Curbless Shower

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Posted by: from Ottawa
12/13/2012 at 3:42:08 PM

I am looking at options for my ensuite bathroom in terms of a new shower. My wife would love a curbless shower. Anyone familiar with the plumbing code in Ontario (specifically Ottawa) that could help clarify what is code and what is not?

Here are some items that I've narrowed down from research online and from discussion with reps at plumbing stores.

1. Slope of shower pan must be between to inch per foot.

2. Flood test needs to be done to verify shower pan waterproof integrity.

3. There must be at least 2 of water hold above the top of the drain either via a shower curb through the slope of the shower pan.

4. The curb must be at least 2 and no more than 9 and be at least 1 above the adjacent shower floor

5. Showerheads cannot be aimed at the shower door. (Might just be common sense)

The only other question I have is:

If you have a curbless shower what defines the edge of the shower and thus the edge of the sloping floor?

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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 4:10:39 PM

Sounds right.

To eliminate the curb totaly you can use a rubber strip an inch thick. I've done this for wheel chair shower once. It sticks right to the tile and is soft so a chair can roll over it.

The shower curtain has to be atleast 6 inches from the entrance inside the shower to stop the water from passing over the strip. If you increase the slope at the entrance edge you can eliminate a shower curtain but you need a large shower area for this style.

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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 5:08:56 PM

Hello Ed,

I am not familiar with the codes in your area however I am pretty sure you should exceed the local codes because there is actually not yet a method for curbless showers in the TCNA handbook specified.

As far as I know the rules you mentioned appear only for commercial construction projects and not for residential. However as I said, I am not familiar with the codes in your area. And with these rules it would be not possible to build any curbless or ADA specified shower, because there would be a curb.

Be aware building a curbless shower is way more complex and there are also more things to consider rather than building a "traditional" shower. Using the appropriate materials is also essential for a successful shower built. Unfortunately It is not done by giving you a few advises here on HandyCanadian.

Therefore I suggest you should look for a local installer who has the necessary experience to install a curbless shower. You can also call or email me at any time, It would be a pleasure for me to give you a lot more advices. But don't just do it by yourself without any professional help. You will regret it.

Here you'll find pictures and videos following a curbless shower project of mine through their various stages from beginning to finished product. ►!/oa/6551238/

And here you'll find lots of pictures of curbless showers:



3D-Tile-Design - Bertram Tasch

Maple Ridge, BC (Greater Vancouver)

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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 5:11:18 PM

I've build several curbless shower stalls using the schluter shower systems which come with a drain, pre sloped pan up to code totally water proof both the pan and drain, [provided installed properly]. no rubber strips neccesary for transition from tiled floor to sloped floor.

In some cases the shower stall was large enough so no door or devider was needed and totally weelchair accessable. The edge of the shower where slope starts would be preferable just out side the devider [glass or curtain].

With a curbless system I would never use doors installed on the floor.

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Ed in Ottawa
Date/Time12/13/2012 at 10:04:08 PM

Thanks guys for your help and advice.

I'll install what I can do and hire out the rest. Never had a problem with any project around the house and I'm very capable.

Bill and Nicolaas, bit surprised you are not aware of the codes in Ottawa given that you work in this industry in Ottawa / Kingston.

BTW, I will not be using a curtain in any of the designs; either glass door or no door depending on the layout of the shower.

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Date/Time12/14/2012 at 3:59:40 PM

Hello Ed

I am not saying you are not handy enough to do lots of the prep-work by yourself, what I meant as I said: "Therefore I suggest you should look for a local installer who has the necessary experience to install a curbless shower." was: BEFORE you start doing anything, ask someone who knows your specific project and who can give you valuable advices. Don't make the mistake and "prepare" anything without consulting a tile-setter who is proficient in building curbless showers.

As I already said: Building a curbless shower is way more complex and there are also more things to consider rather than building a "traditional" shower !

Too often I come in homes where the homeowner already did the prep-work to save money but the opposite was the case. So I needed hours and additional material to fix the problems he caused. And sometimes I even must ripping everything off otherwise it would fail.

It starts with the all over design. And I don't mean by that, the way how it looks when your shower it is finished. Choosing the right material is also a very important point. I bet you have in mind using a cement board or green board for your walls. Do you know that none of them is water TIGHT! Therefore you have to waterproof everything which results in: Additional time + material = more money.

Next question: What kind of waterproofing system do you think would be the best in your case? Schluter Kerdi for example is a good waterproofing system but not always the best solution. There are better materials on the market which would even save you money. For example if you are installing a water tight board right from the beginning, you can skip the additional waterproofing work which would save you time and material which means it would save you money by better shower built.

Therefore My advice for you: Do yourself a favor and ask a pro what's the best and how to do it to accomplish what you want.


3D-Tile-Design - Bertram Tasch

Maple Ridge, BC (Greater Vancouver)

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Ed in Ottawa
Date/Time12/14/2012 at 11:26:47 PM


Great advice and I'm fully aware of the necessary waterproofing. I've been following the writings as well of John Whipple; a contractor in Vancouver. He is very helpful explaining and giving feedback on various shower installs / materials (which he fully tests himself prior to using on his own jobs), etc..

Here's a great article that talks about his experiences with some of the waterproofing methods and why he is using Kerdi / Ardex mix right now.

I understand your concern and I do lots of pre-planning and teach myself to do a lot of the work. No problem there but I also know if and when to hire someone, be that to ensure it is done properly (when I think I'm in over my head) or to ensure that I don't have any problems with insurance not covering future problems say when the dining room ceiling and floor are ruined due to a leak when we are away on vacation. So even though I know I can do all the plumbing and electrical work I get pros to do that for insurance purposes.

Thanks again for your advice and help.

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Date/Time12/15/2012 at 4:18:48 AM

Hello Ed,

I know John very well and met him also in person and I know he is always trying to do a perfect job. He also works according to the recommendations of the TCNA-Handbook and I really appreciate that and wished all tile setters would do this. He describes his education by himself as: "There is no better school than the "School of Hard Knocks" and "You cannot learn from a book what you learn about the tools..." But it is also true that you cannot learn from your tools what you have to learn from books like the physics and the chemical processes when you are setting tiles resp. When you are working with materials. Tile-setting is way more than just spreading the thinset and pressing the tiles in it. And sometimes is the education he gained only by the "School of Hard Knocks" just not enough.

Here is a simple example of what I mean. John has his own "Lab" at home where he is testing different "setups". For example he was patching a Noble Seal SIS membrane with Ardex's 8+9. It may work, however when you are doing this, you will lose your product guarantee. Neither Nobel nor Ardex will verify such patch-work. And in case your shower fails, the insurance company will send a forensic expert to figure out what the failing caused before they pay one cent.

All manufacturers guarantee only, when you use their product lines throughout because when you are using different materials von different suppliers on one job side, nobody knows how the different chemicals and additives with each other react. You are not even allowed to mix different thinsets from the same manufacturer together because each type of thinset has his special characteristics which are achieved be adding different additives. Therefore it is pretty rare that a manufacturer says, you can use every other product you like on top of our product or with our product together.

For guarantee purpose you should stay with only one manufacturer throughout your whole project. And if you have any questions about a their products or if you need assistance to determine which are the appropriate materials for your project, don't hesitate to call a Technical Field Representitive because these guys know exactly what hind of material is the best in your particular situation.

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Date/Time12/15/2012 at 4:37:20 AM

I've been setting tiles now for more than 35 years and learned it from "scratch" and I've been now for almost 20 Jears a Tile, Stone Slab and Mosaic Setter Master. I can tell you this for sure: Many people really try their best, however sometimes they just don't have the sufficient background. Therefore be very careful when you are following given instructions on forums and boards especially on DIY-Forums because sometimes these instructions are just wrong. And about 90 % of the given tile-setting tips on YouTube are even more than wrong. So how can the DIY's distinguish which advises are true and which are wrong?

I don't want to say John is always wrong however sometimes it is better to stay away from some of his methods. Every manufacturer is testing his product lines and let his materials approve by independent organizations like the TCNA and others. So don't mess up and mix together what is not approved. As I said, it may work, however you will lose your product guarantee.

In my other post I mentioned a material which is even better than the Kerdi-Membrane and the Kerdi-Board. Did you ever hear about the Wedi-System? It is a also German product however it has way better characteristics than the Kerdi-Board. Please do you a favor and educate yourself about this great product. I have been working now for over 25 years with it and had never ever a failure.


3D-Tile-Design - Bertram Tasch

Maple Ridge, BC (Greater Vancouver)

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Date/Time1/19/2013 at 11:32:53 AM

Betram you write...

"I know John very well and met him also in person and I know he is always trying to do a perfect job."

Let me remind you why we meet. You had no idea how to install a linear drain last year and I spend hours reviewing my installs with you. I made you coffee and talked with you in length on the subject of curbless shower builds.

Now you are talking about me on a forum in which I do not visit.

Your a tool. I'm glad you have build three projects in the past year. Please do not incorporate me or my work into your posts in an effort to further your social marketing. This means Betram - Please stop referencing my name in your online posts. I do not agree with your building methods. We are not friends. And I wish I never wasted that afternoon with you at my place. You have been a pain in my back side ever since and not once have you even ordered a drain from me. Bad form in my box. The other installers I have help at least order their linear drains from me.

Please go about your own self promotion with incorporating my name into your posts. Me and Betram are not assoicated with any company. We have never worked on a job together. We never will.

I sell and install linear shower drains. I test my methods in depth. What many manufactures post and claim as fact is in fact wrong. It is up to each customer to look into these claims or trust the installer at his word. Me I back up my research with testing and three day flood testing.

I like double and triple checking facts. We have our work inspected by the city and have a perfect track record here in Vancouver.

Ask your tile setter if he is a member of the TTMAC. Ask them what kind of insurance they have. WCB. What the time line is of the job. Ask better questions and double check all that your told.

For the record. I met Betram twice. We are not buddies. It was clear to me a year ago he did not understand all the linear drains and clearer today that he is confused by all the various North America methods of shower building. You can read his posts or you can just download manufactures instructions yourself. For me. I choose to ignore him online but am pissed with constant use of my name in his writings....

I hope that clears things up.

JW John Whipple By Any Design Ltd. (604) 506 6792

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