Houston Mud Method

Discussion in 'Ceramic & Stone Sales and Installations' started by Lazarus, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. Lazarus

    Lazarus Pro Member

    An Associate of mine, Paul Luccia of Cabot & Rowe, out of Houston introduced me to this radically different method of mudding a shower pan. I use it exclusively when doing Kerdi showers and have done about a dozen of them to date. Give it a look.

    How it looks the following day.

  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yeah, I don’t know. I like the idea of the pump sprayer for minimizing flow and in the video he explained the more course aggregate so water will penetrate down, wet goes to dry in the water damage restoration theory.

    I guess in certain situations. I’ve mixed too dry before and hydration didn’t take place. The theory is Portland only needs enough moisture to hydrate.

    Had some trouble viewing the first video, the budget isn’t as much as utube 2nd one played fine. Then there was extra steps with water hose?

    I like packing mud down hard for compression then screeding down to height. Though I don’t do mud beds lately.

    Not sure what the chemical engineers would say about that method, I’d like to hear their rebuttals.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    How can you know the water reached the bottom is what I was wondering.
  4. Lazarus

    Lazarus Pro Member

    You can tell that the water has reached the bottom and you have reached ideal saturation when the surface no longer readily soaks up the spray and beads up a bit and becomes slick.

    I generally use 4 to 1 from Mapai and they call for 3/4 gallon per bag, so that's the ratio I use. If it's still absorbing, I might spray a bit more to ensure good saturation. First one I did, about 2 hours later, I slapped it with a trowel and broke the handle! (lesson learned...)

    Mike...2nd video was of a different pan that was misted with a hose. A little different pressure, I imagine.

    Don't think you'll get much rebuttal from the engineers or Companies...they're still selling the same amount of mix, regardless of method, just as we probably won't see an official endorsement of the method anytime soon. Testing can be expensive...and again, they won't be selling more product.

    I've seen comments about "compressive strength," and true, it might be "only" 2000 or 2500 psi instead of 3000 or so, but we're not talking about a truck dealership showroom floor here, eh?

    You could always frame up a 1 ft sq box in your garage and test it out. Bust it up in 2 days and see how hard it gets....
  5. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    that has to be the slickest dry pack method i have ever seen in my entire life. I love it. Next time i have a mud pan (probably never) i can tell you i am gonna give it a whirl

  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Actually I was going to buy a psi compression tester from Boeing’s surplus, I have at least 12 projects going on now don’t have time to do a mock up of anything. I agree about the concept. If Schluter can make a floor out of styrofoam - - -.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    I like it. Same concept as settin fence posts. Dump the bag in there and turn on the hose.
  8. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I think my favourite concept along this trend is making ditch berms out of concrete. Pile a bunch of ready mix concrete in the bags where you want the berm to be, wait a year or 5 and moisture and rain will get in there and dissolve the bags then voila, perfectly formed concrete retaining wall and almost ZERO effort. Cracks me up every time
  9. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I’ve only seen that once which it reminded me of. The bags looked like crap. Just watched a retaining wall video on utube this morning about L shape pre stressed walls that interlock. I have a berm in back yard that’s prime driving area for me and narrow on property line, been wondering all sorts of ideas.

    I’d probably throw visqueen on it to help cure but I do that regular mixing.

    I’m just wondering about the science in it mixing, I get the hydration portion. Same as when they tell you to mix anything especially self leveler when you know it’s drowning in water.
  10. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    I know its a lot different by mixing the bag in a bucket, getting the chems mixed and such. Don't see how that evenly does that.
  11. Lazarus

    Lazarus Pro Member

    Don't know how you know "It's a lot different" if you haven't done it. It's mixed when it's packaged at the factory and it gets moved around quite a bit while spreading it out. The "chems" are Portland and sand. Non issue.....
  12. Tom Potter

    Tom Potter I Support TFP

    That is pretty slick.

    I very rarely do a mud bed anymore with all the systems out there now. But every now & then there's a situation that it's the best solution. I'll give it a shot.
  13. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    It’s a different mind set. Portland and sand mix is a science. IDE venture to guess and by the sand washing away from the surface that surface and bottom layer will be weakest. Not sure if my arm would fall off onto the pump up sprayer. Also as noted by videographer and “seasoned veteran” that the specific 3701 or whichever # works best.

    I’ve thought about that process before, dry mix then wet, I’m sure after awhile of setting mudbeds everyone said there’s got to be a better way. Kinda hard for me to understand what the benefit is. Most of my setting is on grade slab.
  14. epoxyman

    epoxyman Pro Member

    It’s a neat idea
    But I’ve done some really big tile mud set kitchens in schools and jails it would be hard trying to mud 5,000 to 7,000 sf this way

    We buy about 15-20 yards of concrete sand and 50-80 bags of gray Portland and mix it with a mixer outside
    And have a few labors rolling it in as we screened and pack it down
    Been doing it this way for over 25 years and yea it hot and hard work but it makes a very hard floor and so far not had one pop up or fail.

  15. Lazarus

    Lazarus Pro Member

    Mike...I've used 3701, Mapai four to one and sand/portland mix. All are a little different, but all worked well. I don't get the residual sand you saw, but I only use a "pump up" sprayer. Too much water force with a hose for me.

    Benefit to me is no chopping and mixing and lugging heavy buckets around and no clean-up.

    Ron...Obviously not a good method for large floor jobs.
  16. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I got ya. I didn’t see much dust either when they dumped it. And it sucks that we don’t usually wear gloves as it wreaks havoc on skin. Large areas we used a rotoriller on concrete and a green garden bucket, sometimes additive in the water sometimes not.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    I have no idea if this is a good method or not but I found it informative as someone that has never done a mud bed
  18. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    They’re not fun. Biggest issue I see is not the right pitch 1/4” per foot. Bird baths, leaks etc.
  19. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I cannot see it being any harder to do it dry than wet. I have only made 2 mud beds in my life, one turned out great and the other.... well, there was a reason i did two. One shower, two beds.

    I wanna go mock this up in my shed and make a pan to see how it works because if i do it in a plywood 3x3 mock up i can deconstruct it and see the bottom
  20. Lazarus

    Lazarus Pro Member

    Good idea, Mark. Let us know the results.

    Mike, the pitch is no biggie. I use this with the Schluter drains...and, as such, I just figure the "drop" from the drain flange to the farthest corner at a minimum of 1/4 inch per foot and run a level line around the shower. I generally screw in 1x2's at that lever to screed off of. With a Kerdi membrane, just leave the screeds and cover them with Kerdi up the walls. Lathe is cheap.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.