Exceptional European Craftmanship

Wedi Noble
Tuscan Kerdi

Okay, so you need a new shower or your shower tiles to be replaced.

Before spending large amount of money, you should ask yourself why your existing shower failed. Is there darker looking tiles and grout lines at the bottom section of the shower? Is there loose grout? Corners cracked? If you answer YES to any of above questions, it means your shower was not done properly to start with. Let's look what is behind the tiles. Most tile trades use hardibacker or green drywall and install tiles over, it may look good when it is done, but it is a short term shower. Some may say, they can install fiberglass shower pan in order to eliminate leaks. Fiberglass is attached to studs and it is known that studs moves even at the best-built homes. Fiberglass cracks and you get leaks. Some even install plastic shower pans to prevent shower pan failure. But, do not know it is useless unless the whole shower needs to be waterproofed.

Lets start from the top vies and go deeper.

TILES ARE NOT WATERPROOF
Ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, stones and even granite is not waterproof materials, plus due the properties of these materials, cannot be install butt to butt, so grout lines are necessary for these materials to expand and shrink. Butt to butt installations will fail as the temperature and humidity levels changes.

GROUT IS NOT WATERPROOF.
All cement based grouts are noting but pigmented cement. Cement is not waterproof, no question. Some high tech grouts such as epoxy grouts, urethane grouts are pretty much stain proof, but not waterproof, manufactures of these place this in their instructions.

THIN SET IS NOT WATERPROOF
Thin set is the mix to install tiles to the surfaces, mostly it is modified portland cement and sand mix or silica. It has no waterproofing properties as whole purpose of thin set is adhere the tile to the surfaces. None of the thin set manufacturers claim their thin set is waterproof.

HARDI BACKER OR ANY OTHER BRAND CEMENT BOARD IS NOT WATERPROOF. Just wet the product and see it will absorb the water in no time. Manufacturer of these boards never claim their products are waterproof anyway. Green drywall has paper face and backing and it means it is not waterproof.

Whole idea of waterproof shower is simple "WATER-IN, WATER-OUT" Water supplied by shower head and all these water needs to end at the drain, not in your tiles, not in your thins set, not in your hardi backer,right to the drain.
In order to that, the walls and the shower floor has to be waterproofed. There are a few ways to achieve this. Built the walls and shower floor with traditional materials such as hardi backer, or better yet fiberglass backing drywall(I will come to this later)and waterproof it with liquid membranes. Even it has high rank of success, there is a possibility of movement of the materials it is applied. Any movement in the plane can cause these membranes to allow water passing. But, there is a much sure way to do this, it is called "single sheet membranes", basically it is thick plastic membrane with fleece attached, so the tiles can be adhere to it.
If, it is installed with manufacturer instructions, this is the best waterproofing you can get for your shower or steam shower. It is best to install with integrated drain system, which assures the only exit of the water is drain.

Traditional drywall whether it is white, green, blue etc. has paper face and backing, but some treated with chemical to resist water. Problem with these is the paper; paper is not good with water and when water meets the paper, the paper looses it is holding strength. All thin sets contains water, so thin set over paper is good as .. well paper. Fiberglass backing drywall has fiberglass instead of paper, and fiberglass is not effected by water. It will stay intact.

After reading all these information, you can verify all the facts by professional tile setting forums. After confirmation, you can get your shower built to last lifetime with waterproofing first.

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