The Master Bath

They say that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so I felt a good deal of pressure as I embarked on the master bath.  It only needs to be PERFECT!

I wanted to get the shower drain as low as possible for two reasons.  1. The ceiling is a bit low in this bathroom because I added another bathroom above it.  2. The shower drain is the lowest point on the bathroom floor and the rest of the floor needs to be raised above it–that involves laborious mixing and hauling of mortar, like I did in the kitchen.

I jackhammered a hole and a channel into the concrete floor for the Schluter Kerdi drain and the drain pipe.  I did so GINGERLY because I did not want to rupture the hot and cold water pipes, which you can see in the photos above.

The drain poked up 2 cms from the concrete slab.  I could not get it any lower.  Given the size of the shower pan, I used a 3 cm grade to the drain, meaning a height of 5 cm at the perimeter of the shower pan.

I tied a 5 cm wooden board to the concrete slab with anchors and screws.  Then I used sand topping mix (4:1 sand and cement with very little water) to establish a 5 cm-high perimeter on the other three sides of the pan.  Finally, I filled the pan with sand topping mix and used screeds to establish a uniform slope toward the drain.  That’s how you build a shower pan.  (N.B. In the USA you can buy a custom-sized plastic one from some very nice people in Georgia.)


After waterproofing, I tiled the shower pan with a black marble-effect porcelain tile.

marble shower

Once the tile was in, I realized I had a problem with the shower door.  The brickwork (false wall hiding upstairs drainage) ended outside the shower zone, but I really needed it to continue into the shower so that I could anchor the shower door to the brickwork.  So I extended the brickwork:


And this is the straightest vertical surface in the house.  By a longshot.  Not to brag, but if you want something done right…

For the shower walls, Roma Statuario from Ceramiche FAP:


Now I had to raise the remainder of the bathroom floor by 5 cm, which involved unspeakable amounts of mixing and hauling and screeding mortar.  In the doorway I made a short ramp to meet the hardwood floor at level.


More Roma Statuario for the bathroom floor:


Custom made zero-profile shower door from Lasser, installed by professionals:


Custom-made wall-to-wall vanity with double sink in acrylic polymer, installed by Rob:


I added a micro-mosaic backsplash that coordinates with the 5×5 cm mosaic in the shower pan.  Once the backsplash was installed, I yanked out the vanity to facilitate plastering.  I’m hoping the second vanity install will be more expeditious.


Ready for plaster in the master bath!

Next week we will take a look at 2 more upstairs bathrooms.


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