From the Floor Up

New Methods for Curbless Shower Installations

Posted by Daltile Team on Feb 3, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Understanding Changes in the Tile Industry Series

Ambassador in Jet-Setter Dusk various sizesThe huge interest in curbless—zero-entry—no-threshold—showers is twofold: it creates a stunning, streamlined design, and it is a functionality feature that increases accessibility for those who have difficulty negotiating traditional tubs and shower curbs.

Whatever the reason, no-threshold showers pose a challenge to tile installers. The primary purpose for the curb is to act as a dam that keeps water from escaping into the bathroom proper. The curb also allows for the shower floor to be a bit higher than the rest of the bathroom floor, making it easier to create the slope needed for proper drainage.

What’s New

The Tile Council of North America recently changed guidelines for curbless shower installations that address these challenges. The subfloor and underlayment are the elements most affected by the changes. Here are the basic concepts:

  1. The subfloor must be composed of a depressed slab. The depressed area must extend beyond the immediate shower area (since splash water becomes a concern without the curb). A sloped bed of mortar then provides the surface for drainage

  2. Waterproofing material must extend beyond the immediate shower area to one foot past the high point in the depressed slab

  3. The high point of the depressed slab must be outside the immediate shower area. A secondary drain may be required depending on the location of the high point in relation to the shower area

Additionally, there are two new shower receptor methods that were added to the handbook to address different drain types (clamping drain and integrated bonding flange drain).

Other Considerations

The new zero entry shower methods only address tile installation needs and not compliance with the standards for accessible design from the Americans with Disabilities Act. For the ultimate in functionality and design, use these handbook methods in accordance with the ADA guidelines.


Daltile is consistently working to make sure our products and specifications meet or exceed industry standards in a timely fashion.

Join us next Wednesday for a look at another change to the tile industry: stone tile installation methods with radiant heat.

If you have questions or observations, please leave them in the comments below. We’d love to have a conversation about it


Topics: How to Install Tile, Industry

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