238 Ridgeway

A new client was referred to me to bid on a repair to a shower. The previous owner of the home had applied 1” mosaic tiles directly to sheetrock inside of the shower. The client had leaned against the wall, while in the shower, and it had fallen apart. There was a window in the shower, which had leaked, and the framing and sheetrock of the wall had been compromised.

The client had interviewed several companies to get bids, and the consensus was to hire me to remedy the problem. I had to demolish the bathroom walls, remove a cast iron tub, the glass shower door, the exterior shingles covering the wall, the floor tiles, and the toilet in order to be able to begin repairs. This can be challenging when there is another floor above where you are taking out the walls, as it becomes necessary to temporarily support the weight of the upper floor and roof, while effecting repairs around the temporary supports. In this case, I needed to repair part of the shower wall, move the temporary supports, and then repair up to the corner, add support to everything, and then complete the structural framing.

Next came the next sliding window, and a custom shower design with new plumbing and material choices. The clients chose a beautiful large-format limestone tile, which had been honed and filled, for the walls. These tiles come with a natural veining pattern that needs to be coordinated to create a pleasing pattern on the walls. I laid out the tiles on the driveway to determine the most attractive and appropriate layout for the final application.

The client decided upon a bull-nosed edge at the border between the tile and the wall, so each of the edge pieces needed to be rounded over and polished to match the honed finish of the field tile. This was also the way to finish the corners at the window sill.

The shower floor choice was a polished river rock. That required a very delicate process to grout between the tiles with the correct grout (colored cement and sand) before beginning to build the walls on top of it. This necessitates a bulletproof waterproof substrate under the tiles, as this 2-grout process leaves a cold-joint between the two grouts, which is more susceptible to cracking. The floor gets a cement-colored grout, while the walls get one that compliments the beige colors of the tiles.

The waterproof barrier that I use for shower systems is made by Schluter, and utilizes a number of different components that integrate nicely into a lightweight, high-tech ( and bright orange) barrier with a micro-fleece to allow for the adhesion of the thin set mortar that attaches the tiles to the floor and wall. Add a custom-made glass screen and some new paint for the existing vanity and walls, and you have a nicely remodeled space that the clients (according to them!) “love to be in!”.