How to Build a Watertight Shower Curb

There are two ways to build a watertight curb for your shower. The difference comes from the type of material that you use for your shower pan. The two materials are either a rubber membrane or a fabric membrane. Today, most people don't use a copper shower pan since they're costly and difficult. The shower threshold or curb, like a waterproof pan, prevents the water from seeping onto the rest of the floor or even under the shower and undermining the structure.

Things You'll Need

  • Straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • Boards
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Roofing paper
  • Clamping ring drain
  • Galvanized wire mesh
  • Mesh nippers
  • Sand
  • Portland cement
  • Mixing container
  • Trowel
  • Hammer
  • Roofing nails
  • Galvanized screws
  • Power drill with screwdriver bits
  • Utility knife
  • Screwdrivers
  • Rubber membrane
  • Marker
  • Pea gravel
  • Latex additive for concrete
  • Sealant
  • Wrench
  • Backerboard
  • Fabric membrane
  • Inside and outside preformed corners

Instructions

  1. Membrane

    • 1

      Remember you must waterproof the shower curb at the same time you lay the shower pan. Do the steps in waterproofing the during the time that you lay the shower pan. If you add it later, you compromise the integrity of its waterproofing. If you add the waterproofing to the curb after you laid tile, you'll need to rip up the tile and redo the area on and near the curb.

    • 2

      Lay the first layer of concrete to the shower pan and allow it to dry. Cut out the membrane to fit the area and over the threshold. Cover any seams on the threshold with additional pieces of membrane.

    • 3

      Seal all seams and corners of the membrane. Allow this to dry.

    • 4

      Wrap the threshold with wire mesh. Nail backerboard only on the outside of the threshold.

    • 5

      Lay a coat of concrete on the shower pan, cover the base with mesh wire, and then lay the final coat of concrete. Make sure that you pack the wire mesh with concrete on the two sides not covered with backerboard.

    • 6

      Allow the area to dry then test it for water tightness by plugging the drain, filling it with an inch of water and letting it set overnight. If the water level hasn't dropped and no leaks show, your threshold is waterproof.

    Fabric

    • 1

      Waterproof the threshold when you lay the shower pan. Once you lay the pan, there is a possibility of waterproofing the curbing but it isn't as favorable to do it that way.

    • 2

      Build the framework for the threshold. Use board to create the threshold for your shower. Cover it with backerboard.

    • 3

      Lay your first level of concrete for the pan. Make sure that you have an adequate slope to avoid standing water. After the concrete dries, coat it with a layer of thinset and lay the fabric membrane. Then you'll need to seal the vertical inside corners with a layer of waterproofing membrane strip. This is important on all areas including the threshold or curbing.

    • 4

      Install preformed corners on the inside and outside corners of the threshold. This seals the curb to the mortar base and the wall. Use a band of fabric membrane to seal the junction at the curb where it meets the base.

    • 5

      Apply fabric base to the threshold and cover it completely. Use additional pieces to cover any unprotected areas. Allow this to dry and then use the waterproofing test before you put on any final finish like tiling.

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