The Master Shower: Five in a Series. Rebuilding!

April 08, 2020

Ok.  Let's shake off that bad plumber crap, that was dark, so chins up, let's rebuild!

I'm slightly outta order here but ultimately, the rebuild is a rebuild.

So Mike, he kindly helped me pick up five sheets of cement board so I had to await his assistance.

See, I love him with every fiber of my being but tasks are tricky.  I have to warn him, like ease him into it, "hey babe, gonna need your help," then "hey babe, gonna need your help picking things up,"  then "hey babe, gonna need your help picking up five sheets of cement board," then "hey babe, when can we go?"

Heh, what can I say, he likes his days off lounging on the couch, not assisting me.  Now he knows my secret ploys, rats.

And right, five full sheets for a measly shower?!  Nuts but yep, true.

Magically, my magic Mike squeezed every last three by five sheet into his magic e-Golf then helped lug each sheet upstairs.  Nice!!  He's so good.  I must've had to bake him something in exchange though, surely.

eGolf Volkswagen cargo space cement board
Aw look at him go!
So!  Time to install the cement board!

caulk tub leak open wall shower
Oh first, I caulked the living sh*t out of the jet tub inside the wall.  And yes, I did around the tub itself too.
Oodles of research was done first as I do, mainly to see if there was anything significantly different I should expect about a stand-up shower but no, not really.  That and I wanted to utterly completely thoroughly ensure not an iota of water would ever leak out ever ever ever again.  Ever.

I did find, and wowza was this DIY Tile Guy site massively helpful, that you can tack plastic film behind the cement board if you're not waterproofing.  Note, you can do one or the other but not plastic behind waterproof as the board won't be able to breathe properly.

Seeing as I was low on waterproofing, I figured I'd plastic less critical areas and waterproof the always-wet parts.  Hoping, quite honestly, to avoid buying another expensive tub of that goo.

It was silly simple, really.  I picked up an inexpensive roll of 4 mil. thick drop cloth plastic.*  Yeah, doesn't need to be any fancier than a drop cloth but it does need to be no less than 4 mil.

Yep.  Just a plastic drop cloth from the ol' paint department.  4 mil though, 4 mil.
Tacked that right onto the studs using my spiffy compressor and Bostitch stapler,* done.  Yeah.  Right?!  My photos seem to have gone AWOL here, hm.  I had a photo of this.  Hm.

waterproof shower leak plastic drop cloth staple
Found it!  Ah look, there's the pocket door frame, ha!  Right, so tack the plastic onto the studs.
I mean yeah, I was nervous and skeptical and unsure about this move but, I mean, yeah, it did make sense.  I trusted his advice.

If you have a rubber-liner-under-concrete-pan set up like ours, slightly overlap the plastic into the shower side of the rubber, fyi.

Ok, moving on!  This project is taking forever at this point, I know.

Up went the cement board using some creative math and cutting to fit it all without having to buy a whole entire sheet for slivers though I did recently discover Menards' discount broken pieces section.  Luckily I had lots of leftover cement board screws* and that cement board seam tape.*

And then, "ahem, hey babe, can you help lift this one thing real quick?"  I surely had to baked good bribe Mike yet again to help hoist a full sheet up along the long wall.  He kept repeating "what's the point in all this work babe, I'm making the hall bathroom mine."   ......heh, mmm hm.


To get around the new plumbing parts, I did much the same as last time.  No biggie, heh, I'm well-versed now, haha.

Ok!  Wow!!  Wowzers!  The shower was coming back together!  Yes, I totally did several butt wiggle dances here, my frown turning upside down into a sh*t eating grin of excitement.  It was nice to be excited about this again.
Cement board!  Progress!  Wooo hooo!
Oh!, yes, right, I decided to do a little shower niche too.  I asked Mike his thoughts on installing one and he said no, it's one more invitation for leaks.  I thought about it, thought about it, thought, and concluded it would be a nice thing to have.  Sorry babe.

I know, I know, it's trendy.  But it's additional storage and that was where I was coming from:  storage.

And I'm very very glad I did it.  Turns out Mike is too actually.  Woo!

I tried to ugh math, plan it based on heh yes this is gonna hurt, about a thirty six-ish inch bottom opening height but my goal was to make sure the tiles lined up exactly with it, not cut around it.  It really irks me when tiles don't line up properly.

So the math was how many tiles plus grout lines and I think (hopefully I included) pencil tile* to outline the niche, cement board thickness for the bottom 2x4, add that up, and it should, heh, it should work out to be where you cut for the niche bottom.

I thought, I assumed, and we know what happens when you assume, the three foot edge of the bottom cement board piece was the right spot.  It was probably late in the day again; I repeatedly started late in the day on this project and it was a bad idea every single time.

shower niche diy 2x4 framing wall cutout
Super simple to do, a DIY shower niche.  I don't know why people spend so much on premade ones,* blows my mind.
All I did, I pretty much used DIY Tile Guy's guidance again here, cut the cement board between the wall framing, added 2x4's horizontally above and below.  I am very short on photos, my apologies, but the Tile Guy's link has loads.

Using the cutout cement board piece, I attached it to the inside of the hallway drywall with screws and made extra damn sure the screws didn't poke through the other side.  hahaha!

I was really scraping the barrel for cement board scraps at this point but lined the bottom 2x4 with them plus some gap filler backer rod* to make up the difference.  Aaaand then I caulked the living crap out of it all.  Seam taped and used mortar.  No leaks to be had here, nuh uh!

It's a bit Frankenstein-y but it was patched well.  All good.
Seam taped and used tile setting mortar on all the seams and theeennnn, then it was time for the floor......oh boy.

mortar patch seam cement board shower renovation
Patched with tape and tile mortar and ready for tile!  Omg yes!  Let's get this bitch done!

tile mortar seam patch prepped ready

Excitement deflating.  To be continued......

*The 4 mil plastic, Bostitch stapler, cement board screws, seam tape, pencil tiles, preformed shower niches, and backer rod foam are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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