Sunday, January 13, 2008

"It's just like playing in the sandbox"

So said one of our tile reps about the prospect of building our own shower pan on top of which we will install river rock. We had a good headstart as our plumber had built the basic box, framed the curb with 2x4s and installed the waterproof liner. Our task was to create the "Michigan mud" sloped basin (and you know how much we Columbus-folk want anything to do with "Michigan" anything!) We purchased pre-formed curb molds from the Tile Shop, alas they were too short for our plumber-made curb. So we "winged it" and created our own form from some excess lumber in the backyard that Eric sawed down to size. Here's the pre-lined basin with our curb form:
Another important detail (perhaps the most) was to ensure that we got a 1/4" slope per foot down toward the drain- to ensure future shower water goes straight OUT of the place through the drain rather than pooling about in the shower. Based on our measurements that meant we needed a depth of 2" of mud around the perimeter which would end up about 1 1/2" deep at the drain leaving room for the depth of our tile plus future mortar. So I drew a line in Sharpie at the 2" mark around the entire liner. From there we mixed an 80# bag of mud with 3litres of water and 1 litre of "admix" per the instructions of our experts (and the bag). With the aid of a shovel and gloved hands this mix came to resemble beach-castle-worthy ball-able sand. As soon as we hit this consistency and all of the dry mix was incorporated, we shovelled the stuff into the shower liner and began spreading it out. In all we ended up using 3 bags of mud. Once we had the interior floor set, we filled in our curb form then went up the walls to the base of the cement backer board. We're amateurs at best but we were pretty content with the final product:
Time will tell how successful we were on this one when we check on it tomorrow. On a bright note, we were able to stop the self-leveling concrete from hemorraging into the basement and when last checked, the floor was solidifying nicely. We'll probably mix up a fourth bag of self-leveller once this batch has set and pour it over the low spot where we sprung a leak as it has now presumably self-sealed (with the aid of ample plumber's putty...the best $5 we might have spent to date!)

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Glad to see the shower turned out so well! I thought about doing radiant floors in our bathroom, but I balked at doing the wiring. Such a wuss I am!

The sink looks nice... as do the lights.