1/32 inch gap between enclosure walls and receptor

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by penobscotman, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. penobscotman

    penobscotman Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Buffalo NY
    Sterling says there should be no more than a 1/32 inch gap between the walls and the receptor. But whatever gap there is seems to be determined by the contact between the receptor flange and the pin thingy on the back wall. They butt, are coplaner. The woman on the help line suggested that the pin gizmo is supposed to slide behind the receptor flange, but I don't believe this. By lots of wiggling I was able to reduce the gap to < 1/32 (supposedly 2 credit cards thickness), but this was actually accomplished by grinding down the contact a bit between back wall and receptor flange.

    Why is there a gap at all? Shouldn't the parts be absolutely tight against each other? Sterling says to caulk only the front 4 inches of the wall to receptor seam. Is there any harm in caulking all of it?
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,259
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    It might help if you told us which unit you were installing.
  3. penobscotman

    penobscotman Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Buffalo NY
    Sorry. It's a Kohler/Sterling "Advantage" shower enclusure. Vikrell. Three walls and a pan/receptor. 32X36. Everything snaps together and it looks as if the joints are arranged to drain. But they aren't not tight like solvent-glued PVC.
  4. penobscotman

    penobscotman Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Buffalo NY
    I know these are lame questions, but the problem is that I don't really understand how these enclosures for tubs and showers work to keep water in. Something sits on top of something else. The join is shaped like flashing, at least that is how I visualize the cross-section. So any water that gets in the gap drains down and out rather than rising up the flange against the wall. We are depending on gravity, not caulk.

    Is my interpretation correct?
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,259
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    The installation of these showers is very dependent on the rough framing being perfectly straight and square, and the pan being perfectly level. A good quality 72" box level should be your best friend when framing for this.

    Your reference to flashing and gravity is correct. If you look closely where water can and can't go, you will see why you are not to caulk, except where the instructions specify.
  6. penobscotman

    penobscotman Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Buffalo NY
    The shower is in with the framing as good as I could get it. I did have to shim here and there. Ideally I would have used perfectly straight 2X4's, but even with picking at the lumber yard this was an elusive goal. Thanks for your help.
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