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Old 01-04-2019, 10:22 PM   #1
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Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


Hi All. I am looking to redo bathroom tile around tub area as it's currently in a poor shape, leaking and dripping water into the basement. After much of the research I came up with the following materials/layers as shown on the cross-section diagram below. Will this setup last 20 years or so? Don't want to deal with the same problem 3-5 years from now. Any advice/suggestion is much appreciated!
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:07 AM   #2
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Re: Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


That is the correct way to do it with exception noted belos. I go one step further. If my tile can be positioned to within 1/8" or so from the tub surface, I don't caulk it. Basic theory is this: if moisture does get behind the tile, thinset and cbu, it hits the vapor barrier. Where does it go. With a sealed bottom it gathers at the bottom. Not that it would hurt anything, but I don't like water. By leaving the gap, you will allow the moisture to evacuate harmlessly into the tub.

But doing it the way the pictures show is completely correct with the exception of the vapor barrier's positioning. It should be BEHIND the cbu rather than in contact with the thinset.
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:58 AM   #3
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Re: Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


"cbu" = cement board? How do you paint the RedGard behind the cbu?
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Old 01-05-2019, 08:25 AM   #4
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Re: Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


Red Gard isn't painted on behind it. Use a vapor barrier (6 mil) behind the cbu. Use Red Gard to cover boogers and cubbies. It isn't needed for the entire shower stall. Yes, cbu= concrete backer underlayment.
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:46 PM   #5
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Re: Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


Quote:
Originally Posted by chandler48 View Post
That is the correct way to do it with exception noted belos. I go one step further. If my tile can be positioned to within 1/8" or so from the tub surface, I don't caulk it. Basic theory is this: if moisture does get behind the tile, thinset and cbu, it hits the vapor barrier. Where does it go. With a sealed bottom it gathers at the bottom. Not that it would hurt anything, but I don't like water. By leaving the gap, you will allow the moisture to evacuate harmlessly into the tub.

But doing it the way the pictures show is completely correct with the exception of the vapor barrier's positioning. It should be BEHIND the cbu rather than in contact with the thinset.

Besides the unfinished look, wouldn't 1/8" gap invite water to stay there through a capillary action? I've done some testing and it seems water just loves to stay in small horizontal gaps like that without draining. That in turn, will invite the standing water to wick into the thinset mortar and the cement board.

On the other hand, if water is facing grouted lines and sealer between tub and a tile it will drain off and evaporate from the surface. Furthermore, grout cures to a higher psi (over 4500psi) compared to thinset mortar offering lower water permeability and much dryer overall wall construction.

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Old 01-05-2019, 03:10 PM   #6
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Re: Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


I've never had water "stay" in the area. There's too much space between the bottom of the tile and the bottom of the cbu for water to wick its way up there. Grout is surely less permeable than thinset, but it happens. Either way is good. I was just indicating what I did. I also don't have clients that have to repeatedly either clean the silicone in that gap or replace it once moisture DOES get back there and mold. Just giving you a Plan B.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:13 AM   #7
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Re: Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


Thank you Chandler. Much appreciate the feedback!
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:46 AM   #8
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Re: Tub Surround Tiling - Materials & Layers


Check out the Kerdi membrane products. They will guarantee that water does not get into the subflooring and the mat also serves as a transition membrane so less chance of tile breaking or grout being disturbed. Mortar goes down and then the Kerdi membrane and then the tile is put down on the membrane with thinset.
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