All we do is work work work work work. Thanks Top 40 radio for that one. We’ve been listening to the same 40 songs all spring break due to limited music options. But, back to the task at hand.
This video is lengthier, so feel free to breeze through it at your own pace. The pre-slope is a one night project, but it’s important to give it plenty of time to dry (48 hours to be safe) before advancing to the rest of the shower pan. We’ll walk you through the steps.
Start by blocking off your shower drain. You can either buy a special plug from your hardware store, or simply duct tape (or painter’s tape) over it. Sweep and vacuum the whole surface. Then caulk all the way around your shower edges to make it absolutely waterproof.
Once that’s dried, you’ll want to carefully measure all the way around the area for slope height. The general rule of thumb is to add 1/4″ in height for every foot you move away from the shower drain.
This way the water slides down into the drain and doesn’t pool up! Obvious, but important.
There are kits you can buy for pouring the slope and curb, but they seemed to add a level of complication in our minds. We decided to freestyle it after talking to several professionals who said we’d be 100% good DIYing it. They weren’t interested in selling us additional products, and we wanted to try our hand at pouring the perfect slope.
We will actually be taking off that temporary 2×4 because we don’t want a “curb” at the entryway, but depending on your shower size and layout, you may decide on something different. We’re going with a handicap accessible gradual/soft curb (think road speed bump) that will require a little more height, also requiring a lot fewer sleepy toe stubs in the morning. 🙂
You will need:
- Thin set mortar (A bag or two)
- Several bags of Step 2 shower pan cement floor mix
- Some good knee pads aren’t a bad idea (optional)
- Packing and spreading tools like those below
- Something to mix with
We’ll get to the shower lining next time!
Wooden tool for packing is optional, but a good investment if you do multiple projects. The one to the right is for spreading thin set. This one is a must. Do not use a regular one!
Use this regular one for spreading and packing the floor mix.
Step by Step
Follow the mixing directions and make as much floor mix and thin set as you’ll need.
Mix the floor mix as you would cement or concrete. It’s going to be extremely heavy and you’ll need a shovel to get it mixed thoroughly.
Keep mixing until it’s a consistent texture.
Apply the thin set to your clean shower floor first, after you’ve sealed the drain and edges of your shower.
It’s going to take some mixing, but eventually you’ll get this thick batter texture. (This is the light mix.) Use your castle top-looking notched spread tool for this part. The grooves are important for getting everything to hold together, and you’ll need it again for adhering your tile. Work in sections with the thin set. If you need more help getting the technique down, do some research first.
Once you’ve spread the thin set in one section with your notched tool, sprinkle your shower pan mix right over the top. The thin set helps the shower mix stick.
You’ll only be building it up a few inches, so keep that in mind when you decide how much to use.
Great job, Joe!
Here’s his packing technique in action.
Start in the corners and pack your way out, making a smooth and even surface. Build right up to the brim of your shower drain. The drain should always be the lowest point of your shower. Measure as you go.
If you start to run low on supplies, just mix some more. It takes a few hours for this to start drying, so you do have some flexibility in how quickly you’ll need to get this just right.
Once you’ve got one section complete, take a minute to measure again. (1/4″ per foot). If you dropped a marble anywhere, it should start rolling down toward the drain. There shouldn’t be any gaps or dimples. Just a smooth and gradual slope all the way around.
Pack the corners in with a smaller tool if you have one. We have some narrower corners, but you may have 90 degree corners all around and can get away with using your regular tools.
Check back in 24-48 hours and it should be dry!