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Thread: Curbless Shower

  1. #1
    DIY Member Freddie's Avatar
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    Default Curbless Shower

    I am looking at options for my ensuite bathroom in terms of a new shower. My wife would love a curbless shower. Anyone familiar with the plumbing code in Ontario (specifically Ottawa) that could help clarify what is code and what is not? Here are some items that Ive narrowed down from research online and from discussion with reps at plumbing stores.

    1. Slope of shower pan must be between to inch per foot.
    2. Flood test needs to be done to verify shower pan waterproof integrity.
    3. There must be at least 2 of water hold above the top of the drain either via a shower curb through the slope of the shower pan.
    4. The curb must be at least 2 and no more than 9 and be at least 1 above the adjacent shower floor
    5. Showerheads cannot be aimed at the shower door. (Might just be common sense)

    The only other question I have is:

    If you have a curbless shower what defines the edge of the shower and thus the edge of the sloping floor?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There may be exceptions for curbless showers...in the USA, it would be the ADA guidelines...not sure if there is an equivalent in Canada, but suspect there is.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:23 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  4. #4
    DIY Member Freddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    We build curbless showers every month here in Vancouver and not once has the 2" rule ever come up. This reference is to a IRC Building Code enforced in only a few US states. Your curbless shower grading should be based on the flow rates and types of shower fixtures you plan to run.

    5/8" is a key number I measure on many jobs in respect to water level rise above drain grill height. It seams to be that this rise is he max rise in shower water levels with flow rates in the 4-14 GPM.

    What kind of flow rates are you having in your project?

    Do any of the fixtures spray water directly on the drain location?

    JW
    Hi John,
    Thx for the feedback. Don't know the exact flowrates but at most there will be 2 showerheads on at one time( rainshower and handshower). I currently have 1/2 lines to the shower but was thinking of upgrading to 3/4" as it is located on the far side of the bathroom and supplies the whole bathroom and would allow both showerheads to run at the same time. If that might cause some problems I'd contemplate not doing that.

    If I use a center drain then both fixtures will or could hit that drain. With a linear drain at the entrance, handshower might hit the drain but most likely not.

    I responded to another message of yours on this forum with a picture of my room. It is identical to the picture you posted to the message board.
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...s-shower/page3

    My plumbing is on the same location in the shower and we are thinking of an V&A Ios tub next to it. My two options are to use a center drain like you have done but not sure I have the vertical height to do that. I could drop the flooring down by 5/8" to in between the top of the joists; that would give me 1 5/8" to top of bathroom threshold / current tiled bathroom floor. Not sure if that is enough space to get the center drain in above the floor and then add the necessary 3/8" minimum slope (3' x 3' shower) or 5/8" as you suggest.

    Option #2 was to put a linear drain just inside the door to the shower and slope the floor up from there. That would mean a curb on the left side of the shower but if option #1 does not work out then it's better than curb all around at least.

    I appreciate any advice that you may have. I may contact the local city plumbing inspector to ensure all this will work once I finalize and to ensure that there is nothing funny in Ottawa that is different that anywhere else.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You need more depth than that with any system you might use, and way more if you tried a conventional shower. A mudbed where you used a tileable membrane over a wooden subfloor needs to be close to 1" thick at the drain and rise from there. A conventional shower construction where you have a preslope, liner, then mudbed, would typically need to be over 2" at the drain and a little more wouldn't hurt. The membranes aren't designed for direct application to ply and cbu might be problematic on the floor of a shower, so that leaves either something like the Kerdi pre-formed foam pans, Wedi preformed pan, and maybe some other technique. BTW, Wedi makes some neat standalone showers - one I particularly like is the scroll.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIY Member Freddie's Avatar
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    jadnashua,

    Yeah I understand that it will be tight but on preliminary research, looks like the Kerdi linear drain will be about 1" to the top of the channel body then add on the tile and thinset. So could easily be done. Not that I want to use the Kerdi foam system.

    Do you see any problems with having a linear drain just inside the door of the shower, at the same height as the bathroom flooring, and then have the shower floor rise up from there? This is my option #2 if I cannot go curbless. This would also allow the door to swing out without any problems concerning interference with the floor.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You don't need to use the Kerdi foam pan, you can construct it out of mortar but the mortar needs to be at least 1" thick over a wooden subfloor. That would mean you'd have to raise the floor height outside of the shower at least that level. You might get by with it being slightly less, but it's risky. I don't know if Schluter would warrant you doing it with cbu. Since it would be a sloped, but flat surface...you might get away with sloping the subfloor then using cbu on top of it, then Kerdi (and likely Ditra outside of the shower). Using Ditra inside of the shower might allow you to go directly on the subflooring, but it makes it harder to seal around the drain...possible, but tougher and definately non-standard.

    You have to get your inspector to approve this non-standard thing, and you may have no warranty from Schluter. I'd suggest you contact them for thoughts.

    Wedi is pretty neat stuff, and it is designed to go directly on plywood without fasteners - sort of like a big tile. You can buy that in very thin panels. You'd need to be very careful about getting your thinset nice and even as those really thin panels may not lay flat after you walked on it with the wet thinset underneath. You might want to use something like a lawn roller to embed the stuff and keep it flat. Just brainstorming here. Your best, approved method would be to recess the joists - raising the floor makes the transition into the room awkward.

    If you had good waterpressure, with the shower sloped towards the outside, I'm not sure you'd catch all of the runoff in the drain. That's why they typically put it against a wall. If a low hump was acceptable, that should help to contain it, but that would take some skill to both construct and to tile over so it had low lippage and looked good.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    DIY Member Freddie's Avatar
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    If you had good waterpressure, with the shower sloped towards the outside, I'm not sure you'd catch all of the runoff in the drain. That's why they typically put it against a wall. If a low hump was acceptable, that should help to contain it, but that would take some skill to both construct and to tile over so it had low lippage and looked good.

    Good point, and with JW's mention of 5/8" water level over the drain....looks like maybe curbs all around unless I cut down / double up on the joists and that is a big job.

    Yeah, threshold to bathroom is about 1" above the top of the floor ( I don't want to raise that at all) which I should meet in the rest of the bathroom with 1/2" plywood, infloor heating, ditra and tile. Sound about right for 1"?

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Depends on the thickness of the tile and the heating - you may be higher than your 1" total. It's much easier to float slc over the heating mats to encase them verses trying to do it in thinset. SOme tile by themselves are 3/8-1/2" thick, then add the thinset to hold it, about 3/16+ for the Ditra and the ply...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:23 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  11. #11
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:24 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:24 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:24 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  14. #14
    DIY Member Freddie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great advice in your response and the ideas in the following pictures. This will certainly help me.


    With 1/2" lines and both fixtures installed you should be running at about 3.5 - 5.0 GPM. This would be if the restrictors are left installed with these shower heads. Wit hrestrictors removed you might be closer to 7.0-14.0 GPM with both fixtures running.

    Restrictors will be left in as we have one of the first tankless water heaters in Ottawa. Heater is limited to a max flow anyways.

    Can you control the flow rate of your separate shower fixtures. If not I might leave the 1/2" lines in place.

    I plan on doing that so that when we switch from handheld to rain shower we don't shut off the water supply even for a second. No flowrate or actually <0.5 gpm I think means that the tankless water heater shuts off.



    With no deflector water hitting the door will run in both directions to a certain degree. I've seen it run 7' on projects with direct contact from the hand held!


    I could run any waterproofing out underneath the exterior flooring as a help. I also plan to have Ditra under the external tiles along with in-floor heating so that could be a challenge to make sure water stays off of the infloor heating. Or does it really matter?

  15. #15
    DIY Member Freddie's Avatar
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    Is this bathroom being inspected by the city? Is it in a commercial property or a private home?


    This is a residential property and I'm still waiting for the inspector to get back to answer some questions and to find out exactly what needs to be inspected. I do know that a plumbing permit is needed for any plumbing changes and I will have a few but hopefully that is all they are concerned with.

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