Blog Post

Today and I’m going to be waterproofing the shower, adjusting the drain, and pouring the cement pan.

In a previous video, I showed how I installed the backer-board in the shower. The board itself is resistant to water, but we have to worry about all the areas where the seal is compromised, like nail or screw holes, as well as any joints.

Here’s the product I’ll be using to waterproof the shower. It’s called Hydro Barrier. I heard about it from another YouTube channel called TileMasterGA. He has some longer videos explaining his process more in depth.

Hydro Barrier is sort of a watery paste that is really easy to work with. It dries into a nice layer of rubber. It’s applied in conjunction with a fiberglass mesh tape for best results over joints.

I started applying the Hydro Barrier up in the corner, covering all the screw and nail heads. It’s just like applying joint compound on the wall, and goes fast.

The shower nook is one of the most common places for water to leak through so I took my time to seal everything up tight.

I precut some of the pieces of the mesh tape before applying the hydro barrier. The pieces have to be applied in somewhat of an order to best seal the area. Like the backer board, any piece laying on a flat surface must go first. Then the verticals go next. This is because water travels down with gravity, and there is always a layer for it to hit and slide to the next, all the way down to the drain. There is the bottom outside, bottom inside, side insides and out, corner reinforcements, top inside and out, and top corner reinforcements.

The hydro barrier dries into a flexible layer of rubber, but there is a chance during the drying process, and over time for it to split. The fiberglass mesh tape sandwiched in acts like rebar in concrete to reinforce the hydro barrier. It’s essential for a long lasting joint that will not leak.

Once the shower nook was done, I moved on to the large seams between all the pieces of backer board. It was just as simple as cutting the mesh tape to size, applying a layer on the seam, putting down the tape, and then applying a second coat over the top. I continued this same process until all the seams were covered.

The shower curb is another common area for water leaks. I applied the barrier over all the screw heads and joints. Unfortunately, I lost the rest of the footage, but I applied several layers of mesh tape, much like in the nook.

Once dry, this is what the curb looked like right before I finished tiling the floor.

The water proofing was done. Now I started prepping for the cement pan. Using a level, I marked a sharpie line about 2 and a half inches from the bottom. I followed this line all the way around.

Next I needed to adjust the height of the drain. I wanted the slope of the pan to be a quarter inch per foot. So, the drain, at 2 feet away from the walls, should be half an inch lower. I had this little half inch block which helped. I just twisted the drain until it was right where I wanted.

Before adding the cement, I covered the weep holes with some small pebbles. This prevents the cement from clogging up the holes. The weep holes allow any water to get down into the drain.

I used Quickrete’s Sand/Topping mix. Basically, just a concrete that doesn’t have any large rocks or chunks in it.

I poured the cement in the bucket and mixed it up with some water.

I mixed up a few buckets before even starting to spread the mix out.

I was very careful to lay the cement down on top of the little pebbles without moving them around. This keeps enough gaps around the weep holes to allow any water to drain.

I kept spreading the concrete, keeping it up to the sharpie-line around the edges, and down to the drain in the middle. It takes quite a long time to get it right. The concrete should be sloping down, but very flat, meaning no mounds or bumps. It helps to have a straight edge like an old level to do this.

It’s also important to keep the thickness of the mortar and tile in mind because the finished tile needs to be either flush, or just above the height of the drain, that way the water can make it down.

Finally, about 24 hours after pouring the pan, I came back with the same trowel and scraped it smooth with the flat side. I swept up the loose sand and pushed it into the tiny spaces around the perimeter of the pan. And with that, we’re ready for tile.

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