Floor Help: Tile Shower with a Concrete (Cinder-block) Bench

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Old 06-09-16, 03:28 PM
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Floor Help: Tile Shower with a Concrete (Cinder-block) Bench

I have a question I'm hoping someone can help me with because I can't seem to find a clear answer. I have read many sources and gotten conflicting information.

Our story begins with a major bathroom renovation largely in part to bad vct floors, bad tiling job in shower and hence rotting walls in and around the walk-in shower. The shower pan was hair-lined cracked fiberglass. In short, I decided best to gut the bathroom down to the studs and am building it back as best I can being a first time DIYer.

My intent for the shower is to build back tiled floor and three tiled shower walls, a cinder-block concrete sitting bench tiled to match shower, and a tiled curb with a sliding glass door.

What I have done so far:

To start, I shored up the studs in the walls and remediated any water damage. I turned first to the shower, as I felt that there was an order to doing the whole renovation, and it starts with completing the foot-print for the shower. At this point I hired a plumber to do three things I felt most important to have a professional do, which was re-run the plumbing, refit the shower drain, and install the shower liner. I am confident in the work he did, that the shower lines work and don't leak, the drain was installed correctly in the floor poured back level, and then that the shower liner is installed correctly (folded - not cut, up 12" from the floor and up 38" from floor where the cinder-block bench will be, no nails below 8" or 30" where bench will be, wrapped over the 4x4 curb but not nailed or screwed to it, etc).

Next I put up 6mil plastic sheeting careful not to staple thru any shower liner (so it overlaps but hangs freely from top of shower liner to the floor). I then installed kerdi-board on the three walls. For another measure, I painted Redguard over the walls floor to ceiling 3 coats thick. If anything I think the walls are quite well protected so far. But I tell you all of this to illustrate how far I have come and that I really can't afford to tear this all out, and in case it has any bearing on how to answer the question.

This is where we are now; This is where I hit the point of my question.

The next step is to install the cinder-block bench into the shower. The conflicting information I have gotten is some saying that the bench needs to be installed on the finished sloped mud floor...but other sources saying that it is okay and even preferable to build it on the level floor because it will be easier to square which helps prevent water seepage behind it.

I am doing everything I can think of to prevent water damage. I take to heart that there is no such thing as "water-proof". Eventually water is going to get behind, into, and even under the bench. This is what makes me ask the question: I see the logic and want to proceed with putting in the cinder-block bench, but I have an eerie feeling about installing the cinder-block bench directly on top of the shower liner over the level floor. You certainly don't install tile that way.

So the questions:

Is the bench okay to install directly onto the liner? If not, what solution might there be? Hindsight says that it would have been better for the liner to set on a slightly pitched floor, but I am very far past fixing that now.

Is there any way to add in seepage protection so that the eventual water penetration behind, into, and even under the bench will eventually get to the drain instead of pooling on the level floor under it? In my mind when I'm told I need to be sure to leave weep holes, my brain turns to something like a sheet of weep hole protector to lay down first, or plastic tubing or channels under the bench.

Or does anyone have any "Here's what I would do" ideas? Or maybe just a "You're over-thinking it. Just proceed; you're golden." Input from anyone that's been there done that would make me feel better.

I will say that after the bench is installed, I do plan on slathering Redguard onto it. After I pour the concrete curb I will RedGuard that. I feel like I have a healthy grip on how to make the shower as water-resistant as I can...but I would just like to feel more comfortable about what will be happening to water under the floor and behind that bench, especially since it will impact the tile job. The last thing I want is to recreate the Eco-disaster I had before.

Your help and ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 06-09-16, 05:59 PM
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Stephen,

There's many issues to deal with but let's start with how the plumber installed the shower pan. You never said what the floor is made of. Is it a slab or a suspended wood floor? I'm guessing it's a slab, but.....? You said he poured the floor back level while installing the liner.

That sounds like the shower pan/liner is flat, there is no pre-slope is there? I am not as confident as you that the work was done correctly. Please explain and post any in-progress-pics you may have.

Jaz
 
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Old 06-09-16, 06:09 PM
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And post some picture's we can not see what your seeing.
Shored up the studs? What's that?
 
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Old 06-10-16, 07:32 PM
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Jazman hit the problem exactly. There is the caveat - the plumber put the liner in correctly in every way except he did not put it in over a pre-sloped floor, he put it in over a level floor. Which maybe it's not "wrong" but just about everything I've seen says liner goes over a pre-sloped floor.

This is why I take issue to putting in the cinder block bench until I got a clear opinion on the matter, is because the floor isn't pitched. And again, I've gotten conflicting info, that some sites said it was okay to install the bench on a level floor. Which...seemed...weird.

What you are looking at below is the status of the shower right now, as well as the level glass indicating no slope. I feel I have gotten too far along to rip this all out just to pre-slope the floor and put liner in again and re-do all the walls. Or maybe there's not a "problem", just a step or five I am missing before I put in the bench. If this is wrong, is there a way to fix without ripping it all back out?

https://goo.gl/photos/hEffLUWu4UzM9rbN7

https://goo.gl/photos/QFvgd72UjEneeUFa9
 
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Old 06-10-16, 07:48 PM
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Oh, and yes it is slab. pouring it back to level refers to pouring it back after the floor was hammered out to replace the drain.

And shoring up the studs was maybe mispeak. I just meant that the wall stubs were out of level so I added non-bearing studs to the bearing studs so the shower frame would be flush for the kerdi-board, and then put in crossbar framing (cribbing?) for the liner to wrap up to and over. That part is inconsequential to the floor issue.
 
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Old 06-10-16, 07:49 PM
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I hesitated from commenting earlier because Jaz was spot on. You are 3 steps past what will kill your install and backing up, way up is the correct thing to do. Sorry that you asked after the fact, but you are not going to get ideas on how to salvage a disaster. A plumber is not the correct trade to call for a tiled shower install.
 
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