The Master Shower: Six in a Series, Rebuilding.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Ok!!  Clap clap, we’re moving right along with the DIY shower renovation!   I really need to make a concerted effort to get this in print already, huh?!

I think part of the problem here is my photos are in disarray and scattered about which is so not like me.  I’m habitually photo-organized so this is throwing me a'loop.  TMI, surely.

Last we left off, the cement board was in, taped and patched, a shower niche cut and prepped, rarin' to go and I was excited!   Progress!  Great progress!

cement board seam tape and patched shower walls
Ah, a lil' bit of a photo repeat.  Taped, patched, ready!  Go!
My renewed excitement was tempered immediately when I realized the floor was next.

Oh.  Boo.

See, the flipper idiots screwed up the drain installation, surprise surprise.  It was plumbed then they poured the concrete around it which is fine but they didn't build up the drain to match a finished floor height.  So it was too low.  Or sloped incorrectly.  Or both.  Sigh.

This kept me up countless nights, how to resolve this dilemma.  Countless.  Tossing and turning, this drain issue was holding up forward momentum.  I mean, I stressed for-freaking-ever over it.

In the meantime though, I picked up a tub of spreadable, premixed (ha, again premixed, my goal being to make this laborious process easy on myself where I could) (yes premixed is much more expensive but less stress was worth every cent) skimcoat and patch.

skimcoat patch product for concrete shower floor
Let's patch n' smooth 'er up!
If you remember, after hours chipping out the mosaic slate floor tile, the surface was a disaster area.

Unfortunately, I started this patch project around 6:30 in the evening, thee worst time of day after working and such, troweling it on, attempting a smooth finish while weary and unfocused.

Bad form.

Next day, edges and ridges and nubbies hadn't leveled themselves out.  Edges and ridges and nubby bumps were now set.  Ahhh dammit Becky!.....

patching shower base concrete with skim coat
Hard to see from the photo but a-yup, lots of edges and ridges and nubby bumps.
I should have realized this skimcoat patch would be pretty well similar to, or the same in process more accurately, as the stuff I used at the base of the back stair.

It wasn’t going to level itself.  Duuuuuh.  Duh.  Ugh.  Duh!

Soooooooo, that meant chipping off the raised nubbies, patching those with tile mortar, and trying to patch parts and even things out much like someone would patch a wall.

patching concrete shower floor pan with skim coat
Yeahhhh, can't really see what's going on here either, sorry.  I used up all the skimcoat so I used tile mortar.
Setting me behind.  One step ahead, two behind should be my other official middle name along with Murphy’s Law.

Anywhoooo.  Right, so once that was ready to go it was time to waterproof the cement board.

Because I was extra special hyper freaky-deeky attuned to ensuring this damn shower never leaked again, this was a very critical step.  An important step regardless, one that should never ever ever ever ever, and I mean never be skipped.

If you remember, in an effort to keep costs down and not have to purchase another pricey tub of waterproofing, I had used .4 mil thick plastic in places.  Which was great.

So I slopped the waterproofing goo on the plastic-free areas.  Hahahahaaaaahhhh dear me, only to run out of goo and had to buy a brand new tub of it anyway.  Heh.

waterproofing cement board
Waterproofing time!  I did the seams and anywhere there wasn't plastic lurking behind.
I coulda just done the whole thing in goo.  Ah well.  Anybody need some leftover goo?

waterproofing cement board shower wall
Goo'ed.  Gooey.  Terrible photo.
Whether it was right or not, I did the floor too.  Hands in the air, didn’t care, did it anyway.  And despite the goo being quick-dry/quick set, much time elapsed between coats which was no biggie.  That work thing again.

waterproofing concrete shower pan floor
See, sometimes I jump ahead of myself in process like here with the metal tile edges, testing them out to think through the install ahead of time.
Ok.  Now......the drain.  Because it was time to start flooding the floor with the unglazed hex mosaic.

I bought a stainless steel square (square being simpler to cut tiles around, ha) drain that would fit within the existing drain.  Meaning, it had an extension part in a small enough diameter to fit within the existing PVC drain pipe.

Indeed, finding this part was labor-intensive but ultimately accomplished on eBay for around seven bucks.  Note, the one I purchased appears to no longer be available but there are similar ones in this eBay link.*

My stress level was through the roof.

A.) I’ve never done this before.  B.) finding a drain contraption to fit within the existing drain was a trial.  C.) I knew I’d have to build up, raise the drain area around the new drain parts to support it so that D.) the fancy drain cover would be exactly perfectly level with the new tile floor.  Holy bejebus people.

Did I mention I’ve never done this before?  So overwhelming.  Just the thought of “how the F am I gonna get everything level to each other on a sloped floor with so many factors involved” had my shoulders up in my ears on the daily.

What I did was cut then dry fit every bit of tile mosaic first.   That handy little thirty buck tile saw just keeps lumbering on, love it!

dry fitting mosaic tile on shower floor
Wow was I pleased with this dry fit!  Awesome floor, Bec, nice!
Once it was time to actually start sticking these buggers down, I panicked again, standing staring at it, walking away, come back and stare, rinse repeat until one time I just said screw it, shut the brain off and dove right in.

“Just go slow and be methodical,” I assured myself, heh.  “Breathe.” hahaha

Things were moving along and then I reached the drain.  Dun dun duuuunnnn...

What I did here (which ultimately didn’t work so you’ll have to come back later in the future to find out what happened there, later in the future) was use the tile mortar to build up around the drain part then squished it in so it’d be level and meet the tile exactly.  Once I got that, a surge of relief blew through me and I wrapped up tiling.

working out shower drain
I used a smidge of backer rod* in there too to help support and bump up the new drain a bit, yep.

It was in!
starting hex mosaic tile shower floor around stainless drain
Omg, omg!!
I did it!

finished shower floor with unglazed hex mosaic tile
I did it!
Omg!  I just tiled the freakin' shower floor!!!  Butt. Wiggle. Dance!!

concrete shower floor tiled in mosaic hex white unglazed tile
Woot!  Time to let it set before moving onto the walls.

I slept so hard that night.  So hard.

There was a problem though….(catch you next time!)

To start from the beginning click here.   To jump to the next post, seven in a series, click here.

*The eBay link is an eBay affiliate link. The backer rod is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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