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How do I tile over over a copper pan?

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Hey guys,

I did a search and found a couple of threads about this but no answers for my situation. Let me preface this by saying I have zero experience with tiling a shower, copper pan or no. :/

I've got a shower with a copper pan and I need to tile it. The plumber sold me on the copper - apparently it's pretty common here in New England. I'm pretty confident it's installed properly, I've worked with this guy quite a bit and he does good work.

I've goggled it with confusing results. Looks like I need to put down a concrete material, wight he proper slope and then tile right on that. My question is: what material do I use? I read everything from 'use straight concrete' 'use portland cement with no sand' 'buy a premix'... common sense tells me straight concrete on copper has huge potential for disaster.

Is the premix stuff any good, if so, what product should I use?

Here are a couple of pictures:

This is a good shot of the pan just after installation:



This one is what it looks like now (sorry, I know it's a crummy pic.)

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It's a shower pan liner (without a pre-slope??). Treat it as such. Your tile pro should have no problem with this.
It's the same as a poly pan liner, just a better mouse trap. Pre-slope and tile is the same as a poly liner. If you don't know, don't touch it with a ten foot pole. There is a lot of liability in tile shower work.

ETA: there is a lot of waterproofing left to do there and I'd check that the backer install didn't penetrate your liner.
Is this your own shower or a client's?
The cement board fastened to the curb is nice... Moisture will rust out those fasteners and rot the curb framing in about 5 years or so..
I agree that curb should be concrete. You need to install a mud bed with a slope. I would let a pro do it if you've never done it.
The cement board fastened to the curb is nice... Moisture will rust out those fasteners and rot the curb framing in about 5 years or so..
There's a big liability there, and not a good place to practice your tiling skills.
It's my house
- Tile backer over walls and over pan sides

- slope a mud bed of concrete (I'd use this stuff: http://www.sakrete.com/products/detail.cfm/prod_alias/Crack-Resistant-Concrete)

- kerdi the sloped pan, walls, and curb

- install tile
That pan doesn't do you much good if it isn't sloped, and I don't think it is sloped.

You couldn't slope a piece of lightweight copper sheet and expect to be able to walk on it.

So you have a watertight pan which will never drain and never dry out if it becomes wet.

As others have said, you have to treat it like it is not there and pour a pre-slope inside it, waterproof the pre-slope, then pour another layer or lay directly on the waterproofed pre-slope.

So what was the purpose of the copper? Good question.
Why would you Kerdi a pan with a liner? Isn't it kinda one or the other. If you were going to use Kerdi there wouldn't have been a need for a liner or mud bed. Just tape your seems and red guard it. If you really want to go overboard then Kerdi the walls but I would never Kerdi overtop of a mud pan. It's redundant and not really to spec. Also of you use Kerdi at all make sure all your thinset that touches the Kerdi is unmodified. But my professional opinion is with what you have to just tape and mud the seams of the cement board and red guard the walls then tile.
CENTERLINE MV said:
- Tile backer over walls and over pan sides - slope a mud bed of concrete (I'd use this stuff: http://www.sakrete.com/products/detail.cfm/prod_alias/Crack-Resistant-Concrete) - kerdi the sloped pan, walls, and curb - install tile
Peace of mind that water will never make it into the pan-- not much extra material or labor & is worth the insurance, IMO.
Why would you Kerdi a pan with a liner? Isn't it kinda one or the other. If you were going to use Kerdi there wouldn't have been a need for a liner or mud bed. Just tape your seems and red guard it. If you really want to go overboard then Kerdi the walls but I would never Kerdi overtop of a mud pan. It's redundant and not really to spec. Also of you use Kerdi at all make sure all your thinset that touches the Kerdi is unmodified. But my professional opinion is with what you have to just tape and mud the seams of the cement board and red guard the walls then tile.
No matter how it's done the mud bed should still be waterproofed. The copper to me is just insurance if the membrane fails which I have seen happen with Kerdi.
Why would you Kerdi a pan with a liner? Isn't it kinda one or the other. If you were going to use Kerdi there wouldn't have been a need for a liner or mud bed. Just tape your seems and red guard it. If you really want to go overboard then Kerdi the walls but I would never Kerdi overtop of a mud pan. It's redundant and not really to spec. Also of you use Kerdi at all make sure all your thinset that touches the Kerdi is unmodified. But my professional opinion is with what you have to just tape and mud the seams of the cement board and red guard the walls then tile.
Why Kerdi? Because, as previously stated, that liner is sitting flat on the subfloor. Their is no pre-slope and no weep holes, so, the mud bed is going to get saturated with moisture, soap and shampoo residue, body oils, etc, then it's going to get mouldy. Ripped out dozens of tile showers...most we're poly liners, seen a dozen or so lead, and a handful of copper. All built the same way and all a disgusting mess to rip out. Schluter sell a bonding flange drain that will adapt to the common 2 part clamping drain.
Stevarino said:
Why would you Kerdi a pan with a liner? Isn't it kinda one or the other. If you were going to use Kerdi there wouldn't have been a need for a liner or mud bed. Just tape your seems and red guard it. If you really want to go overboard then Kerdi the walls but I would never Kerdi overtop of a mud pan. It's redundant and not really to spec. Also of you use Kerdi at all make sure all your thinset that touches the Kerdi is unmodified. But my professional opinion is with what you have to just tape and mud the seams of the cement board and red guard the walls then tile.
I have never dealt with a copper pan liner Lots of poly and lead but not copper. I was under the assumption that it would have weep holes which you said it does not. I was also concerned with the Kerdi not working like it is supposed to with a regular weep drain or spud, but if Schluter makes a bonding flange that clears that up.
jarvis design said:
Why Kerdi? Because, as previously stated, that liner is sitting flat on the subfloor. Their is no pre-slope and no weep holes, so, the mud bed is going to get saturated with moisture, soap and shampoo residue, body oils, etc, then it's going to get mouldy. Ripped out dozens of tile showers...most we're poly liners, seen a dozen or so lead, and a handful of copper. All built the same way and all a disgusting mess to rip out. Schluter sell a bonding flange drain that will adapt to the common 2 part clamping drain.
Wait you are saying you HAVE seen the Kerdi membrane fail? If it fails then it must not be installed to spec. If installed to Schluter's specifications they will warranty it for ten years and cover all replacement costs.
avenge said:
No matter how it's done the mud bed should still be waterproofed. The copper to me is just insurance if the membrane fails which I have seen happen with Kerdi.
If you are going to water proof with a bonded drain or the divot method I'd just rip that pan out and send it for scrap metal.

A PVC pan is cheaper, easier to install and not subject to erosion from the alkali properties of cement.

So I'd probably rip it out anyway.
Flat copper pans...Kerdi failing....these are definite signs of the impending apocalypse.
My sentiments, exactly!

By the way, good to see you hanging around more often nowadays, Angus! Hope all is well for you and yours!
Flat copper pans...Kerdi failing....these are definite signs of the impending apocalypse.
Ya it wasn't my install and it's kinda hard to determine exactly what the failure was. It was a mud bed over concrete with a wood curb. It failed somewhere on the curb. It took 8 years to see any evidence of leakage due to the whole first floor in this home was concrete. It eventually got to the plaster walls and water was coming up through the grout on the floor.

His plumber might be older and that's the way they did pans back in the day. At this point I would do a mud bed then do a paint on membrane over the entire shower.
Wait you are saying you HAVE seen the Kerdi membrane fail? If it fails then it must not be installed to spec. If installed to Schluter's specifications they will warranty it for ten years and cover all replacement costs.
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