Shower Substrates

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  #1  
Old 01-02-01, 09:31 AM
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I'm remodeling a bathroom, and installing a ceramic tile tub surround. I already know that I should NOT just use "greenboard" for my tile substrate -- that's a no-brainer. I was planning on using Durock up to just before the top of the tile, then switch to greenboard for the area between the tile and the ceiling.

I have also been advised to consider putting greenboard up for the whole height of the surround, and then Durock over the greenboard in the tiled area. This would yield a "look" not unlike the old metal-lath tile shower I'm in the middle of tearing out, with a 1/4-round type trim edge.

Which of these approaches would be considered preferable by you professional tile guys?

I've also considered running Durock and tile all the way to the ceiling. Any particular advantage to this?

Finally, I've also seen commentary about using Durock for the ceiling as well (inside the surround), rather than greenboard, since greenboard isn't really waterPROOF, but just water RESISTANT. Is this overkill? If I did this, what sort of finish would normally be used on the ceiling?

BTW, I've grown a whole new respect for that good'ol metal lath and mud tile work while tearing out this shower. I think the whole house could rot away and collapse, and that shower would have remained fully intact and usable!

Thanks.

D.

 
  #2  
Old 01-02-01, 10:20 AM
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As a professional handyman for the last 26 years I have found that I've NEVER seen any tile wall rot out higher than 2 feet from the bottom of the tub or shower (except where the shower valve is!) If it's a tub encloser just use the Durarock on it's side (usually 3') and use greenboard the rest of the way up!

Durarock over greenboard?? I've never heard of such a thing. WAY overkill!!! I mean that is unless you have 200lb. wrestlers parcticing in the shower!!

I like to tile all the way to the ceiling, makes for a nice profesional look. I've also tiled a good number of shower stall ceilings (if there is a soffet over the unit). In the case of the ceilings I run the tile at a 45 degree angle, since trying to line up all of the grout lines is next to impossible! Otherwise, a good primer and oil base semi-gloss paint (before the tile is installed) should be fine.
 
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Old 01-02-01, 07:16 PM
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Hi Dancase,
I tend to disagree with Johnboy (no offense amigo! just my opinion which don't amount to a hill of beans) just a little. Put the durock all the way to the ceiling and tile it all the way to the ceiling it looks far more professional and the cost of the durock vs. greenboard is mere pennies for a much better job overall.
Also you should tape and thinset all the joints of the durock (as per manufacturers recommendations). I usually silicone the first 2 feet of the corners and all the way around the tub lip as well (Rich's showers and tub surrounds don't leak EVER) (chuckle)
One other thing you should put a layer of plastic sheeting behind the durock (against the studs) before installing the board. It(cementious backer units) tends to wick up moisture (this problem is more prevalent in showers than tub surrounds but,better safe than sorry!)
Also I know what you mean by putting greenboard under the durock and then capping it with Radius cap or "mud" cap to make it look like a "mud" job. If you go all the way to the ceiling it really isn't needed. You can do it if you would like it to look like that though.
If you have any other questions come back and post.
Regards,

Rich Gately (Tileman1)

P.S. C.B.U.'s (Cementious Backer Units) are not waterproof either just water resistant (turn a cup of water over on top of it and let it sit for about 30 minutes (or less) and you will see what I mean)

http://www.gatelytilecompany.homestead.com

[Edited by tileman1 on 01-02-01 at 09:38]
 
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Old 01-02-01, 11:53 PM
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Thanks, Rich. The more I think about it, the less I see the need to make it "look" like a mud job, and I think I'll probably just Durock to the ceiling and tile. Just seems simpler and more direct.

D.



 
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Old 01-03-01, 01:17 PM
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Hey all. Now, I am getting confused. I too am installing a shower, and I'd been planning to place greenboard over the studs, plastic barrier, concrete backerboard, then tile. Seems that some of you think that is too much? But, I recall other posts where the opinion was that only backerboard was too flimsy (maybe only for the feel of it) for the shower walls....Can you guys clear up my confusion? What would be recommended for the ceiling (greenboard/backerboard or only backerboard under the tile)? I am at the point of purchasing materials, so I want to get everything together. Thanks. jc
 
  #6  
Old 01-03-01, 04:17 PM
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I think I disagree with more than one person here.

Johnboy, sheetrock showers rot out all the time. And what do you mean by "overkill"? There is no overkill when dealing with a wet area such as a shower.

I think I'm the guy who first introduced the idea of installing the backer board OVER green sheetrock. Mentioned it in my book in 1992. I think I'm the one who first mentioned it on this forum, too.

Use the greenboard to form the walls and ceiling just as if there weren't going to be anything covering it. Then install a moisture barrier of plastic sheeting and the backer in the area to be tiled.

Use radius bullnose (A-4200) at the edges of the installation and at the top if it doesn't go to the ceiling. This accomplishes two things: The greenboard stiffens the backer, which is a little flimsy; and the extra thickness makes the installation appear to be a mud job, a mud job being the traditional way to install tile showers and tub surrounds.

It's the same as doing the surround with lath and mortar. The lath is attached to the greenboard, and the mortar is applied to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. (The same approximate thickness as cement backer board).

If you are concerned about the backer board "wicking" moisture (I'm not), you can waterproof it before installing the tiles.

Don't mean to be argumentative, Rich, but the Aussies install their stuff right on the studs, and the Aussies are having one hell of a time with shower failures. They put ladder backing between the studs to stiffen the backer board. Why not just use greenboard?

Colorado, go back to doing it the way you were doing it. You won't go wrong.

Dan, I do tile directly over the sheetrock in the ceiling area. That's been done for decades, and I don't know of any ceilings having failed. They don't get wet, except in the case of a steam shower.

John
 
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Old 01-04-01, 04:47 AM
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John and all,
I agree that the backer board is kind of flimsy one thing though. many tubs in the center of the five foot dimension are not an inch and a quarter wide (they are at the ends no problem but in the center, from the substrate lip to the edge is only about 3/4 of an inch (especially garden tubs)and many whirlpools if you put 1/2" greencrap and then 1/2" backer unit then 5/16" or 1/4" tile it hangs into the tub area proper. I almost always cat in between the studs and use the water barrier. But you can not always use greenboard and tile backer. next time your at Home Depot check out some of the tubs they are making these days and measure from the lip to where the actual basin starts (in the center of the five foot dimension) and you will see what I mean. If you have the room by all means use greenboard but, you should check first!
Regards,

Rich Gately (Tileman1)

http://www.gatelytilecompany.homestead.com

 
  #8  
Old 01-04-01, 07:28 AM
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Rich, you make a good point about tub dimensions. The one I'm installing doesn't have enough space to do greenboard + cement backer board. Yet, at the same time, I see John's point about using the greenboard to stiffen the cement backer board.

A random thought... and not necessarily a result of brilliance ... where there isn't enough clearance for the double layer +tile, would it be worthwhile to put greenboard over the studs (with rough-in dimensions adjusted appropriately) prior to setting the tub, then cement board over that after setting it? Would I be better to just put a lot of stiffeners in the surround walls and do cement board to the studs?

One thing I know for sure: I want to do this job right the FIRST time... my father's favorite saying was "there's never enough time or money to do it right the first time, but always enough to go back and do it again!" The flip side of that is that I have a tendency to overbuild... sometimes to excess. It's better than underbuilding (nobody ever had a callback because their work was done too well!), but it can get expensive if not balanced. I'm going to be ready to set the tub over the weekend, so I need to decide what I'm doing before I set it.

Thanks, guys!

D.

"I'll build it... you tear it down. I dare you to try!!"

 
  #9  
Old 01-04-01, 04:59 PM
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Hi Guys, Haven't looked at Home Depot tubs lately, but I'll take your word, Rich. Tubs would just be another item on a long list of things that have gotten really screwed up since we quit manufacturing just about everything in this country.

The sheetrock behind the tub would work if you have that option. A bunch of ladder backing between the studs also would work. Using Hardi-backer instead of Durock or Wonder Board would also help. Hardi is just a lot stiffer, I don't care what anybody says. And, of course, you will install the moisture barrier behind the backer no matter what.

And Rich, maybe you can recommend a waterproofing that goes on easily over the backer to keep it from wicking so much.

And finally, I'm sorry I came on a little strong. I think is was the handyman trying to talk you into sheetrock behind the tiles.

John the Meek

http://www.johnbridge.com

P.S. That's some boast you have as a signature, Dan.
 
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Old 01-04-01, 05:27 PM
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John, are there any downsides to using hardi-backer instead of cement board? For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I thought that Hardi-backer wasn't desirable in wet areas. Might just be one of those assumptions.

Ladder backing is easy enough to do... actually, I'l going to be putting in a bunch of extra lumber to back-support things like grab-bars and the like (for when I get older ).

Speaking of which, as Murphy's famous laws would dictate, I've got a floor joist right smack in the middle of my tub drain, parallell with the long side of the tub. I have to space the thing out from the back wall enough to clear it, not a really big deal, just a pain.

My wife and I have had a wild-hair idea while moaning over the drain blockage. She was a vision of a few little nooks and recessed shelves in the back wall, and spacing the tub out another 3 1/2" will give us lots of space to do that sort of thing. Is it practical? I know it will be more work and lots of detail, but is it a practical thing or a problem that will be waiting to rise up and smite me later?

Oh, and John... I'm more humble than I sound. Still, you oughta see some of the stuff I've (over) built! I sure hope that I don't have to take that stuff apart!

D.

 
  #11  
Old 01-04-01, 05:44 PM
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Hey, this is almost like instant messenger.

The little nooks and crannies at the back of the tub will have to be completely waterproofed, and that's an area that Rich Gately can better address.

I've heard guys complaining about Hardi-backer, but I still think it's the best. Just look at Durrock and Wonder Board closely, and you'll notice all sorts of voids. It's not well made at all. (Here come the tile police again.)

I'm a mud man, and I don't use any of the stuff on a regular basis, but when I have it's been the Hardie stuff.

John
 
  #12  
Old 01-04-01, 08:36 PM
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Exclamation **** Tile Police ****

John you're killing me.

Here's the deal, US Gypsum does not recommend a vapor barrier installed with water resistent sheetrock. Yeah, it
s because water vapor (it will find a way) will leech through the wall and turn the plaster to mush (Who'd a thought?). Hows that for strengthening up the walls! Yes, John, you want the plaster board to breath.

If you want a "mud look" just cut some 2" strips of backerboard and nail them to the studs before you hang the full sheets.

Hardibacker isn't recommended for use in steam rooms but fine in showers. Manufacturer recommends Hardibacker screwed over 15 pd roofing felt stapled to wall studs. Not Greenboard, not plastic, should I go on? Then you may install a waterproofing membrane over the backerboard. Waterproofing membranes are well worth the money and also offer some elastomeric protection.

John- The voids in concrete backerboards are a PLUS! Smooth side for mastic (if you want to throw your money away) rough side for thinset mortar. Do I have to tell you that this IMPROVES the mechanical bond of the adhesive? By the way using thinset mortar to set your tile will stiffen the backer board up more than enough. It's absurd to think that Durock or Wonderboard will crumble and dissolve at the slightest wind.

But John you are right about one thing. Hardibacker has a much higher flexural rating than any concrete backerboard. It's great for floors but I prefer Durock on walls. The dimpled edges make taping the joints a breeze.

Next time I'm going to have to cite you...you've been warned
 
  #13  
Old 01-05-01, 05:09 AM
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Hey Dancase;
Stiffen up the wall with cats in between the studs and you should be a ok. concentrate at the points where you will have joints in the board and also at the tub. Have Fun I have to go to work now and do the exact same thing also froggyman what about TYVEK house wrap? lets moisture out but not in what do you think for ease of installability?
Regards,
Rich Gately (Tileman1)
P.S. Froggyman go to my site and shoot me an email lets get aquainted. It sounds like you have some info. that I would like to learn.

http://www.gatelytilecompany.homestead.com
 
  #14  
Old 01-05-01, 08:42 AM
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You guys are something else!! LOL
I mean if you want to hold armored tank races in your shower by all means use 6" of backing, concrete, and galvanized pig iron. Come on!!!! (Unless of course the tile and grout you use is so inferior as to fall off in a year!)

Ive been rebuilding tub and shower surrounds in homes and appartments) for 26 years and have NEVER seen one water dammaged above 3 feet from the base or tub. The only exception was a few showers that leaked thru where the shower valve was.

As long as the studs are 16" on center and you add cross pieces where the substrait meets and at tub/base areas, there is no reason why a good tile job would break down! Unless of course you're a masocist that throws himself against the walls of the tub or shower every time they take a shower!
But for those of you that feel the need to have the "BIGGEST AND BEST" (and probably recomend that everybody get a HUMMER as the family car,"cause you never know....") Knock yourselves out!!!!!

I'm out of this area! I'm NOT getting kickbacks from Durarock!
 
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Old 01-05-01, 08:49 AM
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On a previous ocassion I asked froggyman to come out in the open, since it's impossible to email or otherwise identify him.

I will only point out that what I say is the result of nearly 30 years experience (Yes, I was in the field when cement backer hit the streets.)

It is one thing for a person to present an opposing opinion. It is quite another to be rude.

So "cite" me, but identify yourself so that I can check up on your credentials.

 
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Old 01-05-01, 03:17 PM
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John- It was never my intention to be rude to you so if I was I apologize. I really do like your style I just disagree with your reasoning.

What does it matter what my true identity is and even if I were to tell you what difference would it make? You don't know me anyhow. So let it be.

If you have any doubt with what I say then check with the manufacturer, TCA handbook, or just ask me direct. I will put my money where my mouth is any day.

John, if you don't care to follow manufacturer's recommendations or TCA methods then it's really not fair for you to put others down who don't comply as well.

Learn, study the manufacturer's data. There is a whole world of flooring knowledge the both of us have yet to learn. When in doubt, check the manufacturer out! They spend years testing their product's out on a wide range of projects. They have to in order to prevent lawsuits deriving from their product's failure.

By the way Rick, I went to TYVEC's website and found no mention of it being used inside a house let alone over gypsum board. I would check with the TCA first on their thoughts before using this product in the manner that was descibed.
 
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Old 01-06-01, 05:06 AM
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To All:
Dancase and JColorado,
I do understand that you want to do it right the first time.It is all a matter of who you trust and what is best and feasible for your particular application. I am here to help people do a good quality job with a minimum of headaches. I get no compensation for it and devote a heck of alot of time to it. All this talk of the TCA says this and they don't say this etc. is great but, they are merely a recommendation entity (Dave Gobis himself will tell you the same thing) the TCA handbook cannot be used properly without the ANSI standards that go with it. I do apologize to all that this has become a P---'in contest between us (the guys trying to help! Boy that is a gross overstatement)


Anyway I emplore you to keep asking the questions and I will do my best to give you my opinions and recommendations.
You Know who I am, where I am , and are free to contact me anytime you want to. I have stated my opinions on this particular thread and thats about it for me. There are people here that I trust and respect John Bridge being one of them. I believe he has alot to offer the Do-It-Yourselfer and he too devotes alot of time to it. Again my apologies and it is all a matter of who's opinion is the best for your scenario.
Thanks to all,

Rich Gately (Tileman1)

http://www.gatelytilecompany.homestead.com
 
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Old 01-06-01, 11:19 AM
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Gentlemen, let me first say "thanks " for the very fact that you, as professionals, aren't offended by capable do-it-yourselfers. I've encountered a few arrogant "pros" along the way... often with a "you should be paying me to do this if you need to ask" attitude which has helped me to avoid being an arrogant pro in my principal field, which by the way is Broadcast (Radio) Engineering. I've done my share of construction and I'm pretty anal about doing things right -- BTW, John, I built a house once with lumber from trees that I cut out of the woods and hauled to the sawmill. The exterior walls were "real" 2x6's and the roof and outside walls were sheathed in "real" 1" boards. I had ol' time carpenters stopping on the way by just to watch and remember when they (over) built 'em like that!

I tend to agree with those who say that there are some folks who have no business attempting some diy projects. There's nothing that annoys me more than a room that SCREAMS "I did this myself, and I STILL don't have a clue!" Usually, those projects are done by folks who won't or can't ask questions and learn how to do it right (or that they shouldn't try...). I genuinely appreciate the willingness of all the pros in this forum to share their knowledge and help prevent those disasters. It raises you all a notch in my book, particularly those who don't mind being identified.

It's actually a good sign that you guys disagree at times. There's more than one "right way" to do most of these projects (in my field, we say that any room with three engineers will have at least five opinions on any given procedure). The fact that you're willing to passionately debate the point says that your opinion is worth hearing. In reality, I'm taking pieces of each opinion and combining them into the solutions that make the most sense for my situation. I think that's the way it oughta be, actually. If there were only one correct way to do things, there wouldn't be much discussion and it would be awfully boring around here.

BTW, here's the combined conclusion as to how I'm doing this thing:

1) On the rooten subfloor, I've removed as much as I can of the rotten plywood. On the top, I'm putting 3/4" plywood, and underneath I'm putting some 1/2 or 3/4 (depending on what I have left around here) between the joists with cleats on each joist, just to ease my mind about the idea of the edge of that concrete substrate just hanging there unsupported. I'm also putting a couple of 2X6 blocks between the joists to provide good support for the joint. Necessary? I dunno -- debate it and let me know . I'll sleep better, so it's worth it to me. I'm also going to run some of my leftover metal lath between the two pieces to tie the repair into the old slab a little better, just because I have it and it won't hurt. Back upstairs, I'm stapling 15 lb felt (John, I bummed half a roll from a roofer! aren't ya proud? )and metal lath, and leveling the area with Quickrete sand mix fortified with an acrylic admix. That oughta hold 'er!

2)For the tub surround, I'm doing a good deal of ladderbacking, as well as the blocking already planned for future (or not so future) grab-bars. The tub is being spaced out from the existing back wall by the width of a 2x6 knee wall, which allows the drain to avoid the joist it was directly centered on and allows a shelf 3 or 4 inches above the tub for those beverages and candles. I'm also building in a shelf 2 or 3 feet higher. I'll skip the details of how I'm building it to save space here, but I assure you it ain't gonna have any flex when I get done, and there will be plenty of lumber in that wall! Lumber is cheap compared to the price of doing it over again, so if in doubt, I'm going to err on the side of overbuilding (as usual!)

The jury is still out on whether to use Durock or 1/2" HardieBacker. Seems to be good arguments for each, and not many arguments against either. If all else is equal, I'll probably choose the less expensive option when I'm buying the stuff. It appears that, with a proper frame and installation, either will work acceptably.

And unless my beloved changes here mind (a possibility), the tub and floor will be done with Laufen's "Chateau" series, Jura Beige -- 6x6 in the tub surround, 12X12 on the floor, with Custom Building Products #386 (Oyster Gray) grout. Of course, I haven't checked with her in the last 20 minutes, so anything is possible.

Thanks again, Gentlemen. This will be a better job because of your input, and of course it's not finished yet, so you probably haven't heard the last of it! Whenever you find yourselves getting into a p******* contest, remember the words of one of my mentors, who (shortly after I had committed political suicide and been fired) told me "Never get into a p****** contest with a skunk. It doesn't matter who's right, or even if you CAN outp*** the skunk. You still become an unacceptable lunch partner!"

D.


 
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Old 01-06-01, 03:26 PM
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Very Good Dan!

And eloquently put! LOL

Everyone here on this thread seems to know how to tile a wall. The only problem I see is when someone thinks that they're way is the ONLY way to do a job!

I apologize if I offended anybody in particular but as Dan said there is usually more than one way to do a job "right". And because somebody has a different opinion doesn't mean that they are worng, or don't know what they are talking about!

thank you

John Meyers
 
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Old 01-06-01, 04:22 PM
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And that in a nutshell is why the doityourself.com forums have no credibility in the ceramic tile industry. But then again this is the site that promotes the use of plywood for substrates in wet areas and says tiles are set in a thin plaster like fluid called grout. Yes, some of the info & answers given in these forums are frequently used as jokes in expert discussions.

Now you know why the true experts don't show their faces around here. You can't argue with someone who doesn't care to follow industry set guidelines. Who suffers? The homeowners do. But then again, it's not your money so who cares. Yes, there are different ways of doing a job correctly but there are just as many ways of doing a job incorrectly.

On second thought, I apologize profusely. Evidently your expertise and wisdom supercedes any efforts made by the TCA and the manufacturer's to educate the public. It would be a great benefit to homeowners worldwide if you could share your information with them so that they can revise their obviously misguided information.
 
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Old 01-06-01, 04:39 PM
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Froggy!
At least I don't hide! My e-mail addie is here for everyone to see. I see you're afraid to post yours. Your sarcasm was good though. Did you work on that all night??? Take off you "Royal Robes" and see that the world is composed of real people! Not just dictators!
 
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Old 01-06-01, 05:16 PM
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Excuse me for sticking up for the industry for a change. There the ones that ultimately bare the blunt for the few hacks that believe in self governance.

Yes, I subscribe to the same rules and guidelines all installers should. No robes for me, thank you. I truly care about the work I do. To me tile is an art and should be treated as such.

If it tickles you warmly you may email at froggyman33@netzero.net
 
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Old 01-06-01, 08:12 PM
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I'm not sure I want to risk getting caught in the crossfire of this adolescent p****** contest... but there's something I simply MUST point out... and then I'm going to go back to the job and let you kids scrap about what I'm doing. Of course, I'll be the only one actually accomplishing anything useful, but that's the way it goes in the real world sometimes

Now, as to the qualifications of the chief p***er here:

Originally posted by froggyman
Now you know why the true experts don't show their faces around here.
His frequent and prolific posts, in light of his own testimony quoted above, certainly doesn't establish any credibility in this reader's book.

... and that's all I've got to say about that, gentlemen.


D.

 
  #24  
Old 01-06-01, 09:20 PM
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I have always left the questions to the true experts- the TCA and the manufacturers. Besides, I don't ever recall showing my face.

No, Dancase I truly hope your project works out for you. I think that doing it yourself (if you feel you can) is great and you won't see any objections from me in that area. John is pretty much the only one in this thread who doesn't think that showers are a project most homeowners should tackle. In some cases I'm sure he is most correct.

It amazes me that the same posters on this thread will quote TCA methods in one thread and discard them in another. Then they rail against the tile installer who installs greenboard in showers. Call it what you will, but I call that hypocrisy.

Nuff said on the subject. If you want my help just ask I will be happy to refer you the information you are seeking.
 
 

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