We have decided that we are going to live in our current house for the
duration, so 'My Big Plan' is to Seniorize the house. I've just
completed all the lighting upgrades and I'm now moving on to the one of
the big ones. I will be tossing the shower/tub surround unit and
building from scratch a fully enclosed, floor to ceiling shower only,
with a low or no stepover, in the same space using the existing plumbing
layout. There is one hitch (so far). Those stock size, overpriced box
store fiberglass floor pans won't work for me. I need a custom dimension
So far its been suggested that I use a cement board underlay then trowel
out some kind of mix on top to get the slope to the drain, then tile.
Someone tried to describe a method where a waterproof membrane is put
down first... I didn't really catch what he meant.
The framing under the surround was properly built up to support the
current unit, so weight shouldn't be an issue
I'd appreciate hearing your ideas
I'm about to undergo a similar bathroom refit and I found a ready-made
shower pan (which goes in before the tile goes on) online: check out
www.tileredi.com -- and I'm sure there are lots of tile-ready (no
trademark) shower pans available. Your local tilemen use them, I bet.
Also, I think Swanstone (www.swanstone.com), producers of a
cast-"stone" shower stall base (and matching sinks) makes various sizes
of solid bases, in many colors. But if your size is unusual, you may
have to go the traditional way, of making the pan yourself.
If you have never done this job, its a pain in the *ss.
Step two is not to use the local Lowes or HomeDepot for
the shower base. Any decent plumbing store will have a
larger selection of good acylic/fiberglass shower bases.
The one I put in is 5 feet wide (as big as a normal bath)
and was around 400.00 for it. Real nice heavy unit that
should last for MANY years to come.
installed a tiled, no step shower ~2 years ago. radiant floor, plywood
sub floor. built up the rest of the floor by 1 1/2 inches, then the tile
guy used a Schluter system. Be aware the drain needs to match the
membrane. This system is actually pressed into the mortar, up the walls
and across the floor. There is then an orange dimpled product[now sold
at the despot] that goes down before the tile. Works well so far.
Just remember, for no step you still need a slope to the drain, so the
whole floor must be modified. My bath is 14 ft deep, so it wasn't a
problem. I put a small [3/4] step at the door, which you don't notice,
then a 4 foot ramp up the other 3/4, 5 ft level[where the sink is] and
then the shower starts sloping down to the drain. Tiles are cut for relief.
Ours is wide open, no curtain, no door, just keep a towel on a hook and
it takes care of the splash. Looks very cool.
We had a local marble company do this for us. They come out and measuer the
size of the base, go to their shop and mix up and pour out what is needed.
This is sort of an epoxy type mix. They then bring out the coustom sized
base. We also had them do the walls of the shower for us. Then install a
glass door. The stepover is only 2 or 3 inches high. Just enough to keep
the water in the shower and off the floor. As we have another full bath, we
can take a tub soaking if we want to.
Don't think I have been in the tub in about 25 years due to the shower, but
my wife likes to soak about once a month. We really like the walk in
Sorry I don't recall the cost. I was having the whole bathroom redone.
Think it may have been about $ 2000 for the floor pan and 3 sides of the
bath in marble that are about 30 inches each and go to the top of the room.
Spend $3.50 and download this article from Taunton Press:
It will tell you everything you need to know about installing a
leak-proof shower pan. I used it in my addition, and the results were
Here\'s some of my work:
Just went through the same problem and I used the Schluter Kerdi
Waterproof lining and shower system. This was a first time use for me
and it has worked well. Check out the various web sites using a Google
Hope this helps.
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
The winner for me is the Kerdi system. I'll be giving up a little in
dimensions by using the 32X60 shower tray but the simplified process,
and peace of mind that comes with it, makes it well worth it.......the
price is right too. I haven't done full material list but the 32X60
presloped offset shower tray and the drain system comes to about $150.00
The membrane price is also very reasonable. I also checked out the PDF
Yes it did help, Bob.
Glad that I could be of help. By the way, if you order the shower kit
they include a vidio training CD with the materials. It was very
useful in understanding the proper series of steps but like every
how-to vidio, they made it look SO EASY. Reality...it really was easy
but not as easy as the professional who made the vidio made it look.
PS: I also used the same liner material under my tile floor. A
shifting foundation caused several cracks in the concrete floor. The
liner will help to not transfer those cracks through the new tile floor
even if there is still some movement in the foundation.
This type of thing requires much research. I haven't done mine yet,
but I've read about a dozen how-to's on the internet from "the mudman"
and such. They're all very informative, and they describe the process
well...one even showed how to create a "lipped" version for handicapped
folks, sounds like what you want to do as well.
Building your own floor doesn't *look* all that simple. You've gotta
do all kinds of stuff with mud, such as slope it, and you HAVE to use a
membrane and a special drain. Also, you can't put any holes in the
membrane, so you've gotta use construction adhesive to hold it to the
mud, and you have to reinforce the mud with mesh, but don't leave any
mesh poking out or you'll puncture the liner.
There's a huge advantage to this extra effort though, you can make it
look however you'd like and it's way cheaper than buying one of those
$500 tile redi bases...and you can make it any size you'd like.
common sense tells me that this, like anything else around the home, is
not impossible as long as you research it first and actually take a
while to think about what you're doing and be patient while you're
doing it. It always helps to bounce it off the fellas here, or
buddies who may be professionals before you go at it.
Remember, the purpose of the shower stall is to keep water where it's
supposed to be. Just as long as you don't lose sight of that and think
about all the different ways water COULD find it's way to where it
shouldn't be, you won't make a critical mistake....cosmetic mistakes
are just part of life.
I'd recommend you visit the John Bridge tiling forum. You'll find lots of
helpful advice there.
You may also want to read the thread I posted a few years back detailing
our various tiling projects, including a large 6'x6' curbless shower we
built using the Kerdi system. I posted lots of photo's.
Here's the address (all one line, watch the word wrap):
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