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Thread: Steam shower Construction

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member dradam's Avatar
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    Default Steam shower Construction

    I am building a steam shower an have had to sort through a lot of conflicting information on the web. I know many like kerdi or nobleseal but the inside membranes seem like extra cost, more pieces or strips to leak and more work to install (two layers of thinset). I am looking for feedback on my current plan.

    I have an acrylic base and ceiling that are preformed and steam compatible so For the walls I am planning..

    2x4 stud walls

    pvc or cpe membrane over the 2x4 will go inside the lip of the acrylic ceiling and base sealed to the lip top and bottom

    1/2 inch durock over the cpe or pvc membrane

    unfortified thinset joints mid wall, but silicone joints between wall panels and between walls and ceiling /base to allow for expansion.

    unfortified thinset and grout to adhere my tile with white silicone at ceiling/base and wall junction to allow for expansion.

    Based on what I have read having the vapor/moisture barrier outside the enclosure is ok as long as the thinset and grout are not latex modified as this would trap moisture beneath the tile.


    Thank you

  2. #2
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Sounds good. Very thorough work. Congratulations.

    -david

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Having the waterproofing underneath means that you will have a huge amount of moisture IN the tile and walls. A recipe for mold. You really want a surface membrane and there are probably 3-4 that are approved for this. I don't know if you can view the specifications on-line for free, or have to buy the book, but the TCNA (Tile Council North America) sets the standards for tile use in showers, and on floors (well, basically everywhere you could reasonably put tile). These form the basis of acceptable industry standards. Many areas base the building codes on them by reference. Don't try to roll your own - go to the source. They've tested and know what works. It's a major expense building a steam shower; might as well do it so it will last and perform well.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member dradam's Avatar
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    what is your recommended inside treatment -Kerdi?

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Personally, I like Kerdi. Latticrete and Noble both make good surface waterproofing systems as well. In my view, the less you can saturate with moisture the better. This requires a surface membrane, not one embedded further inside the steam shower. Attention to detail is paramount - you don't want any of that moisture to get into the wall system. While not a big deal in a conventional shower, all of the nail or screw holes required to install CBU on top of a membrane means numerous holes. The vapor pressure drives moisture deep within the structure in a steam shower. It isn't any where near as big a problem in a conventional one. This means sealing every penetration - steam head, valves, etc. carefully and well. A steam shower is a very different animal than a conventional shower. A Sloped ceiling is also very useful since you don't want cold drips of condensation falling on you while you are lounging in the steam, either.

    If you haven't visited www.johnbridge.com, you should. You'll get the straight, well-qualified line of help there from tiling pros that have more than one steam shower under their belts. TCNA defines more than one way to correctly build a steam shower...pick one, and stick with it. Don't try to mix systems or invent your own.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member dradam's Avatar
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    thank you very much

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