Build shower curb with durock: Creating a threshold or curb for your shower

Creating a threshold or curb for your shower

This post describes the top, or overlay, of the curb for your traditionally waterproofed shower floor with a liner. The stuff you stick the tile to. It assumes (my posts often assume quite a bit – they are condescending little bastards…) that you already have the curb substrate built, your preslope in, and the liner installed. Those steps are described in the first couple of posts showing you how to build all that stuff here: How to create a shower floor for tile.

First I’ll answer a few questions I get constantly:

NO, YOU CAN NOT INSTALL HARDIBACKER TO YOUR CURB FOR YOUR TILE! (Unless you are using a topical waterproofing method for your shower floor.) There is no way to attach the hardi to your liner without puncturing it, which renders your waterproofing efforts useless. You need to have wire lath over your liner to hold it to the curb  and wet mud installed over that to form a substrate for your tile.

Yes, you can use deck mud for your curb if you want to. However, it is not nearly as stable on the sides of your curb. It is not sticky. It may fall off the sides of your curb even after it cures, and take your tile with it. And it may crumble as you work with it after it cures, because you can’t pack it tightly enough to be dense enough on your curb. But yeah, you can use it…

No, you can not bond tile directly to your liner. No, you can not bond tile directly to your lath. Neither will last. Ever.

When you create your shower floor you are using deck mud. You need wet mud for your curb due to the vertical surfaces. Wet mud is almost identical to deck mud, it just has powdered masonry (or hydrated) lime added to it. A proper wet mud mix is 1 part portland cement, 1/2 – 1 part powdered masonry lime, and 4 parts sand. It is mixed just like deck mud except it needs more water. It should be the consistency of peanut butter (the creamy, not the chunky…)

Powdered lime is nasty stuff! Do not get it on your skin, it itches and burns at the very least and some people have horrible allergic reactions to it causing nasty rashes. Do not breathe it in! Seriously, it’s nasty stuff, handle it with extreme care.

Quikrete stucco base coat

But there is an easier way! I now usually use stucco base coat in place of wet mud when doing smaller areas such as just a curb or bench. It is a very similar mix. Although I don’t know what the exact ratios of the ingredients are it works and cures exactly like my wet mud. It is pre-mixed and bagged and you can find it in the concrete section of any big box store. So I’ll show you how to do your curb using that. Should you choose to mix your own wet mud everything is exactly the same.

Once you get your liner installed and all your dam corners in you need to cut strips of wire lath  to fit over your curb. USE GLOVES! Wire lath is sharp and will slice the crap out of your hands! So wear gloves and be careful.

Measure from the liner to the top of the curb, up over the top and down to the floor on the outside of the curb. Subtract an inch from that measurement and this is how wide you want your strips to be. Once you do that cut it the length of your curb.

All the photos I have are of a double curb with a 90 degree angle. If yours is just one curb across the front of your shower it works the same way, but I get a lot of questions about these as well. You can click on any of them for a larger version.

Bent lath for curb

Bent lath for curb

After you get your lath strips cut you need to bend them into a ‘U’ shape. Measure the distance from your liner to the top of your curb and mark that on your lath. That will be your first fold. Fold it all the way over onto itself, not just a 90 degree angle. You want to overbend your lath so that when you put it over the top of your curb it will hold the liner in place.

Your second bend will be the width of your curb away from the first. If you have a 2×4 as your curb just take a scrap 2×4 and place it in the nook of the first fold and fold it around the 2×4. Same works if you’re using bricks. Once folded your lath should look like the photos on the right.

Take the lath and place it tightly over the liner on the curb. You can nail the OUTSIDE of the lath to hold it in place, the deck mud for your shower floor will anchor the inside. DO NOT nail the inside or top of your curb!

Lath wrapped over the curb

Lath wrapped over the curb and corner

The lath should fit snugly against the liner. Overbending it like you did causes it to spring against the liner rather than flapping in the wind. ‘Spring against the liner’ isn’t exactly the best description, but it’s the best I can come up with. Damnit Jim! I’m a tile guy, not a creative novelist!

If your curb is created out of brick you obviously can not nail the outside of it. The spring action (see, now it’s an action and everything…) will hold it in place.

The lath DOES have the ability to puncture your liner! So you need to be a bit careful with it. But you do not need to baby it, the liners are much more durable than you might think. In other words – don’t be afraid to touch the liner with the lath.

Once it’s in place you have an anchor for your mud so it will stay in place. Once the mud is packed onto the curb it will pack up under the wires of the lath and hold in place. With the outside corner, like this shower, I also cut an additional small piece of lath to wrap around the top of that corner, like the second picture of the lath on the curb.

Properly mixed stucco base

Once your lath is on the curb go ahead and install your top mud deck. That part can be found in Part 4 of creating a shower floor.

Now mix up some stucco base coat. The water ratios on the bag will actually give you about the correct consistency, but begin with a little less water and add a bit more as you mix just to be sure you don’t get it too thin (runny). Again – it should be about the consistency of peanut butter.

Packing mix into the lath


I just put that there because I know somebody will. You just need enough for the curb. I don’t know how much that is, I can’t see your curb. You can always mix more if you need to.

I use a magnesium mason’s finish float to form and finish my curb (and decks) but you can also use a wooden float or flat trowel if you don’t have one.

(very) rough finish on curb

Once it’s mixed just start by scooping a bunch of it onto the lath. Pack it into the lath well by running your float both ways to ensure it’s embedded beneath the wires of the lath, then start forming your curb. Ideally you want it about 1/2″ thick, but there is no real number for the thickness, so shoot for that. It’s not a big deal if you get it a little thinner or thicker than that. It’s just a guideline.

Packing and embedding mud into lath

You want to make sure that every side of your curb is straight (flat). You don’t want them to be wavy. You also want the top to slope slightly into the shower so water will drain into the shower rather than out of it. Your wood or bricks should also be sloped beneath the liner, but you want the tile on top sloped as well to rid the curb of most of the water.

Finished mud on curb

To finish the mix off and get a nice, smooth finish, dip your float or trowel in water and run it down the curb. It will smooth it all out. If you have any rough areas that just seem to get worse the more you mess with it (and you will) – leave it. After it cures you can always sand it down a bit to remove any uneven areas. Just make sure you have enough to sand down – that it’s overbuilt rather than underbuilt.

Finished curb ready for tile

It’s much easier to sand down to get what you need rather than trying to add something to the curb to get it where you need it.

Your curb does not need to be perfect! Oftentimes (typed with my pinkie in the air) the more you mess with it trying to get it perfect, the more you’re gonna screw it up. As long as it is flat (straight) and the top is level and sloped to the inside of the shower you can fix any imperfections after it cures or make up for inconsistencies with thinset as you set your tile.

Once it cures it’s ready for tile. You can bond tile directly to the curb now with thinset, it’s all ready to go.

Now, if you please, a moment of silence for the reader’s dog who burst into flames this morning because he tried to bond tile directly to the liner. You know who you are. And no laughing at him, before you read this you didn’t know how to do it either. (And he IS NOT the first one to do that!).

The dog in question is fine – we just had to snuff him out…

How to Build a Shower Curb? (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

By Emma (Sunrise Specialty Staff)

A good shower curb keeps water contained in the shower area preventing you from soaking the bathroom floor. A great and well-made shower curb does all that and is fully waterproof. This means it doesn’t take in water through leaks, allowing it to last longer

As you might expect, different people use different methods to build shower curbs. Some of these methods work fine but in this guide, I’ll be focusing on durability.

I will show you everything it takes to build a shower curb that can last decades without damage from water. Along the way, I’ll mention other methods and why I prefer to build it in a particular way. Here are the 6 steps to build a shower curb:

Step 1: Form the Shower Curb

The type of floor you’re working on determines the material you need for your curb. If you’re working on a wooden floor, I recommend stacking about two or three 2 x 4 wood on each other to create your curb.

They are commonly used and you can find them at any Home Depot near you. Simply cut the length of your shower entrance and screw them to the floor on top of each other.

It’s just as easy with a concrete floor, stack about two or three concrete bricks in your desired shape. You can attach them to the floor and together with regular thinset. Check to ensure that the height of your curb does not tamper with your shower door.

Pro tips:
  • Don’t use lumber on a concrete floor as it will eventually absorb water and swell.
  • Be mindful of the height of the curb; too high and children (even adults) might trip.
  • I don’t recommend treated wood because it contains a lot of moisture and it might shrink later on. Remember the goal is a durable shower curb.
  • Use non-corrosive screws if you can.

Step 2: Lay the Liner

You’ll need a flexible and waterproof pan liner to protect your wooden curb from any contact with water. If you have already pre-sloped your shower floor, you can proceed to lay the liner.

Spread the liner on your bathroom floor in such a way that it runs up the walls inside your bathroom evenly. It should run about seven or eight inches high and it will be eventually covered by the wall panels.

The liner should cover the curb entirely and it should extend onto the bathroom floor. Take special care not to perforate the liner to prevent future leaks.

Remove the top half of the drain flange that bolts onto the lower part and replace the bolts before laying the liner.

Pro tips:
  • Take appropriate measurements before buying your liner. Buy a little extra to be safe.
  • If your liner is too sturdy to lay, try exposing it to some heat. Sunlight alone can make it easier to work with.

Step 3: Cut out the Drain Hole

Cuts made to the shower liner are irreversible and if you make the wrong cut, you will need to buy a new liner to ensure the waterproof integrity. That said, to make cuts you’ll need steady hands and a sharp utility knife for precision.

Feel for your shower drain and poke a hole right in the center with your knife. In a spiral motion, cut out the liner till the circular hole reaches the four bolts of the bottom part of the drain flange.

Unscrew the four bolts from the drain. You will need to waterproof your drain to prevent water from seeping under your liner. To do this, simply add a ring of silicone under your liner and onto the bottom part of the flange. Don’t pour any silicone into the bolt holes.

Using your gloved hands, press the pan liner onto the silicone ring till it makes full contact. Place the top part of the drain flange onto the liner and screw it in gently.

Pro Tip:
  • Drain flanges are made of plastic so don’t screw them too tight or they might crack.

Step 4: Set the Liner

Set your liner into the corners of the shower floor and curb. Raise the edges up against the wall and hold them in place with some tape. You can also nail the liner up instead of taping it.

However, ensure that your nail is as close to the edge of the liner as possible.At the two (or more) corners opposite the curb, fold the liner onto itself; do no cut.

At the edges of the curb, cut the liner vertically where the curb meets the wall. Lay the liner flap over the curb but ensure that it covers it completely.

If it doesn’t, water might leak into your curb through the corners. To further prevent leakage where the wall meets the curb, use pan glue to hold the liner in place on the wall.

I also use special corner wraps (dam corners) to cover the inside corners perfectly especially where the vertical cut is not perfect. They are pre-formed into corner shapes so I simply glue them onto the liner.

However, you only get one try to glue them right because the glue sticks fast, so glue them carefully.

Pro Tips:
  • Use the appropriate liner glue for the liners, other glue types will not work.
  • Use a 2 x 4 to push the liner up against the curb on the inside and outside to avoid air pockets.
  • Use screws to hold the liner in place on the outside of the curb. Do not puncture the liner on the inside or on the top.

Step 5: Cover with Lath

Some people prefer to nail planks of wood around the curb on the inside, top and outside and then cover nails and spaces up with RedGuard.

Personally, I do not believe in puncturing the liner for any reason, that method works fine, but mine gives me ultimate assurance of zero leakages over a long period of time.

We will be covering the curb with metal lath so we can add a layer of cement mortar (mud) to cover it up nicely. Cut out the length of lath you need to cover the curb minus one inch.

The reason you’re cutting one inch less is so the lath is not too tight against the liner and pierce it. You can get lath Amazon or at a supply store near you.

Drape the lath over the curb and bend it into shape. If you used a 2 x 4 for your curb, a neat trick to get the perfect bend is to place a 2 x 4 inside your lath and bend it around the lath.

You can keep the lath in place by nailing it down on the outside of the curb. If you have a concrete curb, you need not nail the lath it should stay in place.

Pro Tips:
  • Cover the edges of the lath with tape to prevent it from piercing the liner.
  • Wear gloves, lath’s edges can cut you.
  • You can overlap up to three pieces of lath over each other to make it stiffer.

Step 6: Mud It Up

Next, you’ll apply mortar around the lath to provide a base onto which you can apply the finish material.

You can buy pre-made mortar form stores, add some water and you’re good to go. Alternatively, you can mix your own mortar. To create your own mortar:

  • Mix 4 parts sand, 1 part Portland cement, and 1 part masonry lime together.
  • Add some water.
  • Mix thoroughly until it is creamy instead of runny like normal concrete.
  • Leave it to rest for six to 10 minutes before remixing it.

Spread some mortar on the curb, about one inch high should do. Place a straightedge on it and press downwards to create suction.

Apply at least ¾ in. thick mortar to the outside of the curb while the straight edge is on the curb. Use the straightedge to keep your measurement constant.

Gently push the mortar in to keep it in place while you apply it. Remove any excess mud with your flat trowel.

Take care not to pull off the mortar when removing the flat trowel. After scraping the outside, move the straight edge to the other side and apply the same thickness of mortar. When the inside mudding is done, take a break and leave the mortar for about an hour to harden.

When you return from your break, grab your flat trowel and use it to fine tune your work. Gently slide the straightedge off the top of the curb.

Fine tune the top of the curb to whatever height matches your shower door, if there is one. You can also tilt the top a little towards the shower area so water can trickle back in. This will require additional dexterity but you can achieve it your flat trowel.

Make sure the outside and inside of the curb are parallel to each other, you can use the level to make sure all your angles are correct. Tile the sides first and then the top of the curb after about 30 minutes.

Pro Tips:
  • Powdered lime can burn you, handle it with care.
  • Add some water to your flat trowel and straightedge so the mud doesn’t stick to it.


Building a shower curb the right way is not as hard as you might think. If you follow this guide, you should not have any major difficulties especially if you’re using the right tools.

Leave me a comment below if I was helpful or you have any questions you want to ask me.

Durock Shower Systems by CGC Product Information

Any time you are building a shower pan you need to do a water test, this is after the pan and curb are in plug the drain, put water mark level and wait 24 hours to make sure there are no leaks.

  • What sets the USG Durock™ Shower System apart from other systems on the market?

  • The USG Durock™ Shower System is a fully-bonded waterproofing system for tiled shower installations, designed to control moisture independently of the tile covering while creating a solid base for a long-lasting shower. The components are lightweight and can be installed faster and more easily than traditional mud bed shower construction. And, because the USG Durock™ Shower System comes from a manufacturer with a reputation for delivering high-quality materials, you can trust that it will deliver performance superior to other systems on the market.

  • What is the difference between the Pro and Designer Series grates?

    Pro Series grates utilize an extremely durable, high impact-resistant, engineering-grade polycarbonate base structure wrapped in stainless steel. The key difference is that Pro Series grates are equipped with a Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) finish that is bonded to the stainless steel at the molecular level and provides trusted durability and extraordinary scratch and wear resistance.

    Designer Series grates offer a range of stylish choices to fit your unique shower design. Each grate is cut from a solid block of 3/16 in.-thick stainless steel, optimized for high strength and corrosion resistance. The reflective facets around each opening are meticulously crafted for the most discriminating high-end shower installations.

  • Are the USG Durock™ Shower System grates sold separately?

    Yes. Both the Designer and Pro and Designer Series Grates are sold separately from the kit. With seven square designs, two sizes, and more than 10 finishes, the USG Durock™ Shower System offers more than 50 grate options to match your décor. Linear drain grates are also available, visit

  • Can I upgrade my Pro Series grate to a Designer Series grate after it has been installed?

    Yes. You can upgrade to a Designer Series grate at any time. The USG Durock™ Shower System drain grate tray accepts both the Designer and Pro Series grates.

  • What makes the USG Durock™ Shower System drain unique?

    The most distinctive trait of the USG Durock™ Shower System Drain Assembly is its innovative, square design, which accepts both 4 in. and 5 in. Pro or Designer grates in a single drain body. This geometry allows more lateral adjustment than traditional round-body drains.

    The USG Durock™ Shower System Drain Assembly also features an innovative bushing design – one PVC and one ABS bushing included with drain assembly – that allows for solvent-weld and no-hub connections to 2 in. or 3 in. ABS or PVC waste lines. This, combined with the square geometry, makes it the only universal drain on the market.

    Furthermore, unlike competitive offerings, the drain’s integrated bonding flange features a nonwoven fleece on both the top and the bottom of the flange. The fleece on top provides ample surface adhesion for the waterproofing membrane, while the fleece on the underside provides the necessary bonding surface for the mortar that supports the drain assembly. The fleece is co-molded with the ABS drain body to ensure the highest possible permanent bond.

  • How does the USG Durock™ Shower System waterproofing membrane deliver twice the performance at half the thickness?

    The waterproofing membrane features an oriented high-density polyethylene (HDPE), cross-laminated core that provides strength and tear resistance at much thinner millimeter thicknesses (0.12 mil). This makes it the most pliable, user-friendly membrane in the industry with the least amount of buildup at seams.

    Since the waterproofing membrane has the lowest permeability rating of any bonded waterproofing membrane on the market when tested to ASTM E96 Procedure E (<0.075), it is ideal not only for showers and other wet areas, but for continuous-use residential and commercial steam showers. 

  • What is the material composition of the USG Durock™ Shower System shower trays, shower curb and shower benches?

    The USG Durock™ shower trays, curb and benches are made of 3-pound density expanded polystyrene (EPS), offering greater support for the tile covering in shower applications. And because the shower trays are only 1 in. thick at the perimeter, barrier-free installations are much easier to construct without unwanted or unnecessary buildup of the surrounding subfloor. All it takes is just a few simple adaptations to wood-framed construction.

  • What’s the dimension from the wall to the center of the drain for your standard shower tray sizes?

    We offer the following standard shower tray sizes:

    • On the 32 in. x 60 in. offset tray, the center of the drain is 10 in. from the wall lengthwise and 16 in. from the adjacent wall widthwise.
    • On the 32 in. x 60 in. center tray, the center of the drain is 30 in. from the wall lengthwise and 16 in. from the adjacent wall widthwise.
    • On the 48 in. x 48 in. center tray, the center of the drain is 24 in. from the wall lengthwise and 24 in. from the wall widthwise.
    • On the 72 in. x 72 in. center tray, the center of the drain is 36 in. from the wall lengthwise and 36 in. from the wall widthwise.

    The USG Durock™ Shower System Shower Trays can be cut to size using a utility knife. Ideally, the tray should be cut equally on each side to maintain a level perimeter for the first course of tile. In the event this is not possible, minor differences in the elevation of the perimeter can be built up with thin-set mortar. If the area of the shower floor is larger than the USG Durock™ Shower System shower tray, the area beyond the perimeter of the tray can be extended using dry pack mortar.

  • What if the USG Durock™ Shower System Shower Tray doesn’t fit the footprint of my shower floor?

    The USG Durock™ Shower System Shower Trays can be cut to size using a utility knife. Ideally, the tray should be cut equally on each side to maintain a level perimeter for the first course of tile. In the event this is not possible, minor differences in the elevation of the perimeter can be built up with thin-set mortar. If the area of the shower floor is larger than the USG Durock™ Shower System shower tray, the area beyond the perimeter of the tray can be extended using dry pack mortar. 

  •  Can I build a barrier free (curbless) shower with the USG Durock™ Brand Shower System?
  • Yes. The USG Durock™ Shower System Pre-sloped Shower Trays are 1 in. thick at the perimeter, making it possible to create a barrier free shower in wood-framed construction without cutting the floor joists, while at the same time avoiding unwanted or unnecessary buildup of the surrounding subfloor.

    USG Durock™ Shower System Ramps are also available. They are designed to integrate with the USG Durock™ Shower System Pre-sloped Shower Trays, and allow for easy construction of barrier-free showers. They are made of the same durable 3-lb. density EPS foam as the USG Durock™ Shower System Trays and are offered in two sizes: 12 in. x 48 in. and 12 in. x 60 in. They slope from 1 in. to 1/4 in. on the 12 in. side.

    For a representation of a barrier-free installation over a wood subfloor, navigate to our installation videos under Pro Resources.

  • Can I cut the curb down in height, width and length?

    Yes, the USG Durock™ Shower System Curbs can be cut down to fit your requirements. Note: If the curb is cut down in the width dimension to the extent that the hollow sections of the curb become exposed, then the hollow sections should be filled with mortar prior to installing the waterproofing membrane and tile.

  • How do you fasten shower door hardware to the curb?

    In cases where the hardware is designed to be fastened to a shower curb, the hardware is installed after the curb has been tiled and grouted. Subsequently, the tile is marked and drilled and the hardware is installed with stainless steel screws and plastic anchors. Sealant should be applied in the holes prior to placing the anchors.

  • Can I cut down the USG Durock™ Shower System Benches?

    Yes. Our benches are constructed of solid core 3-lb. density EPS foam, which can be cut to virtually any size or shape to accommodate unique applications or jobsite conditions.

  • Can you put glass block on top of the curb?

    Yes. The USG Durock™ Shower System Curbs can accept the weight of glass block walls. The curbs are made from durable 3-lb. density EPS foam, which has a compressive strength in excess of 60 psi.

  • What type of backerboard do I use behind the USG Durock™ Waterproofing Membrane?

    Use only code-approved wall substrate suitable for wet areas, such as traditional backerboards USG Durock® Brand Cement Board or USG Fiberock® Tile Backerboard behind the waterproofing membrane. Or if using an already waterproof backerboard, such as USG Durock™ Brand UltraLight Foam Tile Backerboard or USG Durock™ Brand Glass-Mat Tile Backerboard, the waterproofing membrane may be omitted. Refer to for backerboard installation instructions.

  • How come USG doesn’t recommend drywall or water-resistant drywall (greenboard) in wet areas behind the USG Durock™ Waterproofing Membrane?

    In 2006, the International Residential Code (IRC) eliminated the use of drywall in areas exposed to direct moisture, such as tub surroundings and shower compartments. This code change, approved unanimously by ICC committee members during the 2003-2004 code cycle, reflects the poor performance record of drywall in wet areas, particularly when used as backing for ceramic or stone tile tub and shower assemblies.

    At USG, we agree with the code change because we believe that the sheathing panels that support a ceramic or stone tile tub or shower assembly should be able to stand up to the rigorous demands of a wet environment. For example, if the water supply lines or a mixing valve were to develop a leak in the wall cavity, and consequently saturate the drywall, the tiled shower assembly could sustain permanent damage. This would not be the case if a code-approved backerboard that’s suitable for use in wet areas (e.g., USG Durock® Brand Cement Board or USG Fiberock® Tile Backerboard) was used as backing to support the tile assembly.

  • What type of mortar do I use to install the USG Durock™ Shower System?

    Use tile-setting mortar meeting one of the following standards: ANSI A118.1, A118.4, A118.11, or A118.15.

  • Shower Membrane Waterproofing — DIY’ers Definitive Guide

    If you have completed or are planning to complete a shower remodel, you’ve likely wondered about shower waterproofing. Hopefully you’re not as confused as the cartoon man in the picture, but wherever you’re at in your investigation, I think you’ll find this post useful.

    One of the MOST IMPORTANT steps in any shower remodel is waterproofing.

    In this post I, Steve of SKG Renovations, will be using my extensive knowledge and experience in bathroom and shower remodelling to give you the whole story about shower membrane waterproofing.

    I will explain the different types of shower waterproofing methods available, which ones I prefer and why.

    Ok, let’s get into it!

    Topics Covered:

    Brief History of Shower Waterproofing

    Fixing the Leaking Shower

    Types of Waterproofing Membranes

    The New Age of Shower Waterproofing Products

    This Contractor’s Opinions and Preferences

    Brief History of Shower Waterproofing

    You might be wondering, “Is shower membrane waterproofing a new thing?” and “Why did the industry decide to abandon the old-school strategies?”.

    Well those are good questions. And the answers to those questions provides a good background for this post about waterproofing products and strategies.

    Shower waterproofing is not really a new thing. In the past (15+ years ago) it was assumed that the shower surround was relatively impermeable to water, and the shower base was the only place where any waterproofing was installed.

    Older homes also were a lot more forgiving when it came to water penetration in and around the shower assembly.

    Older homes were quite drafty with significant air leakage between the inside and exterior of home. Moisture that leaked out of the shower stall could often evaporate under these conditions.

    This resulted in a far less comfortable home that was expensive to heat, but it also lessened the danger of mold growth, dry rot, and toxic air being trapped in your home.

    Although adequate air movement helped a little, ultimately the problems could never be ignored because of the mistaken assumption that the tiled walls in a shower are essentially waterproof.

    This was the flaw that ultimately caused all showers built in that era to fail regardless of the quality of the installation. Ceramic tile usually failed faster than porcelain because of higher absorption rates through the tile, but they all eventually failed.

    Old School Shower Pan Liner

    Because the shower floor is a horizontal surface always immersed in water, it is a very intuitive place to install some measures to prevent water from getting underneath and rotting your floor framing.

    In the past, these measures usually involved the installation of a rubber or copper shower pan liner (or membrane) below a traditional mortar base to protect the subfloor beneath. This was considered a water in / water out system.

    And this method is still used today by installers that subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, no need to fix it” school of thought.

    If installed correctly, this membrane did exactly what it was supposed to do;  keep water from getting into the subfloor and wall base framing.

    The only problem was that this method assumes that water penetration through and around the mortar base was acceptable as long as it eventually made its way towards the weep holes at the base of the drain. And I can tell you from personal experience that this assumption was not at all acceptable.

    Since tile, grout and mortar was never designed to be waterproof, a significant amount of moisture always made it into and around the mortar base, pooling at the liner.

    Even with the proper pre-slope below the liner, much of the water adhered to the porous mortar base so it always stayed significantly hydrated.

    When this happens, the mortar base breaks down and mold starts to grow. I have seen this in countless demolitions, even if the subfloor had the proper slope and the weep holes were not blocked.

    The result was always a rank, toxic smell from the bi-products of rubber and cement breaking down, and mold….. lots of mold. A seriously flawed design in my opinion.

    In other words, It was a bad idea before, and it’s still a bad idea today.

    Shower Wall Waterproofing

    Before the waterproofing membrane systems were developed, there wasn’t really any consistently applied waterproofing strategies for the shower walls except for the shower pan liner which usually ran up the wall only about 1′ above the shower base.

    Most building codes also required that a vapour retarder membrane (plastic sheet or building felt) be installed between the studs and the backer board on outside facing walls, to limit moisture transfer into the framing.

    This code rule is still in place today in most parts of the world but it has always had serious limitations such as inconsistent coverage and varying degrees of moisture permeability.

    The new problem is that this old system is incompatible with new shower waterproofing membrane systems and can cause major problems with condensation in your outside shower wall.

    These old shower wall waterproofing methods were seriously flawed and needed to be replaced with the new membrane systems, not supplemented by them.

    Shower Nooks and Niches – Most Problematic

    It is easy to see how shower nooks and niches could be the cause of major water infiltration issues in the showers of the past, when they still cause problems in some shower today.

    A hole in the shower wall was always a risky undertaking and almost always resulted in water running into the shower wall no matter how careful the contractor was when building these problematic shower boxes.

    There were no preformed ready to install tileable foam shower niches back then, and no shower waterproofing membranes, let alone quick to install finished shower niches. All these wall nooks, niches and soap trays had to be custom built by the framer or tiling contractor.

    They had to use the materials available at the time, so wood studs framed it, tar paper “waterproofed” it, gypsum wall board lined it, and tiles were laid over it. At the time, tile and grout were considered to be relatively impermeable to water so it was not considered to be a problem.

    This was a grossly mistaken assumption, but fairly common during that period. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for these assemblies to rot, causing the tiles to break off and water to get into the wall framing.

    Fixing the Leaking Shower

    The new shower waterproofing membrane technology has basically solved all of the problems of the past by placing the waterproofing layer directly beneath the tile layer and combining it with decoupling.

    These technologies have truly revolutionized the entire tiling industry, including the way that tiled showers are constructed and waterproofed.

    There are basically four main types of shower wall and floor membranes:

    Sheet and liquid membranes, as well as the newer foam wall boards, foam shower bases and foam shower niches (in the foam wall boards category).

    Each of these products have some similarities and some important variations that I will go over in detail.

    Sheet membranes are also different from liquid waterproofing membranes in that they can also serve as uncoupling membranes. Before we get into the details of each type of waterproofing membrane, I will try to explain what uncoupling is all about.

    Decoupling / Uncoupling Membrane Mystery

    One of the additional benefits of the sheet style waterproofing shower membranes is that they can also serve as uncoupling membranes.

    Not many people understand the term, or the purpose of uncoupling the tile assembly from the backer board and I can’t really blame them. There are some complex physics involved in these systems and frankly most tiling professionals don’t really have a clue either.

    I will attempt to explain the basics of uncoupling in the following sections.

    Crack Isolation Membranes

    The explanation of crack isolation membranes goes a long way to also explain the advantage of the uncoupling membrane in the shower:

    Most of you have probably seen tiled floors that have cracked along their grout lines, sometimes quite dramatically. This is often the result of a crack in the concrete floor beneath the tile.

    When the tile is firmly attached to a concrete subfloor, the crack that forms in the subfloor will crack the tile assembly attached to it as well, usually separating along the grout lines. This horizontal movement can also cause tile delamination around the crack.

    A crack isolation membrane is basically just a thicker and heftier version of a waterproofing membrane that can stretch horizontally sometimes as much as 1/8″.

    This type of membrane can reduce the chance of grout line cracking in the example above, by floating the tile assembly (tile, grout, mortar) on the surface of the membrane so it can stretch horizontally as the floor cracks, instead of the tile assembly being pulled apart (explained more thoroughly in the next section).

    Uncoupling Membranes in the Shower

    Because the shower floor and shower walls are exposed to lots of moisture and wide temperature changes, this is also a place where grout line cracking can occur.

    This can happen in the same way as the floor example above but to a much lesser degree. Without a uncoupling membrane, the bottom backer board layer can expand and contract at a different rate than the top tile layer, causing grout line cracking.

    This movement can occur at the margins between two adjoining backer board panels, or most often in the corners where the wall meets the floor, and where the back wall meets the side walls.

    Uncoupling can solve this problem by essentially disconnecting the top tile layer from the bottom backer board layer.

    Uncoupling is accomplished by the mortar attaching not to the membrane sheet itself, but only to the fleece fibers (tiny plastic hairs) on each side of the sheet. This creates a tiny gap at the base of the fleece on each side of the membrane sheet.

    This tiny gap allows the assembly on top side of the membrane to move a little. Not much, but it’s enough to allow the tile, grout and mortar to essentially float over the backer board while still able to carry a significant load.

    Genius, right? Like I said, I wish I would have invented it!

    Types of Waterproofing Membranes

    Sheet Waterproofing Membranes

    The sheet membrane is exemplified by the brand leader in the industry, Schluter Systems and their Kerdi waterproofing membrane (see above), but there are several other brands as well (more on brands later).

    These sheet membranes are made from a blend of plastic compounds designed to be attached on the surface of the tile backer board and shower base with either a thin layer of tile mortar, or “peel and stick”.

    The peel and stick shower membrane only requires a primer to be applied before sticking it to the backer board or shower pan. These are not too common in the US but more common internationally.

    To seal the corners of the shower surround, these membrane systems use preformed / molded membrane pieces sold separately. You mortar or stick these pieces in place similar to the membrane application.

    Your wall tile and shower floor tile is then attached to the membrane with a layer of thin-set mortar in the same way you would set any tile, using the appropriate sized notched trowel for your tile.

    Both front and back surfaces of the membrane are specifically designed to bond to most thin-set tile mortars.

    Liquid Waterproofing Membrane

    The liquid waterproofing membrane is exemplified by the most popular of these products, Redgard Waterproofing Membrane by Custom Building Products, although there are also a number of other brands out there (more on that later).

    This type of product can be considered a waterproof paint for your shower because the most common method of application is with a paint roller. You can also spray it on with a paint sprayer.

    After it dries it turns into an elastomeric (rubber like) layer which stays flexible.

    This is the cheapest and easiest way to waterproof your shower walls and shower floor and it does provide good protection in most cases if applied correctly.

    It can also be the fastest way to get the waterproofing job over with asap, if you pick the right product and the weather is not too cold or wet.

    Some of liquid membrane manufacturers claim that they can also serve as a crack isolation membrane if they are applied a little thicker.

    Foam Tile Backer Boards

    I included these foam backer board products in my shower membrane post because they are the only waterproof wall boards that are designed to serve as tile backer boards. The most popular of these is Kerdi Board by Schluter Systems.

    Just like ordinary tile backer boards, they can serve as a structural, dimensionally stable and load bearing substrate for tile as well as a waterproofing shower membrane.

    The wall boards are made from extruded polystyrene foam and have a layer of material on both sides designed for tile mortar bonding.

    This bonding layer is most often a plastic fabric with fleece webbing for bonding and decoupling however, there are a couple of products that have a cementitious material bonded to their outer surface.

    They are attached to the wall with specially designed fasteners, with washers to prevent the screw head from pulling through the material. The fasteners are later covered with adhesive or a small piece of membrane to maintain membrane integrity.

    The wall boards come in various thicknesses to allow you to use them as building panels as well as backer boards. Most manufacturers are encouraging their use for quick and easy shower bench construction as well as waterproof partition walls, tub decks, etc.

    If you’d like to read more about foam backer boards (and other tile backer boards), check out my Shower Tile Backer Board DIY Guide.

    Foam Shower Bases

    Foam shower bases (or shower pans) are sold separately or as part of a shower kit that contains several shower waterproofing components.

    These components often include a foam shower curb that is secured and waterproofed in the same way as the base. They also include other essential components like a membrane bonding shower drain and corner and seam tape to reinforce and waterproof the perimeter and seams.

    The shower bases are formed from the same foam material as the wall boards, some having a mortar bonding layer on their surface and some not (more on the this in the Foam Shower Wall Panels, Bases & Shower Niches section below).

    There are some standard size shower base and shower pan kits with either right hand, middle, or left hand drain orientations. And because they are made from foam, they can easily be trimmed to match your shower size and drain position by using a circular saw,  hand saw or even a utility knife.

    There is no need to pre-slope the subfloor or install a rubber or metal shower pan liner to the subfloor with this system. The foam shower base simply bonds to the unaltered subfloor with thin-set tiling mortar.

    Most, but not all of these shower bases require a membrane to be applied over their entire surface. This type includes a drain assembly with a membrane bonding flange that is attached to the polystyrene with thinset mortar.

    The bases that are covered with a cementitious coating do not require a membrane to be bonded to their surface and include a drain assembly that glues into place with a special adhesive.

    All of these foam shower bases also require their entire perimeter and seams to be sealed with either preformed membrane corner pieces attached with thinset mortar, or strips of fiberglass tape applied to all the corners and seams, then covered with a thick waterproof adhesive.

    The New Age of Shower Waterproofing Products

    I have gone over the various types of shower waterproofing membranes above. Now it’s time to give you a rundown of the brands within these categories.

    I’ll try to go over their distinguishing features as well as my preferred products and install techniques.

    But first, a little background about how these membranes are rated for moisture permeability.

    Striving for the Perfect Shower Seal

    I should make it clear that there is no such thing as perfect shower seal or perfect waterproofing for your shower.

    The term “waterproofing membrane” is in fact misleading; No membrane is completely waterproof. They all belong to larger classification of Vapor Retarders. Any vapor retarder will only limit the amount of moisture that can pass through it, not eliminate it.

    Vapor retarders are rated as to their moisture permeability and given a “perm rating” that represents how much water vapour will pass through the material in a given period of time at a given pressure (1 grain of water vapor per hour, per square foot, per inch of mercury).

    There are three vapor retarder classes that all waterproofing material’s fall into.

    Class I: 0.1 perm or less (these are generally considered vapor barriers).

    Class II: 0.1 – 1.0 perm

    Class III: 1.0 – 10 perms

    Most shower waterproofing membranes fall into Class II but some end up in Class III as well. The bottom line is, the lower the perm rating, the less moisture will get through the membrane.

    There are not a lot of established requirements when it comes to the definition of a waterproofing membrane for use in a shower environment. The only rules that have been established are related specifically to steam showers. If you are interested in the specifics of the testing procedure, it can be purchased from ASTM International: Procedure E of ASTM E96.

    I will explain the significance of perm ratings for different shower installations a little later when I give you my opinion and recommendations.

    Sheet Waterproofing Membrane Products

    I will be listing a few of my favorite sheet membrane products in order of their perm rating, starting from the lowest (least permeable) to the highest.

    Wedi Subliner Dry:

    This sheet membrane system was engineered for the high water vapor environment of steam shower. The difference is that this membrane has an exceptionally low .05 perm rating according to the manufacturer.

    As far as I know, Wedi Subliner Dry has the lowest perm rating of all the shower waterproofing membranes in the industry.

    It is also engineered so it can be used on both shower walls and shower bases.

    In addition to their sheet membrane, Wedi also has a range of polystyrene foam products that make up an entire wet room system. This includes shower bases, shower niches and building panels.

    Durock by USG,

    Durock sheet waterproofing membrane has a .079 perm rating so it is also very good compared with the other sheet membranes. It’s also engineered for shower walls and floors.

    Like the others, Durock also makes a line of polystyrene shower products, including shower bases, curbs, benches, ramps, tile backer board, building panels but no foam shower niches. They do however make a waterproof ABS plastic shower niche that has a fleece surface for tile mortar bonding.

    None of their polystyrene products have any coatings on their surface to facilitate the bonding of tile mortar.

    Noble Company:

    Noble has a few good sheet membrane products designed for shower waterproofing. Their ValeSeal membrane is one of their less expensive membranes with a perm rating of “less than 0.5 perms”, which makes it slightly better than the Schluter Kerdi membrane, the most popular shower waterproofing membrane out there.

    I prefer their NobleSeal TS membrane because of it’s ultra low rating of .15 perms. This makes it one of the better shower waterproofing membranes in the industry. Engineered for both shower walls and bases.

    Noble also offers a range of extruded polystyrene foam products including preformed shower benches, preformed shower niches, and shower bases.

    Schluter Kerdi:

    The Kerdi waterproofing membrane is by far the most popular sheet membrane at the moment.

    Schluter originally claimed that only unmodified mortar can be used to attach their membrane because it’s composed of lime based cement, which can easily cure under a vapour retarder like Kerdi. Modified mortars apparently can take too long to cure, compromising their bond strength.

    That said, Schluter now makes its own modified thin set mortars that apparently can be used above and below their Kerdi and Ditra membranes. It’s magic I guess.

    According to Schluter, if you follow the application instructions you should be able to tile over Kerdi immediately after it’s installed, which is common for most sheet membranes.

    The standard Kerdi membrane has a perm rating of .75 but Kerdi DS has a .19 perm rating. Kerdi DS was engineered for the harsh environments of steam showers.

    Paint On Liquid Waterproofing Membranes

    Redgard Waterproofing Membrane by Custom Building Products:

    As I have already mentioned, Redgard is the most popular and the most talked about liquid waterproofing membrane out there.

    All liquid waterproofing membranes are applied either with a brush and roller that would be used for painting, or sprayed on with a paint sprayer. Most professionals and DIY’ers use a roller and brush.

    The use of a wet film thickness gauge (supplied) is recommended with all liquid membranes as well. This ensures that it is applied to the correct thickness. If it is not, it will compromise its waterproofing qualities (and its warrantee).

    Joints or changes in plane (wall to floor) can be reinforced with fiberglass mesh tape and recoated with Redgard if you want “extra protection”, but this is not a requirement according to the application instructions.

    This type of membrane requires at least 2 applications for it to have the proper thickness for shower waterproofing. In warm dry weather it can dry very quickly but may take up to several hours between coats and again before tile can be applied over it.

    You must allow 12 hours to cure before flood testing.

    Redgard has a perm rating of . 36 when applied according to the application instructions.

    Mapei Mapelastic Aquadefense:

    This liquid membrane is also quite popular and effective if applied according to the instructions. It basically has the same application procedures and limitations as the other liquid membranes.

    The manufacturer says that a reinforcing tape in the corners and seams is optional but they also sell this type of product (Mapeband) if you want to “provide additional protection”.

    It can also be used as a crack isolation membrane up to 1/8″ according to the specs.

    Aquadefense has a perm rating of <.5 according to the manufacturer which is intentional because they engineered it to meet the requirements for steam shower waterproofing membranes (Procedure E of ASTM E96).

    Laticrete Hydro Ban:

    Hydro Ban is also one of the more popular liquid membranes out there.

    It has a significantly higher perm rating at 1.25 perms so it is not rated for steam showers.

    It can also be used as a crack isolation membrane and it does not require any reinforcing mesh be applied at the seams or corners according to the application instructions.

    Foam Shower Wall Panels, Bases & Shower Niches

    There are a fair number of companies producing and selling foam wall panels, shower bases and preformed shower niches today and more are jumping on the bandwagon every other month it seems.

    These products are getting extremely popular because they can help you build and waterproof your shower far quicker and easier than ever before.

    Here are a few of them:

    Schluter Kerdi Board

    As I already mentioned, Kerdi Board is the most popular of the foam wall boards out there. They also make the most popular foam shower base available.

    Their wall boards come in 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″ and 2″ thicknesses and have a reinforcement layer on each side to create more structurally stability. This layer also has fleece webbing attached to it’s surface to facilitate tile mortar bonding.

    Their 1/2″ board is typically the one used in place of a standard tile backer board on the shower wall.

    Without any waterproofing membrane attached, this board has a .36 perm rating. With a perm rating under .5, it can be used as a tile backer for steam showers installations according to the Tile Council of North America.

    There is also a series of Kerdi Board prefab shower niches that are designed to be tiled.

    Kerdi Shower Base:

    Schluter also sells a foam shower base (or shower tray) that dominates the prefab shower base market.

    This base is fixed to the subfloor via unmodified thinset mortar (explained in Kerdi membrane section).

    This base has always always been a bare foam shower tray with no tile bonding surface attached, but this has recently changed. They now have an integrated waterproofing membrane laminated to the top surface. As such, there is no longer any need to attach the Kerdi membrane to its top surface as there was in the past.

    The Kerdi Shower Kit also comes with a custom drain that has a built in bonding flange for the membrane to attach to.

    Durock shower trays and panels by USG:

    The Durock pre-sloped foam shower trays are part of their shower system which includes the waterproofing membrane, pre-formed corners, pipe and valve seals and foam shower curb.

    This shower base is similar to the Schluter base and many others in the sense that there is no tile bonding material attached to the top surface to facilitate mortar bonding. Their waterproofing membrane must be attached to it’s surface before tile can be placed.

    It also comes with a custom shower drain specifically designed for this system so it integrates easily with their waterproofing membrane.

    Their trays come in interlocking sections to allow for some ability to customize the size of your shower base. This is a relatively unique feature amongst the competition.

    Durock also makes foam tile backer board panels, benches, and ramps. Their shower niche product is (surprisingly) not constructed with foam but rather ABS plastic. It also has a fleece covered surface so that a standard thin set mortar can be used to bond the tile to it’s surface (unlike it’s plastic competitors).

    ProBase by Noble Company:

    ProBase is unique among it’s competitors because it has a fleece covered membrane bonded to it’s surface. This fleece allows for extremely secure mortar & tile bonding along with decoupling.

    The fleece coating means that no additional membrane attachment is required for tiles to bond to it. The custom drain assembly also bonds easily to its surface, maintaining the integrity of the membrane.

    Noble also has a selection of foam shower niches and benches.

    Wedi Shower Systems:

    Wedi has a whole range of foam shower bases, backer board panels, benches, niches and thicker building panels.

    These products are unusual because they are some of the very few products in the industry that have a cement coating on their surface to improve mortar and tile bonding.

    This means that the surface is tile ready without any additional membrane attachment required (as with Schluter, Durock shower bases).

    Hydro-Blok Shower System:

    The Hydro-Blok system is very similar to the Wedi system and includes all the same of prefab foam products.

    Another similarity is it’s cement coating. These products also install and integrate with the waterproofing membrane and shower drain assembly, just like Wedi.

    This Contractor’s Opinions and Preferences

    My simple answer for the best waterproofing method available for your shower would be to use a sheet membrane with the lowest permeability available.

    I prefer to use Wedi Subliner, Durock sheet membrane, NobleSeal TS, or Kerdi DS, because they have the lowest perm ratings.

    Follow the manufacturer’s directions and make sure all the joints and corners are sealed with the proper membrane components.

    That would be my simple recommendation if you would like the easiest and safest protection against moisture problems down the road.

    More Details….

    You didn’t think I was going to leave it at that , did you?

    Of course there are many different waterproofing techniques and materials that you may be considering so I will also be providing my perspective on a few of these that I feel are important.

    Problems With Liquid Waterproofing?

    There is generally nothing wrong with liquid waterproofing membranes for shower waterproofing, but I prefer not to use them and I would recommend that you not use them either.

    The reason for this is because they basically require perfect application. The waterproofing integrity of this membrane relies on a even thickness of material applied uniformly across the entire surface of the shower.

    In my experience, perfectly uniform application is difficult to achieve even if you’re skilled with applying this type of membrane.

    As well, most liquid membrane application instructions suggest that it is not necessary to apply reinforcing tape in the corners and seams. This questionable advice also contributes to thin areas in the membrane as the liquid tends to recede into gaps and crevices.

    There is also a tendency for pinholes to form in the surface of the membrane as it dries. This is mainly due to air bubbling from the backer board when it has not being appropriately sealed (bonded) before application.

    A good way to limit this problem is to apply a bonding agent to the surface of your cementitious backer board before applying the liquid waterproofing membrane.

    I use Weldbond for this purpose (pictured above) because it’s easy to use, non-toxic, economical, and readily available.

    You simply dilute it with water (follow the directions for using as a bonding agent), and apply one coat to the tile backer surface using a roller and brush. Make sure you cover the entire surface where you will be aplying yor liquid waterproofing.

    The Water Vapor Sandwich

    The reality is that at least one of the walls of your shower will likely be on an outside wall.

    This creates a problem with your modern shower waterproofing strategy because in addition to the membrane that you apply over the backer board, there is also usually a sheet of vapor retarder plastic behind the backer board to protect the inside of the stud wall from moisture.

    Although it is important to severely limit moisture from making it into the wall, this two layer approach allows the moisture to be trapped between these two layers and condense on the plastic layer beneath.

    This causes mold growth, deterioration of the backer board, and can lead to eventual failure of the entire wall assembly.

    In other words, a terrible idea.

    A Better Approach to Shower Wall Waterproofing

    I would recommend you first remove any vapor retarder plastic sheet or felt from the stud surface on all the outside shower walls. The low perm waterproofing membrane (Wedi, Durock, NobleSeal TS) applied on the backer board surface will be the only layer of waterproofing required for this wall.

    Because there is now only one waterproofing layer, this eliminates the vapor sandwich problem altogether.

    If this technique is used, and your outside wall is adequately insulated, any trace amounts of moisture that pass through this membrane can harmlessly dissipate within the stud cavity instead of being trapped by a plastic vapour retarder sheet.

    If you don’t trap the moisture, there’s no condensation, rot and mold. Problem solved.

    Shower Niches – The Weakest Link

    After reading about all the problems that can and do happen with outside shower walls, I think most of you would guess that it is always a risky move to install a shower niche in an outside shower wall.

    A preformed foam shower niche can be a used as a great defence against long term leak issues into the shower wall, but they will never entirely eliminate moisture from moving into the stud space (see my discussion of perm ratings).

    When a niche is mounted in an outside wall, this problem is compounded because the niche installation requires that some of the insulation be removed to make room for it.

    In an outside wall that is probably already too thin for an adequate insulation thickness, the moisture moving into the stud cavity behind the niche has an extraordinarily high risk of condensing into water. This means mold growth and other problems.

    A way to combat this would be to increase the thickness of the wall so more insulation can be installed behind the niche, but this is often not a practical option.

    The bottom line is…. I would recommend that you not install your tile ready shower niche in an outside wall.

    But if you do insist on doing so, the best solution would be to install a shower niche made from material that is impermeable to moisture, like a finished stainless steel niche. If moisture can’t get through it, there’s much less risk of condensation behind it.

    If you’d like to know more about the mistakes that are often made when installing a shower niche, check out my 5 BIG Shower Niche Install Mistakes post.

    The Revolutionary Shower Base

    Yes, I am calling the foam shower base revolutionary because of all the major problems that it solves in the modern shower. However, there are some conditions.

    If you read about the problems with the old school shower base engineering in the first section of this post, you should be able to appreciate the awesomeness of this new technology.

    The reason it is so awesome is because the shower waterproofing membrane is now directly under the tile, on the walls as well as the base.

    Prior to this technology, the shower base was an engineering nightmare. Now, no significant moisture makes it into the base material so there is no concern about rotting and molding of the mortar as well as the continuous expansion and contraction of the base assembly.

    Because no moisture makes it in or around the shower base, there’s also no need for a subfloor preslope or a redundant drainage pan underneath your shower base, as was required in the past.


    I think I have made it clear that I do indeed think these foam shower pans/ bases are great. But this is really more about the time savings it offers the installer, rather than about the material itself.

    What I’m really most excited about is the new “surface sealing” waterproofing membrane technology (undertile waterproofing) which has single handedly solved all the problems of traditional shower bases.

    If you want a bit of a challenge and would like to save a bunch of money, you can always try installing a mortar shower pan instead of a foam one. You will simply need to install a membrane over your mortar base to achieve the all important waterproofing barrier.

    When More Waterproofing is Not Better

    What you SHOULD NOT DO is assume that since one waterproofing strategy for the shower base is good, than two strategies will be even better.

    First of all, I have to say that the “undertile” waterproofing membrane technology was created to eliminate the need for a drainage pan below the shower base. Period!

    Installing a subfloor preslope and a shower pan liner and drain assembly is simply a lot of extra work with no benefit whatsoever.

    In fact, if you are using a sheet membrane over the shower base with this type of traditional drain assembly, you will be violating the most important waterproofing element of this system and causing an intentional breach.

    The two step drain that must be installed with a traditional shower pan is not compatible with a surface sheet membrane because there is no membrane bonding flange on these drains.

    That is why there will always be a breach in the membrane around the shower drain if you install this type of drain instead of the custom integrated drain assembly that is sold with your sheet membrane system.

    If you decide to go ahead with this pointless exercise against my advice, water will get between the drain and mortar slab, allowing the mortar base to saturate, trapping water under the sheet membrane.

    This may not result in any damage to your framing (assuming the shower pan functions properly), but it will have some interesting and undesirable long term effects, I can assure you.

    Bottom line is….. Decide on one system or the other. Never use both together.

    Best Foam Shower Bases

    If you read my overview of foam shower base features above, you will recall that I mentioned only two products that have a cement layer bonded to their surface. Wedi and Hydro-Blok.

    These shower bases are my favorite by far and in fact, the only ones that I will use. If they are not available, I will choose to lay a mortar base instead.

    My reasoning?

    As much as I love the time savings all of these bases offer, I am not at all comfortable with the bare foam bases, for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, bare foam will not bond to a traditional thinset mortar. What this means is that even thought these bases are fully waterproof, you cannot apply mortar and tile to their surface because they simply won’t stick.

    That is why all of the bare foam products require a membrane to cover their entire surface before it is ready for tile. What is not often recognized is that the mortar used to “attach” this membrane does not actually adhere to it.

    The mortar simply floats over the foam base and serves to stiffen the surface somewhat making it less vulnerable to deflection or point source damage.

    The cement covered shower bases on the other hand, offer a completely waterproof and ridiculously rigid bonding surface for mortar and tile bonding, with no need for an additional membrane.

    Don’t Drop the Scrub Brush!

    And speaking of point source damage….. This is my next complaint about the bare foam shower base products. You only need to look it up online to see what I am taking about.

    Even with a mortar imbedded waterproofing membrane laying over top of the bare foam base, it is still considerably vulnerable to impact damage.

    This damage can technically occur during installation or even after installation if you make the mistake of using 1″ mosaic tiles for your shower base tile (not recommended).

     See my shower remodel post for more info on this scary issue.

    Wrap Up

    As a professional in the field of shower waterproofing, I am fascinated how this business continues to evolve and expand. As such, I tried to write something that provides timely and actionable info for the average DIY installer as well as the seasoned professional.

    I really hope that you were able to get something from it. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

    I am also interested to hear about your own experiences with shower waterproofing, good and bad.

    This post is for information purposes only and should NOT be interpreted as professional advice. You should always consult a licensed local contractor before undertaking any remodelling work in your home. Click here for my full Personal / Professional Disclosure.

    How Do You Cement Board A Shower Curb

    How Do You Cement Board A Shower Curb

    How Do You Cement Board A Shower Curb. Don’t consider adding anything else. Can i build my own shower with a cement backer board?

    Can You Use Cement Board For Shower Floor Board Poster from

    It’s easy to spread, pack and form the mix into a shower pan of any design or slope. Mitered tile curb the final option. Can i build my own shower with a cement backer board?

    Can You Use Cement Board For Shower Floor Board Poster

    If you have a concrete curb, you need not nail the lath it should stay in. If your shower has a doorway, you will want the front of the curb to agree with the shower walls. Nail holes in that portion of the shower pan would cause the shower to leak. Can i build my own shower with a cement backer board?


    Using cement mortar to complete your shower curb is necessary , even when you’ve selected the cement backer board method for the shower walls. Form the shower curb if you’re working on a wooden floor, i recommend stacking about two or three 2 x 4 wood on each other to create your curb. They are commonly used and you can find them at any home depot near you. What can i use for top of shower curb? This technique can be used over a pvc liner that is wrapped over a 2×4 stud curb.


    Fasten cement board with specified nails or screws, a maximum of 8” on center at all supports. If your shower has a doorway, you will want the front of the curb to agree with the shower walls. It’s easy to spread, pack and form the mix into a shower pan of any design or slope. Tape and mud all seams and corners. Reinforced cement mortar can be more or less draped over.


    The kerdi curb won’t hold your screws. What can i use for top of shower curb? Form the shower curb if you’re working on a wooden floor, i recommend stacking about two or three 2 x 4 wood on each other to create your curb. Drape the lath over the curb and bend it into shape. If you used a 2 x 4 for your curb, a neat trick to get the perfect bend is to place a 2 x 4 inside your lath and bend it around the lath.

    Source: boardposter.

    The shower membrane should be continuous all the way over the curb (i like to run it a few inches out onto the floor). This is common building code in the u.s. You can try putting a screw on a piece of scrap and you should be able to pull the screw out by hand. How much should a shower curb overhang? Fasten cement board with specified nails or screws, a maximum of 8” on center at all supports.


    It is designed to be used at the bottom of the shower door just to hold the tiles and good enough for a person to step on it. Remember to account for the thickness of the tiles that will be installed on the curb later. Start installing your boards a quarter inch above the floor, tub, or shower board and caulk accordingly. By rona on march 12, 2019 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ cement board shower curb, 5 / 5 ( 1 votes ) concrete shower curb how to build a shower curb on an how to build shower curb part 2 6 easy steps to build a shower curb how to build a shower curb you shower curb dam or threshold. You can try putting a screw on a piece of scrap and you should be able to pull the screw out by hand.


    Form the shower curb if you’re working on a wooden floor, i recommend stacking about two or three 2 x 4 wood on each other to create your curb. Can you use granite shower curb? Start installing your boards a quarter inch above the floor, tub, or shower board and caulk accordingly. 3/16″ to 1/4″) “ pitch” or slope so water flows in toward the drain. I usually notch the bottom of the studs so that its recessed a bit in order to not have to strip out the studs.


    The kerdi curb won’t hold your screws. What can i use for top of shower curb? Reinforced cement mortar can be more or less draped over. As you might expect, there are a variety of methods and ways to build a shower curb. 2×4 wood is very commonly used, easily accessible, and simple to cut, stack and place as the base for your shower curb.


    Fasten cement board with specified nails or screws, a maximum of 8” on center at all supports. You can keep the lath in place by nailing it down on the outside of the curb. Can you use granite shower curb? Nail holes in that portion of the shower pan would cause the shower to leak. They are commonly used and you can find them at any home depot near you.


    It’s easy to spread, pack and form the mix into a shower pan of any design or slope. The shower membrane should be continuous all the way over the curb (i like to run it a few inches out onto the floor). Remember to account for the thickness of the tiles that will be installed on the curb later. You can keep the lath in place by nailing it down on the outside of the curb. This technique can be used over a pvc liner that is wrapped over a 2×4 stud curb.

    Shower Leaking: 5 signs your shower is built to fail

    You’ve hired someone to build your tile shower in your bathroom, but how do you know he or she’s doing it correctly? How do you know that you won’t have an upstairs shower leaking into your downstairs kitchen?

    Most homeowners don’t know all the ins and outs of remodeling their bathrooms. Sadly, the contractors they’ve hired don’t always know either, or worse, they simply don’t do it right!

    After all, the last thing that you want to do is pay for a brand new bathroom with a shower leaking into the wall.

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    What to look for in proper tile shower construction

    This post will arm you with a few things to look for so that you can monitor the construction and waterproofing of your shower while it’s being built.

    This post covers traditional shower construction which is still the most common method for building a shower.

    Want to know more about what a traditionally constructed shower is? Read this post:

    Shower Waterproofing Crash Course

    The wrong way to install a corner on a shower pan

    5 common mistakes that could leave you with a shower leaking from day one

    1. Cutting, rather than folding, the corners on a shower liner

    Shower pan liners should be folded in the corners. Photo courtesy of John Bridge Forums.

    Why cut the shower liner if you don’t have to? When dealing with the inside corners of a shower the corners of the liner should be folded rather than cut.

    However, an outside corner will need to be cut. Read down further to see how to address this.

    It is possible to cut the corners, patch them properly, and have it not leak. How do you know if you have a leaking shower? See number 5.

    2. Shower liner doesn’t go over curb or isn’t high enough

    Most of the problems in this regard have to deal with how the curb is waterproofed.

    The shower pan liner is supposed to go up the wall 3 inches above the framing of the curb according to Tile Council of North America (TCNA) standards. It also needs to go up and over the curb to the non-wet area (the front of the curb).

    Where it gets tricky is at the corners of the curb because you normally have to cut it to get it to fold over the framing.

    The shower pan companies make pre-formed corners for just this purpose. Make sure you, or your installer, use them. This is one of the most common causes of a leaking shower.

    If your curb looks like the top photo, that’s not good.

    3. Nails too low in shower

    What good does it do to install shower pan liner 3″ above the curb if you then nail below the curb level? If you see nails below the curb level in the shower, it’s time to look for another tile setter.

    Keep in mind, this applies to traditional shower construction. If your shower is being built with products like Schluter Kerdi, this won’t apply.

    However, if you are doing a mud pan with a liner underneath the mud, nailing below the curb level is a no-no.

    In regards to the curb, there should be no nails or penetrations of any kind on the inside or top of the curb. Nails, staples, or glue can be used to attach the liner to the front of the curb (the side that doesn’t get wet).

    4. Using cement board on the curb

    Cement board should never be used on the curb. It should be done out of metal lath and “mud” so that there are no penetrations.

    Using cement board on the top and/or inside of the curb is just a bad idea. How do they plan on attaching the cement board to the curb? With nails or screws that go through the waterproof liner?

    The proper way to do it is with metal lath and a sand/cement mix- the same thing the shower pan is supposed to be made out of.

    5. No flood test

    While this doesn’t cause shower leaking it certainly will tell you whether you have a leak or not. A flood test is when you plug the drain and fill the shower up with water to just below the top of the curb.

    Flood testing a shower pan: Why it’s done and how to do it

    With the drain plugged the water has nowhere to go unless there are holes or penetrations in the liner.

    If you have a leak anywhere, you will know before it gets tiled. Put a mark on the wall and wait 24 hours. If the water is lower than the mark then you have a shower leaking somewhere.

    Insist on a flood test. Write it into the contract if necessary.

    These tips can help homeowners and contractors to identify if their shower is being built incorrectly.

    Obviously, it’s better to know if there’s a leak at this point than to find out it leaks after it’s tiled and the shower glass is in. It’s also nice to know that it doesn’t leak before everyone gets paid.

    To learn more about proper waterproofing see my post:

    Shower Waterproofing Crash Course

    For other poor ways to build a shower see my post:

    6 Things NOT To Do When Building a Tile Shower

    Do-it-yourself shower cabin: how to make a cabin yourself But what if the post-quarantine wallet is thin or if a standard cabin does not fit into your bathroom? We tell you how to make a shower cabin with your own hands and what to look for before buying spare parts.

    • Buy a ready-made shower enclosure or make your own? Pros and cons
    • Types of homemade showers
    • How to make a shower with your own hands:

    1. Select the pallet
    — how to make a sincer cabin without a sincer room pallet
    — How to make a shower cabin with your own hands from tiles

    2. Choosing the material for partitions and doors

    3. We select plumbing and accessories

    In Russia, the most popular shower cabins are 90 x 90 cm in size, their price starts from 13,000 ₽. In such a cabin you can’t clear up, but you can wash yourself comfortably.

    And what about those who live in Khrushchev or a small family (read half of the country)? Shower cabin 90 cm does not fit there. ? It would seem that we take models of 80 or 70 cm, and the trick is in the bag. But it wasn’t there.

    It is impossible to bend over in a narrow cab. What if the soap falls? And how to rub the heels with a washcloth without clinging to the mixer and the shelf? And in order to lather like a human, you need to turn off the water, otherwise it washes off. Torment, not washing.

    Therefore, instead of a prefabricated shower enclosure, many install a prefabricated shower enclosure or build a shower enclosure on their own. But this solution is also not suitable for everyone. We recommend weighing the pros and cons first.

    Only a child can wash comfortably in a small cabin

    Buy a ready-made shower cabin or make it yourself: pros and cons

    There are cases when a home-made shower cabin will not solve the problem, but only bring new ones.

    When a DIY shower is not your option:

    1. If you are not ready to spend time and effort choosing plumbing.

    Factory shower cabin is fully equipped — assembled, connected and you can wash. But to make a shower cabin yourself, you will need to tinker with the selection of suitable spare parts.

    2. If you decide to build a shower room in a wooden house.

    Wood is a capricious material and does not tolerate high humidity. Therefore, before building a shower cabin with your own hands in a wooden private house or in a country house, you will have to lay waterproofing and carry out good ventilation. This entails additional costs.

    If the walls, floor and ceiling are not protected from moisture, then after a month mold will appear on the tree. And then the repair will cost a round sum.

    And the finished cabin of the closed model is a sealed box, which means that splashes from such a cabin do not scatter on the walls and floor. Humidity in the bathroom will be less and you will protect the wooden walls.

    An example of the design of a shower cabin in a wooden house

    3. If your family has a small child and there is no bathroom at home.

    The child quickly grows out of the baby bath, and it is too early for him to wash himself. If you have a ready-made cabin with a deep pallet installed, you will not encounter such a problem.

    It is convenient to bathe a grown child in a deep shower tray, but it will not work in a shower cabin without a tray or with a low tray.

    If you decide to make a shower cabin with your own hands, for reasons of economy, we recommend that you first carefully calculate everything. Given the preparatory work, a home-made shower cabin is more expensive than a finished one in the average price range. Only a primitive do-it-yourself shower stall, a shower tray, a shower faucet and a curtain, will come out comparable in cost.

    But a huge plus in favor of your own version of the shower is that you can make such a cabin even in a small bathroom and how you want.

    Advantages of a self-made shower cabin:

    1. Can be made to your size and any design

    For people under 2 meters tall or weighing more than 100 kg, standard shower cabins are not suitable. And for your cabin, you can buy a pallet of the right size and install a barrier or curtain at the right height.

    At the same time, realize any design: lay out the shower tray with tiles or create a mosaic, put stained glass or with a pattern — whatever you want.

    2. More practical.

    A modern stationary shower cabin resembles a spaceship: a bunch of lotions, it remains only to understand why they are needed. We asked customers how often they use the extra features of the shower cabin. So 50% use a hand shower and sometimes a tropical one. And the rest of the functions — 3-4 times a month.

    In addition, if you have a weak water pressure at home, which is often found in old apartment buildings, the hydromassage jets will flow in a thin stream — there will not be enough pressure. The sad thing is that you bought a cabin with hydromassage and already paid for this feature. ?

    3. More durable and easier to clean.

    If the tiles are of good quality, they will last for decades. In a homemade shower cabin, all parts are in sight, so there are no hard-to-reach places for cleaning. The only thing to consider when planning is protection from flying splashes. Otherwise, after each shower, you are tormented by wiping the water in the bathroom.

    Types of self-made shower cabins

    A factory-made shower cabin is a closed type cabin (with ceiling and walls). For self-installation, every tenth consumer chooses open-type corner showers. Budget option — open shower with plasterboard wall and curtain . At the same time, remember that you need to perform waterproofing.

    Another medium-priced option with a better design is the shower enclosure with glass partition and door . If you want to design a custom shower room, then here you are given complete freedom: install honeycomb glass partitions, lay out a brick or block partition and tile it, or use unusual shapes and colors. And also there are ready-made folding doors for shower enclosures (accordion).

    In order to make a shower cabin with their own hands on the street, in the garden or at their summer cottage, zealous owners use polycarbonate, but such a cabin does not look very good.

    shower enclosure with folding
    glass door

    individual design
    shower room

    summer shower cabin
    for summer cottage

    Which design to choose: shower cabin with tray or without a tray is a matter of 190 taste14012 without a tray Just be aware that the cab without a pallet requires a slope, so you may need to move the floor. If you still decide to leave the bath, there is a good solution — install a fixed or sliding curtain on the side of the bath .

    Bathtub with curtain

    How to make a shower cabin with your own hands

    Building a shower cabin yourself is much more difficult than assembling a finished one. Therefore, before starting preparatory work, be sure to check the layout, dimensions and make sure that the selected materials are suitable for the room.

    1. Choosing a shower tray

    At this stage you are faced with a choice:

    • Build a shower enclosure without a tray
    • Install the finished shower tray
    • Lay out the brick and tile tray

    How to make a shower enclosure without a tray

    A shower enclosure without a tray looks more stylish because the floor in the cabin is flush with the floor in the bathroom. But for such cabins, a special drain is needed — a shower ladder or a shower channel. To install it, you need to make a slope of the floor towards the drain hole. Before installation, it will be necessary to carry out waterproofing, make a concrete screed and then lay the tiles, also observing the slope. Otherwise, the water will stagnate.

    Fitting a drain and plumbing to a cab without a sump is no easy task. If suddenly the masters screw up at this stage, and problems are discovered only when laying tiles, then you will have to disassemble the floor and correct communications. Therefore, if you are not well versed in plumbing, it is better to hire a specialist for these works. But on the installation of the fence, you can already save money and do everything yourself.

    Shower drain

    How to install a shower tray

    It will be cheaper to use a prefabricated shower tray. On the market there are pallets of different shapes, depths and sizes. As for the material, they often buy 2 types of pallets — acrylic and enameled.

    Acrylic pallet is non-slip and lightweight, which means less stress on the floor. And also it warms up faster, which you will definitely appreciate in the off-season, when the heating has not yet been turned on. But if acrylic is not cared for, then over time the surface turns yellow. ?

    The enamel tray is heavier, but not as picky to clean. At the same time, when wet, the enamel slips, so we recommend putting a silicone or rubber mat in the enameled cabin.

    How do you know what size pallet you need? It’s simple: stand in a corner and measure the distance from the corner to the end of your outstretched arm. So you determine the size of the cabin on the walls. In a cabin of this size, you will not be cramped.

    How to measure the size of a shower tray

    But when you figure out the layout of the cabin in height, consider the height of the podium under the tray and the distance between the partitions and the ceiling. When installing a shower enclosure, it is important to leave a margin between the glass and the ceiling so that it is not stuffy in the shower and that steam does not accumulate.

    80% of consumers choose radial corner shower trays because they such a cabin takes up less space, and it is easier to fit it into the layout of the bathroom. Such pallets are also called «quarter», because they represent one fourth of the circle.

    Shower tray shape

    Shower trays also vary in height. Low pallets are convenient for older family members, they do not have to raise their legs high. And in a deep pan you can draw water. Soaking up in it, like in a bath, will not work, but bathing a child or rinsing clothes is completely.

    A siphon is installed to drain a shower cabin with a tray. When choosing a siphon, be sure to pay attention to the size of the drain hole, the size of the corrugation and the height of the pallet. High pallets are also equipped with a «drain-overflow» system, which insures that you will flood your neighbors.

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    If you want to build your own shower tray, it’s important to know the details. A homemade pallet is made of bricks and lined with ceramic tiles or a mosaic is laid out. Before buying, check if the tile is non-slip. Slipping on a wet shower floor is dangerous.

    Before laying bricks and pouring concrete, the site must be cleaned, waterproofed and sealed. A proven option is to use roofing material and bituminous mastic for these works. When pouring concrete, do not forget to make a slope for draining.

    Making a pallet out of bricks

    A pallet with a mosaic of tiles

    2. Choosing a fence and wall cladding

    Whichever pallet you install, you will need to protect the walls of the bathroom from moisture. A cheaper option is to put plastic or glass partitions and doors. Tempered glass, of course, will last longer than plastic, but it also costs more.

    Choose the door that suits you: swing (single or double), sliding or folding. To put a door or not, decide based on how spacious your bathroom is and whether the door will interfere.

    To protect the cabin from leaks, it is necessary to put seals around the perimeter of the partitions on the lower joints and seal the seams between the rear walls and the pallet. If the sealant comes off, water will begin to flow into the cracks, and then you will encounter a terrible smell and mold.

    fittings for partition walls and doors

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        Spare parts for shower enclosures, Glass seals

        Magnetic seal, for glass 4 mm, angle 180°, 2 meters (2 pcs) DC 801

        Rating 5. 00 of 5

        2 reviews magnetic silicone


      • For doors with 180° closing angle
      • Suitable for glass thickness 4 mm
      • Length — 2 m

      SKU: DC 801 4

    The back corner of the shower enclosure can also be tiled. Sometimes, in order to save money, they sheathe the back and walls of the bathroom with PVC panels. It’s cheap and looks acceptable, but we don’t recommend panels. Firstly, the plastic panels are flimsy: it is worth touching a little, and a scratch remains. And secondly, if you decide to hang a seat or a shelf, you will have to install an additional mount, since the panel will not support the weight.

    3. We select plumbing and accessories

    The faucet is the main element of the shower, let’s analyze it in detail. Mixers differ in the type of installation (wall-mounted and built-in) and in the type of connection (universal and with a connecting pipe). More often, built-in universal faucets are installed in home-made shower cabins and corners. This allows you to position the mixer handles at a convenient height and hide communications, but it complicates repairs when the mixer breaks.

    If you want to avoid unnecessary problems, we recommend choosing mixers that are resistant to corrosion and water hammer. A proven option is brass and metal mixers. Our store offers both simple economical solutions (faucets with switching only to a hand shower), and mixers with up to 5 modes with switching to hydromassage, tropical and hand showers, as well as equipped with a thermostat.

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    As for the rest of the shower enclosure, it all depends on your taste, budget and bathroom layout. Install a large rain shower or a more modest one, whether to bring a hydromassage, put a seat made of natural wood and a simpler plastic one — you can plan all this in a future cabin. Or maybe you want to put speakers to listen to music in good quality, or do you have enough shelves to put your phone there? Choose at your discretion.

    • In the chosen

    • in the chosen

    • in the chosen

    • in the chosen

    We talked about the most important problems that the family is solved when the cabin is being built. To make a shower cabin yourself from scratch is only possible for someone who is well versed in plumbing and has at least once done a major overhaul in the apartment. If you do not have such experience, we recommend hiring professional craftsmen, at least to install the pallet and make communications. It is better to do it qualitatively already at the start, when these expenses can still be included in the budget, than later to look for money in the family wallet for rework.

    After all, you started all this renovation to create a safe, comfortable and beautiful shower cabin that will be comfortable for you and your family. And our article will help to get around the pitfalls in this matter.

    In our shop you can quickly find accessories for your future shower enclosure. Our spare parts are suitable for 86% of cabins and boxes sold in Russia, so they are perfectly combined with other shower equipment.

    Warranty for goods — 1 year, before sending, we check the order for defects. We take on the warranty obligations of suppliers, without delay we issue a replacement or refund.

    Send me the dimensions of the required plumbing and we will find everything you need in the store.
    We select spare parts from the photo in just 1 minute!
    Contact us and we will select the components from stock.

    Do-it-yourself shower cabin: 105 photos with and without a pallet for houses and apartments

    Showers are often chosen instead of bathtubs in small apartments. The reason is to save space. Today, manufacturers offer ready-made boxes, but this is an outdated solution: they look bulky and often tasteless. In design projects, we can see cabins that builders make. However, such structures can be assembled by yourself, if you have the skills. In the article we tell you how to make a shower cabin with your own hands and harmoniously fit it into the bathroom interior.

    All about how to build your own shower room

    Types of shower enclosures
    Choosing finishes
    Choosing a finished shower tray
    Choosing railings
    Water supply and drain system
    Preparing for installation
    Installation steps
    – Waterproofing
    – Pallet construction
    — Facing
    — Installation of a fence

    There are two main types of showers.

    With pallet

    Install the pallet (you can make your own or buy ready-made) and a fence at the selected location.

    Instagram @yudinnovikov

    This design saves space compared to a prefabricated box and looks more attractive. The walls are made with the same material as other surfaces in the bathroom. Sometimes a different finish is chosen to emphasize this area.




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        Bathroom, lavatory

        Bathroom design with shower: design tips and ready-made layouts

      Without tray

      Looks like an enclosed corner in a bathroom. Of the advantages: it is easy to enter the shower room, there is no side, which sometimes interferes.


      How to make a shower without a tray to avoid the accumulation of water? The drain for this type is organized inside the floor, and therefore it is suitable only for a private house. Water flows into a special grate. Therefore, the floor of the entire bathroom is raised so that there is a slope to the drainage channel. It is important to make waterproofing and choose finishing materials that prevent slipping and easily adapt to temperature changes.




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      • Plumbing fixtures

        How to make a tiled shower room without a pallet: detailed instructions

      Consider what finishing materials are used most often to decorate a shower room.

      Instagram @design.vera_sheverdenok

      Tiles. Colored and plain tiles are a popular option for designing a wet area in a bathroom. An original accent will help to make a panel or mosaic.

      Plastic. Using plastic shower panels is a cheap, but not the most attractive option. Plastic is a brittle material and can crack easily. Also, if the panels are not installed correctly, gaps may appear, which will become a favorable environment for the development of mold and mildew.

      Wood. Both deciduous and coniferous species are suitable for decoration. Modules must be treated with antiseptic and antifungal compounds. If this is not done, then high humidity will significantly reduce the life of such material.

      Latex paints are also suitable for decorating wet areas. Before applying them, the walls must be carefully leveled, degreased and primed. The paint itself can be applied in several layers.



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      • Bathroom, lavatory

        How to finish the walls and floor in the bathroom, except for tiles: 12 practical options

      If making your own seems too complicated, choose a ready-made model. We talk about the features you need to know, and types.

      Instagram @alexey_volkov_ab

      Manufacturers make pallets from acrylic, artificial stone, enameled cast iron and steel. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, but acrylic can be considered the best in terms of price and quality and a popular option today.

      According to the depth, the products are divided into high (up to 45 cm), medium (up to 25 cm) and
      low (up to 15 cm). In the high one you can take water like a bath, the low ones are more convenient in terms of use (no need to step over the side)

      They also come in different shapes: angular, rectangular, square. There are oval and round, but these are non-standard options.

      The standard sizes are 80×80, 90×90, 100×100, 120×80, 120×90, 100×80 cm. You can also find models with dimensions of 60×60 and 70×70 cm. Format 9 is considered optimal0x90.


      Instagram @alexey_volkov_ab

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      Plumbing equipment

      How to choose a shower tray?

    Enclosures are needed to separate the wet area of ​​the shower from the rest of the bathroom. Doors are most often made of tempered glass.

    Instagram @alexey_volkov_ab

    According to the type of fence, it can be divided into sliding and hinged outside (rarely inside) and partitions. Sliding doors are suitable for a small bathroom: they do not take up space when opened. When choosing swing doors, you need to leave more space for opening and closing.

    Partition covers only part of the cab. You can choose glass or a glass block option. The length of the partition should be such that when taking a shower, water does not enter the «dry» zone.



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    three options In finished systems, a siphon is used. For smooth operation, it is important to calculate everything correctly: the slope of the pipes (at least two degrees per meter) and the angle of rotation (no more than 45 degrees). So there will be no blockages.


    Sewage drain — a drain management system that is used with homemade pallets. It is a funnel with a removable garbage collector. For normal operation, a water seal is required to prevent the return flow of water.


    Another option is a drainage channel that works in the same way as a drain. It passes more water, and this is its difference.


    Before you make a shower with your own hands, you need to inspect the bathroom.

    • First of all, evaluate the quality of sewerage and water supply — their integrity and throughput.
    • Faulty communications must be repaired or replaced.
    • Check bathroom walls and floors. If necessary, it is worth strengthening their waterproofing.
    • The location of the booth determines the scheme for laying communications.


    The first stage is drawing up a project indicating the area of ​​​​the premises and the place of installation of the structure.

    Before starting work, a marking is applied, according to which the elements will be installed.

    After laying the communications, the installation of the shower enclosure with your own hands takes place in the following sequence.

    1. Wall and floor waterproofing

    Properly performed waterproofing work during construction will prevent flooding of neighbors on the lower floors. Also, these measures will protect against mold and fungus.

    Waterproofing can be made with bituminous mastics, membranes, polymer bitumen, plasters and penetrating compounds. After choosing the material, it is applied to the prepared surface. Processing should begin with corners, gaps at the entry points of pipes and fasteners. In a wooden house, aquapanels are used for wall cladding. All joints are glued with a special sealing film. The main thing is to leave a small space between the panels for ventilation.


    • Bathroom, bathroom

      Do-it-yourself bathroom waterproofing: an overview of materials and methods


    Construction or installation of a shower tray

    So, how to make a shower tray with your own hands so that the structure is stable and durable? After waterproofing and working with communications, they proceed to the screed device. The concrete mortar for the manufacture of the structure must contain water-repellent additives. After its complete hardening, waterproofing is carried out again, and the pallet itself is constructed from brick and concrete according to preliminary marking and plan.


    Installation of a finished pallet includes several steps, described in this material.

    3. Cladding

    Do-it-yourself tiled shower cabin is a stylish and at the same time practical solution.

    There are a lot of advantages of this design option.

    1. Tile is a reliable material that will last a long time.
    2. Any design can be created with this finish.
    3. The coating does not require special care, it does not yellow and is undemanding to detergents.
    4. This material heats up quickly.

    Cladding starts with surface preparation. After that, with the help of glue, the finish is laid and the joints are grouted.

    You can also make your own tiled shower tray. Large modules will have to be cut.



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    • Finishing materials

      How to glue tiles: a detailed guide that will leave no questions


    Installing the guardrail

    Installing the doors is the final step in installing the cab yourself.

    What is important to know?

    1. Install the guide rollers first.
    2. To increase the tightness of the joint, special silicone seals are attached to the ends.
    3. When installing doors, it is important to correctly fix the guide rollers, otherwise they will fall out of the grooves, which threatens to break the entire structure.


    Material prepared by

    Ksenia Mitroshina

    How to make a shower cabin from tiles with your own hands


    1. Advantages of a homemade shower cabin from tiles
    2. Cabin preparation
    3. How to make a tile shower without a tray
    4. Shower enclosure with tile tray and rim
    5. Installation of partitions and doors

    Shower enclosures are almost as popular today as traditional bathtubs. But installing a shower cabin means that you will have to constantly look after it, monitor the operation of all units, and carry out preventive maintenance from time to time. Do not forget that a high-quality cabin is not a cheap pleasure, and the dimensions of most models do not allow them to be installed in small bathrooms and combined bathrooms. What about those who start each morning with an awakening shower and end each evening with a leisurely bath under relaxing jets of water? For such lovers of water procedures, there is a simple and budget solution — shower cabin made of tiles , equipped with your own hands.

    Advantages of a homemade tile shower enclosure

    This design is simple, but has enough functionality of and provides a complete bath for the owner. Homemade shower cabin:

    • is reliable due to the absence of complex technical devices and a minimum of moving parts;
    • is convenient due to the openness of all parts and their availability for cleaning;
    • is durable as tile cladding is a very durable finish option;
    • is aesthetic thanks to the huge assortment of tiles in the store, which allows you to create a decor that is unique and meets the requirements of the owners;
    • is practical because it allows you to install additional equipment if necessary.

    But you need to keep in mind that the installation of a shower cabin made of tiles involves difficult preparatory work and certain difficulties when connecting it to the sewer. However, with some skills and careful observance of the instructions, these issues are easy to solve. Knowing how to properly prepare the room , carry out waterproofing, lay tiles, you yourself will equip a comfortable cabin in your bathroom as soon as possible.

    Cabin preparation

    Before you start furnishing your cabin, decide which option will best suit your bathroom. It can be:

    • Shower enclosure, in which two walls of the bathroom will serve as shower walls. In the simplest version, a straight or radius rod is fixed on these two walls, on which a shower curtain is hung. You can arrange the rods at an angle so that the wash basin has the shape of a rectangle or square. A slightly more complicated solution is the installation of plastic or glass doors (straight or radial). The choice of door design depends on your preferences, but swing doors are considered more reliable and easier to maintain.
    • Three partition walls made of tiled walls. They can also be supplemented with either a curtain or doors.
    • One stationary partition — the wall of the bathroom, complemented by plastic or glass partitions and doors or a curtain.

    Also, you should immediately decide on the pallet. And here are the solutions:

    • shower without tray ;
    • cabin with tiled podium;
    • wash basin with rim, constructed of concrete or brick and tiled;
    • installation of the finished pallet.

    As a rule, by the time the shower cubicle is created in the bathroom, the walls are already finished with tiles or mosaics. It is advisable to determine the location of the shower stall even at the stage of cladding and use an epoxy-based composition for grouting tile joints. Since the walls will be in constant contact with water, cement or concrete grout may crack over time, and epoxy grout does not suffer even from prolonged and regular exposure to moisture.

    How to make a shower cabin from tiles without a pallet

    Cabins and shower enclosures without a pallet are not exotic. This option is used in fitness centers, public baths, swimming pools. Its main advantage lies in the extreme ease of maintenance of , , and an additional plus is the convenience for the elderly and people with disabilities — it is not difficult to enter such a cabin due to the absence of a threshold. Note that such a solution is more than is beneficial for large bathrooms , it will not look good in a small room.

    It is best to think about building a cabin without a pallet during construction, since all communications must be recessed into the floor. The sequence of work in this case is as follows:

    1. Cleaning the floor from old coatings. It is necessary to reach the base of concrete in order to create the most reliable insulation.
    2. Carry out the actual waterproofing, using roofing felt and bituminous mastic composition for fixing the seams.
    3. Install drain.
    4. Make a new concrete screed. It is important to consider here that for a more active outflow of water and to prevent the formation of puddles, a slight slope towards the drain is necessary. Too large an angle of inclination is not necessary — in this case it will be uncomfortable to stand in the cab. Masters suggest focusing on the slope indicator 5-10 mm per linear meter.
    5. After the screed has dried, lay the tiles, taking into account the slope towards the drain.
    6. Equip the washroom by adding partitions, doors, faucet, etc.

    During work, try to do everything efficiently and without haste, especially when installing sewerage and installing drain . If you find a malfunction after laying the tile or after a certain period of time after the operation of the cabin, you will have to completely disassemble the coating, in this case it is impossible to repair communications in any other way.

    Shower cabin with tile tray and rim

    You can also add a rim to a cabin without a tray — in this case you will create a reliable barrier to the spread of water in the bathroom and you will not be threatened by the formation of puddles outside the cabin. But if we are talking about a city apartment, then it will be more convenient to equip a cabin with a side and a tile tray. The fact is that in apartments the thickness of the floor finish is small. If you decide to create a cabin without a pallet, then for laying sewer equipment you will need to fill in a fairly thick layer of screed, and this is not always technically permissible and requires the purchase of an additional amount of material. A pallet raised above the floor level will allow you to easily place sewers in a small area, while the floor in the entire bathroom will remain at the usual level — you need to raise its level only in the place where the shower will be placed.

    The height of the pallet itself and the sides depends only on your imagination. But you need to remember that too high a side will be inconvenient for the elderly and children. On the other hand, a high side of sufficient thickness may well replace the seat.

    So, first clean the area from the previous finish and get to the concrete. Lay out the side of your design. The easiest way is to use brick or foam concrete blocks for this. Then carefully insulate the surface , laying the roofing material over the walls, and seal all joints with bituminous mastic. Especially carefully process the places where the side fits the walls. To give greater strength to the pallet, place a metal mesh on the surface. Lay sewer pipes, organize a drain. Carefully check the performance of all nodes to avoid their breakdowns. Pour concrete screed to desired level. It is also worth making a slight slope towards the drain here to avoid stagnant water. Dry the screed and finish the homemade pallet and side with tiles using epoxy-based grout.