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Radiator Fins

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The standard shower curb is three 2X4's nailed together to form a stack. I went with four to get me a height that was just higher than the heater, which ran along the rear wall of the shower. The plan here was to build over the heating pipe and hide it inside a soffit/curb in the shower. I removed the fins on the heater to reduce the heat emissson from the pipe. Those little aluminum foil like fins actually radiate a decent amount of extra BTU's and thus why they were invented. Even tho it may sound cool to have a heated shower curb it really isn't. Any expansion and contraction (movement) will cause grout lines to crack over time.
 
         

                                    

Shower Curb

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There is some debate about what type of wood to use for a shower curb. Some people will say to use pressure treated for a shower curb, especially on concrete. However most, including the John Bridge tile forum, will tell you that since pressure treated wood is naturally wet out of the lumberyard this is no good. With time it will dry out and shrink which in turn causes slight movement by the wood. This slight shifting is not permitted for shower curbs or anything with tile on them since it will result in grout lines cracking eventually. (This is also the same principle why you do not stain your deck as soon as it is built. You are supposed to wait a month or so for the inside to completely dry out so you dont trap moisture in.) I used Kiln Dried wood and laid the base on a 3 mil cut contractor bag to act as a moisture barrier from the cement. I tried to attach the base piece of wood to the concrete using a nail gun. I had access to one and I was pumped to use it. It is literally a gun that takes a .22 calibre bullet that fires against a nail. As cool as it sounded, after 1 shot my ears were ringing and the nail was not even in all the way. Like a total chump I tried banged in the rest with a hammer, I should have fired another bullet off instead. Anyways I bent the nail in doing so and ended up ripping the entire piece out and did it the right way. I got a hammer drill and drilled holes into the concrete and screwed in a few tapcons.

                                                                       

After the base was secured down I just screwed in each successive 2X4 with stylish ceramic deck screws. The top piece on the rear of the curb was a 2X8 which I had to rip to exact size and then toe nailed into the wall studs. This was easier said than done.

Did you detect the slight difference in the pictures above? Of course you didn't because you are reading this as fast as humanly possible! If you look at the 2 pics closely you will notice that the entire top run 2X4 was actually changed out. Reason being, there was some slight movement in the curb and promptly failed my inspection. I basically created 2 separate moveable curbs as opposed to 1 strong cohesive unit. There was definite movement in this curb that I wanted to overlook, but to go fwd would have been stupid. So after much hesitation I began removing the top 2X4 and literally extracted 3.5 inches (width of a 2X4) off the rear 2X8 with a sawzall. I than laid my new 2X4 completely across the top and over the rear return and than over the heater where I finally tied it in to the far wall. Just look at the stupid picture if you I lost you. Ideally I should have staggered every other piece to create an interlocked unit. But wouldn't have made that much of a significant difference, as long as the top piece was tied into the rear wall this thing was going nowhere.

 

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