Tile floor leveling

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Bentley, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Bentley

    Bentley New Member

    Messages:
    4
    First, great forum with thoughtful answers. I appreciate your advice to a newbie.

    Replacing the floor of a 1995 tile shower. This is just a tile replacement: the pan is tight with no leaks.

    I've removed the ceramic tile, and I'm left with a sloped white thinset and mortar bed surface. Of course, removing the tile scarred up the surface of the mud and left layers of thinset in places. Pretty rough in places. Also, some cracks in the mud from the fun of removing the tile.

    Question is, what can I use to re-smooth the surface so I can tile on it? Ideally, I'd like to fill over the thinset and the mud, and not have to remove any more material. Slope is OK (1/4"/ft) so what I need is something that'll help me recreate a good clean surface for new thinset.

    I'd prefer not to replace the mud -- but if that's the only way...

    Again, many thanks for your advice!!

    Terry

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,013
    Location:
    New England
    What is this built on? A slab? That does not look like a clamping drain designed for a shower to me (but I'm not a pro at this). If there's no liner, then you owe it to yourself to redo the entire pan since you've torn out the most of it anyways.

    A rubbing stone can smooth off high spots, and you can use thinset or a medium bed mortar (often called granite and marble mortar) to fill in divots that are deeper than say 1/4" with the medium bed stuff. A thinset shouldn't normally be used deeper than about 1/4", but a medium bed mortar can go up to about 1" (depends on the brand).

    If that drain isn't proper, or if there isn't a proper liner, OR, if that liner is flat on the subfloor, you should do the pan over. Many people, including some plumbers, seem to think that the tile is the required sloping waterproof surface...it is not. The LINER must be sloped to the drain, since slowly, some moisture will get underneath the tile. It needs a sloped path to migrate to the drain (and your drain not only seemingly missing the clamp for the liner, does not appear to have the required weep holes to allow any trapped moisture to make it to the drain).

    For expert help on tiling, check out www.johnbridge.com.
  3. Bentley

    Bentley New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Edited down message a lot after looking more closely:

    Jadnashua, thanks--

    Dug down around the drain and found it's properly filled and lined.

    Drain is also OK.

    So, only question is: what can I use to fill the dug out mud/thinset surface that'll let me get a smooth surface to stick tile to?

    Thanks--

    Terry
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tile

    Either smooth it with thin set, or just use enough when you place the tile so it fills the voids.
  5. Bentley

    Bentley New Member

    Messages:
    4
    HJ, thank you for your advice. I've filled in the major mud divots with mud, and will apply a smoothing layer of white thinset.

    I'll apply another layer of thinset to affix the tile.

    Terry
  6. Bentley

    Bentley New Member

    Messages:
    4
    On the white thinset: use unmodified?

    Thanks
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,013
    Location:
    New England
    The choice of thinset here will depend on the total thickness applied in one layer. There are good unmodified thinsets, and crappy ones. Don't use the least expensvie version, it has much more sand/cement - it's cheap for a reason. No thinset should be applied thicker than 1/4" in one layer.

    As to the tile, a good unmodified works, a modified does as well. White is nice when using a translucent tile, or light colored grout, but isn't a big deal one way or the other if not. White costs more since it costs more to get white components.
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