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tiling shower enclosure, wall not square, how to handle gaps


 
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Atropa

from United Kingdom

Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 3
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:32 pm Reply with quote

We have installed a shower tray in a corner of our bathroom and need to tile the walls. We plan to do this before fitting the walls of the shower enclosure.

Now the angle between our walls is more than a right angle and so the tray is right up against one wall but there is a gap about 3/4" wide at the front on the other, narrowing to almost nothing as it approaches the corner. The wall with no gap is solid whilst the other starts off solid in the corner for the first 6" and then turns into plywood, where a door has been blocked up.

The tray has a tiling upstand, which sounded convenient when we bought it but probably only makes it more difficult to do a neat job: without the upstand it might have been tempting to stuff the gap with sealant, but we won't be able to hide the fact that the tiles will sit on the upstand at the corner but will be way outside it at the front.

Any suggestions?

One thing I've thought of is that we could possibly unscrew the plywood and pack it from behind, on one side more than the other, to bring the angle between the walls closer to 90 degrees and narrow the gap. The shower valve has been installed within the ply wall, since this was more convenient than burying it in the solid wall. So if we did alter the angle of the wall, would it matter that the pipes etc. would (presumably) no longer come out perpendicular to it?
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david and julie

from United Kingdom

Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 1752
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 6:36 pm Reply with quote

The best way is to chisel some of the plaster and/or brickwork away and sink the tray into the wall (the solid wall) this will hardly be noticeable after you have tiled.
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madeinthenorth

from United Kingdom

Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 2
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:22 pm Reply with quote

don't try to fill a gap of more than 8mm with silicone. Our old shower leaked for years like that. The tiles should always butt down onto the flat edge of the shower tray. it may be worth fixing a piece of plywood to the face of the uneven plaster, and pack it out so it is straight relative to the tray. Tiling onto a sheet of new plywood is much easier than tiling onto uneven plaster!
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Atropa

from United Kingdom

Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 3
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:05 am Reply with quote

Thank you for your advice.

Unfortunately I will not be able to move the shower tray easily as the plumber has already completed its installation, with the waste under the floor (and lifting the floorboards is a Very Big Deal as we have already discovered). In any case the tray is almost square against the solid wall - the stud area where the old doorway has been blocked is where the biggest problem is.

Our plaster itself is actually perfectly even, and the doorway has been blocked off in a straight line so that wall is even as well, it is just that the walls in our (old) house are not perpendicular. So I'm not really worried about tiling on the plaster, the problem is more what to do about the hairpin shaped gap against the other wall.

I've also seen Aquapanel mentioned somewhere - would it be better to replace the plywood with some of this? Does it matter that we would have to make holes in it to for the water pipes and shower controls, is there anything we have to be careful of?

Since posting yesterday I've seen another topic in this forum here:
http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11093&highlight=upstands
on tiling with shower tray upstands where it was suggested that you are not supposed to sink the tray into the wall but it is supposed to be butted against the wall. Then, as I understand it, the tiles are supposed to sit in front of the upstands, so that the upstands are between the bottom of the tiles and the wall. Is my understanding correct? (Not having done this before!) In that case our hairpin gap is even more of a problem since not only do the bottom tiles need to come down at an angle to accommodate 1cm of upstand, they also need to straddle the 3/4" gap between the back of the upstand and the wall!

I think I am convincing myself that moving the plywood closer to the tray (or replacing it with Aquapanel) is the only way forward. But I've never done this before, so I'd really appreciate any comments.

Sorry for all the explanation, sadly I can't post a photo which would have helped.

Thanks
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david and julie

from United Kingdom

Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 1752
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 12:22 pm Reply with quote

Atropa you are moving the goal posts here, it is easier if you fully describe things in the first place.

The usual way of fitting the tray is to do a dry run first and then do any chiselling of plaster etc. I know the tray is not out on your solid wall but setting it into their a bit will help you in the problem area. You would not have to chisel out 3/4 to gain as much as you need.

The plumber should have checked this and put it right before fixing. When you say plumbed in we are only talking about the plastic waste pipe. I know it may be difficult to move the tray but it may be easier than trying to hide the problem on your wall afterwards.

The tiling upstands are just that, if they were set back a bit you could use mortar, filler or an extra row/rows of tiles to bring the level back. These type of trays can be a disadvantage so you may have to improvise a bit.
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Atropa

from United Kingdom

Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 3
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:32 pm Reply with quote

David and Julie,

Many thanks for replying, and thanks again for your advice. We'll look into how we would be able to move our shower tray.

I would like to say that I have not moved the goal posts but have merely tried to clarify what the problem is by adding to my original description since it seems it was not clear enough. As I said it would be much easier to explain if I could put in a picture, but I don't have access to suitable space on the Web.

Our bathroom has a new floor made of wooden tongue and groove floorboards which are very tightly joined together. The carpenter took the tongue out of one board to enable us to lift the floor when necessary, but in practice we have found that we can't get them back down without getting our builders back in.

Certainly this shower tray has been a problem already. They had to chisel out part of one of the joists to position it ... and now it seems it may be in the wrong position! It took the plumber the whole morning to fit the shower tray, and he does this all the time, so I'm very reluctant to touch it, especially given its weight (stone resin, took 3 men to manoeuvre it into position). Given that the builders have filled underneath it with pink expanding foam, perhaps our best bet will be to get the whole team back in ... they are expensive though, and we were trying to save money by not getting them to do the tiling. Maybe we'll have to save up and wait until next year for our shower!

Another question I'd like to ask though is whether plywood is the best surface to tile on to, where the doorway was. I think it is WBP ply. I assume that (once we have removed all the wallpaper, glue etc.) tiling the solid parts of the wall will be OK. But do we need to worry about the transition between the solid parts and the hollow parts of the wall, or are the tile adhesives sufficiently flexible to allow for movement?
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david and julie

from United Kingdom

Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 1752
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:14 pm Reply with quote

I didn't mean it the wrong way!

The plumber hasn't done you any favours,best leave the floor now though.

If this was mine I would first check the cubicle will fit, then do the tiling. Dont worry about the bottom inch or the lips.Then fit the cubicle.

If you go to a local building plastics supplier (soffits etc) they sell different types of facia boards. I have seen one with an ogee,or plain finish on the corner designed to go over the existing boards. These plastics are waterproof,white and easily fix with silicon, they look OK next to the tray.

If you don't understand me I will look for a link for you.

The ply shouldn't be a problem as long as it is rigid and sealed. Flexible adhesives are available if you are worried though. Make sure you use waterproof grout though.
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TexMex

from United Kingdom

Joined: 08 Jul 2004
Posts: 1525
Location: Essex,
United Kingdom
Thanked: 1 time

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:47 am Reply with quote

Personally, I'd build up the offending wall with a bit of bonding plaster. Your existing plaster may be level, but it's not square is it? You could get those walls the shape that god intended.

Chances are, if the corner is that far out, it probably bends back in at the other end of the wall. Even if you solve the problem around the shower, you're still going to have bent walls. Why not take the opportunity to get that wall the right shape, once and for all.

If you're tiling over the top, you don't need a professional finish, just a flat one.
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