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DanAK
09-17-2011, 07:19 PM
Iím replacing a leaking fiberglass shower with a custom tiled one in my basement. The old one is all ripped out and I am down to concrete floor with a 2Ē copper drain pipe extending up about 1 ľĒ.) I canít seem to find a suitable drain. They all seem to be too big. They seem designed to fit larger (and PVC, not copper) drain pipe, and also seem to be at least 4Ē high.

If I use some kind of adapter to change from copper to PVC Iíll be making the drain even higher.

It seems a drain sort of like used for bathtubs, that slips down inside with a sealing collar would be great. But I havenít seen anything like that suitable for a tiled shower, with weepholes.

Is there some solution short of chopping out the embedding concrete floor?

kreemoweet
09-17-2011, 09:15 PM
No, there is not, unless you want to end up with a ridiculously high shower floor. Showers require special drains, and there is a bit involved in figuring where to
place them, along with all the other details of shower construction.

johnfrwhipple
09-18-2011, 07:17 AM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

hj
09-18-2011, 08:01 AM
You need a drain with a rubber seal for the pipe, but THEN you need to order the rubber seal that fits 2" copper pipe. ALL the proper drains wil be about 2"-3" above the concrete so you can install the PROPER membrane and mortar/concrete sub base under the tile.

DanAK
09-18-2011, 12:20 PM
Thanks for the replies.

What Iím hearing is Iím going to have to break out some concrete around my drain pipe, even for drains like the Proline or ACO (which I hadnít considered but do look great). Like many projects this started as ďjustĒ a little leak and keeps growing in size and scope at each new revelation. Iíd hoped to avoid breaking out the concrete to not only avoid that extra work and potential for a new round of issues, but also the risk of damaging the embedded copper drain. But of course I want to do it right Ė I sure donít want to have to revisit it or leave a mess for someone else down the road. This is what I've got, 2" copper coming up about 1 1/4 inches 13983

All Iíve found available around here are a plastic 3 piece like this: 13981 or a metal one, slightly bigger like: 13982

I now see a few more styles online, but still nothing like I was hoping Ė sort of something like the Davke 4000 but designed with weepholes for a membrane/tile installation. And would have a minimal height so I could keep the final level of the shower floor to something reasonable. But since that doesnít seem to exist I guess I need to chop out some of the concrete to make room for an adapter and drain.

Along that line, will a masonry blade on my circular saw, masonry chisel and hand sledge get it done? Any trick on protecting the copper pipe? Or will that not matter anyway?

As far as waterproofing the pan, I was planning on using a rubber (neoprene?) membrane available at Home Depot with a 3 piece drain, since thatís pretty much all Iíve seen available around here. They have red guard too, but I was thinking thatíd be a little riskier in making it all good and water proof. The Kerdi stuff is pretty convincing in its waterproofing and quality and ease though. I think Iíd have to order it if I was going that way. I hadnít been aware of most of the other stuff mentioned, like Nobel and Wedi, etc.

Thanks for your help.

geniescience
09-18-2011, 03:12 PM
A liquid trowel on membrane like Redgard (and others) can be good for you. Read the Redgard site. You don't need to go down and open up space for weepholes when you use Redgard (and others like it.).

geniescience
09-18-2011, 03:14 PM
... ALL the proper drains wil be about 2"-3" above the concrete .... PROPER membrane and mortar/concrete sub base ... John Whipple is right in this case, and HJ is wrong in this case.

jadnashua
09-18-2011, 03:19 PM
Sometimes, you really need to tear up the concrete. It's hard to say, but the copper line (and trap?) could be corroded. The only way to find out is to tear some concrete up. You'll need to make your connection below where you currently have access in order to keep the pan height reasonable, and, in the process, you'll be able to see the condition of the piping buried there.

There are numerous ways to build a shower that work well; the method you mention with a pre-slope, liner, setting bed is a decent, traditional method. I prefer a surface membrane rather than a liner embedded below a bunch of cementitious bulk. While RedGard is capable of making your waterproof layer, I prefer some other materials. All of the tested, proven shower construction methods are described in the TCNA handbook (Tile Council of North America). If you follow any one of them, you'll have a quality, good performing, long-lasting shower.

John has some ongoing disagreements with the pros over at www.johnbridge.com (http://www.johnbridge.com). 'Shop' both sites and if you're fair, I think you'll find them quite helpful.

johnfrwhipple
09-18-2011, 04:25 PM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

DanAK
09-18-2011, 07:22 PM
How deep are you to the water level? From the existing grade?

JW
"water level" meaning ground water? That's not a problem. It's a split level house, this floor is about 4' below grade and water table is much below that. No issues with ground water.

On other thoughts, I'm pretty confident the drain itself is OK. Water is visible in the trap and when there was a shower it didn't have any troubles there. It had good drainage, no backing up. The leak was almost certainly from the original drain to fiberglass pan connection and to drain itself. It actually wasn't connected! It had an open bottom metal cup resting on the concrete (just with the weight of the shower surround)with the drain pipe coming up in the middle.The cup had a trim ring attaching it to the shower pan, but it was loose and of course no way to reach the nut underneath, which was horribly corroded anyway. I'm not sure if it was caulked at the cup to concrete/drain interface with something like oakem or just 40 years of hair and gunk. Water would have to fill the cup the 1 1/4" before spilling down the drain. I assume the cup is part of some original old drain that someone either removed the rest of somewhere along the line or possible even originally DIY installation and couldn't get to fit, as it was also off center to the drain pipe. It didn't get much use by us until fairly recently. Amazingly it didn't apparently leak much - tablespoons per shower. And due to some 'creative' framing and layout it had a ways to go before finally appearing in the next room as a wet baseboard and carpet. By the time I started ripping it open of course there was plenty of rot.

Thanks again for your replies.

johnfrwhipple
09-19-2011, 05:44 AM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

johnfrwhipple
09-19-2011, 06:02 AM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

johnfrwhipple
09-19-2011, 06:27 AM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

hj
09-19-2011, 12:27 PM
quote; John Whipple is right in this case, and HJ is wrong in this case

I am not sure WHAT you were reading, but that is EXACTLY the same thing I said. The flange is level with the concrete, the membrane fastens to it, and the drain sticks up about 3" to give the proper subbase above the membrane.

jadnashua
09-19-2011, 01:12 PM
The nominal thickness of the setting bed above the liner is around 1.5", then add the thickness of the tile and the anchoring thinset. Underneath the liner, as mentioned, about 3/4" over a slab is good, although on a slab (but not on a wooden subfloor), you can get by with less. If you use a surface membrane (like Kerdi) and their special drain, the drain would end up about that minimum of 3/4" above the slab, though, and provide the lowest floor (at least verses a traditional liner shower) as a surface membrane does not use a drain with weepholes since the membrane makes it the waterproof layer.

DanAK
09-19-2011, 01:16 PM
Thanks - your pictures and suggestions were pretty much what I'd been thinking.

I've got about 7 1/2 - 8" to the water in the trap. So it would seem I've enough room to fit in the adapter and keep the new drain low enough. Another question with this - should I refill that broken out area with something like pea gravel?

I hadn't given much consideration to drain types up till now. I just wanted one that would 'work' and not be too much trouble installing. Seems I'd have to order anything other than what I showed above. I'm not sure of their manufacturer, the local go-to plumbing supply as well as Home Depot seemed to only have those in stock. I'm open to suggestions. This shower is in an extra bath and I want it nice but nothing showroom/Fine Homebuilding type. Your work looks gorgeous. I'm planning fairly basic tho with a small seat and a nook above which I think is within my skills. I'm putting in a mid range basic shower head and controller, of course the old one wasn't anti-scald anyway and I'll redo a bit of the old inlet water lines which were rather creatively placed. I've got the time and try to not rush, ask plenty of questions and think things thru and try to keep costs down that way.

jadnashua
09-19-2011, 03:18 PM
While you can do a monument bench and waterproof that and a niche with various materials, I really do suggest you look into surface membranes. Waterproofing a seat can be tricky if you haven't done it before. Also, you might consider something like a BetterBench, either a corner or side. These are pretty bulletproof, easy to install, and make the shower feel bigger since you can face it and still have someplace for your feet to go. http://innoviscorp.com/better-bench

johnfrwhipple
09-19-2011, 09:50 PM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

johnfrwhipple
09-20-2011, 05:35 AM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

DanAK
09-20-2011, 05:57 PM
Wow, thanks for the attention and advice.

I donít have firm plans yet. This grew from tracking down a leak on the other side of the wall, which has plumbing for laundry, outside faucet as well as a bath above. I expect the downstairs was left unfinished by the original builders and done DIY at a later date. They had a fiberglass shower surround basically unattached to the house drain with some odd framing to support it as it was somewhat smaller than the space available. Before firming up the new shower plans I wanted to make sure of what is available and what Iíll need to deal with so I donít overreach or plan something undoable. At some point we did intend to redo this bath, just not this soon. So Iíd like to have something that will work with future renovation of the rest of the bath too. The toilet is kind of awkwardly situated. It looks worse in the sketch than reality but does seem to preclude a door rather than curtain without making some bigger changes.13993

The drain is off center by a couple inches which I figured would cause grief with a prebuilt pan, and it seems a tiled shower as big as possible in the space would be nicer which is what led to me to figure on making a mud/tile pan.

The more I look at idea books and remodel websites like Houzz and many others, the easier it is to start thinking a bit grandiose. Iíd like nice, but also not too spendy and not too complicated as I am intending to do as much as I can myself. I put in a jetted tub and shower last year where previous owners had taken a regular tub/shower out to make a laundry area (which I put back downstairs). That went well. The tiling wasnít too fancy, some design accents and a premade shelf and that was kind of fun. Iíve done various PVC as well as copper sweating then and for home plumbing repair over the years, and feel pretty comfortable with that. Iím sure no pro in any of this Ė not up on the latest (or even most of the old ways) but try and take the time to learn and avoid mistakes.

So my general idea for this shower is still pretty flexible and definitely open to suggestion and advice. I was planning a basic mud pan Ė like is shown on various how-to sites and books: preslope, rubber liner, final mortar with a 3 piece drain and tile. I can certainly see the advantage to using a material like Kerdi or Nobel and am considering that once I look a bit more at price and availability/shipping. Along with the mud pan I figured on using concrete board/wonder board with plastic behind for the walls. The space above the ledge from the foundation blocks just seemed a natural spot to have space for a decent sized nook. Iím aware as an outside wall itíll be colder, but the same wall in the bathroom doesnít have issues with that and itíll allow for a slightly deeper nook. I expected to build that along the lines of several how-toís, size somewhat depending on what we choose for the tile. I was wondering if fiberglassing the 2x4 and plywood box might make for better waterproofing, but Iím not sure how tile would do with that. On the same wall I was thinking of a narrowish (10Ē) bench, built in with the pan ending at itís base. I understand too what jadnashua is saying and havenít ruled out using a premade bench and/or nook insert too.

I was thinking of marble or granite tile for the bench seat and nook bottom as well as perhaps the top of the entry curb. Itíd be contrast/accent to the rest of the tiling and would have fewer seams than the 6Ē tile I was considering for the rest.

I hadnít even thought of other than the basic drains, but I do like the looks of some of these others, especially that tiled one. That seems very doable. I like the looks of that Noble flashing/divot drain. I have to look at that a bit more.

Again, wow Ė thanks for all the help.

johnfrwhipple
09-21-2011, 06:28 AM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple

jadnashua
09-21-2011, 04:21 PM
FWIW, Kerdi membrane is 1M wide (39.37"), not 36". Noble makes nice stuff, too.

DanAK
09-21-2011, 07:07 PM
I cut out a decent hole in my concrete floor. Went easier and better than I worried it could. Down about 4" to reinforcing(?) wire grid where I'll stop till I have in hand the drain and connection I'll use - no point going further than needed. Time now to firm up design and get supplies.

I have not found Nobel, Mapei, etc. around here. In fact I've only found PVC liner only at Home Depot. Central Plumbing and Heating supply, Lowes, Home Depot. I'm drawing a blank on someplace local that stocks this stuff retail. I can order hardware and even the membrane stuff online if need be.

You guys have been a big help. Thanks.

jadnashua
09-22-2011, 03:59 AM
A conventional shower would work, but I like some of the newer alternatives better. You may want to run your plans by the building inspector. The other methods are approved, but if they aren't familiar with them, they can give you grief. Best to download and print the certifications for the system you settle on and maybe the installation instructions and have them in hand when applying for the permit (assuming you are).

When I did a shower at my mother's house, I e-mailed the inspector the links to those items (this was 400-miles away so I wanted to clear the path before starting), and he had no problems. But, it was the first time he'd seen or approved one using that method. It's always best to have the inspector in tune first rather than having discord - he generally wins.

johnfrwhipple
09-22-2011, 06:32 AM
Post(s) removed by John Whipple