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Shower Systems Archives - ARC, Inc.

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    [term_title] => Shower Systems

Frequently Asked Questions

I lost the screws for my drain for tile. What sizes do I need?

All the screws that come with the drain for tile are stainless steel, and they are metric sizes and thread counts. These are available at many well-stocked hardware stores in their specialty fastener section (often you'll find an aisle with pull-out drawers, and inside the drawers are all kinds of unique fasteners). Here is the screw information:

1. For the four screws that fasten the adaptor to the foundation, you really can use flat head screws that fit, and they don't have to be metric. We recommend #6 or #8 x 3/4" long, flathead, wood threaded style screws in stainless steel or ceramic coated. Always drill pilot holes before driving these screws.

2. To secure the clamping ring, you'll need M4 x 0.7 x 16mm long stainless steel screws. These have to be metric and the proper size and threading to fit the threaded holes in the adaptor.

Why are there more threaded holes inside the drain adaptor?

The drain adaptor is a component in both drain for tile assemblies and the drain for vinyl assembly. The drain for tile model requires only two threaded holes for securing the clamping ring to the adaptor. The clamping ring for a vinyl drain requires four threaded holes, and the holes are larger to accept screws that are bigger in diameter.

Why the difference in screw sizes? The clamping ring in a drain for tile only has to secure the edge of a thin, flexible drain gasket; the clamping ring for a drain for vinyl has to bite down on thick commercial-grade, vinyl safety flooring. The bigger screws provide a stronger grip on the thicker material.

Can you make a custom drain grate for me?

Sorry, we can't, but there are usually local metal fabricators who can do a great job if you give them a design or tell them what you want. You can also try this online source: www.designerdrains.com.

Will grates from other manufacturers fit ARC drains?

Fitting grates across manufacturers is tricky because there is no common standard. Out grates are made to metric dimensions that equate to 3/16" thick x 4-7/16" wide x 4-7/16" long.

What holds the linear drain cover in the tile adaptor?

It's a snug fit. There are round rubber bumpers that you insert into pre-bored holes in the side walls of the cover. Pressing the cover into the adaptor squeezes the bumpers just a bit, making for a snug fit. The cover will come out only if you want it to.

How deep is the linear drain cover?

All covers are 1/2" deep.

Why can't I cut a TrueDEK linear base?

These bases have a mild steel frame that is part of their internal structure. Each steel tube that makes up the frame is set back from an edge of the base by about 1". Cutting through these tubes weakens the structure and may reduce the load capacity of the base, depending on how the base is supported underneath.

Do I need a Premium Kit or a Pro Kit?

The difference between these kits is in the amount of waterproofing supplies that are included.

The Premium Kit has enough waterproofing materials to do a full alcove shower, including the shower base and three walls. The Pro Kit was created for installers who prefer to waterproof the shower base with Tank/10, then use other waterproofing products on the walls.

It's up to an installer to consider compatibility of different waterproofing products and their appropriate use in a shower system.

What color is Tank/10?

The dark gray color of Tank/10 makes it easier to spread over shower foundations and tile backer (you can easily see spots you miss) and the color darkens as the compound dries. When applying the second coat it's easy to see the areas that are wet (lighter gray) and dry (darker gray).

What is the shelf life of Tank/10?

Tank/10 has a 3 year shelf life. A born-on date is printed on a label that is adhered to every bucket, and that date is also written on a label that is stuck to every waterproofing kit box. This shelf life applies to unopened containers. As soon as a container is unsealed the aging process will accelerate, just as with paint or glue or any other liquid.

What's in Tank/10?

Tank/10 is a premium latex based liquid paste compound. It is quite thick and has a very high latex content, which results in a product that has the consistency of pudding and spreads out in a thick layer to create an exceptionally protective membrane. Tank/10 can be spread with a paint brush, paint roller, or toothed trowel. Cleanup is best done while the material is wet using warm water and a mild soap.

What do I use to bond tile to the shower foundation?

Use a quality brand of modified thinset mortar mix.

Before installing tile, TrueDEK foundations must be coated with Tank/10 waterproofing compound, which bonds to the plastic shower base and provides an ideal surface for the modified thinset mortar.

Modified thinset mortar will bond directly to the shower base, but it is an inferior bond. Tank/10 waterproofing, on the other hand, bonds very well to the plastic shower base, and it provides an anti-fracture membrane to protect grout and tile from minor movement in the underlayment that may otherwise cause a crack or fissure in the tile layer.

Can I get a TrueDEK Classic base with a centered drain hole?

You can trim the edges of any TrueDEK Classic base so that the drain hole ends up in the center, or at least cloer to center. But in their original format, every TrueDEK Classic base except for one has an off-center drain hole. An off-center drain hole allows an installer to rotate the foundation so the drain hole misses a joist or some other obstacle.

Why is my TrueDEK Classic base flexing when I lay it on the joists?

Chances are, the blocking you installed to support the drain hole is too close to the hole, so that the reinforcement ring on the underside of the foundation is preventing the foundation from sitting on the joists properly. If you look at the underside of the foundation you'll see there is a strengthening ring around the drain hole. If the ring or reinforcement area rests on blocking or a joist or some other support, it can prevent the shower foundation from seating properly. As screws are driven around the perimeter of the base, the area around the drain hole will remain raised, resulting in flex when a person steps on the base. This error must be corrected before tiling the shower; if not corrected, grout is likely to crack, tile may pop loose, and water may run away from the drain.

If joists or blocking are uneven, or there are high or low spots on the top edges of joists or blocking, this can also cause flex. You want to achieve even support along every joist, and from joist to joist, while assuring that the foundation is level.

You will see some flex until the base is fully installed with polyurethane construction adhesive and screws, just as you would see with underlayment materials like plywood subfloor, for example.

A Classic foundation that is seated evenly on joists and blocking may flex a little, but once it's fastened and bonded to the framing structure it becomes very rigid, just like plywood subfloor does when it's installed on joists.

Do I need to support all edges of the TrueDEK Classic foundation?

Yes, all edges of a TrueDEK Classic must be supported, as well as the adjacent subfloor edges. Additionally, the drain area requires support. We recommend 2x stock for all support blocking, and make sure the blocking underlays all edges by 1" or more.

How level does a TrueDEK Classic base have to be when it’s installed?

The simple answer is, it must be level. The bubble has to be centered on a spirit level, and you want to check for level all around the perimeter and across the base from end-to-end and side-to-side. TrueDEK bases offer plenty of pitch to speed water to the drain, but every degree that's lost to an out-of-level installation hurts drainage performance.

Do I have to use ARC waterproofing supplies, or can I use different products?

Many waterproofing products will not bond well to plastic shower bases. The waterproofing products ARC has developed have proven to work over thousands of installations, and we stand behind them. Using other products may or may not work, but you'll have to experiment to feel confident in the long-term results. Whatever you use has to do the job for the long haul.

Can I finish a TrueDEK Classic base with any tile I want?

Yes, you can, within the limitations of a tile product's specs and TCNA guidelines. The point load rating on a Classic base is 4,000 pounds-force/sq. inch, so it can handle even the smallest mosaic tile, pebble, and glass coverings, as well as any typical wheelchair or shower chair use. We recommend mosaic tile (2" or smaller) because they can be installed without cuts within the shower base area and the many grout lines provide good traction in a wet shower. Bigger tile must be cut at the pitch intersections so that it lays down properly on the shower base.

The maximum tile thickness that the drain will accommodate is 1".

Can I get a TrueDEK Classic with the drain hole in the center?

The off-center drain hole is an advantage because it helps the installer avoid an obstacle by rotating the foundation two or four ways, depending on whether it's a square or rectangular model. For example, when you set the TrueDEK into position the drain hole may sit directly over a joist, but by turning the foundation you may avoid this conflict. All Classic foundations have off-center drain holes.

Do I need to tape the joints around a shadow box, niche, or built in bench?

Leaving joints uncovered allows more opportunity for water to penetrate your framing structure. In the long run it pays to embed tape over every joint. You'll never regret it. Remember, most tile and stone are impervious to water, but grout is not.

Can I remodel a TrueDEK shower?

Absolutely. One of the great things about aTrueDEK foundation is that you can remove the original tile or stone, then redo the waterproofing and cover with new tile or stone of your choice. Be sure to repair any damage to the fiber cement board underlayment on the floor or walls before reapplying waterproofing materials.

Is building a wet room expensive?

Great question. Any installation will depend on many factors, including the size and complexity of the room, the time and materials it takes to apply the waterproofing materials, and most significantly, the type of tile or other wall covering you choose. Wet room walls must be covered with some type of waterproof material like tile, stone, or sheets of acrylic, fiberglass, quartz or the like, and as you might guess, the cost of these materials varies widely.

Why would I consider a wet room?

A wet room provides several key improvements over an un-waterproofed bathroom. First, no water can penetrate to the subfloor, preventing rot, mold, and mildew from developing. Second, water cannot leak into rooms below. Third, shower spray can splash into the room and bathers can step out of the shower without having to dry off beforehand. Fourth, washing down the entire room for cleaning is easy and you'll never worry about water getting into the framing. Fifth, a wet room can expand the maneuvering area beyond the shower, which can be a real advantage for people with disabilities or physical limitations. Sixth, wet room designs can make a small to medium size bathroom feel much more spacious.

What is a wet room?

A wet room is basically an entire bathroom that has been waterproofed. So, in addition to the shower area, the floor throughout the bathroom is waterproofed along with the walls to a height of about 3" to 4". All seams and joints in the floor, as well as the floor to wall joints and wall corners, are covered with embedded reinforcement tape.

Can I install two TrueDEK foundations next to each other to make a large shower?

This has been a good solution for some situations. You'll have to plan for two drains, and two drainage areas with a slight ridge in the middle.

Can I use silicone caulk for installing the drain in my TrueDEK shower?

Yes, but we don't recommend it unless you are very neat about it. Nothing bonds to cured silicone, so if any is exposed in places you intend to apply waterproofing, you'll end up with a problem--be sure no silicone is squeezed into areas that need to be waterproofed. If you do use silicone you can clean up squeeze-out (before it cures) with WD-40 or similar products.

My foundation is installed and seems to flex in the middle. What gives?

Chances are, the reinforcement ring around the underside of the drain hole is hung up on a joist or blocking. If you look at the underside of a TrueDEK Classic you'll see that there is a squarish-shaped reinforcement area around the drain hole. This reinforcement area isn't flush with the ribbing or bottom surface on the rest of base. If the reinforcement area rests on blocking or a joist or some other support, it prevents the base from seating properly.

Another possibility is that the joists and blocking are uneven or there are high and low spots in the framing. You want even support, level support throughout the framing below a shower base.

Why would I use a TrueDEK on concrete?

Since concrete is so hard it is often believed it is waterproof. Not so. Concrete acts much like a sponge, absorbing and holding onto water over time. In a shower, water can get into concrete by soaking through grout (tile may be impervious to water, but grout isn't), leaking around the edges of the shower base, or seeping into cracks in the concrete that develop as the material ages. Many showers were made using a vinyl liner under a packed mud (concrete) bed, with a custom pitched surface for drainage. Unfortunately, over time water often collects between the concrete and the vinyl liner, creating a filthy, mold-ridden mess. Eventually the concrete crumbles, and these showers became unusable. Thousands of them are being removed from homes, hospitals, and other facilities every year. Installing an ARC shower on concrete provides an impervious surface, covers any cracks that may occur in the concrete, diminishes the potential for mold and mildew growth in the concrete, and delivers consistent, precisely-controlled pitch planes for perfect drainage performance and predictable tiling results.

How do I install a TrueDEK Classic in a concrete floor?

You have a couple of options, though as always, we prefer installations that provide zero-threshold entry into the shower. You can remove concrete to a depth of 1?? in the area where the base will go. We do this with a concrete-cutting saw and blade, first cutting along an outline of the foundation, then making scoring cuts about 1" apart inside the perimeter cuts. We remove the remaining waste with a hammer drill and chisel. Use thinset mortar to bond the base into the recess. Alternatively, you can install the base on top of the concrete and build up the surrounding floor to end up with a level entry into the shower.

Can I use a TrueDEK Classic for other applications?

Sure, if properly installed and capable of supporting the weight you plan to set on it. A Classic makes a great dog-washing platform, and we've heard of them being installed as a catch basin in a floor under a washing machine. Anywhere you need a drain should be a candidate.

Do I need to support the edges of a foundation that don’t rest on joists?

Setting a TrueDEK on joists requires care and is a critical part of the installation. The entire perimeter of a base must be supported. Additionally, the drain area requires support. Use 2x stock for all support blocking, and make sure all edges are supported by at least 1½" of material. All adjacent subfloor edges also require support.

Where do I set a level to check my TrueDEK installation?

The perimeter of each foundation has a flat area for resting a level. If you have cut away a flat area, use the crest of the edge to set a level. Because of the importance of leveling a TrueDEK, consider using several levels to test your installation: a torpedo level for checking the edges, a longer carpenter's level for going edge to edge, and a bulls-eye level for spot checks, like around the drain hole.

Can I drill into a TrueDEK?

Yes. In fact, if you cut a Classic you will want to drill new countersunk pilot holes for fastening it to the joists or other foundation material. Also, if for some reason you need to secure the base in a spot where there isn't a pre-bored screw hole, simply drill a countersunk pilot hole into the field and drive a screw.

What type of screws do I use to fasten the foundation?

We recommend #9 or #10 flathead screws that are 2" to 2½" long. We do suggest using coated screws as a bit of insurance against corrosion due to the wet environment. Pick a screw that is appropriate for the substructure beneath the shower foundation--wood screws for fastening to joists and Tapcon-style screws for concrete.

Do I need to drive a screw into every hole in the base?

You don't have to, though most installers do. There are a lot of holes, and they are there for convenience. Driving screws holds the foundation in position while the adhesive cures. Once the adhesive cures there is little need for the screws.

Can I install the foundation on a subfloor?

You can do this and it will be fine. Be sure you cut a hole for the drain that is large enough for the reinforcement ring. Failing to do so will cause the ring to catch on the subfloor and prevent the base from seating properly.

Can I get a foundation in a size that’s not shown in the catalog?

Sorry, no. We carry the full line of foundations, though we hasten to add that the size of the base does not limit the size of a shower. There are techniques for floating slope beyond a TrueDEK to enlarge the shower--see our Extend the Pitch instructions.

What is the hole size for the drain connector?

You'll need to bore a 3-1/4" hole in the TriForm for each drain connector. A piloted hole saw is the easiest and least expensive tool for accomplishing this task. If you look at any of the supplied plugs for the drain recesses you'll notice they have a dimple centered in the top surface. Position a plug in the drain connector location you intend to use, and drill a 1/8" diameter pilot hole through the plug and the TriForm using the dimple to locate the drill bit. Now set the plug aside and use your 3-1/4" hole saw, outfitted with a mandrel and pilot drill bit, and bore out the large hole for the drain connector (just use the pilot hole you drilled earlier to guide the hole saw).

What do I use for connecting the linear drain gulley to the drain line?

ARC carries Sioux Chief's 825 solvent weld shower drain module for 2" drain line connections. One of these is supplied with each linear drain assembly. You can order additional connectors if you plan to install 2 or 3 drain lines.

Do I need to install these plugs in the unused drain connector spots?

Yes, we do recommend it. Without the plugs, which are supplied with every linear shower base, the drain connector recesses will hold water and gunk from showering, and become an ugly little science experiment. Use silicone caulk to adhere the plugs in place and it will spare you from dealing with a yucky mess later on. Be sure to clean out the recesses with a damp cloth before installing the plugs.

What do I do if my linear foundation is flexing in the middle?

It could be a couple of things. The subfloor or joists underneath might not be perfectly aligned and level. You may have to use a belt sander to take down any high spots on the joists, and use thin wood shims to fill low spots. You can drill countersunk pilot holes in the foundation field and drive screws to pull the former snug to the joists, however, you do not want to squeeze out all the adhesive. Snug is good enough; the adhesive will do the rest.

Do I need to support the edges of the foundation that don’t rest on joists?

Setting a TrueDEK on joists requires care and is a critical part of the installation. The entire perimeter of a base must be supported. Additionally, you must add support around the drain gulley. Use 2x stock for all support blocking, and make sure the base edges and the adjacent subfloor edges are each supported by at least 1½" of material.

Where do I set a level to check my linear base installation?

The perimeter of each base has a flat area for resting a level. Because of the importance of leveling a TrueDEK foundation, consider using several levels to test your installation: a torpedo level for checking the edges, a longer carpenter's level for going edge to edge, and a bulls-eye level for spot checks.

How level does the TrueDEK linear foundation have to be when it’s installed?

Absolutely level! TrueDEK foundations offer plenty of pitch to speed water to the drain, but every degree that's lost to an out-of-level installation affects drainage performance.

Are other drain cover colors available?

Not at this time, though adding oil-rubbed bronze has been considered. Stay tuned.

Do I have to use an ARC waterproofing kit?

Many waterproofing products will not bond well to a gel coat foundation. The waterproofing products ARC carries have proven to work and we stand behind them. If you use any other products, you're on your own.

What size screws do I use to fasten the linear base?

Use #9 or #10 flathead screws that are 2" to 2½" in length. Choose screws appropriate for the substrate: deck screws for wood and Tapcon-style screws for concrete. We do suggest using coated or stainless steel screws as a bit of insurance against corrosion due to the wet environment.

Do I drill holes for screws?

Yes, you do want to drill pilot holes so that you can screw a former to a substrate or joists. Use a twist drill bit meant for drilling in metal (you'll likely drill through the mild steel reinforcement tubes just inside the edges of a TrueDEK linear foundation. Countersink each pilot hole so that the screw heads seat slightly below the surface.

Can I get a custom linear base made?

Sorry, no. TrueDEK linear foundations are made by a special process that requires a mold. Building the mold is time consuming and requires a substantial investment. The manufacturer has tried to offer sizes that meet most requirements. Also, because of the pitch requirements for drainage, there are limitations on the size can be made.

Why are there three drain connector spots?

By offering three drain connection locations, an installer can pick the one that best suits the installation to avoid obstacles or to run a drain line. Also, you have the ability to install more than one drain connector to handle high flow showers. Multiple drain connectors can share a common drain line, or, to increase drain capacity even more, you can use separate drain lines all the way to the stack.

Is the drain gulley a separate part?

Each linear foundation is a fully integrated shower base. The drain gulley is part of the mold and is fabricated at the same time as the rest of the base.

What is a TrueDEK Linear foundation made of?

Fiberglass, resin, mild steel tubes to reinforce the edges, and special marine grade plywood.

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