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NewHomeDIYGuy 08-10-2012 01:41 PM

Basement bathroom shower remodel
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Ok, long story short I'm redoing the whole bathroom in my basement, but the one thing I'm a little unsure about is the shower. It looks to have originally been done by the original homeowner very poorly, which is why I'm redoing the entire bathroom.

I wanted to throw my rough plan out there for you guys to poke holes in and improve. The bathroom sits on the slab (in the basement), and I'm going to be ripping out the shower pan and building a concrete shower base, that I'll tile.

A few first questions I have.. When building the curb for the shower, do I use PT wood for all of the stacked 2x4's, or just the bottom plate that sits on the slab? Also, should the shower drain pipe extend a certain distance above the slab?

Next, when I go about building the shower pan, seeing as how it's sitting on the slab, the plan is to lay ditra down (as a decoupling membrane), and I know I lay it in a bed of thinset, but how thick? Will a 1/4" notched trowel and laying the ditra into that be sufficient? Then I can install the presloped cement pan on top of that?

I've attached a picture of the bathroom pre-gutted. I've removed the wall opposite the shower head and that small storage closet/cubby thingy next to the shower/toilet, and will make the shower wider. The shower is pretty damn claustraphobic as it sits. I think the rough dimensions of the shower when I'm done will be about 35"x46"..

Any tips/suggestions anyone has I'm all ears and open to suggestions. Thanks!

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-11-2012 07:51 AM

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No responses yet? I guess this forum doesn't get as much traffic as some of the others..? Well, got the room all cleaned out and finished gutting it yesterday. Time to measure everything out and plan everything out.

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-11-2012 08:35 AM

One question that I've been wondering about that I never see detailed anywhere is the shower curb/threshold. I guess everyone buys these before building the curb so they can build it accordingly? I had a bathroom redone, and the curb wasn't planned out well ahead of time, so I had to have a custom one cut to 5.5", and of course it was pricey. I'm going to try to avoid that problem this time around. But anyway, after doing some quick calling, it seems shower curbs come in 6". Now, this poses a little bit of a problem, because 2x4's are 3.5" wide + 2x(.5" durock on each side") + 2x (.5" tile on each side) = 5.5". So, how should I make up the extra .5"?

So, obviously just stacked 2x4's don't work, and I'm curious what people tend to do. Perhaps the best option would be to rip down 2x6's to 4"? Could a .5" piece of plywood screwed to the side of the 2x4's and be just as strong? Let me know what you guys think, as I don't have a table saw, but I can take a bunch of 2x6's over to a friend's place w/ a table saw and rip them down. Thanks!

DannyT 08-11-2012 02:06 PM

try this

all the info on how to build a shower base the right way is here.

from what i have read over the years in your case you can use 4 inch concrete brick to build your curb.

oh'mike 08-11-2012 04:44 PM

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

Read this link and the link in the previous post---there are a couple of other good methods for building a shower---Schluter Kerdi is one--Hydroban by Latacrete is another---Read and come ask more questions.

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-11-2012 10:45 PM

Thanks for the links.. I have read quite a bit about how to build the curbs/etc. I guess I'll just use some ripped down 2x6's for the curb to get a roughly 6" wide curb after tiled.

oh'mike 08-12-2012 06:47 AM

2x4s will get you 6" after membrane ,mesh--fat mud and tile are installed---

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-12-2012 07:52 AM

Ok thanks Mike! I was going to use Ditra, but I guess that's unnecessary. I guess a thick tar paper/roofing felt should do the trick of isolating the preslope cement shower base from the slab?

oh'mike 08-12-2012 08:24 AM

Don't waste the time----pack the deck mud right onto the concrete floor----

Many years from now--removal can be done by popping the deck mud off using a large hammer---

You want the preslope deck mud nice and stable----so it won't shift and break up as you add the liner and the top layer of deck mud. That tar paper could cause trouble.

Blondesense 08-13-2012 10:33 AM

Careful with the PT wood. While you may want it against the slab, PT wood is wet and may shrink or twist when it dries. I wouldn't use it for the curb.

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-13-2012 10:42 AM

Ok thanks for the tips guys. I did most of the framing yesterday, and used one PT 2x4 for the shower curb. The piece of wood was damp to the touch, so I'll wait for it to dry out a little before I stack two more 2x4's on top of it for the curb. One question I have is the slab around the pvc drain is cut back V shaped, so at the top there is about an inch or so gap all around the drain pipe and it tapers as it goes lower. When creating the pre-slope, should I be concerned with filling in this gap at all when pouring in the cement? I'm guessing that this was done as to not put too much pressure on the drain pipe? But, that's only my guess. Can I pour cement around the pvc pipe safely? I'll post a picture up later if that'll help..

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-14-2012 08:19 AM

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Ok, here's the picture of the drain, can I just fill around it for the pre-slope base or do I need to put something around the drain before pouring the cement?

cleveman 08-14-2012 10:36 PM

I would set me drain to the approximately correct height and fill everything with concrete. I suppose you have a trap down there? Don't use cement.

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-15-2012 07:58 PM


Originally Posted by cleveman (Post 989018)
I would set me drain to the approximately correct height and fill everything with concrete. I suppose you have a trap down there? Don't use cement.

Ya gotcha. I'll probably have to cut the pipe down an inch, so that way the presloped "pan" doesn't have to be almost 2" right by the drain, just bought the drain today and started mocking everything up. Yes, there is a trap down in the slab, and ya, I didn't mean cement, but "deck mud" or whatever it's called. I'm def a little unfamiliar w/ some of the terminology, but just learning as I go..

One question for you guys.. I saw one person recommending notching the studs for the shower bottom liner, is that really necessary, or is the thickness of the liner a non-issue. Thanks!

oh'mike 08-15-2012 08:13 PM

I've never notched the studs--although I can see where it would help in the corners---extra liner gets tucked into the opening between the studs---it takes a bit of thinking---I use a T-50 staple gun---well above the water line--to keep the liner up until the board is in place.

A dry mix is best---just enough water to make the mix like beach sand for sand sculptures---read that link---that fellow knows his stuff.

I use a wood block or large grout float to pack the deck mud--and a steel trowel to shave it to shape---

I usually use a cement mixer because I own one and I'm very fussy about the perfect consistency mix it provides---

That being said---You can hand mix the mud for that small shower without a problem--just take your time and keep it dry and evenly mixed---

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