Curbless Shower

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Freddie, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    I am looking at options for my ensuite bathroom in terms of a new shower. My wife would love a curbless shower. Anyone familiar with the plumbing code in Ontario (specifically Ottawa) that could help clarify what is code and what is not? Here are some items that I’ve narrowed down from research online and from discussion with reps at plumbing stores.

    1. Slope of shower pan must be between ¼ to ½ inch per foot.
    2. Flood test needs to be done to verify shower pan waterproof integrity.
    3. There must be at least 2†of water hold above the top of the drain either via a shower curb through the slope of the shower pan.
    4. The curb must be at least 2†and no more than 9†and be at least 1†above the adjacent shower floor
    5. Showerheads cannot be aimed at the shower door. (Might just be common sense)

    The only other question I have is:

    If you have a curbless shower what defines the edge of the shower and thus the edge of the sloping floor?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    21,888
    Location:
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    There may be exceptions for curbless showers...in the USA, it would be the ADA guidelines...not sure if there is an equivalent in Canada, but suspect there is.
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    I have deleted all my posts showcasing Kerdi, Ditra and the like from Schluter Systems. I have stopped using these products and do not recommend them now to my online clients, my local customers. You will not see photos here going forward. No one asked me to delete these photos. No one told me to delete them. I feel these products from Schluter come with far to many restrictions and that the testing of the products leaves lots to be desired.

    It was my testing of the niches and resulting phone call to review my findings that finalized my decision to switch to a more premium waterproofing approach a quit using Schluter's products all together...

    If you need help with a Kerdi Question email Dale at DKempster@schluter.com - this is Schluter's top tech. Remember that Jadnashua (Jim) here on Terry's forum is not in this business and by my account works to privately promote Schluter and the John Bridge Tile Forum.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  4. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Hi John,
    Thx for the feedback. Don't know the exact flowrates but at most there will be 2 showerheads on at one time( rainshower and handshower). I currently have 1/2 lines to the shower but was thinking of upgrading to 3/4" as it is located on the far side of the bathroom and supplies the whole bathroom and would allow both showerheads to run at the same time. If that might cause some problems I'd contemplate not doing that.

    If I use a center drain then both fixtures will or could hit that drain. With a linear drain at the entrance, handshower might hit the drain but most likely not.

    I responded to another message of yours on this forum with a picture of my room. It is identical to the picture you posted to the message board.
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?310-curbless-shower/page3

    My plumbing is on the same location in the shower and we are thinking of an V&A Ios tub next to it. My two options are to use a center drain like you have done but not sure I have the vertical height to do that. I could drop the flooring down by 5/8" to in between the top of the joists; that would give me 1 5/8" to top of bathroom threshold / current tiled bathroom floor. Not sure if that is enough space to get the center drain in above the floor and then add the necessary 3/8" minimum slope (3' x 3' shower) or 5/8" as you suggest.

    Option #2 was to put a linear drain just inside the door to the shower and slope the floor up from there. That would mean a curb on the left side of the shower but if option #1 does not work out then it's better than curb all around at least.

    I appreciate any advice that you may have. I may contact the local city plumbing inspector to ensure all this will work once I finalize and to ensure that there is nothing funny in Ottawa that is different that anywhere else.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    You need more depth than that with any system you might use, and way more if you tried a conventional shower. A mudbed where you used a tileable membrane over a wooden subfloor needs to be close to 1" thick at the drain and rise from there. A conventional shower construction where you have a preslope, liner, then mudbed, would typically need to be over 2" at the drain and a little more wouldn't hurt. The membranes aren't designed for direct application to ply and cbu might be problematic on the floor of a shower, so that leaves either something like the Kerdi pre-formed foam pans, Wedi preformed pan, and maybe some other technique. BTW, Wedi makes some neat standalone showers - one I particularly like is the scroll.
  6. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    jadnashua,

    Yeah I understand that it will be tight but on preliminary research, looks like the Kerdi linear drain will be about 1" to the top of the channel body then add on the tile and thinset. So could easily be done. Not that I want to use the Kerdi foam system.

    Do you see any problems with having a linear drain just inside the door of the shower, at the same height as the bathroom flooring, and then have the shower floor rise up from there? This is my option #2 if I cannot go curbless. This would also allow the door to swing out without any problems concerning interference with the floor.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    You don't need to use the Kerdi foam pan, you can construct it out of mortar but the mortar needs to be at least 1" thick over a wooden subfloor. That would mean you'd have to raise the floor height outside of the shower at least that level. You might get by with it being slightly less, but it's risky. I don't know if Schluter would warrant you doing it with cbu. Since it would be a sloped, but flat surface...you might get away with sloping the subfloor then using cbu on top of it, then Kerdi (and likely Ditra outside of the shower). Using Ditra inside of the shower might allow you to go directly on the subflooring, but it makes it harder to seal around the drain...possible, but tougher and definately non-standard.

    You have to get your inspector to approve this non-standard thing, and you may have no warranty from Schluter. I'd suggest you contact them for thoughts.

    Wedi is pretty neat stuff, and it is designed to go directly on plywood without fasteners - sort of like a big tile. You can buy that in very thin panels. You'd need to be very careful about getting your thinset nice and even as those really thin panels may not lay flat after you walked on it with the wet thinset underneath. You might want to use something like a lawn roller to embed the stuff and keep it flat. Just brainstorming here. Your best, approved method would be to recess the joists - raising the floor makes the transition into the room awkward.

    If you had good waterpressure, with the shower sloped towards the outside, I'm not sure you'd catch all of the runoff in the drain. That's why they typically put it against a wall. If a low hump was acceptable, that should help to contain it, but that would take some skill to both construct and to tile over so it had low lippage and looked good.
  8. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    If you had good waterpressure, with the shower sloped towards the outside, I'm not sure you'd catch all of the runoff in the drain. That's why they typically put it against a wall. If a low hump was acceptable, that should help to contain it, but that would take some skill to both construct and to tile over so it had low lippage and looked good.

    Good point, and with JW's mention of 5/8" water level over the drain....looks like maybe curbs all around unless I cut down / double up on the joists and that is a big job.

    Yeah, threshold to bathroom is about 1" above the top of the floor ( I don't want to raise that at all) which I should meet in the rest of the bathroom with 1/2" plywood, infloor heating, ditra and tile. Sound about right for 1"?
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    Depends on the thickness of the tile and the heating - you may be higher than your 1" total. It's much easier to float slc over the heating mats to encase them verses trying to do it in thinset. SOme tile by themselves are 3/8-1/2" thick, then add the thinset to hold it, about 3/16+ for the Ditra and the ply...
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  11. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  13. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
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  14. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Thanks for the great advice in your response and the ideas in the following pictures. This will certainly help me.


    With 1/2" lines and both fixtures installed you should be running at about 3.5 - 5.0 GPM. This would be if the restrictors are left installed with these shower heads. Wit hrestrictors removed you might be closer to 7.0-14.0 GPM with both fixtures running.

    Restrictors will be left in as we have one of the first tankless water heaters in Ottawa. Heater is limited to a max flow anyways.

    Can you control the flow rate of your separate shower fixtures. If not I might leave the 1/2" lines in place.

    I plan on doing that so that when we switch from handheld to rain shower we don't shut off the water supply even for a second. No flowrate or actually <0.5 gpm I think means that the tankless water heater shuts off.



    With no deflector water hitting the door will run in both directions to a certain degree. I've seen it run 7' on projects with direct contact from the hand held!


    I could run any waterproofing out underneath the exterior flooring as a help. I also plan to have Ditra under the external tiles along with in-floor heating so that could be a challenge to make sure water stays off of the infloor heating. Or does it really matter?
  15. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Is this bathroom being inspected by the city? Is it in a commercial property or a private home?


    This is a residential property and I'm still waiting for the inspector to get back to answer some questions and to find out exactly what needs to be inspected. I do know that a plumbing permit is needed for any plumbing changes and I will have a few but hopefully that is all they are concerned with.
  16. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Lip at linear drain.

    This lip is located about 6-8" from the shower's bathroom entry door. To prevent water from sneaking along the edge the drain was installed before the wall tile and brought right to the back wall. Then the tile notched into the drain base. The Schluter profile is set higher than the drain and works well at blocking water from sneaking out. The linear strainer works well bring the water flow into the drain. Other drain styles can offer up a little room for water to skirt over them.


    Bit of a trench drain version of a linear drain?

    Looks like this is an infinity drain. Did you have to modify the top grate's length to accommodate the wall tile entrance into the end of the drain channel? Otherwise I guess you could just install a shorter drain and angle the end tiles as you would any other mid-floor linear drain.
  17. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Only option is a curb

    John,

    Looking at my situation, 5/8" flooring and 1" of clearance from their to the threshold of the bathroom leaves me at most 1 5/8" from top of floor to threshold if I lower the flooring in the shower area to be flush with the top of the joists below. And maybe, just maybe I could squeeze and additional 1/4 to 1/2" depending if I try to lower the floor even more between the joist right where the drain is; in essence a step down from bathroom floor to shower floor and then to drain level floor.

    Looking at various linear and non linear drains, it seems you need pretty close to those dimensions just to get to the top of the installed drain. Correct?

    This for certain would then mean a curb on the non-door side of the shower, or the side glass would be 3/4" shorter at the back wall of the 3' deep shower which I'm not so sure will look all that great and then the glass wall then functions as the curb.

    Assuming I put the drain at the door without curb at the door , then I'll have to also deal with some additional means to help prevent water overshoots of the drain and water that runs down the door from going to far into the rest of the bathroom. All these measures, and thanks again for some suggestions and ideas on that, would mean an additonal height requirement above the drain be that a 1/8" rise of tile above top of drain at drain plus some slope on door side of the drain (be that just inside the shower or outside the shower). Based on previously mentioned 5/8" max water height above drain even when not blocked, that could mean some wet area outside the door for at least 2' (at 1/2" / ft slope, more at 1/4"). Could lead to having water reaching out from the shower to almost the toilet and that would not be good.

    Don't see how the use of a linear drain will work properly given my height restrictions without using a curb at the door. Have I missed something here or is there a product that could work within these constraints?
  18. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
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  19. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
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  20. Freddie

    Freddie New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ottawa
    Thanks John. Lots to think about. I'd appreciate any pictures you could provide from your buddies place.

    Yes, deflection, support, slope, etc., all familiar to me as my real job was as a mechanical engineer for 20+ years. I've redone my deck that has now been solidly standing for 15 years, finished off my entire basement including some major plumbing changes below the concrete basement floor, completely reno'd our kitchen last year, and many other projects. All look very professional. I hire pro's when I need to for certain inspection approvals, for speed in a tight timeline, or when I think it is a bit over my head or something I've not done before that I think has a long learning curve. I'm basically at the design stage and gaining information to see if I can do it and also if I can't I have enough knowledge to ensure the work of the pro's is done correctly or at least to be able to ask a few intelligent questions.

    For me, Electrical I just don't touch if it means running new wires, etc.. It has to be inspected, I'm not as aware of the codes for it that seem to change all the time so I always hire an electrician for that part. More efficient for me to do it that way. Most of the plumbing changes I do myself as my background was in water filtration equipment design and manufacture. Depending of the project I sometimes hire a plumber. For the rest I've taught myself and had no problems passing inpsections for framing, insulation/ vapour barrier, final approvals. I've done drywall (small jobs only, I'm no expert here but getting better), flooring, trim work, etc.. So I know my capabilities and when the work is above them.

    Haven't done much tiling except for a backsplash with rather large tiles in the kitchen so that may be something that a pro could do for me in a couple of days and I do have a friend that does that for a living so a few pizzas and some cold ones and long weekend and it could get done but I'll decide that later on.

    My first concern is to get the plumbing and electrical changes done so that I can close off the floor, walls and ceiling.
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