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Curbless Shower Pan Installation

VIM Method

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Curbless Shower Pan Part 1

Curbless shower pan installations require skill and attention to detail.

Otherwise the entire shower could be a huge failure, and that would suck.

Plus you’d also be wasting a lot of time and money.

Today’s tutorial shares how to install a VIM curbless shower pan.

You can do this installation, and we’ll show you the correct methods.

Let’s dive in!

 

Curbless Shower Pan Installation…VIM Method

There are many ways to build a curbless shower pan. The project begins with determining if you have wood or concrete subfloors.

Curbless showers over concrete can be a challenge. It requires removing the old concrete, new plumbing, and building the concrete pan.

Today’s tutorial shows how to install the VIM shower pan over a wood subfloor. And the first step was to cut the shower pan to size. This bathroom needed a tub to shower conversion. So the VIM pan was cut to roughly the same size as the old tub.

But the pan could also be cut so that it extends beyond the functional shower area.

However, only the old 3/4″ plywood subfloor in the tub area was removed. Then new 3/4″ plywood was installed flush to the top of the joists.

Once the new shower area is framed, the VIM curbless shower pan can be back filled with modified thin-set mortar. Then the same mortar is troweled onto the subfloor.

It’s best to have the plumbing done before cutting the pan. This allows the VIM pan to be dry fit and positioned.

Watch our detailed video to see how to install the VIM curbless shower pan

How to Waterproof Shower Walls

The fastest way to waterproof shower walls is with foam backer boards.

Laticrete Hydro Ban Board was the best option for this project for a few reasons.

First, the VIM shower pan will be waterproofed using Laticrete’s Hydro Barrier, which will bond to Hydro Ban Board.

Second, Hydro Ban Board made waterproofing around the shower window easy.

Here’s the deal,

Hydro Ban Board needs plumb and straight studs that are 16″ on-center.

Plus, only Hydro Ban Board screws should be used, not drywall or deck screws.

In addition, Laticrete makes a Hydro Ban sealant that waterproofs the board screws, seams, and transitions.

The walls in this curbless shower were waterproofed in less than 2 hours using Hydro Ban Board.

Watch our video to see how

 

How to Waterproof the VIM Pan

VIM’s shower pan requires a liquid membrane. Fortunately the kit comes with Laticrete Hydro Barrier.

Here’s the important part,

The curbless shower pan and entire bathroom floor should be waterproofed.

If the curbless shower drain clogs then water will make it’s way out into the main bathroom area. But there’s a way to protect the floor area outside the shower.

Strata Mat was used on the bathroom floor. It’s an uncoupling membrane that prevents tiles from cracking.

All the voids on top of the Strata Mat should be filled with thin-set mortar. Then, once the mortar dries Strata Mat can be waterproofed with the Hydro Barrier.

In addition, all the changes of plane between the shower walls and bathroom floor need to be addressed with both Hydro Barrier and a fleece.

Plus, VIM requires the use of fleece over the entire curbless shower pan.

Our video shows how to make this curbless shower and bathroom floor 100% waterproof

 

How to Tile The Bathroom Floor

The next step after waterproofing a curbless shower is tiling the bathroom floor.

This process begins with a dry layout of the tile floor. In addition, all the supplies and materials should be carefully chosen to ensure a proper installation.

In this small bathroom we chose 12×24 porcelain tiles and offset their pattern by thirds. Most manufacturers recommend this pattern to reduce tile lippage, i.e. uneven tiles.

Also, any tile over 15″ on one edge is considered a large format tile. Tile leveling systems like T-Lock are very useful for these tiles. They keep tiles flat and maintain a consistent grout joint.

Watch our video to see how to tile a bathroom floor next to curbless showers

How to Tile Curbless Shower Pans

It’s best to tile curbless shower pans after setting the main bathroom floor tile. For one, this makes tiling shower pan much easier.

Furthermore, it helps get the curbless shower pan tile flush with the bathroom floor tile – which is critical.

The first step was to add VIM’s curbless shower drain and to back butter it using thin-set mortar. This was done to prevent the drain from cracking. Also, do not get thin-set mortar into the weep holes.

Square the drain with the back wall using a carpenter’s square.

Dry fit tiles over the curbless shower and leave a 1/8″ to 1/4″ expansion and contraction joint between the tile and walls.

Label all the sheets of tile and clean the surface of the curbless shower pan with a damp sponge, ensuring there’s no moisture on the curbless pan when done.

Apply thin-set mortar to the curbless pan using directional troweling and the appropriately sized trowel for the tile.

It’s important to use white thin-set mortar with porous tile like marble.

Set the tile and clean the grout joints using a paint brush.

Our video has more tips

 

How to Start Tiling the Main Wall

The first step for tiling a shower wall is to plan the layout. We did extensive planning to determine how the subway tile would look at the shower pan, window, and ceiling.

Then we started the first row of tile by having a laser level at the top of the tile. Each tile was cut to the contour of the curbless shower pan where necessary. This ensures the tiles remain level with the laser.

It’s critical to have a level first row of tile for shower walls. Thus, take time to plan the first row.

In addition, the first tile was centered on the main wall. Each successive course of tile was centered over the previous row to provide the classic subway tile pattern.

Use a 1/16″ to 1/8″ expansion and contraction joint at all changes of plane, e.g. walls. Furthermore, 1/16″ horseshoe shims were used to maintain consistent grout joints.

Watch the video to see tiling tips for this main shower wall

 

What’s Next

Mention Home Repair Tutor to the VIM Team if you buy their curbless system and get a free corner trowel.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and want to simplify the process enroll into the Bathroom Repair Tutor Video Library

We show how to build showers (Schluter, Wedi, Curbless, etc.), install tile, upgrade basement bathrooms, and more.

The extra guidance is invaluable

Enroll Today

 

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

10 Comments
  1. Karin Wallace says:

    Hello;
    I enjoy receiving your tutorials and how-to’s for doing our own shower. I have two questions/requests. We would like to install solid surface walls and floors for our shower. I have not seen tutorial for that design. Do you have one? Do you know of suppliers for DIYers for solid surface shower?
    Thank you

    1. Unfortunately we don’t Karin. I believe Kohler might have a product but we don’t have any tutorials on that. Any reason you’re shying away from tile?

  2. christopher CHUDKOSKY says:

    What is the warranty on the hydro board?

    1. Laticrete has a 25 year warranty for Hydro Ban Board

  3. Diane K Kiddoo says:

    This was a great video and the timing was amazing. About to do curbless shower and floor. You guys are amazing!

    1. Thanks Diane, we’re excited to see your project as well. It’ll look awesome.

  4. francesco says:

    Great video as usual! Thank you so much guys!

    1. Thanks Francesco, hopefully it had some good tips

  5. Mitchell says:

    What is the inside diameter of the drain pipe you were using?…So excited about this system..
    Also does the pan get thinner than 3/4″ when you cut it to size..

  6. Mitchell says:

    Where can you purchase Hydro Ban board.

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