Did you know that before the first tile is set in your shower that you must completely waterproof your shower? Many installers and Do It Yourselfer’s think that all of the waterproofing comes from the tile installation itself, and that the vapor barriers behind the tile are for “insurance” only. This is completely false and is what leads to dark and discolored tile around your shower wall base, mold growth, and possible extensive water damage.
If you want to have a custom shower installed, we highly recommend you waterproof your shower with Schluter’s Kerdi Waterproofing system. Schluter Kerdi is a waterproofing membrane that can go over practically any surface (for proof of that, see pictures below!!). Kerdi Shower membrane installs quickly and easily and prevents water from seeping into your walls. You can use Schluter Kerdi with another Schluter product, called Ditra, that replaces the use of concrete backer boards and can also be made waterproof. Using both Schluter Kerdi and Ditra in conjunction with one another can provide a completely waterproof room in your home.
As a small sample of what these two products are capable of I have made a sample box. The box is a cardboard box I had lying around (nothing special, but I did paint it black). For the box “floor” I used Schluter Ditra and for the walls I used the Schluter Kerdi. I wanted to use both products to highlight how the two work together. If these Schluter products can waterproof a cardboard box, imagine what they can do for your bathroom or laundry room!!
This is the empty cardboard box before any Schluter products were installed. The only item not cardboard is the thin layer of cork on the bottom because the cardboard flaps did not meet (there is a large gap in the cardboard). These are the same steps you would take to waterproof your shower.
The floor of the cardboard box is made up of two pieces of Schluter Ditra. I used two pieces instead of a single piece to show how to waterproof Ditra seems. To waterproof Ditra, simply thinset a 5″ piece of Kerdi Band or strip of Kerdi over the seem and your floor seem is waterproof.
This final picture is the cardboard box filled about 2/3 full of water. To waterproof the box I cut four pieces of Kerdi the size of the box sides, then I used 5″ wide strips of Kerdi at all the corners and where the bottom meets the sides. Finally for the corners I used four pre-made Kerdi inside corners. To apply the Kerdi, simply mix thinset apply to the entire surface Kerdi will cover, then set the Kerdi into the thinset and smooth out. Wait 24 hours for all the thinset to cure before testing with water.
If you would like to learn more about Schluter’s Products, check out their website at www.schluter.com. Don’t forget to waterproof your shower 🙂