barrier under the shower floor. It seems he's only used cement board.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Old 07-14-2009, 10:30 PM   #2
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Bathroom tile question


What do you mean he is just using a piece of backer board for the shower floor? Has he framed in a shower pan but then just laid cement backer board right over top of the sub floor? There is a definite art to building a custom shower pan. You cannot just throw down backer board and then tile on top of it.

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Old 07-14-2009, 10:41 PM   #3
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Bathroom tile question


Hi Justin,

Thank you for responding... it seems he has screwed two two by fours together with a peice of plywood between them and it is with this that he has created a threshold onto the cement board which is covering the floor. I believe he intends to tile over this using the travertine. The 2x2 ceremic tiles have already been laid onto the floor of the shower and directly onto the cement board.

I should be pretty worried, huh? Do I need to confront this guy and challenge his process? Do I need to ditch him altogether? Do I need to relax and just let him do his work and trust this process?

Last edited by aumanpj; 07-14-2009 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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Wow, yeah there definately is an art to building the shower pan floor. My guy put the rubber lining down and then filled that with, I think it was concrete and then tiled over that from what I can remember. But I would definately use it on the walls too. Might want to reconsider this guy because you definately do not want a mold/mildew issue if it is not sealed correctly. Another tip--did you consider using the mildew resistant grout. The name slips my mind right now(ask your local tile shop). It is a little more expensive, but you may want to consider it. Some guys dont like using it because it is a little harder to apply.
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:26 AM   #5
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I should be pretty worried, huh? Do I need to confront this guy and challenge his process? Do I need to ditch him altogether? Do I need to relax and just let him do his work and trust this process?

Be very worried! If I am drawing the correct conclusion here then I dont know how he would keep it from leaking long enough to get paid! Take a few pics and post them up here so we can take a look.
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:29 AM   #6
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You HAVE to use a membrane of some sort on your floor and it should lap up on the walls several inches in order for the pan not to leak. Grout is NOT waterproof and cement board is porous so water WILL get through. Tile backer/cement board MUST be used on the walls for the same reason. If it's just drywall under the tile, it's only a matter of time before it gets wet enough to deteriorate and your tile WILL fall off. I'm not a tile expert, but I've been in the trades long enough to have a grasp of basic tile installation....
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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Bathroom tile question


Hi, its better to keep only one thread going on this subject
That way everyone can easily follow posts & other suggestions
Your other duplicate thread has been deleted
Thanks
-Dave
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:42 AM   #8
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Bathroom tile question


Hi Dave,

It was not my intention to start a whole seperate question. Rather, I was looking to direct people who may otherwise only hang out in one form space to check out my initial question. I was concerned I may not have placed it into the proper area. Anyhow, thank you for your involvement. I appreciate being able to get feedback on your website.
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:02 AM   #9
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aumanpj,

Any update - pics? Don't let this go to long. The info provided so far would lead me to believe you're going to tear out the work done! But let's be sure. Get us more info.

Paul
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:06 AM   #10
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You should cut your losses and limit this contractor's involvement to plumbing. Everything you've described about how this has been done is not only less than desirable, it is fundamentally wrong and substandard.

No matter what system is used to manage the moisture, a pre-made or "mud" (sort of like concrete) pan must be used for the shower floor. NEVER wood. Backerboard has no place in a shower floor, period. Backerboard (or specialty gypsum based panels that are now gaining in popularity) should be used on the walls, with the one exception being if you're using Kerdi, an expensive woven membrane that won't let water wick through. The seams of the backerboard must be taped with fiberglass mesh tape and mudded with thinset or you're guaranteed that the grout will crack.

Time to lose this guy and learn to do your own tile. Or hire a professional tile installer. Otherwise you'll enjoy your new shower for a year or two until it falls apart and rots the structure of the home in the process.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:23 PM   #11
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Thank you all for responding. thekctermite, I talked with the contractor about the shower floor membrain and he cites using a product called redguard. I searched for it online and found this link:
http://www.shop.com/+-a-Redgard-p549...1-k24-st.shtml

Of course, I hear all that's been said about the shower walls, but would this be an appropriate barrier for the shower floor? He described having used it on top of the cement board and before laying the tile.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aumanpj View Post
Thank you all for responding. thekctermite, I talked with the contractor about the shower floor membrain and he cites using a product called redguard. I searched for it online and found this link:
http://www.shop.com/+-a-Redgard-p549...1-k24-st.shtml

Of course, I hear all that's been said about the shower walls, but would this be an appropriate barrier for the shower floor? He described having used it on top of the cement board and before laying the tile.
Absolutely not! That backer board should not even be laying on your floor period! You need to get someone more knowledgeable locally to get involved immediately or this is going to turn into a real nightmare for you.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:48 PM   #13
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There is more than one way to build a proper shower receptor these days but the use of cement board in the floor IS NOT a part of any of the methods.

Redgard is a good waterproofing product and the company claims it is suitable for this use, however there are other issues with actually using Redgard for this purpose. I wouldn't allow him to continue at this point. He obviously doesn't know enough about what he is doing and he is taking a path of least resistance approach.

What is below this shower? Is it a basement or a crawl space? I hope this shower isn't on the second floor. Are your homeowners insurance premiums paid up to date?
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:58 PM   #14
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Did you verify his license and insurance? At the contract signing you should have received a certificate of insurance. Secondly there is a difference between a plumbing certificate (trade license) and a contractors license. If he is insured as a plumber and working as an HIC contractor his insurance will not cover him. You need a membrane on the floor-period. The membrane should extend at least 6" up the wall.

My advice to you is to terminate your contract with this guy. He doesn't know what he is doing and its doubtful he is what he says he is. There are a lot of guys out there pretending to be things they are not, craigslist is full of them. Two weeks is more than enough time to complete this job, get someone in there who knows what they are doing.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #15
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This shower is on the second floor and in the corner of the structure. It is directly above a half bathroom. The home was built in 1980 and we have owned it since April. Insurance premiums are all paid up. License and insurance was not verified. There is no signed contract or certificate of insurance. There is a written estimate of work that articulates the goals but that does not detail the process. There is a basic drawing which accompanies the estimate.

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