Do I need a vapor barrier?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Hockeylucky, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Hockeylucky

    Hockeylucky New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Anaheim CA
    Hello, I'm remodeling my shower in Southern California and I'm planing to make a slopped mortar bed for my shower pan and tile all the way up to the ceiling. Our door will be a steam shower door and I'm debating on what to use to waterproof the whole thing (kerdi or mapelastic hpg) technically I'm building a steam shower enclosure without a steam generator and the question here is: would hot water from my shower head produce enough steam inside the enclosure to need a vapor barrier? Or 3 or 4 coats of mapelastic hpg will be enough from floor to ceiling.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,051
    Location:
    New England
    There are a bunch of ways to build a long-lasting, well performing shower. If you use something like Kerdi, you need to use their drain. A conventional showerpan needs a waterproof liner and a setting bed of mortar on top of the preslope. If you plan long, hot, steamy showers, you might want to consider building it to steam shower specifications and a surface membrane will help prevent that high vapor pressure from penetrating and making things take much longer to dry out, although the relative humidity in Anaheim is fairly low, if I remember, most of the year. ALL showers require a vapor barrier either topically applied, or behind the cbu on the walls (not both!).

    There are so many little details, it's hard to cover all of them in a situation like this on a forum. MIss one or more, and the 'system' may not perform well.
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
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    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  4. Hockeylucky

    Hockeylucky New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Anaheim CA
    Thank you guys for your response. John I've seen pictures of your work and read the articles on houzz. You really do amazing work!

    I've gotten some quotes for a hotmop which seems to be the way to go here in California, but I've also read that hotmop becomes hard and brittle over the years and it leaks since its tar. Any comment on this?

    I think I like the idea of the topical membrane (noble seal ts as John recomends) right on top of the mud bed that way the water will go straight to the drain. I'm planning to also use the noble seal ts on walls and ceiling? My shower will not be a steam shower, it will only have a steam shower glass door to keep the steam generated by the shower heads. I don't want to overkill it, but do want to protect the walls.

    For the sloped mortar bed, is Portland cement and sand ok? Or is there anything else you recommend.

    As far as the lighting, I'm planning to use shower rated lights and covers.

    I plan to use porcelain tile on the walls. I'm open to any other suggestions.

    I removed a shower tub and a closet to make a wall to wall shower 8'5"x4'. Two of these walls are exterior walls and I plan to install a couple of those pre-made niches, would this be ok?
    I want to do it right so I'm open to your expert advice.

    I'm also using the io digital system from moen any input on this?
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,051
    Location:
    New England
    In your climate, you might get away with niches on an exterior wall, but that means essentially no insulation there. Things can get hot or cold sitting in there! That wouldn't be a good idea many places, and might not be great there. While the premade niches are mostly made of plastic and foam, there isn't a lot of insulation in them.
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,223
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  7. Hockeylucky

    Hockeylucky New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Anaheim CA
    Thanks again for your response.

    Is the noble wall seal vapor proof?
    I like the idea of running a line for future steam use, so I think I'll do that.

    Do I need to add noble ts on top of my hot mop and mortar bed? Wouldn't this create a sandwich?
    Or do I need the noble to vapor proof the floor as well?

    Yesterday I went shopping for a Aco quartz plus drain (35") which I'm going to install after the hot mop passes the 72 hour water test (what is the proper way of doing this)? I also bought a quick pitch system so I could screed down the proper slope towards the drain.

    I'm going to be centering the aco drain and splitting the difference of 2 1/2" on the width of the shower (40") since the drain is 35". Any suggestions on how to slope this?

    I currently have one white recessed light centered on the 8' shower project. I plan to add 2 more color changing LED's on a separate switch that way we can control when we want to have colorful showers.

    I'm going to install the pre-made niches on my exterior wall and try to stuff as much insulation as possible back there.
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,223
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  9. Hockeylucky

    Hockeylucky New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Anaheim CA
    John, thank you for providing your number to call you directly for questions and for extending your help to me. I currently have all kinds of stitches in my mouth due to an implant, so I can't really talk. However, If you like you can email me at my personal email for now; it's cleardzone@yahoo.com, unless you would like to provide yours and I'll be in contact with you.

    The information that I'm getting from you is truly amazing. Just so you know I'm doing all of this myself. I have a general overall knowledge since I was a pipe fitter for 2 1/2 years. I tried to hire someone for my project, but the responses I get are that I don't need to do this or that so nothing even familiar to your recommendations, so I rather do it all myself and take it slow and do it right.

    Thanks again and I'll talk to you soon.
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