Floating the shower stall

Floating a bed of mortar ready for tile installation

Why choose the expense of floating instead of cheap backerboard

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Finally, after all the preparation of the shower stall - the tar paper, the chicken wire, and the hot mop tar, it's finally time for the tile installers to come and float the shower stall with mortar in preparation for the tile to be installed.

The chicken wire gives something for the mortar to grab onto and form around. Without it, the mortar would just sag, roll, and generally come apart from the wall you're trying to get it to stick to. As you can see in today's pictures, the lines are very crisp and the surfaces very flat and smooth, all ready to accept the tile.

A mortar floated shower stall is a superior moisture and rot barrier compared to the cement backerboard sheets. Backerboard sheets come in standard 4x8 foot sheets that must be fastened to the wall using the proper types of screws. These screw holes along with the seams between the sheets are an exploitation point for moisture to intrude and attack the underlying structures forming rot.

The mortar float is superior to backerboard because none of these exploits exist. There are no screw holes, and there are no seams that can allow moisture to gradually seep deep into the structure and cause rot. As you can see in today's pictures, once the shower stall is floated with mortar, everything is flat, even, ready to accept tile, and with no seams, holes or other moisture exploit points.

To some up all the different layers of water proofing that out contractor has used so far - The first layer was hot mop tar applied to the shower pan and the bench seat. Next, greenboard gypsum was used to form the walls above the critical wet spots of the shower pan and bench seat. Next came the tar paper, the chicken wire made a substrate for the mortar, and finally, the mortar itself.

With all that done, and once the mortar dries in a day or two, the contractors will be back to start installing the tile in the shower stall wall, bench seat and floor. That's when some of the more artistic fashion comes into play and you can start to see your tile patterns and designs come together. Be sure not to miss those pictures.

Also coming up is the bathroom floor tile. The contractor has talked us into using cement backerboard for the bathroom floor to save money. And since this shouldn't be too high a moisture area, it made sense - we went with it. So in our next chapter on bathroom floor tile, you can see the use of this material, and some of its flaws even when properly installed.

This chapters pictures show what the shower stall looks like when the mortar is floated forming a solid moisture barrier.

Picture 1: Mortar floated around shmpoo boxes
Picture 2: Floated mortar on step, floor, walls, etc.
Picture 3: Additional features of the floated mortar.
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