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Old 08-28-2014, 06:31 PM   #1
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Shower...tile or tub surround?


I'm a bit of a fanatic about water damage when it comes to my shower. I'm not very knowledgeable in the remodeling world but we bought a new house that needs an all new bathroom. My husband put me in charge of the shower because he knows how picky I am. When it comes to the possibility of water damage, which is the better choice....putting in a bathtub with tub surround or bathtub with tiled walls? Thank you.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:06 PM   #2
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Theoretically a solid surround, but a Kerdi shower is waterproof under tile anyway.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:00 PM   #3
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Hmm...I've never heard of that but just looked it up. Interesting. Thank you very much for the recommendation. Looks like a very good solution :-)
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:15 PM   #4
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Surface waterproofing has become the state-of-the-art method of installing tiled walls in showers and tub surrounds. There is more than one way to accomplish this. All methods (save one) require particular suitable wallboard considerations. The "save one" would be Schluter KERDI Mat that can be installed over moisture resistant drywall but installing KERDI Mat has a "learning curve" that may not suit everyone. There are similar products from other manufacturers also available.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
The "save one" would be Schluter KERDI Mat that can be installed over moisture resistant drywall
Why do you mention moisture resistant drywall? Schluter has no such requirement - it can be applied over standard drywall.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jeffnc View Post
Why do you mention moisture resistant drywall? Schluter has no such requirement - it can be applied over standard drywall.
Jeff you are always trying to catch me making a mistake. Why is that?

I am well aware of Schluter's recommendation.

What Schluter hasn't caught on to just yet and isn't yet addressing is the growing DIY market for their products.

Are you assuming that DIY'ers would also recognize the type of insulation installation that may exist hidden in an exterior wall?

And that they (DIY'ers) would recognize the potential for moisture condensation developing and collecting on the backside of "standard drywall" in a wall cavity due to the type of insulation used and the manner in which it was installed?

Have you considered the possibility of wall studs that have been clad with poly during the original construction of the home prior to the installation of "standard drywall" that they (DIY'ers) don't have a clue is there?

Of course you haven't even thought about that now have you? Pay attention my friend and I can teach (even you) a thing or two.

Stop trying to prove me wrong and trying to cast doubt on my comments, you are becoming very annoying with your failure to think things through and your obvious lack of experience. Love ya buddy!
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:42 PM   #7
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Are you assuming that DIY'ers would also recognize the type of insulation installation that may exist hidden in an exterior wall?

And that they (DIY'ers) would recognize the potential for moisture condensation developing and collecting on the backside of "standard drywall" in a wall cavity due to the type of insulation used and the manner in which it was installed?

Have you considered the possibility of wall studs that have been clad with poly during the original construction of the home prior to the installation of "standard drywall" that they (DIY'ers) don't have a clue is there?
These are standard issues related to any drywall/insulation/stud bay structure. In fact, whenever there is a temperature difference between the inside and outside, there is potential for condensation in the structure. This is especially true in the humid south, where improper use of poly, etc. has caused a lot of rotted studs. Using moisture resistant drywall doesn't solve this problem either.

You say Kerdi can be installed over moisture resistant drywall. This is like saying Ditra can be installed over moisture resistant subfloor. It's irrelevant and confusing. It makes it sound like Schluter requires it. Kerdi can be installed over any drywall, moisture resistant or not. That's the whole point.

You wouldn't use moisture resistant drywall to solve condensation issues in stud bays any more than you'd use it to solve mold issues in a bathroom.

Believe me, if Kerdi is suitable for continuous use steam rooms, moisture resistant drywall has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Last edited by jeffnc; 08-28-2014 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:47 PM   #8
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What Schluter hasn't caught on to just yet and isn't yet addressing is the growing DIY market for their products.
Kerdi and Ditra products are sold in Home Depot. Trust me, Schluter has "caught on" to the fact that some of those shoppers might be DIYers and not tile installation pros.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffnc View Post
Why do you mention moisture resistant drywall? Schluter has no such requirement - it can be applied over standard drywall.
That is true from the manufacturers requirements but many areas have code requirements that still require moisture resistant drywall. It's certainly something that is done in many cases anyway. To me it's just a good safety measure that really doesn't cost much.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:40 PM   #10
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That is true from the manufacturers requirements but many areas have code requirements that still require moisture resistant drywall.
There are local codes that require moisture resistant drywall under Kerdi specifically? I'm skeptical of that.

Using moisture resistant drywall under Kerdi as a "safety measure" is about like saying you should wrap all your plumbing joints in duct tape, just in case. The point is, if you have installed Kerdi correctly, moisture resistant drywall is irrelevant. If you have not, then moisture resistant drywall isn't the answer anyway.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:45 AM   #11
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To answer your original question, when it comes to tiled showers, they are not all created equal. It is all about how they are built. A Kerdi shower, done correctly, is about as good as you can get. OTOH, a hack job, without waterproofing, is bad news and a ticking time-bomb. And there is no way to tell the difference looking at the finished project. The important thing is to realize a shower needs to be waterproof BEFORE any tile goes up.

Valerie, are you going to be DIY'ing this, or hiring someone?

Are you going to be keeping your current tub, or replacing it also?

A few thoughts and things to consider.

A tiled surround is usually considered an upgrade over a fiberglass or similar surround.

Not all whites are the same. If you keep your tub, it is possible a surround may not be a perfect match even though they are both "white". Using the same manufacturer will get you much better odds.

If you hire someone to tile, do your homework, and make sure you are both on the same page. When I redid my shower three years ago, I talked to someone who claimed he had been tiling for 15 years. Yet when I asked him about the roll on waterproofers (Redgard, Hydroban, etc.) he didn't have a clue what I was talking about.

Personally, I prefer tile, but it will take a lot longer and be more labor intensive (read expensive).

Last edited by Blondesense; 08-29-2014 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:59 PM   #12
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When I redid my shower three years ago, I talked to someone who claimed he had been tiling for 15 years. Yet when I asked him about the roll on waterproofers (Redgard, Hydroban, etc.) he didn't have a clue what I was talking about.
It's an interesting phenomenon. Sometimes tradesmen with the most experience know the least about different and modern techniques. They learned one way 25 years ago, and that's all they've done and that's all they know. Let's be honest - a lot of workers in the trades don't have the same education as some other professionals. IMO many just don't have that love of learning, or feeling of obligation to stay current with their chosen field. That's one reason there are so many hacks in the trades. I know lots of tradesmen who don't even know forums such as this exist.
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Blondesense View Post
To answer your original question, when it comes to tiled showers, they are not all created equal. It is all about how they are built. A Kerdi shower, done correctly, is about as good as you can get. OTOH, a hack job, without waterproofing, is bad news and a ticking time-bomb. And there is no way to tell the difference looking at the finished project. The important thing is to realize a shower needs to be waterproof BEFORE any tile goes up.

Valerie, are you going to be DIY'ing this, or hiring someone?

Are you going to be keeping your current tub, or replacing it also?

A few thoughts and things to consider.

A tiled surround is usually considered an upgrade over a fiberglass or similar surround.

Not all whites are the same. If you keep your tub, it is possible a surround may not be a perfect match even though they are both "white". Using the same manufacturer will get you much better odds.

If you hire someone to tile, do your homework, and make sure you are both on the same page. When I redid my shower three years ago, I talked to someone who claimed he had been tiling for 15 years. Yet when I asked him about the roll on waterproofers (Redgard, Hydroban, etc.) he didn't have a clue what I was talking about.

Personally, I prefer tile, but it will take a lot longer and be more labor intensive (read expensive).
Well, I was actually hoping to do the project myself. That way, I think my husband figures Im the only one to blame if I complain about the job. I'm plan is to rip out the entire existing tub and surround. I don't want any part of the old bathroom to be left behind (the house we bought was a state run foster care facility that closed). All three bathrooms will eventually need to be done and every single room needs new flooring, paint and trim so time is definitely important. I love the look of a tiled shower and what I like most us that the water that sits on the ledge of the tub, touches tile, not drywall. The tub and surround that is in my current house has given me nothing but grief. I think he used regular drywall and where the top ledge of the tub touches the drywall, it's soft and he just continued to put caulk in/on the soft spot which has subsequently become a small hole.
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Old 08-29-2014, 03:28 PM   #14
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A prefab enclosure is certainly easier and cheaper (follow the manufacturers' instructions), but if you have basic DIY skills and tools, tiling is certainly an option.

I would spend some time digging through not only this remodeling forum, but the one on tiling. It's a sub forum under flooring. They will probably answer questions you didn't know you had.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:18 AM   #15
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when i did my kerdi shower, i used the green drywall. i know i didn't need to, but it made me feel better.
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