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run2smiles 11-29-2010 09:43 AM

How to install a concrete shower pan over dirt
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I am in the process of tiling the shower in my master bathroom. I removed all of the cultured marble walls and was told that I could tile over the cultured marble floor, however when trying to remove the drain, this surface got cracked so I had to remove it as well. When I removed the composite shower floor I discovered that there is actually no sub floor in my shower, rather the composite floor was installed directly on the ground (which is uneven). I now would like to know how to go about installing a concrete shower pan but every advice forum talks about a sub-floor being present and no one addresses how to install the concrete shower pan directly on the ground. Can this be done and how do I go about doing it? I already have the shower walls 90% complete and just need to do the shower base itself.

Bud Cline 11-29-2010 10:49 AM

Now that is sort of a new one!!!

How about a picture?:)

run2smiles 11-29-2010 06:06 PM

Picture of install
http://f:\dcim\101msdcf\dsc00161.jpgI tried to attach a picture here but do not know if it came through. The shower "floor" looks like packed, uneven dirt with the drain pipe coming out of the center (more sunken). There is a concrete "frame" around the sunken shower base and I would only want to be adding (maximum) 1-1 1/2 inches of concrete to form the shower pan otherwise the base will no longer be below the level of the bathroom floor.

Bud Cline 11-29-2010 07:37 PM

OK, that's weird!

I personally don't think that 1 to 1-1/2 inches of concrete is going to be near enough thickness.

I would suggest that you ramp up (the approach) a little so that you can slope down more to the drain. That wouldn't be too difficult. You need to waterproof the shower floor slope. This is a good place to use Schluter's KERDI Mat with their KERDI Drain but you still would have to ramp up to the shower door. The KERDI Mat would then cover your floor and go up the walls several inches behind the tile.:)

I would recommend no less than 2-1/2 inches (thickness) of concrete at the drain sloping up to 3 to 3-1/4 inches (thickness) at the walls.:)

The concrete would be placed (not poured). The mix would be very dry so that it clumped when you grabbed a hand full. Place the concrete then scrape it off with a straightedge to build the slope.:) Same goes for the ramp.:)

Docwhitley 12-05-2010 04:20 PM

DIg Down Maybe?
I agree with tile guy... I do not think it will be thick enough. Is there any way to dig down? the Showers I have installed have had dirt Stone then several inches of Concrete... I will also Agree that Kerdi system for the sloping of the floor is the way to go. Also Looking at your Picture the only other question I have is how are you goinf to prevent the water from getting behind the Base? Here the Code states the Water Proof Barrier must extend a minimum or 6 inches up the wall. I usually go 8 just to be safe. Then the Concrete board goes over that making sure NO SCREWS GO IN BELOW THE 6 INCH MARK! Then tile over that. It Looks to me like you have already put your walls up. I think you may need to remove part of the wall to install the Base

Bud Cline 12-06-2010 09:51 AM


It Looks to me like you have already put your walls up. I think you may need to remove part of the wall to install the Base
The walls will be fine as-is if KERDI is used.:)

Docwhitley 12-06-2010 09:56 AM

Sorry I am confused

Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 546491)
The walls will be fine as-is if KERDI is used.:)

So please educate me Bud... How far out will the Kerdi make the tile stick out???? I was looking at the Tile that is already in so I was thinking to keep it even he would need to remove part of it.

SteelToes 12-06-2010 11:37 AM

Hey run2smiles,
My name is George and i work for a Chicago area Home Depot.
Are you positive that you are looking at the dirt? I keep looking at the pictures and it almost looks like they have placed a "wrong" mix over the shower liner...

Dig a little deeper...and let us know?

run2smiles 12-06-2010 08:37 PM

Concrete shower pan over dirt continued
Yes, this is in fact the ground (dirt) that the concrete shower base needs to be poured over. There used to be a composite shower base there that I took out and obviously the builders of the house did not follow any sort of code as to having a proper sub floor built. The reason the dirt looks weird is that it has mold on it from the improper original installation. There is room to pour a thicker layer of concrete (3-4 inches), sloping down to the drain, but that will leave it as the same height as the floor and I will have to build up curb or something to step over to get into the shower. As to the water proofing, I have purchased a paintable waterproof barrier that meets all of the codes that I will apply on top of the concrete and up the walls so I do not need to remove the walls that were already there or break apart that tile that I have installed.

Squeakyhinge 12-31-2012 03:26 PM

I might have to do this too only I'm starting with a slab; no walls yet. I guess the curb will be on the inside, but will I need rebar in the premud and final mud pan, and the curb?

My slab is from 1937.

Squeakyhinge 01-03-2013 04:49 PM

I was planning on going through the slab about 5 to 7 inches, pack first layer of mortar (should be 3 inches?), then final layer, then 90 degree pieces of rebar in existing side walls and into mortar bed every 5 inches?, then build a box six inches smaller (3 inches around perimeter) fasten "box" to mortar bed somehow, pack around it forming the sub-slab wall, and how's that sound??

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