Monday, March 31, 2014

Progress and Problems... Hopefully Solved

As you can see, I got the cement backer board installed which serves as the base for the mortared tiles. It went up pretty easily but due to the location of the studs and cutting waste, I was one sheet short and had to run to the store to get another one. Also, to make things easier on me, I ended up putting an extra seam in the left wall so that I could put a small piece around all the shower fittings and make it easier to finagle into place. Just as I finished up, I started reviewing my notes and saved videos on the subject to make sure I did the next step right and that was when I discovered a problem.

Back when I was researching this, I had bought some waterproofing rubberized membrane stuff that you brush on and it sets up and allows application or mortar to it. I bought enough to completely cover the entire shower area along with some fiberglass cloth that is embedded in it on the joints. Then somewhere along the line I got it into my mind that I needed to install a plastic vapor barrier behind the cement board which I did and showed in the previous post. On reviewing my notes, I noticed that the pros said you could put a vapor barrier and then cement board or you could do cement barrier and apply a rubberized membrane but you didn't want to do both. The reason is that you didn't want to create a trap for moisture in the cement board that would eventually mold. There was plenty of people who said that you could do both in this case since there wasn't any moisture in the cement board starting off to trap and that the rubberized membrane would prevent any from getting in. I debated on what to do and finally compromised. Because the vapor barrier I installed was screwed through in lots of places, especially along the seams of the cement board which being seams, would definitely allow any water that gets behind the tile to filter right through to the holes in my vapor barrier, I decided to put the rubberized membrane stuff and fiberglass on the seams and screw holes and leave the rest of the cement board open to breath. Any water that should penetrate the tile, grout and cement board will run down the vapor barrier which runs down the inside of the one piece pan liner that I installed and will eventually make its way down to the drain. In theory anyway.Since the shampoo niche doesn't have a vapor barrier at all, I made sure to thoroughly waterproof it.

The blue hydro-barrier stuff that I bought is awesome stuff. It can be painted on though I used a drywall knife and it sets up into a very hard rubber surface. I saw many people who recommend putting it on basement floors before installing wood flooring to prevent it from moisture damage. The previous occupants of this house didn't do this step and used extremely cheap laminate flooring and the seams all look like cardboard that has suffered some water damage. When I rectify the problem someday in the future, I now know how to prevent that.

The other problem that I hopefully solved can be seen in this picture. I am installing a heated floor in this bathroom using electric resistance mat that gets installed between the cement board and the tile embedded in the mortar. It doesn't use much electricity and to make it even more efficient, it comes with a thermostat that only runs it for a couple hours of your choosing such as first thing in the morning. It also comes with an embedded sensor so it also only runs when it isn't up to ideal temperature. So to install the thermostat for it, I needed to get power to a junction box that I will install in the wall after I fish up the wires from the mat. Since I was planning to put the thermostat above the bank of switches and outlets next to the door, I figured I wouldn't have any problems.

When I took a peak behind those switches and outlets, I saw that all of them were run off of the load side of the GFI outlet. this didn't surprise me since it has tripped a handful of times since I moved in here especially when the light, fan, fan light and something else in the outlet were all running at once. What did surprise me was the literal rats nest of wiring crammed into the back of the box and there wasn't really any good place for me to hook up to the power without going through the load side of the GFI which I didn't want to do. So I looked it up and saw that switches for lights or exhaust fans don't need to be GFI protected. I ended up converting all the switches to non-GFI protected and jumper that with the yellow wire I fished up to power the electric heated floor. The outlet I left GFI protected per code.

Hopefully that is the last of the surprises. The cavity behind the outlets has insulation but the paperbacking is facing towards me so when I fish the electric mat wires up to this box, I should be able to do it between the paper backing and the drywall back fairly easily. My next step will be to prime the drywall, paint and then start installing tile. Once the tile is installed and the shower fixtures and toilet are installed, I can turn my attention to building the vanity which I haven't yet gotten to. The end is nearing!


Ron said...

I've never heard of or seen that rubber stuff. It sounds pretty nifty though.

I can't remember how I did the surround I tiled, but I'm pretty sure there was no moisture barrier behind it. I think my reasoning was that the tiles and grout (with silicone sealer) would prevent most of the moisture, and it would dry on the other side.

We didn't have problems with it while we were there... hopefully there aren't any problems now.

Anonymous said...

For the most part we wouldn't have half the bother. Mostly buildings here are build of block work. And even if the shower stood on a couple of joists the sitting would be in the corner with a slab held by a girder. Of course, we have the real bother if ever we want to change anything as the pipes and wires are 'in' the wall/floor. So where you could remove all that in a few hours, it is a very serious re-build here. Where you'd not see much change from €10,000.
Why the CANADIAN code. Is that a selling point.

Ed said...

Ron - When I've done tub surrounds in the past, I haven't worried about either also. I always figured it was up to high to receive maybe the occasional drop of water. Since the lower parts of this shower will be receiving lots of water sprayed on them, I wanted to make sure it didn't migrate into the wall cavities.

Vince - The electrical code I was referring too is the Iowa State Electrical Code. It really isn't a selling point per say because unless a really good inspector took all the switches out and really looked at them, it would never be known. I've never known an inspector that did that. I try to follow code mostly because there are reasons behind the rules and if we sell the house, I don't want someone shaking their head and pondering some silly thing I've done.