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RE: Show me your walk-in showers (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: norcalnancy on 11.16.2010 at 01:36 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I just finished my master bath with a large walk in travertine shower. I absolutely love it. The tile contractor was phenomenal and did an amazing job. We also put in under floor heat so the shower/bathroom is always warm even without walls and it's a breeze to clean.

Walk in shower

Glass divider

Shower floor


clipped on: 03.05.2011 at 12:21 am    last updated on: 03.05.2011 at 12:22 am

RE: What's my best grout choice for tight grout lines in a shower (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: davidro1 on 12.18.2010 at 08:12 am in Bathrooms Forum

Your comment on epoxy grout is one more piece of evidence showing that homeowners can have success with it.

Professionals often shy away from epoxy grouts. I think professionals have so much experience with portland cement grouts that they cannot unlearn their habits. They think nothing of the work involved with portland cement grouts. But, they have found epoxy grout hard to do successfully.

Your comment on epoxy grout is one more piece of evidence showing that a person can successfully install epoxy grout, and quite easily too.


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:47 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:47 pm

RE: What's my best grout choice for tight grout lines in a shower (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: staceyneil on 12.16.2010 at 06:25 am in Bathrooms Forum

Thank you... I've already grouted using Tec Accuculor XT, which is a highly modified portland cement grout thats supposed to be very very mildew/stain resistant. but I have to say, it was a lot more of a pain to work with than the Spectralock epoxy grout I used on the floor. Wish I had done that! But, the gout IS white, and I know that the white epoxy would go yellow, so hopefully it's all for the best :)


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:47 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:47 pm

RE: What's my best grout choice for tight grout lines in a shower (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: cat_mom on 12.11.2010 at 12:11 pm in Bathrooms Forum

How about TEC XT? Comes in both Sanded and Unsanded versions (for most colors), and is supposed to be more stain resistant and mold and mildew resistant than other cement-based grouts. It does require a longer cure time 7-10 days before getting wet or sealing (doesn't need to be sealed, but can be, with a solvent-based sealer, which we did when we sealed the marble and trav tile in both bathrooms). I sealed it in the MB at 7 days because I needed that bathroom functional "now" LOL.

It also requires a drier clean-up (just wring sponge out well when wiping off excess grout, according to the rep with whom I spoke during my grout "research"--there's a video you can watch, too). It's a little stickier than the reg TEC grout, so you might need a bit more elbow grease to remove grout haze, but that's about it.

We used the Bright White for the field tile in both upstairs baths (used the reg TEC in Bright White for our kitchen and guest bathroom since the XT either wasn't around then or we just didn't know about it at the time). We used both the Sanded and the Unsanded. The Unsanded is a bit whiter than the Sanded (because the sanded has actual grains of sand, which I'm sure you know), but both seem white enough. We used a very glossy, very white, Porcelanosa large format tile in the MB. Our grout lines are very tight, except for the White Thassos mosaic/border (which came pre-mounted on mesh), and the Unsanded worked very well. We also used it (in Almond) with the split faced trav mosaic in the hall bath which had practically non-existent grout lines in spots.

Of course, when I say "we" used any of these products, I mean our wonderful tile guys used them for us!


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:45 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:45 pm

What's my best grout choice for tight grout lines in a shower???

posted by: staceyneil on 12.11.2010 at 09:02 am in Bathrooms Forum

I'm getting ready (finally!) to grout my bathroom walls. Last night I grouted the floor with Spectralock epoxy grout and it went well.

I need to choose a grout for the shower and bathroom walls. This is a bathroom that will be hard-used and cleaned by a teenager (not very carefully, in other words!) so I would like to use a pretty high-functioning grout.

I'd just use Spectralock, but I think it will be difficult to get that (sanded) into the VERy tight grout lines I have. The tiles are 4x4s butted up to each other with their little self-spacing lugs, so the joints are quite tight.

Then I thought I'd use Laticrete Permacolor, but it, too, seems to be sanded (like Spectralock, I think, it's a small-grained sand, but still rough).

Can anyone recommend a high-functioning grout that would be better for my application?
My criteria are:
1) white
2) excellent, fabulous stain- and mildew-resistance
3) not super difficult to use....



clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:45 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:45 pm

RE: Curbless shower questions and decisions (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mongoct on 04.19.2010 at 02:20 am in Bathrooms Forum

David, since the wall on the right seems to be the wet wall with all the plumbing, putting the drain at location "1" would be a fine idea. Especially, with that being the wet wall if your shower head will be on that wall too. That way when you're facing the shower head wall your toes will be facing downslope instead of you having to stand on a side slope.

But as you can tell there are variations, you can switch the slope or shower head location. In general though, with a trench drain floor that has a single-direction slope, it's less comfortable to stand on a side slope with one foot lower than another. The steeper the slope is, the more uncomfortable it can be. Not a deal breaker, but something to think about.

You asked about building a small curb if required. No, it's not difficult at all. I've added to the "curb height" by creating a gentle hump in the floor at the shower entry, I've done that for roll-over entries. Or you can start the floor sloping downward outside the shower door, in the bathroom area itself. There are several ways to skin that one.

If your entire room is a wetroom, then I'll most often use Kerdi in the shower and Ditra on the bathroom floor. The Ditra seams are not waterproof, so they need strips of Kerdi over the seams. The floor/wall intersection isn't waterproof, so I'll run Kerdi from the ditra on the floor up the wall a few inches. If you have a conventional floor toilet the flange area needs to be sealed. Usually Kerdi there too, but that can be tricky. In new construction or if it's a gut-job remodel, a wall toilet can be installed.

Obviously any other floor penetrations need to be detailed too.

Some of the other questions you directed to me:

1) In general I prefer to use deck mud for shower floors instead of foam trays or foam slopes. I know what I'm getting with deck mud, which is whatever I want. I can shape it, shave it, size it, I can make it do what I need. I can change the slope as I go along the floor. If the plans change, deck mud can conform to those changes. I've used Kerdi Trays before in a commercial building I bought and converted to apartments. But in general I prefer deck mud. Virtually all the work I do is one-off design, so deck mud works best for me. Opinion there, you can use whichever you feel more comfortable with.

The absorbency of the tile matters more in a steam shower, not so much for wall tile in a Kerdi shower. The tile is glazed, the glaze is waterproof for the most part. Grout can pass water, but with the Kerdi being right behind the tile there's no deep wetting into the wall.

Careful with the floor tile, make sure it's actually rated as "floor tile". Some of those high-absorbency tiles are usually just rated for walls.

2) Yes, for a wet room you'd Ditra the floors and Kerdi the Ditra seams. Then in the shower you'd put Kerdi right on top of the deck mud slope, or foam slope, if it's compatible and that's what you choose to use. And yes, outside the shower to make a wet room you'd cut a strip of Kerdi and run it off the Ditra and up the walls. Kerdi can be thinsetted to drywall with no problems.

3) Schluter profiles. Nope I never use them in showers. They usually just don't fit the look that I'm designing for. Total opinion there. Certainly use them if they fit your plan. I'll either grout of caulk the corners or changes-in-plane, it depends on the method of construction. For DIY and most pros, with lightweight construction (cement board over wood framed walls) then caulk should be used.

Oh, and while not discussed, in a wet room a floating (no pun intended) vanity can work well, especially in a modern or contemporary design.

Best, Mongo


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:36 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:36 pm

RE: Grout color/type for white subway tile in tub surround (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: bill_vincent on 07.04.2010 at 05:04 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Mold resistance is due to the antimicrobial agents you mentioned. I know for sure both Mapei and Laticrete add them to their grouts. Not sure about the rest.

As for colors, Mary already named a couple of good ones from Mapei. As for Laticrete, look at the silver shadow.

Either way, you definitely want unsanded grout.


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:17 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:17 pm

RE: Can we talk about tile and grout and wood....please (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: staceyneil on 02.26.2011 at 01:09 pm in Home Decorating Forum

I'll second what flyleft said... Grouts have come a long way. I just installed my bathroom floor tile with epoxy grout. This is totally stain-free... impervious; unlike regular grouts which a very porous and actually absorb dirt and stains. Epoxy grout cleans up just as easily as the tile itself. Sure, the lines might introduce a slight bit more texture than a linoleum floor would have, but they won't get stained...


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:14 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:15 pm

RE: Can we talk about tile and grout and wood....please (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: flyleft on 02.26.2011 at 12:24 pm in Home Decorating Forum

There's no such thing as "tile and grout" per se. There are worlds of different tile *and* grout now so that you have to make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Grey grout is a wonderful thing. In the 90s, I spent way too much time on my hands and knees cleaning white grout between the cheap white ceramic tiles in the bathrooms of our last house. HATED it. We also had less than 10-year-old vinyl in the kitchen (I didn't choose it--the PO did) that had yellowed.

Fast forward to our new house: we have put gold/beige throughbody (same color all the way through -- great in case of chipping, which hasn't happened) porcelain tile with either Laticrete natural grey or TEC standard grey grout in the baths and laundry/mud room (it gets muddy in Oregon, esp. with an outdoorsy family) and it's practically bulletproof. If you want even more bulletproof, get your installer to use epoxy grout (not in changes of plane, though! caulk only there!) and dirt won't have the slightest chance of sticking.

The only thing that would move me in the direction of a 'resilient floor' would be the softness underfoot. If that is important, and it's a nice feature as we age and our knees hurt more, I'd go with that. Vinyl has also improved its technology such that the higher end ones are much more durable in terms of color and puncture. You could underfloor-heat wood or tile, but not vinyl, as I understand the current technology.

So I'm throwing some other factors in there, and trying to make sure you are judging on specifics.


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:13 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:14 pm

DIY budget elegant bathroom, almost done: pics...

posted by: staceyneil on 02.02.2011 at 10:11 am in Bathrooms Forum

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your support and advice along the way with our latest project... we're ALMOST done but sort of stalled. We just need to add the door threshold and some pretty natural wood shelves above the toilet, but DH has moved on to other woodworking projects, so those little projects have been shoved down the list of priorities. Since it may be months before I get those shelves (and art/decor) up, I thought I'd at least post some pics of the room as it is now. Forgive the crappy lighting: it's snowing hard so there's no natural light :(

Project scope:
1956 bathroom with 1980's/90's tile, vanity, toilet. Tub was original but sadly unsalvageable: the enale was totally wrecked and stained and impossible to clean.
Suspected some subfloor issues due to leaks.
Budget: $2,500. (final total was a bit under $3,000... so we didn't do too badly :))

The layout was awkward, the door swing used so much of the floor space and only allowed a very small vanity. Since this is the hall/guest bath as well as the primary bath for my teenage daughter, we really needed to maximize storage and vanity space. I drew a new plan which involved moving the doorway to the perpendicular wall. As much as my DH balked at adding additional work, he admitted it was TOTALLY the right thing to do once we finished. The room feels SO much bigger now.

OLD BATHROOM and layout:

Some photos from during the renovation... which was planned to take 4 weekends and ended up taking about 6 or 7.....
DD sledge-hammering the old tile down

lots of rot in the subfloor

Self-leveling-compound poured over the radiant floor heat cables in the floor

The shower area waterproofed with Hydroban (LOVE LOVE LOVE that stuff!)

~ ~
~ ~
~ ~
~ ~

NEW BATHROOM and layout plan:

Since our budget was soooo tight, and we wanted to use quality materials and get a unique, custom bathroom, we had to get creative!!!

I had a small amount (it was mostly random pieces and offcuts) of very $$$ calacatta marble mosaic tiles left over from a previous project that I knew I wanted to use. The other materials were chosen around that starting point. I designed niches to use that tile in, as accent, based on the quantity I had. I used inexpensive white marble baseboard pieces from Home Depot for the shelves.

For the rest of the tile, I needed to use super-cheap stuff (the entire room is tiled to chair-rail height), but I didn't want it to look cheap or ubiquitous. I would have used subways, but DD emphatically vetoed them. It's her bathroom, and we let her have a LOT of design input. Since we have other areas in the house that use square tile in a running-bond pattern, I decided to use 4x4s, which are the cheapest anyway, but in a running bond rather than stacked pattern. After bringing home samples of the big-box cheapies, I decided to "splurge" (20 cents more per tile, I think, it was about $2.35 per sf after sales and discounts)) on Lowes next-step-up American Olean Ice White, which has a slight rippled surface that catches the light and adds a layer of interest that the flat, cheaper Gloss White doesn't have.

For the floor, we used American Olean 12 x 18 Pietra Bianco, a limestone-look ceramic tile that I'm surprisingly happy with :) Underneath the tile is radiant-heat cable, so the floor is wonderfully cozy and warm.

Floor grout is Latapoxy epoxy.
Wall/shower grout is Tec Accucolor XT, a super-modified grout that supposed to be a lot more stain-resistant (PITA to work with, though!)

DD wanted girly, vintage-looking stuff, a big departure from DH and my modern aesthetic. We narrowed down the style range, then I started watching eBay for deals. We scored about $750 worth of valves and faucets and stuff for about $275.
Vanity faucet: Moen Monticello
Shower faucet valve, trim, tub spout: Moen Monticello with Thermostatic valve
Shower head: Grohe Relexa Ultra on slide bar (LOVE!)
(after working with a bunch of faucets recently, I can say that the Moen monticello stuff is pretty cruddy compared to the Grohe RElexa, Kohler Purist, and HansGrohe stuff I've used recently.)
Towel bars and tissue holder are Ginger Hotelier.
Curved shower rod is the Crescent Rod. I tried some expandable ones they had locally, but this one (ordered on line for the same price) is SO much sturdier and nicer-looking. It also makes the shower space much larger.

Toto Carolina that we got at a yard sale for $150 including the Washlet seat (which we removed). We were driving down the street and DD -who professes to HATE anything renovation-related- said, "Hey, look, Mom... isn;t that one of those skirted toilets you like?" SCORE.

American Standard Princeton ~$300 at Lowes. yeah, we chipped it right away by dropping a tool on it while installing the faucets; luckily there's a repair kit that actually does a pretty amazing job :) We used the American Standard "Deep Soak" drain, which adds a couple inches water depth for baths. I wanted DD to use her OWN bathtub rather than my new one in the master bath :)

an old dresser. We bought it on Craigslist for $40, and DH reworked the drawers to fit the plumbing. He also added modern drawer slides so that they work easily. We bought fabulous vintage glass knobs on eBay (if you're looking for vintage knobs, check out this seller: billybobbosen.)

I painted it BM Dove Wing.
We totally went over budget on the vanity top. I'd intended to bet a remnant of granite... but of course couldn't find one DD and I liked. Then we found this little slab of Vermont White quartzite in the "exotics" bone pile at a local yard. It was over budget but we loved it. Then, of course, we decided that rather than a plain square front, it had to be cut to fit the curvy front of the dresser... which added about $100. So the vanity top was our biggest expense at $480.

Medicine cabinet:
A salvaged cabinet we got at the local Habitat for Humanity REStore about 2 years ago. We framed it into the wall (where the old door used to be), painted it, and I tiled the little shelf area with my calacatta mosaic accent tiles and marble baseboard pieces from Home Depot.

Pottery Barn wall fixture from eBay
Ikea ceiling fixture (like $8 each and rated for bathrooms!)
Fan/showerlight combo is a recessed, can-style fixture by Broan/NuTone. It's AWESOME. Quiet, unobtrusive.

That's all I can think of right now. I think once we have the natural wood shelves up over the toilet, with DD's shell collection and a plant on them, it will give a little but of softness/naturalness which the room needs. It's a little TOO "elegant" right now :)


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 11:08 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 11:09 pm

RE: Immediate bathroom grout & sealant help, pretty please! (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: herring_maven on 11.16.2010 at 01:16 am in Bathrooms Forum

beckyg75, Your contractor will not want to hear it from you, but in a bathroom, you really want epoxy grout, Mapei Kerapoxy or Laticrete SpectraLock.

Epoxy grout becomes very permanent within a short period after it is mixed, and therefore best practice is to mix a small batch, apply it, clean up; mix another small batch, apply it, clean up; and so forth ... Also, because of the short working time, epoxy is much easier to apply with two workers than by one person working alone. For that reason, most contractors will either simply refuse to apply epoxy grout, or will move heaven and earth to talk you out of it.

However, epoxy grout lines are much less receptive as hosts to mold, and are easier to clean when what mold that can get a foothold appears, than cementious grout lines are. Once applied, epoxy grout is a small step removed from being maintenance-free. No one ever said that of cementious grout in a damp environment.


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 10:54 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 10:56 pm

RE: Immediate bathroom grout & sealant help, pretty please! (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: herring_maven on 11.16.2010 at 11:39 pm in Bathrooms Forum

"We only got along for how many hundred years without epoxy grout?"

We only got along for how many thousand years without indoor plumbing of any kind? Do you want to go back?

We only got along for how many million years without electricity? Do you want to go back?

In 2010, we have epoxy grout; the materials cost is commensurate with the materials cost for cementious grout, but epoxy grout does require more care to install than cementious grout does. In damp environments, epoxy grout is hands-down superior to cementious grout; it is much less hospitable to mold and mildew than cementious grout, and is easier than cementious grout to clean when mold or mildew does gain a foothold.

There are lazy tile installers who just want to get in and get out, to charge the customer to install the tile; but they do not want to be bothered to use superior materials that would make for a superior finished product if it requires more effort on their part. Those lazy contractors should not be encouraged or humored.


clipped on: 03.04.2011 at 10:55 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2011 at 10:55 pm