Ultimate Guide Of Sloping A Walk In Shower Floor
When the tile installer neglects to create a correctly sloped shower floor, several shower remodeling projects, such as converting a tub into a standup shower, become a nightmare. Without adequate pitch, water frequently pools and collects on the shower floor. In these moist regions, soap scum and water deposits accumulate, giving the tile and grout a grubby appearance. The tile on a floor with too much pitch, on the other hand, appears and feels uneven.
Step 1: Inspect The Shower Floor Membrane
Before beginning this project, always make sure the shower floor membrane can hold water. The tile, grout, and caulking of a finished shower floor send the majority of the water toward the drain opening. However, the shower walls and drain aperture frequently develop minor cracks over time. Any water that sneaks past the tile and leaks into the neighboring room is caught by the shower floor membrane, also known as a pan. The pan's integrity is tested with a quick water test.
- Shower drain's top section can be detached from its base by unscrewing a screw. Set aside the top.
- The drain aperture should be filled with an inflatable plug. The threaded portion of the base must be below the bottom of the plug.
- Add a few inches of water to the shower pan. Wait a few hours before moving on. This gives little leaks ample time to wet the subfloor beneath the pan.
- Check for seepage along the shower's exterior edge. Replace or repair the membrane if the leak test revealed any indications of leakage. For this, certain municipal building codes demand professional plumbers.
- Drain the membrane by removing the stopper. The membrane should only be used for the shower floor project after it passes a leak test.
Step 2: Prepare The Shower Drain
- Put the drain fitting together. The base is screwed onto the shower drain cap.
- The drain height should be adjusted such that the bottom is roughly 1.5 inches from the base. The drain can be rotated either way to lower or raise it. Usually, this gives the mortar enough space to create a sturdy subfloor around the drain opening without affecting the slope from the farthest wall.
- Use masking tape to cover the drain grates' surface. Tape shouldn't stick out past the completed surface. The tape guards against scratches on the completed surface and stops mortar from slipping into the drain opening.
- Fill in the weep holes in the base with small stones or leftovers from removing the original floor; bits of shattered tile work nicely for this. Weep holes allow water that has pooled on the pan and is resting there to reach the drainage system.
Step 3: Prepare The Collar And Curb
Some tile installers enjoy extending the wallboards all the way to the shower membrane's base. Sadly, the shower membrane's folds frequently push up against the bottom of the wallboards, resulting in out-of-square walls and uneven tile cuts around the corners. In order to prevent this, the tile installer needs to stop the wallboards 4 to 6 inches above the membrane's bottom and fill the resulting area with mortar. For the bottom row of wall tiles to adhere against, the collar creates a stable, level surface.
- The distance between the bottom of the wallboards and the pan should be measured. This measurement should be multiplied by one inch before being transferred to a piece of wire lathe. Tin snips are used to precisely cut the lathe when necessary. A piece of lathe should be cut to the length of a wall after being measured. The mortar has something to grab thanks to the lathe. The mortar has a tendency to sag and fall away from the membrane without lathe.
- Place a piece of lathe with its top inch tucked between the membrane and the bottom of the wallboard. For the remaining walls, repeat this procedure.
- The curb's vertical side should be measured. Two inches should be added to this measurement. Transfer this total to the lathe, then make the necessary cuts there.
- Lathe strip should be folded into a "7" shape, with the long side matching the curb's vertical side in length. The "7" design has two benefits: the long side maintains the pan material's tight fit against the curb, and the short side offers a spot for mounting that is leak-free.
- Install the folded lathe on the sidewalk curb. Using roofing nails, fasten the horizontal side of the lathe to the curb by pressing the bend's corner firmly on the curb.
- The length of the curb should be measured, then transferred to a 1x4 board. Cut the board down to the measurement minus about 1/8 of an inch.
- Place the board so that its inside edge overhangs the lathe by about 1/2 inch and sits on top of the curb. Use a few nails or screws to tack the board down.
Step 4: Make The Mortar
A mortar made of Portland cement, sand, and water is used to pack a shower floor. When working on huge projects, some contractors purchase the dry materials separately and combine them on the spot. For minor works, buying pre-mixed mortar typically makes sense. For this purpose, Sakrete Sand Mix is what is strongly recommended. When packing the curb and collar, this product's kind and sand content perform very well. Any type-S mortar, however, will function.
- On a flat surface, such as a wheelbarrow, pour the dry ingredients. The number of ingredients needed is determined on the size of the shower and the depth of the mortar bed. About one 80-pound bag of Portland cement and ten gallons of coarse sand, or two 80-pound bags of pre-mixed mortar, are needed to create a 3-foot by 4-foot shower. Expect to throw away a tiny amount of the leftovers. Utilizing a shovel, thoroughly combine the dry ingredients.
- Make a volcano form by pressing the mixture into a pile and adding a bowl to the top.
- Pour a half-gallon of water at a time into the crater.
- With a shovel, incorporate the water into the mortar mixture. Start by making stabbing motions in the pile's middle. The stabbing motions make it possible for the moisture to penetrate to the pile's base. Scoop some dry mortar mixture from the pile's outside edge, then drop it into the crater once the moisture in the middle has been activated. Fill the crater with the dry mixture. One cup of water should be added to the crater if the mixture requires it. Stir the dry mixture into the crater continuously until the whole thing turns from light grey to dark grey. When ready, the mortar mixture ought to maintain its shape when squeezed.
Step 5: Mud The Collar And Curb
- Put around 10 shovelfuls of mortar mixture around the shower pan's edge.
- Using a grout float or other similar equipment, push the mortar mixture into the wire lathe. Fill in the space behind the wall board until the mortar protrudes into the shower area. Work your way around the shower starting in a corner.
- Using a straight edge and the wall boards as a reference, remove any extra mortar from the collar and curb while maintaining the collar's level. The surplus mortar should be used to cover the stones defending the drain fitting's weep holes.
- Use a damp sponge to remove any remaining mortar from the wall boards. Raised out-of-plumb wall tile is frequently caused by dirty wall planks.
Step 6: Prepare The Shower Pan For Mortar
- Round your measurement up to the nearest foot after measuring from the drain entrance to the farthest wall. Multiply the measurement by 1/4 inch to determine the slope. For instance, the shower floor should slope 3/4 inch from the farthest wall to the drain if the drain opening is 2-foot 8-inches from that wall.
- A bubble level should be placed on the drain opening and extended to the farthest wall. To match the computed slope, adjust the bubble level's wall-side. Put a mark at the proper height on the collar. Check visually to make sure the slope doesn't go above the curb. If so, adjust the drain opening accordingly.
- Using a bubble level as a reference, score a line around the shower floor's perimeter at the point denoting the floor's slope.
Step 7: Dry Pack The Shower Floor Mortar
- Place roughly a gallon of mortar mixture in the middle of each wall and adjacent to each shower corner.
- Use the scored line in the collar and curb that indicates the slope as a height guide to create a 2-inch wide mortar shelf all the way around the shower. This ought to create a perfectly level shelf all the way around the shower.
- Cover the back half of the shower pan with one-half of the leftover mortar mixture.
- Utilizing a flat trowel or grout float, compact the mortar while working from the shelf toward the drain opening. Tamping the mortar stiffens the mortar bed and reduces air spaces. If dips start to emerge in the bed, add more mortar.
- Compress the leftover mortar until it reaches the far side of the pan after adding it to the near side. When finished, the shower floor should have high places and pitch roughly from the shelf to the top of the drain. At the end of this phase, do not anticipate a flawless result.
Step 8: Finish The Shower Floor Mortar
This phase demonstrates the artistry of a true craftsman. The installation of high-quality tiles is simple with a well-formed mortar bed. But a muddy bed frequently produces dips and troughs that result in puddles.
- Place a piece of cardboard to kneel on near the farthest wall on the mortar bed.
- Hold one end of a straightedge next to the shower drain and the other end on the shelf of the bed. Remove all high places in the mortar bed by dragging the straightedge along the length of the wall. Keep cleaning your tools. Tools that are dry or filthy tend to attract mortar.
- To get the desired slope, hold the straightedge against the shelf and trim the mortar bed. A shelf next to the shower wall shouldn't have masonry removed from it. With each pass, take away a little less. As the project develops, dispose of the waste. The top of the shower floor drain should be about 3/16 inch below the final slope of the mortar bed. The thickness of the tile determines the exact height.
- Use a flat trowel to smooth up any uneven surfaces on the walls or floor. Keep the trowel damp to prevent mortar tearing.