A New Way to Make Your Own Tile Shower
Recently, I reviewed an innovative shower system I discovered at this year’s International Builders’ Show in Orlando. Here’s another one that’s equally remarkable.
No, I don’t have a weird fixation with showers; it’s just that this product also greatly simplifies what has been for a long time an unduly complex undertaking.
What's Underneath Your Tile is Important
Typically, the substrate material for tile shower walls is water resistant (green) wallboard or cement board. The Schluter system, instead, uses an extruded polystyrene foam panel, with a special reinforcement material on both sides and fleece webbing that firmly anchors thinset mortar to it. Not only is this a truly waterproof material, but it can be cut to size easily with a utility knife. The panels are so versatile, in fact, that they can be used to make freestanding partitions, walls, shelves and spa enclosures.
The Myth About Tile and Grout
Before I go any further, I should dispel a persistent myth about tile and tile showers, in particular. A tiled surface and its grout joints (even those that are sealed) is not waterproof. Water can and will penetrate to the substrate below. That’s why, especially in tile showers, the waterproofing takes place below the tile.
In addition to being easy to work with, the Schluter System ‘s real claim to fame is that it virtually eliminates the risk of mold, mildew and rot due to water vapor and/or water penetration.
A Shower in a Kit
The Schluter Shower system offers a complete line of shower building components – building panels, shower trays, ramps and curbs – all made out of lightweight, expanded polystyrene foam that’s unbelievably easy to work with. Schluter’s show pan or tray comes with a built-in slope that eliminates the need to hand form a slope in wet mortar. The tray is also designed to accept the company’s line of rectangular-shaped drains.
To see this system in action, take a look at the video or visit Schluter online at www.schluter.com