Shower Drain Question: Ripping out old shower on concrete foundation and putting in new

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Summer887, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Summer887

    Summer887 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Washington
    Hi,
    I've been working on remodeling my bathroom and this will be my first attempt at building a mortar shower pan. I'm a handy gal and have torn down popcorn ceilings, laid tile, hung drywall, done laminate flooring, etc. But, my skill level in this area is absolutely nill, so I'm seeking some patient advice in layman's terms.

    I have attached some photos that will hopefully help you skilled craftsman envision what I'm trying to accomplish. The bathroom is on a concrete foundation. Building built in 1964 with galvanized drain pipes. The bathroom had an old boxy and walled in shower that I want to replace with a nice, tiled, low profile shower (with Euro panel). The current shower pan is quite small (36x34). My goal is to make the shower (60x36). Being a DYI kinda gal, I will be making the mortar pan myself.

    This is where it gets sketchy for me: The current pan has about a 3 inch dam and I'd like to go more 'low profile' with a 2 inch dam. I have concerns about the drain. So, this is where my complete lack of skill comes in. What is the likelihood that the current drain pipe is higher than the concrete floor and is the current drain likely to unscrew? I really don't want to have to bust out any concrete, but do need to understand the best....and worst scenarios. Any help you could offer would be great.

    I have looked into systems like QuickPitch and Schulter, but am not sure what the right fit might be. Please forgive me if I gave too much info, but want to make my question as easy as possible to answer.

    Thank you

    Attached Files:

  2. Summer887

    Summer887 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Washington
    Oops, I believe I am supposed to put my location. I'm located in the Seattle area.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,188
    Location:
    New England
    I cannot tell if there's a liner in the shower pan now. A new shower pan requires one. There are lots of validated methods to build a shower. Some of them would require replacing your drain, and all of them will if they happened to use a floor drain, rather than a clamping shower drain.

    Ideally, for a typical clamping drain install, you'd want the drain very close to the center, and that can be an issue if you're changing the footprint of the shower pan. Much of that is aesthetics...most people like the bottom row of tile to be even all around the shower. If the drain is way offset from that, to achieve an even bottom row, you may end up with a very steep slope on the short side.

    You can minimize the depth of your shower pan if you go with a surface membrane rather than a conventional shower pan to a clamping drain since then, you only need one layer of deckmud. This version uses a special drain, but still might be able to reuse the bottom part of the existing drain. But, if the pipes are galvanized, and built in 1964, I'd look very carefully and seriously consider replacing some of those pipes...galvanized pipe will rust, and yours is now 50-years old! CI may be fine, and it might be toast, too. You'll want to replace any of the galvanized piping in your shower walls with something else while you have it open.

    Suggest you check out www.johnbridge.com for some ideas and help.
  4. Summer887

    Summer887 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Washington
    Thank you so much for the advice. I had not considered the tile appearance with that offset drain location. Do you have a membrane system that you'd recommend? Or a particular drain you think I should consider? Thanks again! :)
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,188
    Location:
    New England
    I have used, been trained on, and had good success with Schluter's Kerdi membrane. If you want to see how it goes together, they have lots of videos on their website http://www.schluter.com/. This will give you an idea of how one goes together. Noble has an (old) video on their website that gives you the basics of how their system goes together, but does not show their latest drains and thinbed techniques (you have to figure it out from the written directions and line drawings, at least from what I've been able to find there). The actual drain you use is somewhat dependent on the system you choose...suggest you use a Schluter drain if you choose Kerdi, and a Noble drain if you choose noble's, or a Durock drain if you choose that system. As to a clamping drain and a conventional liner, lots of those around - choose one that you like the drain cover finish and style. If you can live with the drain in it's current position, and it is a clamping drain, Schluter does make a conversion kit - you take off the upper portion, save the bolts, and then install the Kerdi conversion drain to it (everything you need for that is included in the box).
  6. Summer887

    Summer887 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Washington
    Thanks so much! This has been very, very helpful :)
  7. Viktoria

    Viktoria New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Post pictures please, or a link to progress pictures. I want to see this progress.
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