Page T1.1 . 11 April 2012                     
ArchitectureWeek - Tools Department
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How to Tile a Eurobath

by Tom Meehan

One aspect of civilization that the Romans got right was the tiled bath. Since then, Europeans have built tiled bathrooms that present no distinction between the shower and the rest of the room.

This success of this design depends on lots of tile and a mortar substrate that slopes to a strategically placed floor drain. A lack of thresholds also makes this kind of bathroom perfect for wheelchair access.

On this side of the pond, so-called Eurobaths have found their way into the mainstream of American bathroom design, even when accessibility is not a factor. I recently completed such a bathroom for a homeowner who needed an accessible, elegant design.

Reframing the Floor Around the Drain Gets You Ahead of the Game

The key to a successful Eurobath is pitching the floor to a single drain in or near the shower area. The best way to create this pitched floor is with a full mortar bed, also called a mud job. The process is similar to what is done for a shower-stall floor, only now the mud job covers the entire room.

Before taking on a bathroom of this type, I check the existing floor for level. A floor pitched strongly away from the drain is usually enough for me to pass on the job. I also make sure the floor is good and strong without any bounce.

To keep the finished floor from ending too high at doorways, I had the carpenters on this job frame a 1.5-inch recess in the shower area, replacing the two-by-ten joists with narrower two-by-sixes that then were tripled for added strength.   >>>

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This article is excerpted from Tiling, from the editors of Fine Homebuilding, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press.

ArchWeek Image

Tumbled slate, custom accent tiles, and a built-in shower seat add up to a stylish open bath that's also wheelchair-accessible.
Photo: Roe A. Osborn/ Courtesy Fine Homebuilding Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

A contour map of the shower (top), identifying the flat and sloped sections, and a cross section of the floor (bottom).
Image: © Clark Barre/ Courtesy Fine Homebuilding Extra Large Image


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