Schluter Shower Installation
Doing a Schluter shower installation can be pretty straight forward once you now what you’re doing. Just as you have different tile setters working in the field of using the Schluter system they may take different approaches on how they will prep your walls and do the install. What I’m going to describe here is my method and why I choose to do it this way.
But just before we get into the how and why of how I install Schluter showers, there are a few things I like to point out.
- Never use a premixed mastic! When you use a premixed mastic, they have a tendency to promote the growth of black fungus and mold in damp areas such as showers.
- Do not use modified thin-sets and again premixed mastic! These products require air space and sub-straights that can absorb and allow for moisture dissipation from the thin-set for proper cure time.
You see when you’re using Kerdi from the Schluter shower system it is a waterproofing membrane that requires an unmodified thin-set that cures because of time, not air circulation and absorption. With all that taken care of, it’s time to move on to the installation segment.
So one of the biggest questions people ask is what are the walls made of, cement board, green or regular drywall, etc. Because you’re using a waterproofing system when installed according to manufacture’s specifications, that part is not an issue, the kirdi protects everything it covers. If you were simply going to use dens shield or cement board for instance for around a tub surround, then you would need to seal the joints and prime it. Priming the joints after mudding, gives it the ability to resist any water that may get past the tiles and grout, but ultimately it is always best to totally waterproof any area under heavy moisture conditions.
Each Schluter shower kit you buy is designed to fit all standard size showers. For instance, if you take out a tub you can replace it with an offset Schluter base system. The beauty this system is when you have a differently designed shape to your shower, you can modify your tray. Check out my post on “Building Shower Base.”
So to get started you will have your shower totally prepped by all your plumbing roughed in with the drain pipe just dry fitted in not glued in yet. The reason I like to do this is to cut the pipe to length once I’ve cemented the base into place; the other option is to cut it when it’s glued in place, which can be tricky. All the wall board is installed, taped and mudded for painted areas with a level floor or you will need to fix the floor before you begin.
Now I have a direct link to Schluter for their video shower system installation that you can get all the finer details for installation; I’m just going to run you through the sequence of how I do it to ensure there are no problems.
This picture below can demonstrate a typical shower to be waterproofed.
I do not like to cement in the tray then start working on applying kerdi on in the corners then kerdi the walls and in some cases start tiling.
Here are the possible problems:
- When you cement in the tray and keep walking on it while adding all the kerdi, sometimes the tray looses its bond and does not fasten in place correctly and floor tiles can crack from tray movement due to deflection.
- If you tile while kerdi is not set and lift a tile of the wall to check or adjust back buttering to set the tile on the wall better. Due to the imperfections of the wall, the kirdi may decouple and not cement back to the wall properly once separated from the wall.
My sequence will ensure cure time while still getting the job done properly in proper time.
- The first thing to do is cement in using an unmodified thin-set for the whole job starting with the two corners of the kerdi band and a center panel strip from your kirdi panel roll. Due to the dimensions of this shower a narrow panel is required to allow for proper overlap of the kirdi. The kirdi rolls are 39″ inches and I like at lease a 6″ of overlap, and I cement this on with 1/4 x 3/16 V-notch trowel.
- The next thing I do is cement in all the panel peace required such as 4 of them for this shower. The two side panels would be cut back to proper required wide.
- My next step now is to cut the floor around the drain pipe for the Schluter flanges bowl. They have cut out templates for the required sizes need for each stage.
- Measure out for the tray to cut or add as required to fill in space. This one needs extra peace at each end that I have left over from a previous job that had a tray reduced to fit.
- Cement the tray pieces down using a 1/4 x 3/8 trowel. If you did not have the extras but require a larger tray then the post link above Building Shower Base explains how I accomplish this. If you do require to do the steps from my other post, then you would be done for the day. The following day you would carry on with the next point.
- With the tray cemented in you can cement in the curb and glue and cement in the flange for the drain.
- Now you will cement in all your kirdi band and corner piece in the corner areas around the shower.
- Cement your kirdi panel for the tray area then wrap over your curb with the measured off a peace of kirdi that you cut to finish off the curb.
You’ve now finished for the day, and you now have your shower totally waterproofed and ready to start tiling for the next day.
You are now ready for Ceramic Tile Shower Installation
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