The most permanent and most flexible type of shower floor installation, from a design standpoint, is a laid tile shower floor. While prefabricated plastic shower surrounds are much easier to install, they are also less durable and cannot be customized as much as a properly installed tile shower floor. Preparing to lay tile on your shower floor involves preparing a wet mortar or "mud" bed to lay the tile pattern in.
Things You'll Need
- Roofing felt
- Wire cutters
- 16-gauge wire mesh
- Thin-set mortar mixture
- Moisture barrier
- Staple gun
- Deck mud
- Mortar trowel
- 1-by-2-inch board
- Drain pan/trap
Cut the roofing felt to the size of the shower floor, using scissors and allowing 1 inch extra on the edges (which can just curl up on the walls and surround) and about an inch extra around the drain hole as well.
Cut the wire mesh to a shape about 2 inches smaller than the floor area on all sides, using wire cutters and again allowing at least an inch of clearance all around the drain hole.
Apply mortar to the floor, pressing it firmly into the mesh with the trowel as you apply. Taper the surface from 1 1/2 inch high around the edges to about 3/8 inch around the drain hole, working right up to the edge of the drain hole. Smooth with your 1-by-2-inch board (also called a screed board) to get a smooth surface and uniform slope toward the drain. Allow the mortar to dry for 24 hours.
Cut the moisture barrier with scissors to fit around the drain hole exactly and to run up and overlap the side walls 3 or 4 inches, depending on the height of the dam at the edge of the shower. Staple the moisture barrier along the walls, making sure no wrinkles are present on the shower floor.
Place and smooth a layer of deck mud onto the moisture barrier, again putting slightly more toward the edges than in the middle. You want a layer of deck mud 11/4 inch thick at the drain.
Insert the drain trap into the drain while the deck mud is still wet, and press it in until it sticks up about 3/8 inch, which should put it about level with the surface of the tile once you tile the floor.
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