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Old 12-17-2018, 12:13 PM   #1
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Diverter holes in Durock?


Hello all,

I am re-doing part of a shower wall half way up where there was a water leak.

I have removed the tile, and put up plastic sheathing on the studs, I now need to know how to measure and cut holes in the Durock for the diverter and the 1/2" copper piping a 2nd time?

I am a little afraid of doing this, after last night cutting the holes and not making them exactly center, I had to make hole larger to fit. Although I have it on there, do you think I should re-cut, or is there a way to close up the gap around the diverter, without removing the Durock?

As always, thanks for all the help! I'm crazy to be doing a project like this in the first place.
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Old 12-17-2018, 02:45 PM   #2
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


No, you aren't crazy to be taking on this project!
You just have made the rookie mistake of underestimating the complexity of the details. You will learn from this and be that much more confident on the next project.
What size is the tile? If it is a small mosaic tile then you need the holes to match closely. Otherwise, the tile can overhang the hole edge 10-20% without any issue. Unless you are using the cheapest thinnest tile you can find anyway.

Last edited by chiraldude; 12-17-2018 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


Hi Chiraldude,

It's a 6"x 6" tile that I'm using. The whole reason for the tile removal was because of a leak in the downstairs hallway. I need to know how to cut the Durock so that it matches pretty closely with the plumbing 1/2" copper pipe and diverter? How do I measure the round hole and the 1/2 copper pipe? It was previously 1/2" sheetrock that I'm matching up to.

From what you're saying, it sounds as if it's ok to have a hole bigger than the actual diverter? I don't understand if we are trying to keep out the water, isn't it going to leak through the grout and thinset? I'm also thinking I will need to buy that Redgard to paint on there, along with that fabric tape for Durock?

Isn't the whole reason for the leak in the first place was because it was done with sheetrock and mastic on the tile, like 15 years ago, and just gave out over time? What's going to stop the water from flowing right through the hole around the diverter, and leaking again right away?

I just need to know if I should take out the Durock and try re-cutting the holes, or try closing them up in another way around the diverter?
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:59 PM   #4
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


You will cut the tile to fit closely around the pipes (which you would have to do anyway)
Leave at least 1/8" gap so you can get a good bead of caulk between the pipes and the tile. How big of a hole are you talking about anyway? For me, a 3/4" gap around a pipe wouldn't be a problem. Maybe a small issue when it comes time to grout?

You can get fancy and go with a Kerdi pipe seal instead. You put down a thin layer of thinset, slide the rubber seal over the pipe, press the membrane into the thinset. Then tile over it. 100% waterproof, no caulk required.
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:12 PM   #5
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


Be very interesting to see a picture of what you are trying to do.
Quote:
How do I measure the round hole and the 1/2 copper pipe?
The inside diameter of 1/2" copper pipe is 1/2". The outside diameter of 1/2" copper pipe is 5/8". The center of 1/2" copper pipe is 5/16" from the outer edge.
I am confused by the diverter you refer to. You might have a diverter for a tub and shower valve but why would you have a diverter for a shower alone.
Certainly sounds like you are trying to make the holes more precisely than is necessary. Silicone is a good and permanent sealer around any openings around pipes.
Post a picture.
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:15 PM   #6
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


Thanks for your help on the hole for the diverter. I re-cut and it looks good now.

Now, on to the 2nd part of the shower fix. I bought Redguard, to paint on the Durock, and once done, I'm confused about whether it's preferred to use tile mastic or thinset? From the U-tube videos, it done both ways, depending on who you are watching?
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:50 PM   #7
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


Redguard documentation says:
Install tile or stone with a CustomŽ Building Products polymer modified mortar that meets ANSI A118.4 or A118.15 standards.
Or, in other words, modified thinset.
Don't know what videos show using premixed mastic in a shower but that can't be right. The premixed stuff is basically water based glue mixed with sand. Premix only reaches full strength when it dries out. There is no way for it to dry out with glazed tile on one side and Redguard on the other side. Thinset cures by absorbing water so it doesn't matter how long it takes to dry out.
You could get away with premix on walls outside the shower because there would be no membrane and moisture would evaporate through the wall material.
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:27 PM   #8
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


ok thanks, then thinset it will be. I have one question though, if thinset absorbs water, then how is that helping to keep water away from the back of the tile? Don't we want to make this as waterproof as possible?
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Old 12-27-2018, 01:24 AM   #9
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


You are making it waterproof where it counts with the Redguard. Tile is basically glass and cured thinset is cement. Both these materials could care less about water. You are creating a 3 layer system. Tile and thinset is the wet side, Durock and wood framing is on the dry side and Redguard membrane is in the middle.
Your goal is to keep moisture out of the wall cavity behind the cement board. If the framing behind the cement board stays dry, your tile job has a chance of lasting 20 years.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:02 PM   #10
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


Hi Chiraldude,

Thanks for your quick reply. I picked up some pre-mixed thin set in a 1 gallon bucket today. So here's what I'm thinking now...(uh-oh!!). I put on the thin-set and then once I get to the mixer I will have to cut the holes in tiles in a round circle, and then again for the shower diverter.


What kind of tool do I use for the round hole? I was told by Lowes's that they would cut the pieces at the corners for me. Which means from left to right on the wall there are 5 full pcs. and then 1 cut pc. in the corner. However, once I apply the thin-set, I have to be ready to do all the tiling at once. no?

I won't be able to do only part of the tiling, and then go back and do the cut pcs. later on after applying thin set. Also, another thing is, that the tile that I bought matches in color, but is 1/4" shorter for every tile, so I won't be able to use the previous tile as a template, and will have to make the grout lines match up, by spacing further apart. So what do I do?

Thanks, will I ever get through this??


Trish
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:56 PM   #11
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Re: Diverter holes in Durock?


First, if it is premixed in a bucket, it is not thinset. Thinset comes in a bag of dry powder you mix with water. I really advise against using premixed "thinset". Yes, it is a pain to mix, you have to use it within 30 min, and you have to clean the bucket and tools before it hardens on them but that's the nature of the beast.
If you use the stuff you bought, it may work but I would let the whole thing dry out for at least a week before getting any water on it. Maybe even hold off on the grout as to allow more moisture to get out.
Now, on the the nuts and bolts:
Tiling is a tedious thing and you are just starting to think about some of the details. However long you think this project is going to take, I would double it!
It is tricky to cut holes in tile because it is soooo hard. You need a carbide hole drill bit. Diamond would be even better. It is best if you can line up the grout lines so they run through the hole so you only have to carve chunks off the edges of the tiles instead of drilling holes in the middle of a tile. You can also cut a tile into sections, carve out the hole then piece them back together around the pipe.
Now, think about what I just said and you will realize you have decisions to make and a puzzle to solve. Get some double stick tape and start placing some tiles so you can see what things will look like before you stick anything permanently. You have to have a plan for where the horizontal and vertical grout lines will be.
Posting some pictures of this would be good as well.
You haven't said anything about a tile cutter so I assume you don't have one. Trust me, you will regret not having one. To shift the grout lines you have to cut tile and usually you end up cutting on at least two edges of any rectangular wall section to make it work.
The missmatched tile sizes are going to be a trick. You could use a wide grout line but I think that would look worse than just staggering the tile so it falls between the old lines. Either way, that will be an aesthetic decision between the lesser of two evils unless you are willing to rip out all the old tile and redo everything.
Finally, it would be crazy to try and do the whole section in one shot. Pros can do that but they have lots of tricks and experience to make that work. On a wall, you have gravity working against you. Until the thinset starts to harden, there has to be support to prevent the tiles form sliding down. For me, I can only do 2 rows before I have to stop and wait for it to set up. Only apply thinset for as many rows as you think you can do in one shot.
Also, never start from the bottom row. You absolutely have to draw a line with a level at the second row from the bottom and start from there. I usually screw a wood strip below that line as a support to make sure it can't slip. Then you can build up from their.

Last edited by chiraldude; 12-27-2018 at 08:00 PM.
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