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Old 04-26-2005, 10:23 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Shower Stalls, Shower Stall Pans

Thought I'd start this Topic, as I have just answered a question for a guy on the "OTHER" site...here's my reply to his query about a shower pan....he was looking for an odd size (30 inch).

If this is not the right place to post this topic, let's move it to the right forum area.
Thanks, Ryan
-----------------------------------------------
P.J.,
consider what 'real' home builders do. Build your own shower stall/pan.

Use copper, galvy steel, EPDM /concrete, even have a plastic pan custom welded.........

Make a box from copper (have a sheet metal shop do it, with good soldered joints), and drop that onto a bed of ply. In the case of the bus, I'd recommend placing it on top of a sheet of rigid foam insulation, the pink stuff is rated for some loading, and is available 1/2 inch thick or so.

Have the 'walls' of the shower pan made about 6-8 inches tall, with the front edge 'rolled' or bent to a ledge to prevent cutting yourself on sharp edges. Leave the edges that will be covered alone, they will be hidden by the wall sheeting......the front edge where it's bent to form a lip can be supported with a piece of ply or Hardiboard (cementitious backer board) and the support material can be covered with tile, or something decorative and VERY waterproof.

Then, go to Home Depot or Lowes etc. and buy fibreglas sheet, comes in 4x8 size, and fabricate the walls of the shower from that. The pebble finish cleans up fairly easily come wash time. Comes in white and ivory colors.
Some suppliers also have plastic sheet that looks like conventional shower tile, look around, ask in your local home centers/builder's supplys. There's a LOT of stuff out there.

Note: I have NOT tried to curve this stuff around something like a Skoolie ceiling, tho I have read of someone using plastic laminate to do so. Maybe a heat gun will soften it enough, but that's an experiment I haven't tried yet. Next time I do an install, I'll try it and report back.

Use a fine-tooth blade in a jigsaw to cut the stuff, and take your time, GO SLOW. The embedded fibreglas is abrasive and hell on blades, so have quite a few spares.
I press the saw firmly on the sheet when cutting it to prevent the blade from 'snatching' it and breaking the blade or chipping the sheet. I also clamp a couple pieces of wood to the sheet to guide the saw and help prevent chipping or breaking the sheet.
I lay some blue masking tape down and draw the cutting line on that to make it easier, and it also protects the surface from the base of the saw.

Use the plastic corners and edge pieces they sell for joining the sheets, with a good grade of ELASTOMERIC-type caulk to make the joints tight. Take your time, a good job fitting/sealing it together will make repairs unnecessary later.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND USING SILICONE CAULK ON BARE METAL, AS THE ACETIC ACID IN IT WILL CORRODE THE COPPER. While it's fine for fibreglas and plastic, I can't recommend it for metal that is unpainted.

The 'glas sheets should cover the edge of the the copper pan, overlapping by three to five inches (3-5 inches), otherwise splash from the shower will get under it. I DO NOT caulk the sheets to the pan, as any water that gets behind the sheet will be allowed to drain into the pan instead of sitting there and corroding the metal.
I usually use a polyurethane adhesive when I install tub surrounds as a handyman. Holds like iron, tho sometimes I need to brace the sheets in place to ensure they stay put until the adhesive takes hold.

You can use copper pipe and sweat fittings to make the shower rod to support the shower curtain, looks cool. To keep the copper pipe new looking, I polish it and then apply a couple THIN coats of clear polyurethane. Just to the pipe, not to the pan.
Use 'roller' curtain hooks to hold the curtain without scratching the copper pipe.

You can also have a pan made up of galvanized steel, cheaper than copper, not as nice looking.......

An alternative is the same EPDM rubber roofing they use for houses and porches, just make up a stiff Plywood box, line it with the EPDM sheet (all joints glued properly, right?), and then pour/cast a concrete base inside the rubber "pan" (actually leakproof liner). Mounting the drain takes a bit of prior planning (it's cast in place when you set the concrete), but is common for homes. You can leave the floor concrete, or tile it, just like in the high-end houses.
Kinda tough to do right, but sure looks sexy when it's tiled.........

While a bit heavy, you can also use concrete board/sheet (Hardibacker, one brand name) to make the walls up, and tile them. Just ensure you have a VERY RIGID structure, as vehicular movement will ruin all the tile joints and grouting. ONLY use the correct fasteners to mount the concrete board as recommended by the manufacturer, as other screws (like galvy deck screws, etc.) WILL fail. I actually can't recommend tile walls, as they are prone to falling off from adhesive failure. Houses don't move or vibrate much, except maybe in California or Alaska

Articles on these types of shower pans are in "Fine Homebuilding" and "The Journal of Light Construction" magazines. JLC in particular has a CD-ROM of all of their articles you can buy for relatively cheap $, it's a tremendous resource for Skoolie builders as well as for those non-mobile things called houses.

Another source is "This Old House" on PBS, they also have a tremendous on-line resource collection of materials, tools, and suppliers. Google it.

If you still want a plastic shower pan, go to a plumbing supplier. They will have what you want, UNLESS the pan is an odd size.
In that case, have a pan made up.

If you look around, custom plastic fabricators can weld up a pan of poly for you, just like they can weld up custom tanks. Give them a try, just don't scream TOO loudly at the prices.

Make sure any pan you install has a small amount of pitch or slope to it to ensure proper drainage.
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Old 04-26-2005, 12:52 PM   #2
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Re: Shower Stalls, Shower Stall Pans

Another option would be to make the pan out of wood and cover it with something water proof (fiberglass resin, rubber, heavy vinyl, etc). Of course no seams would be best to prevent any leaks to the wood. I will be making a removable shower in my bus 'garage'. Pull out the toys, put down the shower base and hook up the curtain and I gots myself a shower. The knobs/shower head will be permanently attached to the wall. My base will actually be made from the top of a 32" shower I bought for my house. It's flimsy plastic but has the same basic shape as a base. I'll glue it to some plywood, reinforce the sides and add a drain.

Chad
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Old 04-26-2005, 10:55 PM   #3
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There's whiskey in the jar...

I think your advice on shower construction is all wet! Just making a pun... Actually, it is a very good primer on the topic. You made a point of it, but it bears repeating: if you're going to use tile, your subsurface MUST NOT FLEX! The manufacturers say that a flexure of L/360 is tolerable, but I'd cut that in half (L/720), especially in a vibratory, bumpy vehicle like a bus. L=unsupported span.

In my bus I have 3/4" firring strips spaced about 1' apart under 3/4" sheathing. I thought that would be sufficiently stiff for tile, but now I'm not so sure. The allowable deflection would be 0.0333 inches, or a little over 1/32". I don't think I'm getting that much deflection during walking, but I'm not sure what is going to happen during driving. There could be a racking motion that exceeds the deflection. I may still try tile, but I may go for something more flexible.


My shower pan is going to be made from a half whiskey barrel, the kind people use for planters. It's sitting in the back of the bus waiting attention. I'm going to put 3/8" plywood over the bottom (inside), and screw that down to the staves that make up the barrel head, so as to distribute weight more evenly across the staves when I'm standing in it. Then I'm going to take Bondo and build a 1" radius fillet the area where the sides meet the bottom. I'll use a hole saw and chisel to partially cut through the plywood in a 4" diameter circle about 3/16" deep in the middle of the bottom. This will get filled with a few layers of resin saturated fiberglas mat, in order to build up a thick spot for the drain to attach. I will then install 2 layers of 10 ounce fiberglass cloth to line the bottom and the sides. After that, I'll drill a drain hole through the reinforced center area and install the drain.

It'll be a tall, shower pan, but I'm small enough that I could use it for a tub to soak in if I pulled my knees up to my chin.

Since I'm going to be living in the bus sooner than I had anticipated (like this weekend), this is going to become a priority pretty soon -- I gots to get me a J.O.B., and it's hard to jobhunt if you stink!
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Old 04-26-2005, 11:35 PM   #4
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Odd that you should mention the whiskey barrel idea, just as I started reading it a blue barrel popped into my head (well not LITERALLY).
With the bung end down, a drain can be screwed directly to it. A hoop-like frame would hold out the curtain for some elbow room, with the curtain draped into the barrel. Yeah, yeah, THAT'S the ticket!

I used to have a book on hot tubs/Japanese 'ofuru' tubs, there was one that you could JUST sit in with your knees to your chest..........I think the author called it a 'microwave'.

BTW, I've another old book called "Country Comforts" that uses an old steam radiator plumbed to a wood hot tub for heat. Cold water from the bottom of the tub goes to the bottom of the radiator, hot water comes from the top of the radiator to the top of the tub. Natural convection circulates it.
The heat source? Build a fire under the radiator! Brilliant idea, just reverse the usual heat cycle with the thing.

As for a RIGID structure for tile, consider the ordinary hollow-core door as an example. While light weight, it's two outer surfaces are separated by a honeycomb of cardboard....it's very stiff. Similar structures are used for the control surfaces of fighter jets, commercial transports.

A 2x2 wood frame, skinned both sides with 1/2 ply polyurethane glued completely around all faces would be pretty damned stiff. I've made more than a few doors this way, don't see why it wouldn't work for a wall or three.
Face it with the hardibacker, and you just might have the tile wall of a bath sybarite's dreams.
Boy, 1/32 inch 1in360 deflection would be TOUGH to do, even in a stationary house. Or maybe I have too many examples I've seen of tile mounted right to greenboard as nightmares......
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Old 04-27-2005, 04:33 PM   #5
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one thing about cutting fiberglass...after working at a fiberglass shop we would just grind away what was extra, or if in a large sheet use a 4 1/2 inch grinder as a saw....just make sure you wash yourself in COLD water afterwards rather than warm or hot..trust me it helps the itch *S* something about makeing youre pores smaller than the glass dust.

And do make sure you have a dust mask/eye goggles for this
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Old 04-27-2005, 11:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Grimm
Odd that you should mention the whiskey barrel idea, just as I started reading it a blue barrel popped into my head (well not LITERALLY).
LOL...that would hurt!


Quote:
With the bung end down, a drain can be screwed directly to it. A hoop-like frame would hold out the curtain for some elbow room, with the curtain draped into the barrel. Yeah, yeah, THAT'S the ticket!
That's essentially what I'm planning. Bent copper tubing for a curtain rod, and probably 2 curtains to make it all the way around the tub.

Quote:
I used to have a book on hot tubs/Japanese 'ofuru' tubs, there was one that you could JUST sit in with your knees to your chest..........I think the author called it a 'microwave'.
Well, I'm 5'8", but I only weigh between 115 and 120 pounds, so the barrel will work fine for me as you describe above, but for anyone much bigger, I think it'd be a *really* tight squeeze.

Quote:
BTW, I've another old book called "Country Comforts" that uses an old steam radiator plumbed to a wood hot tub for heat. Cold water from the bottom of the tub goes to the bottom of the radiator, hot water comes from the top of the radiator to the top of the tub. Natural convection circulates it.
The heat source? Build a fire under the radiator! Brilliant idea, just reverse the usual heat cycle with the thing.
Hmmmm....how about hooking up a small transmission cooler up to the bus heater lines? Put that in the bottom of the hot tub with a false floor over it to protect it. That would be cool, too.

Quote:
As for a RIGID structure for tile, consider the ordinary hollow-core door as an example. While light weight, it's two outer surfaces are separated by a honeycomb of cardboard....it's very stiff. Similar structures are used for the control surfaces of fighter jets, commercial transports.

A 2x2 wood frame, skinned both sides with 1/2 ply polyurethane glued completely around all faces would be pretty damned stiff. I've made more than a few doors this way, don't see why it wouldn't work for a wall or three.

Face it with the hardibacker, and you just might have the tile wall of a bath sybarite's dreams.
I think it could certainly be done. And the hardibacker would make it even stiffer, once you put that on.

Quote:
Boy, 1/32 inch 1in360 deflection would be TOUGH to do, even in a stationary house. Or maybe I have too many examples I've seen of tile mounted right to greenboard as nightmares......
Using latex admixtures with the mortar is supposed to help keep the tile from cracking. I've never tried them, though, so I can't say from experience. It *sounds* reasonable that it would help in a high vibration environment like a bus, though.
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:57 AM   #7
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durastall shower stall

I decided to use a model #78 durastall shower. I comes complete with EVERYTHING you need for the shower including valves, shower head, curtain, curtain rod, base, EVERYTHING. And are Very inexpensive as showers go. I got mine for $98 new from Home Depot. http://mustee.com/durastall.shtml
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