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Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms

 
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:30 PM   #61
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


What I find amusing is that the thread was originally about vapor barriers and how to seal around valves, sprayer heads, and the like. It was originally posted on Dec. 22. 2009, and it went without comment for 7 weeks. The minute I post to the thread, explaining my use of a vapor barrier AND surface waterproofing, everybody and their grandmother tries to devalue and make swiss cheese out of my comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
I can only speak from personal experience but almost 100% of the union tile jobs I see around here (Chicagoland) and complete junk! I have a friend that does commercial construction and says the union installers he sees working on hi-rise building in the city are terrible.

I'm not impressed because of someone's affiliation(s). I'm impressed when someone does a quality job. I rarely see one (tile). Regardless of what trade you do, there are tradesmen and then craftsmen.

A tile discussion seems to inevitably turn into and old school/new school debate. While I don't ever think the new school guys try to diminish the quality of a floated floor, wall or ceiling, it doesn't mean it's the best or only method available. Is a cabinet maker that uses a CNC machine any less talented than one that cuts by hand? (Gus and Leo are not allowed to comment ) Does a trim guy have less talent because he uses pneumatic gun instead of a hammer? Is a plumber lacking because he uses PEX instead of cast or copper?

This discussion is specifically about waterproofing. As I have already mentioned, the biggest difference between a floated shower and a sheet membrane one is the mud shower allows water in and then deals with it. I've already mentioned the holes (pun intended) in the vapor barrier theory.

Funny thing is all this conjecture wouldn't make a bit of difference if the floated shower was waterproofed before tiling. If that was applied, now the discussion becomes substrate only. At that point we could talk all day long about the skills needed to float a wall or a curb. I don't think anyone wouldn't agree, it's a very good method and a dying art. The discussion begins on whether it's the only method or not.

I say not.
I've only done one job in Chicago (FADO, Clark & Grand), (and I'm in Atlanta) and all I can say is inspectors were on site 3 times a week, checking my work. You can't GET an inspector on a job in Atlanta. So whatever it is like in Chicago, it's exponentially better than in Atlanta.

I don't specifically endorse floated mud walls, in fact, no one wants to pay for them anymore. But like I said, I use a vapor barrier in addition to surface waterproofing over CBU.
Quote:
Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
I've already mentioned the holes (pun intended) in the vapor barrier theory.
I'm aware, and I've also covered the likelihood of a leak if there's ANY oversight on not using a vapor barrier. If the surface is prepared properly, a vapor barrier is a non-issue - who cares- BUT IF you miss 1inch of surface protection, there's a leak, and in such case, wouldn't it be nice to have a vapor barrier in place.

But you' right, Angus, there are different methods to all the trades. Regarding your comparisons of other trades, I don't think a cabinet maker using a CNC is doing less quality work than someone who made then by hand, and I don't think a plumber is less skilled by using PEX over copper. But I DO think constructing curbs with board material is inferior to mudding. I've seen more than a handful of curbs built of CBU nailed over the wood structure/panliner, and I've done numerous pan/curb repairs because of such construction, in fact that's the most prominent reason for showers blowing out (here). If posters here are doing so and using products like Kerdi to protect it, then that's great. I hope it works for them, I just dont' see the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevjob View Post
Ok last time, I use easyboard on WALLS, covered with kerdi, which is what my post your quoting is confirming.

curbs are either mud or preformed curbs from schluter.

your assupmtion that kerdi needs a vapor barrier speaks volumes about your experience with kerdi, i have done mud showers and kerdi so I can say which is better for me, you however cannot attest to kerdi so....
Kev, my apologies. We were (at the time) commenting on curbs so I thought you said you were using EasyBoard on curbs. But regardless, I wouldn't use EasyBoard for anything. I see that as the next polybutelene blowout. That's about like styrofoam stucco. It's, In My Humble Observations a cheap imitation. Even if I was mudding shower walls, I would also use a waterproofing agent. And my assertion was that ANY surface waterproofing is subject to user error, and that a vapor barrier is a smart piece of insurance to apply. Kerdi is not a fail-safe system anymore than the user is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes and $5 worth of plastic would be a very smart investment, regardless of what else goes into a steam shower. I'm not saying Kerdi needs a vapor barrier, I'm saying if something happens (unknowingly) Kerdi is no better than ANY other waterproofing agent and is subject to leaks.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:43 PM   #62
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Paul,

I've never purposefully made a negative comment towards you. Didn't mean to if I did.

I agree, I would never construct a curb from wood nor use a CBU product on it. Poured or Kerdi are it.

I'm not union so I cannot comment on what inspectors would look for. As for the finished product, I can tell you I NEVER see a properly installed commercial tile job here. Many times I've wanted to start a picture thread of the absolute crap commercial installs I see all the time.

Overall, while we are defending our own methods, I think this is a good, informative thread. I think these kinds of threads help. Maybe not everyone, but they are helpful.
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:07 PM   #63
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Quote:
Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
Paul,

I've never purposefully made a negative comment towards you. Didn't mean to if I did.

I agree, I would never construct a curb from wood nor use a CBU product on it. Poured or Kerdi are it.

I'm not union so I cannot comment on what inspectors would look for. As for the finished product, I can tell you I NEVER see a properly installed commercial tile job here. Many times I've wanted to start a picture thread of the absolute crap commercial installs I see all the time.

Overall, while we are defending our own methods, I think this is a good, informative thread. I think these kinds of threads help. Maybe not everyone, but they are helpful.
LOL No worries, Angus.

Have you been to Atlanta?

Do you have the same influx of illegal labor there? HA HA.... You should SEE the quality of work that I lose bids on here.

I got a call back from a client who decided to go with a cheaper installation company for an upstairs marble shower.

The installer had set a marble ceiling with ...... (drum roll please)......MASTIC..... yep 12'X12" marble tile on a ceiling, set with mastic. The installers left on a Friday (payday, no doubt) and the client was out of town for the weekend. The Client came home on Sunday to find 6 inches of water in her downstairs. A marble tile had fallen from the shower ceiling, hit the shower valve, turning on the water, and fell down to the pan liner (unprotected), putting a gaping hole in the pan liner.

Talk about getting what you pay for. LOL The repairs to sheetrock/paint, and the entire downstairs wood flooring was in th tens of thousands. And guess what nationality the original installers were? (I'll give you 3 guesses and the first two don't count)
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:34 PM   #64
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Is installing tile in a shower using silicone caulk considered good?
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:11 PM   #65
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley View Post
Is installing tile in a shower using silicone caulk considered good?

Latex caulk..... much better than silicone in showers
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:43 PM   #66
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Honestly, I find the whole scenario confusing. For instance, Laticrete's acrylic latex caulk is NOT for use in a shower. However, their 100% silicone version is.

I'm starting to think the real answer is to use expandable profiles in each corner instead. They're permanent and flexible.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:09 PM   #67
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


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Originally Posted by StoneHorseTile View Post
Have you been to Atlanta?

Do you have the same influx of illegal labor there? HA HA.... You should SEE the quality of work that I lose bids on here.
Never been to Atlanta.

I'd say yes, with illegal labor. Not that I see much in person but I know it's out there. Just stand in HD for awhile and see who comes out of the tile isle with a cart full of the cheapest thinset available.

My issue isn't so much illegals, it's more of the incompetent. Just because a guy owns a tile saw, doesn't make them a tile setter. If I'm bidding against others, I'll ask the client if anyone else has bothered to look in the basement at the joists. 100% of the time, the answer is "no". I'll show clients the TCNA handbook to show them why I need to perform a certain task. I'll also ask if other contractors have mentioned the handbook to them. You know the answer.

I believe with the advent of the HGTV & DIY shows, it has really dumbed down the perception of what a good tile installer should be. I'm finding I need to be as much of an educator as salesman. My basic floor tile jobs average between $13-$20 sq/ft. Handymen or side-job guys beat the crap out of my prices. Good thing my quality beats the crap out of theirs.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:27 PM   #68
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Quote:
Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
Never been to Atlanta.

I'd say yes, with illegal labor. Not that I see much in person but I know it's out there. Just stand in HD for awhile and see who comes out of the tile isle with a cart full of the cheapest thinset available.
Oh I know, I spend the money for Marble/Granite mortar while my competition buys unmodified gray thinset. (Can't wait to hear from the client when their white marble floor has turned gray)

Quote:
Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
My issue isn't so much illegals, it's more of the incompetent. Just because a guy owns a tile saw, doesn't make them a tile setter. If I'm bidding against others, I'll ask the client if anyone else has bothered to look in the basement at the joists. 100% of the time, the answer is "no". I'll show clients the TCNA handbook to show them why I need to perform a certain task. I'll also ask if other contractors have mentioned the handbook to them. You know the answer.

I believe with the advent of the HGTV & DIY shows, it has really dumbed down the perception of what a good tile installer should be. I'm finding I need to be as much of an educator as salesman. My basic floor tile jobs average between $13-$20 sq/ft. Handymen or side-job guys beat the crap out of my prices. Good thing my quality beats the crap out of theirs.
You're right about being an educator, but I find around here, they truly dont' want to listen to you. In fact, I've got a client I've asked 4 times if he's seen my website and he hasn't.

A lot of the DIY shows are showing some very shoddy workmanship, IMHO's. They're installing CBU on floors without thinset (voiding warranty),
unpolished marble or travertine edges on soap niches, curbs, etc. , and wideeee grout lines on stone that should be butted. They are dumbing down the perception of what good installers should be. And if you're getting $13-20, I'd be happy. I find it hard to get $4-5 SF. Again, it's the illegal labor that is driving our prices down. They're hard to compete with, and around here, they're the norm rather than the exception.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:08 PM   #69
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Back when glass was new, we set an entire shower of 6x6 clear glass with silicone. This followed the instructions from the manufacture. We used a case and a half of white silicone, splitting the tubes down the sides and squeezing them out wholesale, troweling it in the wall, setting and grouting all with silicone. Very strange. Very stinky! It looked fine last time I saw it, about a decade later..

By the way, Stonehorse, you and I are pretty much on the same page, but I quit pouring my curbs after I was forced to tear one out by the "bro in law plumber in town for the weekend" who insisted it couldn't work having the pan turn up inside the pour. Whatever. I float 'em in the standard fashion now, but I would pour in a heartbeat if it was needed. Adjusting Height, width, squaring the curb up, all vastly superior in mud. I miss mud walls a little. Last one I did was a heavy radius (used flexible cpvc as screeds, screwed to the studs. Crank this screw, loosen that one until a perfect circle, it was fun).

I've got this sweet old book from my master showing egg and dart plastering, groin ceiling construction, making mud arches, niches, etc all using templates and jigs. Super old school. Some recipes (oh wait, yer suthern, "receipts") for early cultured marble, homemade paint, all kids of cool lost art stuff. It was the Chicago Plasterers Union book in the twenties (Wood lathe installation was an entirely different trade). But, as my master was quick to point out, tile mechanics would not be seen eating lunch with a plasterer, much less a lather.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:29 AM   #70
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyras View Post
Back when glass was new, we set an entire shower of 6x6 clear glass with silicone. This followed the instructions from the manufacture. We used a case and a half of white silicone, splitting the tubes down the sides and squeezing them out wholesale, troweling it in the wall, setting and grouting all with silicone. Very strange. Very stinky! It looked fine last time I saw it, about a decade later..

By the way, Stonehorse, you and I are pretty much on the same page, but I quit pouring my curbs after I was forced to tear one out by the "bro in law plumber in town for the weekend" who insisted it couldn't work having the pan turn up inside the pour. Whatever. I float 'em in the standard fashion now, but I would pour in a heartbeat if it was needed. Adjusting Height, width, squaring the curb up, all vastly superior in mud. I miss mud walls a little. Last one I did was a heavy radius (used flexible cpvc as screeds, screwed to the studs. Crank this screw, loosen that one until a perfect circle, it was fun).

I've got this sweet old book from my master showing egg and dart plastering, groin ceiling construction, making mud arches, niches, etc all using templates and jigs. Super old school. Some recipes (oh wait, yer suthern, "receipts") for early cultured marble, homemade paint, all kids of cool lost art stuff. It was the Chicago Plasterers Union book in the twenties (Wood lathe installation was an entirely different trade). But, as my master was quick to point out, tile mechanics would not be seen eating lunch with a plasterer, much less a lather.
I wasn't sure about the previous comment regarding tile setting with caulk. I've never used caulk for anything but seaming walls, so my earlier comment was very tongue-in-cheek. I've never tried setting with caulk. I would think a special mastic might be available today for glass. I like using Mega-Lite for a lot of applications, especially mosaics, but it's pricy at $35 for 25 pounds. I love how you can hang 12"x12" granite from a ceiling perfectly flat and walk away with no sagging. It's amazing stuff.

As far as curbs, my standard recipe has always been; 2"x4"stack; pan liner wrapped over and tacked to the outside; wire lathe cut/formed tightly over the pan liner; then usually a scratch coat of modified thinset; make forms of any dimensions with wood/sheetrock/durock, sprayed with WD-40 (release agent) and pour with custom float, allowing for pitch. And I form/cut/seal the pan liner with X-15 Shower Pan Adhesive, (which apparently, most plumbers aren't even aware of around here). I've never once had a problem and probably never will. And you're right, Kyras, mudding curbs is vastly superior when it comes to having a level, squarely configured, solid finished product. I've done a handful of radius/barrel shaped walls and it's fun because you're actually applying those recipes you refer to; I like your use of pipes/screws to adjust. We have used plumbed furring strips on the studs, over wire, formed it out, and then finished floating for a more accurate radius.

I still have my union cards from working in downtown Chicago, albeit, they haven't been renewed in almost a decade.

I'd love to get my hands on that book you're referring to Kyras. To me, that would be like holding the Holy Grail itself. So if I was referencing it to buy a copy, I would look for the Chicago Plasterers Union Handbook?
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:49 PM   #71
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


It's name is Practical Plastering and Related Subjects, the printing I have is 1937 out of Chicago, authored by Byran Dalton and Clifford Carlson. From the handwritten note inside the cover, it was issued to the Local 67, or at least my old master was in the 67 (likely so, his grandfather founded it, or so he said.) It's an old blue hardback, almost like a textbook, with nice pictures of crazy ceilings and ballrooms.

I googled around. Closest I got was State Library of Louisiana.

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Old 03-07-2010, 03:07 PM   #72
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


ok, read all 4 pages of posts so far. still no one has answered how to seal around penetrations(valves, sprays etc) like the original poster asked for. maybe someone did while my eyes were glazing over. lol. anyways. no harm to anyone posting here. i like to read and see how things are done if different from how i do them. I am wondering if it's ok to build a curb out of solid wood, wrapped in with the liner, if the wall above is going to be a tall glass block curved enclosure for the shower? 4-5 years ago I was doing a large residential renovation and the upstairs master bath had a curved glass block wall detail basically taking up two walls of the 4 wall shower(two person). I am not a tile setter by trade and I don't consider myself a master tile setter by any means but out of all the work I do in the course of a job, I do enjoy doing the tile work more than others. I do sub out some work but not all the work. I could hire someone to do the tile work but I really do enjoy learning near techniques and I don't feel I'm cutting corners. I just don't know why a wood curb would be bad.

another tip I have if you aren't using kerdi is to rip Vycor ice/water shield (non granular) over the studs you plan on screwing to. then 6 mil plastic over that taped. say it's a tub you are installing, you take a 6-8 inch strip of the vycor and it adheres to the tub(very well I might add) and then up the studs (this is all before you put the plastic up) once you tape the plastic over the studs, you screw your hardie board or whatever to that. the screws are then sealed by going through the vycor, preventing any moisture or vapor from coming through the screws.

I have never redguarded walls though prior to installing tile, for the reasons mentioned by Mike Finley.

I will upon reading up on it, use Kerdi for my next bathroom remodel that has tile. even if it's a premade pan and just tile walls.

also, just because someone does something different than the "perfect" way, it's not because they are automatically a hack, they could be, but it could also be that is how they thought it should be done.

I have ripped out bathrooms from the 70s where they tiled over drywall and guess what, there wasn't mold in the walls, and the only slight water damage was where the drywall meets the tub or shower stall. now im not saying I would ever do that but it proves that some things addressed today are scare tactics. I have used just hardie alone on walls before, no plastic, no vycor(this was before i read about installing plastic/vycor was better) and I still haven't had any customers calling me up with complaints of leaks or mold. I taped the seams of the hardie and made sure I sealed the ground 3-4 times, still haven't had any issues.

all that being said, I look forward to using kerdi for most tile applications in the future where it makes sense to do so.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:44 PM   #73
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


on edit, I guess I took the "mud curb" or poured curb to mean a form and actual pouring thick mud in, letting it set, removing form and then doing the liner etc. my mistake. The 3 2x4 method with wirelath is how I did mine.
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:01 PM   #74
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


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I have ripped out bathrooms from the 70s where they tiled over drywall and guess what, there wasn't mold in the walls, and the only slight water damage was where the drywall meets the tub or shower stall. now im not saying I would ever do that but it proves that some things addressed today are scare tactics.
The only thing separating you finding mold or rot when it comes to the installation your are citing of tile on drywall is the condition of the grout and the amount of use the tub gets.

In old installs the tile and the grout act as a 'water proofing' layer. The underlayment acts as only a structural substance to lay the tile on. If a tile cracks or a grout line fails in a part of the tub surround that gets a lot of direct water spray the only thing stopping rot and mold is the location it is in the tub (how much direct water spray it gets) and hold long the defect is left un-corrected.

So when you find bad grout or a cracked tile in an old drywall/tile install the only factor of how bad the damage ends up being is only those 2 factors, location in the tub and how long it's been going on.

90% of the leaks I have to diagnose in a tub/shower are a grout failure. The homeowner will fight you to the end to be in disbelieft that a failed grout line can cause so much water damage, they always believe it is a leak in the plumbing and it almost never is.
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:29 PM   #75
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Quote:
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In old installs the tile and the grout act as a 'water proofing' layer. The underlayment acts as only a structural substance to lay the tile on. If a tile cracks or a grout line fails in a part of the tub surround that gets a lot of direct water spray the only thing stopping rot and mold is the location it is in the tub (how much direct water spray it gets) and hold long the defect is left un-corrected.
Typical cementious grout has an absorption rating of around 10%. Moisture is getting in whether the grout has failed or not.
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:40 PM   #76
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


That's why I put quotes around water proofing:

Quote:
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In old installs the tile and the grout act as a 'water proofing' layer.
There is no other water proofing installed in old drywall/tile installations. The tile and grout acts like a 'water proofing' layer, once either is breached in an area of the tub that gets direct water spray it's over.

While grout isn't 100% water proof, it's obviously water proof to a degree to have created millions of tile showers that can last 15-30 years since there are millions of drywall/tile installs still working everyday in this country.
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:50 PM   #77
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


yes, it does work to a degree. most people don't seal their grout. i tell people to do it at least once a year, under heavy use/cleaning more often
the tile i just did at my own house has water beads on it when water hits it. i doubt much water is really getting through it. if it does, it's not going to get past the hardie backer, plastic, and then vycor on the studs.
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:17 PM   #78
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


Quote:
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While grout isn't 100% water proof, it's obviously water proof to a degree to have created millions of tile showers that can last 15-30 years since there are millions of drywall/tile installs still working everyday in this country.
If it's absorption rate is around 10%, that would make it roughly 90% "waterproof".

The damage may be prolonged, but it will happen. I have seen water penetrate grout in as little as 5 years on a shower with tile over greenboard. I would never trust cementious grout, sealed or not, to keep moisture from penetrating to a substructure.

Good thing for me...and you...those millions of showers need to be redone.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:02 PM   #79
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job security.
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:59 PM   #80
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Re: Vapor Barrier In Steam Rooms


There is no comparison between Kerdi and any other old way. you are asking for problems with a vapor barrier and red guard. I hate poly all together I believe it is just another way to trap mosture and mold take advantage of the new materials and charge your customer if they dont want to pay for it to be done right move on. Becouse the old way worked in the past doesnt mean Kerdi waterproof membrane isnt a far superior product becouse it is, period.

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