Today I’m blogging about our big bathroom splurge! Was it marble tile? A heated floor? A solid gold toilet??
Nope, it was a Schluter Kerdi Shower Kit! The kit is, according to Schluter’s website, an all-inclusive system to create a maintenance-free, waterproof shower without a mortar bed.
So why exactly did we spend hundreds of dollars on something that you won’t even be able to see once the bathroom is finished? For a few reasons:
– The GC (and me, I suppose, by default) subscribes to the “Do it once, do it right” philosophy. Some people will say that cement board will suffice for tiled shower installations. I can’t really say it is or isn’t, especially with my limited experience. But we do trust the praise for Kerdi’s waterproofing abilities and durablility, and combine that with that all-in-one kit they sell, it was our first choice to make sure we do not encounter issues with water and mold down the line.
– The pre-built shower pan. We wanted to tile the shower floor, but really, really, really (REALLY) did not want to build a mortar bed. The kit comes with an already-made sloped pan. All you have to do is cut it to size and use thinset to glue it in. Easy!
So those were the top two items on our mind when we bought the shower kit. Installation was pretty straightforward. Measure and cut the Kerdi membranes:
Spread and smooth membrane over the thinset:
Repeat this process with all the different bands and corners. There are a lot — in the end, every wall, seam and corner is covered and overlapped with Kerdi for maximum protection. We followed the order instructed by the Schluter Kerdi installation video.
After all was said and done, would we do it again? Probably, but we won’t be missing it when we use a pre-made shower stall in the basement bathroom. We came away with a few thoughts and tips to share:
– Installation is nowhere near as easy as the Schluter video makes it seem (but is it ever?). When you have to apply thinset to such large areas, it can really be a race against the clock to keep the thinset from hardening before you apply the Kerdi. Apparently this is made even more difficult when you are applying the thinset on cement board, which I have read sucks the moisture out faster than drywall. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to both wet the cement board before applying thinset, and to also keep a spray bottle of water on hand to keep the thinset moist as you apply. In addition, Schluter recommends using unmodified thinset when applying the Kerdi, but we had bad luck with Custom Building non-modified thinset. VersaBond, a slightly modified thinset, was much more effective, and we have been loving Ditra-set, which is made specifically for Schulter Kerdi membrane.
– The “all-in-one” shower kit isn’t quite true. The kit (we bought the 48″x48″) included 33 feet of Kerdi strips, which are to be applied to all the corners and seams in the shower. This was not even close to being enough for us; in fact, we barely had enough to do all the corners of the shower walls. I thought it was ridiculous that Schluter felt anyone could complete an entire shower project, as they do in the video, with what they provided. Because we had spent hundreds of dollars on the kit, it was more than annoying to have to go out and purchase an additional roll of Kerdi band.
Other than that, the Kerdi did do exactly what we wanted it to: it provided an easy, pre-sloped shower bed that’s ready to tile and it kept the shower waterproof. After letting it dry for 24 hours, we plugged the shower drain and filled the floor with water. A day later:
Completely full and no water escaping! I would have loved to get started with tile right away, but the Kerdi will bring us peace of mind and (fingers crossed) avoid problems down the road.