After the bathroom walls were insulated and plumbed, we installed the vapor barrier plastic and were ready to install the concrete backer board...when I decided to do one more check for squareness in the shower area. If this area is not square, the tile installation can never be right. Although the walls were perfectly square at the other end of the room, at the shower end it was bad.
One of the many things you have to watch for in a reno... if you didn't build the wall yourself, assume it's crooked until proven otherwise!
As you can see, several of the wall studs were badly warped and off-level. Only one thing to do - fix them. Using a long level, we measured the amount of error and sawed spacers from 2x4 studs on the table saw. We screwed them to the existing studs and viola, the wall was fixed and ready for backer board.
After the backer board was screwed to the wood (with the correct screws-only use the backer-on screws) we set the shower pan. We are using a fiberglass pan we bought from an internet retailer. We checked the pan for fit and level, everything was good.
The shower system we chose is a Dreamline Kit- it includes this pan and a sliding door that we'll show you in the next post or two.
We mixed up 80 lbs. of mortar (not concrete) because we needed a smooth mix with no gravel. We dumped the wet mortar onto the subfloor and pressed the pan into the mortar and checked again for level. We let it cure overnight. By morning, we had a very strong and stiff pan which doesn't flex at all when stood upon. Perfect.