There are several ways to build a regular tiled shower. The traditional way to build a shower is to use a concrete backer board substrate for the walls and create a mortar base using wood 2x4’s for the curb. Then, cover the base floor and curb with a rubber membrane 6 inches up onto the walls. The process should be finished by using tile, marble, stone, or granite thinset onto the walls, floor, and curb.
While this is an acceptable method, a better technique is to use both the concrete backer board and a waterproofing membrane called Shluter®-Kerdi. We have found this method of construction to be the absolute best in terms of waterproofing a shower. The Shluter®-Kerdi shower system comes in a kit. Although, we recommend still using wood 2x4’s for the curb, instead of the Kerdi curb, for the additional strength we need to install our shower enclosures.
Under no circumstances should drywall or green board ever be used in a shower wet area. Green board is water resistant so it is acceptable to be used in the non-wet areas of the bathroom, but when green board meets the concrete backer board for the shower area, tile should never be allowed to adhere to the green board. Green board will remove the moisture from the thinset used to adhere the tile, and any water that penetrates the grout lines will also be absorbed by the green board which will eventually lead to water damage, mold, and mildew.
Showers built for frameless enclosures require specific detail during their construction. Since frameless shower enclosures have no frame, the top of the curb must be sloped 5 degrees inward toward the shower drain to prevent leakage from any water that sheds off the door while taking a shower. Additionally, we have found that having (2) 2x4’s behind the wall where the door will be hinged, helps anchor the door.
We hope this information helps in the construction of your shower or bathroom project.