How to Build a Curbless Shower (Part 2: Waterproof Shower Walls) — by Home Repair Tutor

By Grover Koelpin 27 comments

In today’s video we’re going to show you
how to waterproof the walls of a curbless shower surround. Now, what made this particularly
challenging was the fact that there’s a window inside the shower. But we used HYDRO
BAN Board to simplify this process and make the walls 100% waterproof.
We’re going to install HYDRO BAN Board as our backer board, which is essentially a waterproof
board made by Laticrete. One of the great features about this is, first off, it’s
already waterproof. So, you install this, you just have to address where you put your
screws and then your seams and everything’s waterproof. But the other nice thing is that
the entire core of this is waterproof as well. So if you nick the surface of this, you’re
not going to damage the integrity of the waterproofing. So just as long as you don’t go all the
way through the board, you’re still going to be safe. To me, that really gives a lot
of extra confidence in it. A lot of different situations where you can actually puncture
this membrane and, you know, be concerned about it leaking. Whereas being able to know
that as long as you don’t go all the way through the board, then it’s still going
to be waterproof. So definitely a fast, easy system to install.
But the first thing you want to do, again, is the VIM pan. You just put a generous bead
of the HYDRO BAN sealant, and it is basically just to adhere that board to the pan. And
you just need to use the screws that are provided with the HYDRO BAN Board. You just want to
smooth this. Smooth it out. For this project, the wood studs were 16”
on center, and we placed a screw every 12” on center along the stud to support the board.
Instead of wasting all this extra material here, we’re actually just going to go ahead
and install this on the top and the fill in the sides because that will basically take
up a whole sheet, and there’s really no reason to cut that much.
So we’re just going to measure to the top of our framing here from underneath. That’s
16 7/8”. It’s the same, I’m pretty sure, 16 7/8”. Okay, and then you just take the
utility knife and cut this. As you can see, it’s very easy to cut through
the HYDRO BAN Board. You just need a utility knife, and that’s pretty much it. Obviously,
you can also an oscillating multi-tool, but it’s not necessary unless you want to do
some refined cuts. For example, here on this board, we’re going to be using an oscillating
multi-tool to make the HYDRO BAN Board flush with the framing.
Okay, so in order to meet two boards together like that, you want to put a bead of the sealant
to the top and bottom. Again, it’s very important to use the sealant
between adjacent HYDRO BAN Boards and to smooth that out and to use the right type of screws.
You can’t just use any screw. Here we’re using out multi-tool again to refine our cut
up against the window framing. That helps out a lot.
Before any of this dries along the bottom here, it’s not a bad idea to feather this
out. Smoothing out the HYDRO BAN sealant is important
because it can interfere with your tile setting. Here we’re just snapping a chalk line and
cutting the board to size using a utility knife. We just need to fill in this one last
slot on the right-hand side of this window wall.
Using HYDRO BAN Board makes waterproofing around the window so much easier versus cement
board. Again, where the board meets the board, put
a bead. So again, we’re just applying that sealant.
We’re putting our board in place and using the right screws that should be bought along
with the HYDRO BAN Board. So here we’re just adding a board to the
top of the last board that we installed, and we’re cutting it to size to be flush with
the window sill. So again, you can see how easy it is to use the HYDRO BAN Board to waterproof
around the window in the shower. This isn’t ideal. You shouldn’t really have a shower
with a window in it, but nonetheless, sometimes you can’t do anything about that, and it’s
just part of the home. So having HYDRO BAN Board makes it so much simpler.
Here we’re just getting our final measurement for the plumbing wall and cutting our boards
to size to fit around the plumbing fixtures. Just get a marking on the pipe here. We can
just use a utility knife to cut a small circle around that, or you can use a paddle bit too.
The nice thing about these thick foam boards, they can easily… just marking where my valve
is and just make a nice cut according to that. Okay, before you put this in, just make sure
you get a bead of caulking on your VIM pan and
also down on your corner here. And I would keep your first row of screws above the floor.
You don’t want to pinch this all the way down to where this is going to kind of be
off the pan. As Steve explained, we’re adding the first
set of screws about 4” above the VIM pan so that the board doesn’t bellow inward.
And we’re checking that the board is plumb with our 4’ level, and then adding the screws
per the HYDRO BAN Board directions. If you do that, you’re going to have a successful
installation of the waterproofing boards on the wall. Here we’re getting measurements
on the left and the right of the shower pan, and we’re just cutting a hole into the board
using a paddle bit. And that will ensure that our shower arm pipe will fit through there
properly. So again, we’re just adding our sealant both on the top of the board and to
the adjacent boards on the main wall. We’re putting our board in palace and then using
our screws to get the board nice and flush with the adjacent ½” drywall that’s in
this bathroom. You can see how quickly it is to use the HYDRO BAN Board on the plumbing
wall. Here we’re doing the exact same method on
the wall opposite that. So again, it’s a very quick installation. And if you’re using
the right screws and the right technique, this is going to be 100% waterproof, and it’s
going to be a very, very quick installation for you. The main thing is to remember to
always smooth out the sealant that oozes out between the boards and between the VIM shower
pan. That’s really important for your tile setting.
Okay, so around this window, obviously a window is not an ideal feature to put in your shower.
Just saying that on the basis that, you know, you got an area where the outside of the window
is created waterproof so water doesn’t come in, but a double-hung window was never really
designed to keep water out from the inside. So what we do is pretty much do the best that
we can to waterproof against this, basically eliminating any ability for the water to get
out into the sill area. We’ll just use a HYDRO BAN Board to go around that and using
the sealant to go up against the window. Bottom sill in first.
So it’s not also a bad idea to sit this in here and just see how level or not level
it is because you really want, when this is sucked down, you want this to kind of, especially
the bottom sill, to pitch towards the shower so that any water that hits this is going
to go into the shower. So just make sure that your framing is slightly created to slope
inward. If it’s not, a way that you can address this, which this is, what you can
do is use thinset underneath this and slope it towards the shower. But it’s usually
ideal, if you can help it, to create the framing so that it automatically pitches toward the
shower. So put a bead on your board, and then we’ll
put a big, nice bead against this window and basically press the board into it to where
it’s oozing out from that window cavity. So you could see that oozing up out of that
window sill. That’s what we want. You want to make sure that this is completely water
tight to that. I’ll go ahead and put our two screws in.
So I’m just actually just pulling this away from the window because I don’t want to
smear up against the window. Then we’re going to have tile that comes up 3/8, but
this stuff probably won’t come off the window very easily. So I kind of press it down. And
if you can, use a factory edge up against the window; it’s going to be a lot flatter
up against the window. If not, just make sure it’s a nice, straight edge. So we put a
nice bead against this window again, get down along the base of your HYDRO BAN Board, and
go up along where the other board meets. Smooth out any of your sealant.
As you can see here, we’re applying the sealant to the window itself, along the bottom,
and along the HYDRO BAN Board. We’re adding our little board here to the right-hand side,
we’re screwing it in place, and we’re cutting it down using our MultiMaster. Then
we’re smoothing out any of the sealant that oozes out between the window and the board;
that’s really important for your tile setting. So again we’re just applying the sealant
along the perimeter to the top of the framing there. We’re adding our board, screwing
it in place. And cutting it down with the multi-tool. So it’s really important to
get these boards flush with the adjacent boards that are around the window. As you can see
here, the next step is to seal all the screws and seams.
Okay, so once you get all the board hung, then you need to go back over all your seams
in the corners and the screws. So just go ahead and do the corners first. Just basically
a nice, generous bead helping down that corner. All the way down to the bottom. And then you
can use a little corner trowel. I mean you can use a regular putty knife as well on both
sides, but a plastic corner trowel really helps get everything nice and tight. And it
uses a little less sealant if you were to do it the other way. So, every screw hole
patch over. And then you might put a bead across your seams.
And then you could see how we kind of overcut this hole. Well, we’re going to make sure
it’s center for one. But you could just easily add a little bit of sealant there and
kind of bridge more of that hole. Okay, then I would go across all of your window
seams as well. As you can see, we’re applying a nice bead
of the sealant around the perimeter of the window and also remove any of the stickers
that are on the board. You don’t want to leave this on the board because it’ll interfere
with the tile setting. And then find all the screws that are in the HYDRO BAN Board. Also,
if you do have any screws that you had to remove, you want to add sealant around those.
So again here, we’re just working on our window, making sure all that sealant is nice
and flat against the board. Same thing with all the sealant that’s around the screws
and the screw holes that you missed because the sealant needs to be flat in order for
you to be able to set your tile the right way. The sealant could perhaps interfere with
your tile setting, so it’s really, really important to have that as flat as possible
and flush with the surface of the board. So pay particular attention to all your screws.
You don’t want to miss those because remember, any penetration through the HYDRO BAN Board
is a point where it could leak into the stud bay.
And around your Grohe flange you can seal to your rough-in valve, which is such an awesome
capability with this type of rough-in valve. Because what you’ll do is you’ll tile
everything and then you’ll cut thus flange off flush with the tile. But being able to
completely waterproof around this is really nice because most valves you’re just relying
on that escutcheon plate sitting against the tile. So like we’re going to be doing subway
tile here, and subway tile has all these different grout joints. So the escutcheon plate never
sits nicely against the grout joint. But knowing that this is now 100% waterproof behind there,
I know that nothing’s going to get behind that wall when the water is hitting the back
of your shower valve. So definitely a nice feature using that Grohe system.
So an added feature, this is probably overkill in a way, but this is something that’s recommended
and not a bad idea to do, is basically all the corners going around the window, we’re
going to use some cement board tape. You know, this is an alkali resistant tape, and basically
just reinforce these corners. But since this is a little bit wet, it’s going to be easy
to embed this mesh. So again, you want to use alkali resistant
tape. This is the same tape that you would use for cement board. So you can just grab
it at your local home store. And the reason why we’re putting this over top of the HYDRO
BAN that’s inside the window is for us to give more rigidity to that area. And also
to reduce any chance that there’s going to be expansion and contraction that could
adversely affect the tile setting. So Steve will mention his thoughts on this particular
step in the process of waterproofing around the window. You know, it’s something that
Laticrete does recommend. So at this point we’re doing it because of their recommendations.
And it’s really the sealant that helps that alkali resistant mesh bond to the HYDRO BAN
Board. So the more sealant you have, the more that that’s going to bond.
So this corner mesh that we’re putting in this window sill, this is to Laticrete’s
recommendation to do this. Definitely not a bad idea. Definitely reinforces the corners.
It’s going to make ensuring that any shrinkage or anything that goes in between the boards
isn’t going to create a gap. Overall, it’s a good idea. But putting this corner mesh
is a real pain. My feeling is that the mesh is a little bit of an overkill, but not a
bad idea. But it is a little bit frustrating to get nicely tight to this corner because
you really want to have everything nice and tight. You don’t want to have a bunch of
bubbles sticking out because it’s going to make all your tile work harder to get around
it. So you really want to try to keep everything as tight as possible.
So this is kind of another overkill idea here, but you’re actually using… just reseal
this, but we’re actually going to be putting a layer of the mesh waterproofing in the corners.
But this will just be an added layer of protection. In another video, we’re going to show you
how to use the mesh that came with the VIM pan along with HYDRO BARRIER to completely
waterproof the pan and the bathroom floor. So again, in another video we’re going to
show you how to do that. Okay, and then if you have additional sealant
to use, if you want to address the drywall seam here… Now, you want to be careful that
you’re not going to come outside of your tile work. Basically we’re going to be coming
out 30” so we’re basically a ½” outside of where our transition is. But if you’re
concerned about this area, you can always just use some of the sealant right on that
seam. Where your shower doors are going to be, this really isn’t going to be a wet
area because your shower doors are going to probably be another inch inside. So it’s
really up to you. It really depends whether you have enough sealant to go over this seam.
But I wouldn’t really consider it a critical area, but not a bad idea just to fill that
area. Smoothing the sealant in this area is important
because you don’t want it to interfere with the installation of your shower doors or with
the tile that will overlap the HYDRO BAN Board and the surrounding drywall. So again, just
smooth it down with your putty knife, and you should be good to go.
This curbless shower turned out great. We actually used subway tile on the walls and
a marble mosaic on the shower pan. If you want to see how we tiles this shower, we’re
going to put all those videos inside the Bathroom Repair Tutor video library. You can click
right here to check that out for yourself. It’ll definitely help you simplify the craft
of building a custom bathroom. Thanks for watching our tutorial today. If
you have any questions, let us know, and we’d be more than happy to help you out. Take care!


Alex Smith

Jan 1, 2019, 12:15 pm Reply

Nice vids. Keep 'em up!

Let Go

Jan 1, 2019, 12:35 pm Reply

Great video 👍

chris simon

Jan 1, 2019, 1:55 pm Reply

Is the hydro ban more expensive than the kerdi board? Another great job boys!

Money Making Mike G.

Jan 1, 2019, 2:53 pm Reply

Man!!! What a way to start a rainy Sat. morning in Jersey!! A video from you guys, one from Sal, and one from Landberg!!! I def. got my fix of tiling, and waterproofing,and bathroom remodeling for the day!!! Great video as always,God bless and Dirty Jersey out!!!!

Juan Gabriel

Jan 1, 2019, 2:55 pm Reply



Jan 1, 2019, 6:16 pm Reply

I really like the hydro ban board. It looks so much easier to install compared to cement board or drywall and it’s 100% waterproof, a big plus. Great video.

Bata Ta

Jan 1, 2019, 6:26 pm Reply

great job we follow u from algeria 😃😃😃😃😃😃


Jan 1, 2019, 7:28 pm Reply

Looks like an excellent board and light too, have to see if we have a supplier here in the uk, thanks for sharing 👍

Timothy Richel

Jan 1, 2019, 1:31 am Reply

That system doesn't look as well designed as Schluter


Jan 1, 2019, 4:09 am Reply

A shower should have never been put in with that window. The weep of the window is on the outside of the sheeting which means you wall will get wet from the outside in. It means your wall is going to saturate and get wet and Mold.

Daniel Feldman

Jan 1, 2019, 5:07 am Reply

You've done a couple videos now where you've used Laticrete products. Would you say you're becoming bigger fans of the Laticete line of products versus Schluter? Are you able to disclose what kind of projects you'd use Schluter versus Laticrete?

John Loughran

Jan 1, 2019, 4:41 pm Reply

Laticrete offers several size thickness with the hydroban boards. What thickness boards did you use in this project? How many tubes of sealant did you use for this size shower? Have you used or considered a curbed pre-sloped pan in combination with the hydroban board system for waterproofing? Thanks!

ivan t

Jan 1, 2019, 8:42 pm Reply

So guys, how much is this VIM kit? This product is awesome too, so thx for sharing your knowledge and expertise in using the product.

Barney Gumble

Jan 1, 2019, 6:00 pm Reply

I could watch this stuff all day.


Jan 1, 2019, 3:21 pm Reply

he's a master


Jan 1, 2019, 6:03 pm Reply

Sooo much better then those cement boards.

collection of different videos collection

Feb 2, 2019, 8:00 pm Reply

What paste are you using? Silicone or?

Juan Luna

Feb 2, 2019, 5:50 pm Reply

If its to rough, can it be sanded?

T Willey

Apr 4, 2019, 5:29 am Reply

Hey Guys, great tutorial as always! Curious if you have any suggestions on how to install something like Ditra to a floor without permanently adhering the Ditra to the floor? For example I have a subfloor composed of closed cell foam and a magnesium oxide panel over the top of the foam (foam is on top of basement slab). I need to preserve the magnesium oxide board from damage if or when tile was removed or replaced. Thanks again!


Apr 4, 2019, 11:42 pm Reply

How much would it be to make a handicap shower cost 8'x4'w/ window

Helen Saunders

Apr 4, 2019, 4:39 pm Reply

Why don’t you add a vapour barrier on that window wall?

ReCycle Spinning

Jun 6, 2019, 6:08 pm Reply

Wonder what the cost is of this system. Would rather just use traditional mortar prepan, then the membrane and mortar and tile, then durarock board.

John Alexander

Aug 8, 2019, 6:26 pm Reply

Bro someone should have spray foamed the gap around the window prior to covering it

John Beckwith

Oct 10, 2019, 1:02 am Reply

Its a new age when tile is set upon Styrofoam board. This new school crap will bring much business to the next skill-less generation of wannabee tile setters.

Joe Hicks

Oct 10, 2019, 8:55 pm Reply

Why spend the typical Laticrete dollars on Hydroban boards when you can use Densshield for 1/3 the price.


Oct 10, 2019, 5:19 pm Reply

What type of sealant did you use?

Skip Brewer

Nov 11, 2019, 2:52 pm Reply

So the entire floor is depending on a couple silicone beads along the perimeter? Im not sure I trust that….what if the house settles or something shifts?

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