Building shower pan on concrete floor

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Msisell, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Msisell

    Msisell New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Hello! I am so happy to find someone to ask my DIY questions to! So in advance thank you!!!

    I have decided to tackle a remodel job to our basement bathroom shower. We have already pulled out the old prefab shower and pan( it was all one piece), all inner stud walls removed and now a blank cement slab (36X62) with a PVC pipe sticking up for drain is all that's left. Pvc pipe is not in the center, it is more left in comparison to shower head...is that ok?) I want to pour a shower pan ( not buy a prefab one...too much $$), and put in the curb and tile-in drain. I have been watching utube videos non-stop, but can't seem to get a straight forward idea of how to do this. Most videos show how to build it from a wood subfloor up. Can you please tell me exactly the first step?
    Do I go straight to fitting the drain onto the PVC pipe...how high should the PVC pipe stick up? Mark 1inch up along edges from drain top for slope, Then put masonry mix in and smooth to slope? I am planning to purchase Redgard or the equivalent...when do I put that on pan? Also for the curb I have seen (4) 2x4's screwed into cement and Redgarded correct? Someone said you can use Brick for curb? If I use 2x4 does it need to be treated wood?

    I really appreciate your time and excited to get started!

    Thanks,
    Michele

    I can email pictures too if needed.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,917
    Location:
    New England
    Lots of questions...there are a bunch of tested, approved methods to build a shower. Over a concrete slab, I would not use wood as the curb...I'd use brick, pavers, or a premade, tileable curb...two reasons, treated wood tends to be quite damp as delivered and can twist into a pretzel and crack as it dries out. The other reason is a slab may allow wood to wick up moisture - it should not get any from the shower if it is done right. There are basically two methods to build a tiled shower: conventional clamping drain with a liner; and, a surface membrane shower. They use different kinds of drains, so this decision needs to be made at the beginning. Ideally, you'd have the drain in the middle of the shower, but if it isn't too far off, it can still work. The goal for most shower builders is to keep the bottom edge of the shower tile even (level) all the way around, and if you do that, the further the drain is from the middle, the shorter side needs to be steeper. Redgard wouldn't be my first choice for the liner. If you're going to build a conventional shower, a pvc sheet liner is cheaper. A conventional showerpan is made up of 5-layers: a deck mud preslope (deckmud is a mix of sand:portland cement in a 5:1 ratio or so mixed with enough water to make it stick together if you squeeze a handful, but not drip water - it packs like wet beach sand, it's not like concrete and pouring it will only make loose lumps!); a liner; a setting bed (parallel to the preslope); thinset; tile. The details a numerous, and failing to perform one properly can lead to failure. The golden standard for this sort of stuff is the TCNA handbook (Tile Council of North America) which lists the tested/approved methods. They do not list brands, only types of materials. I'd also check out www.johnbridge.com .
  3. Msisell

    Msisell New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thank you for you quick response! That reminds me of one other question, so if I am starting on a concrete slab do I still need to do the pre slope on up or do I start at the PVC liner? Also how do I secure the bricks to the cement? Thanks again!
    Michele
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,917
    Location:
    New England
    There are thousands of (incorrectly built) showers with the liner flat on the floor - DO NOT DO THIS! The plumbing code requires the waterproof surface to be sloped to the drain. The tile are NOT the waterproof layer! Tile is the wear/appearance layer, and no matter how you install things, will never be entirely waterproof, thus the requirement to have a properly installed liner. In fact, while it would be messy, you should be able to take a shower in an uncompleted build that is ready for the tile, and not have anything leak...IOW, it must be waterproof before the tile are added. There are LOTS of details on building a proper shower. IT can be done by a DIY'er successfully, but you do need to do your homework carefully.
  5. Msisell

    Msisell New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Another question, my PVC drain pipe sticks up approx 3 inches without tile in drain on it yet. It's too hight, how do I decide how much pipe to take off from the start? Again it's a 36x 62 shower floor. Thx!
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  7. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Tub to Shower Conversion. How to build your new shower

    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  8. Msisell

    Msisell New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thanks! My plan is to do the preslope then a liquid paint on membrane ( aqua defense) then slope. I am not buying any pre made pans... Doing it all custom. Is that what you mean? And The curb is going to be bricks cemented down onto the cement slab and shaped. Is there a height the curb needs to be too? Thx
  9. Msisell

    Msisell New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Minnesota
    How do I upload a picture?
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    3,986
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  11. kevinp

    kevinp In the Trades

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Missouri
    There's been very good advice given here.
    I agree a thin liquid membrane is not the ideal method for waterproofing the floor/pan. Some liquid membranes will actually dissolve when constantly in contact with moisture. (Go figure!)
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    3,986
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Building a shower Pan on concrete floors for no dam showers

    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
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