Monday, April 20, 2015

How to place your ACO linear drain in front of your steam shower bench

One of the struggles people have when using the ACO linear shower drain is getting the drain right tight to the shower bench.  There are a number of ways to do this and all of them require a little tweaking of the rules or following some steps maybe outside a typical installation.

This shower below is a friend of mine's.  He has been picking away at this room for what seems like forever and now so close to the end he has called in the troops and I will be flying out to help him get through the last key steps.

Before I show up I need to order my materials and have them on site. And we need to order the slab for the shower bench so if we get time we can start banging out some tile.  I asked for some pictures so I could do the math and felt it would make for a good blog post.  So here goes.

This picture shows the ACO primary PVC Clamping drain installed in front of the shower bench.  I prefer to install the bolts the other orientation but that is a minor point and one that will not affect anything on this job.

I'm going to guess that the center of the drain is at the 4" mark but will email my friend to be safe.

This is the shower he is building.  A NEO angle entry that will have room enough for two.  That is if his wife does not leave him before he finishes this project!  lol kidding.

The top portion of the ACO drain hiding out of the way under the tub deck.  The tub deck was designed to double as a NASA launch pad and far exceeds any local building code on this planet.  

The last hurdle.  Fitting an ACO drain into a non standard shower size.  I'll check the measurements today and get back to this post tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How your steam shower's bench design can affect the placement of the shower drain

One of my newest clients is designing their steam shower and home with a little help from me.  I sent them a link to my shower bench design book and they picked out some bench styles they both liked.  the purpose of this one little step was to place the drain in the right spot.  The shower bench can really affect the grading options on the floor so one choice affects the other.

I received an email back to review some of the key points we discussed on our first design meeting. Instead of calling back - I'll share this back and forth here in the hopes of show casing how these design calls work.  My text will be in Black and my clients I'll make the purple colour.

"...Here is a summary of the phone call…does this seem accurate?

Regarding the benches, we like the idea of a two tiered bench on the west side.  There seems to be advantages of having a solid bench (I am not talking about the solid surfacing material, but under the seat) such as not losing steam to that area, not having to clean under the bench.  (shown above in the photo) ..."

I agree. With that.  Cleaning the under side is not a fun task at all and does add more surface area to the bench and walls.  I like the benches shown but am un sure what they are made of.

"...But the idea of a floating bench is nice because of having a place for feet to tuck back into as well as the cantilevered look is a nice clean look.   (shown below in the photo) ..."

Benches like these are fairly simple to build but making sure they are strong enough is key.  I like to design a bench like this with some pretty heavy steel and use it as a stiffening device for the floating look.  

There is a lot more planning to a floating bench but they can be pretty slick.  hard t clean the under side of the seat.  One of my favourite showers has a floating bench installed off the wall.  If you have not seen the "X rated" posts of mine - and want to analyze all your options you can take some time and research these top videos from 2013.

"....Another option would be to have a solid bench with the front being angled back…which I personally don’t really like the look of:  (shown below) ...."

"....I would say that we are leaning toward a solid bench with a solid surface top.  Thanks for the link to the pictures!

We have only 8’5” of finished height, so that would have to be taken into consideration when determining whether we can have a two tiered bench. ..."

None of these benches shown an arm rest nor do they show an angled back rest.  Today I recommend this to all my clients but locally I have yet to built this for any.  Many of the worlds finest steam shower and Hamman's share this common design theme.

This is one of my all time favourite bench designs.  I like the back support, the angled back. The grading for water run off and the arm rest up high. Another view of this style here. These images all taken from my Shower Bench Design IdeaBook.  SHOWER BENCHES - DESIGN IDEAS 150+ PICTURES

I'll sent a link to this new blog post and we can finalize the bench style.  From that we can pick some heights and use this to place the drain.  Currently the builder is getting ready to pour the concerte flooring and the radiant heating pipes.  All the design elements not needed right away but the drain placement is needed sooner than later.

The shower I'm working on will be barrier free.  And the tile size a smaller 2"x2" type tile.  I don't always recommend linear drains and in this case or this job this was just the case. Every job is different - everyone unique in it's own way.

Had the benches been floating or if there was to be only one level we would adjust the position of the drain for this.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Preparing your shower's backer board for waterproofing: Steps and Tools needed

There are many different views on how a shower wall should be prepared for tile.  Many different backboards that can be used and a endless array of waterproofing options you can pick.  This blog post will highlight some of the many different options out there and the same basic principles I use for all of them.

All of these examples are showers that will see a fully topical waterproofing system.  Most show different backer boards.  If given the choice my favourite system or backboard is Wonderboard Lite and either a sheet membrane or cementious waterproofing approach.

I have grown to prefer skim coating the entire wall assembly out prior to installing any kind of waterproofing system.  The use of 2" mesh tape is something I do not agree with and prefer cutting much wider strips like shown in a few of these pictures.

The sponge and diamond brick are the two key tools I use for these steps along with a 12" trowel and 3" taping knife.

If your shower is being built a little quicker and you are not adding a topical waterproofing system these steps are often skipped.  The quality of the boarding is most times left to the drywall crew and this scheduling approach is one you should avoid in your new home.  Let the tile man board the showers he or she will tile.  

Insist on having the seams taped with mesh (ideally in width's of 4"-6").  Then waterproof.  Most waterproofing systems tell you that the mesh step can be skipped.  I disagree.  Why rely on your waterproofing for strength in the boarding.

Please refer to my blocking posts for proper blocking steps.

I will expand on this post a little later but for today I wanted to add these images to help out with a blog post I made on Garden Web (Houzz).