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  1. #1
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    Oct 2014
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    Default HPL shower cubicle design

    I am curious about opinions/suggestions on using the following material as the shower wall, as I try to describe the installation method below with a drawing:

    Architecture Photography: Home-Office in Formentera Island / Mariŕ Castelló Martínez (3) (230421)

    The material on the shower wall is HPL; High Pressure Laminate.. The picture is also attached below, in case anyone cant get to the link.

    HPL SHOWER.jpg

    You might be familiar with the material is it has been used for office and restroom partitions. But as you might already know, this material (outdoor versions) has also been used to cover building exteriors, so, it is very durable against water.



    Installation:


    If you please check the attached drawing, that is a very simplified drawing, for a new product, we are planning to place the HPL on two layers of plywood backing, 1/2” and 1”.


    HPL: dark brown, ˝ ply: yellow, 1” ply: orange.

    T8-Pos2.jpg


    We are not building as seen on the picture but we are creating the cabins on drawing. At the bottom, HPL and plywoods will enter the slots created on the shower tray and will be adhered and sealed with appropriate compounds during the site montage of the cabin. Plywoods are not necessarily attached to walls of the bathroom, (the house may be wooden or concrete) but at the top, they will be attached on the ceiling, made of solid surface plates, and the attachment method is the same, entering their own slots and sealed with the same compound, plus, there may be screws going down from the ceiling into the plywoods. Wall edges (verticals) will have their own glasses, and of course also be sealed so the water spray from inside can not reach the plywood plates. Actually, this is a simplified drawing, when the actual product is montaged on site, plywood edges will be invisible, so water wont be able to see/contact the edges of plywood anywhere even with powerful jets. HPL is dimensionally stable against temperature differences, also the glass is, and the tray is expected to expand minimal, so, a flexible sealing compound is expected to hold the system stable -( no thermal expansion concerns I could discover).


    Could you see anything against the code? Any opinion, any question or suggestion is welcomed))


    Thanks! ))


    Connor

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    Connor Akally

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: HPL shower cubicle design

    Quote Originally Posted by Connor Akally View Post
    I am curious about opinions/suggestions on using the following material as the shower wall, as I try to describe the installation method below with a drawing:

    Architecture Photography: Home-Office in Formentera Island / Mariŕ Castelló Martínez (3) (230421)

    The material on the shower wall is HPL; High Pressure Laminate.. The picture is also attached below, in case anyone cant get to the link.

    HPL SHOWER.jpg

    You might be familiar with the material is it has been used for office and restroom partitions. But as you might already know, this material (outdoor versions) has also been used to cover building exteriors, so, it is very durable against water.



    Installation:


    If you please check the attached drawing, that is a very simplified drawing, for a new product, we are planning to place the HPL on two layers of plywood backing, 1/2” and 1”.


    HPL: dark brown, ˝ ply: yellow, 1” ply: orange.

    T8-Pos2.jpg


    We are not building as seen on the picture but we are creating the cabins on drawing. At the bottom, HPL and plywoods will enter the slots created on the shower tray and will be adhered and sealed with appropriate compounds during the site montage of the cabin. Plywoods are not necessarily attached to walls of the bathroom, (the house may be wooden or concrete) but at the top, they will be attached on the ceiling, made of solid surface plates, and the attachment method is the same, entering their own slots and sealed with the same compound, plus, there may be screws going down from the ceiling into the plywoods. Wall edges (verticals) will have their own glasses, and of course also be sealed so the water spray from inside can not reach the plywood plates. Actually, this is a simplified drawing, when the actual product is montaged on site, plywood edges will be invisible, so water wont be able to see/contact the edges of plywood anywhere even with powerful jets. HPL is dimensionally stable against temperature differences, also the glass is, and the tray is expected to expand minimal, so, a flexible sealing compound is expected to hold the system stable -( no thermal expansion concerns I could discover).


    Could you see anything against the code? Any opinion, any question or suggestion is welcomed))


    Thanks! ))


    Connor
    Connor,
    In US when we refer to HPL we are talking about a surfacing material that is 0.7 to 1.1 mm thick (brand name FORMICA or WILSONART) and adhered to a substrate such as plywood. I believe you are referring to what we call either "solid surfacing" (brand name CORIAN) or to a phenolic-core material (brand name TRESPA). The latter two are great for shower/bath walls. The FORMICA-type would be, in my opinion, a disastrous choice which might be mitigated by choosing the right substrate.

    Whichever product you use as basis of specification you should follow manufacturer's recommended detailing. While perhaps not required by code, standard US detailing is to terminate the vertical walls of the shower above the floor pan rather than relying on sealants to keep water out of slots/troughs/tracks. Ideally it is detailed like a roof, with a waterproof membrane that flashes up the vertical subsurface (your plywood) and then has the wall finish applied. The Tile Council Handbook has details you can use to get started.

    David


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: HPL shower cubicle design

    Quote Originally Posted by dbsaia View Post
    Connor,
    In US when we refer to HPL we are talking about a surfacing material that is 0.7 to 1.1 mm thick (brand name FORMICA or WILSONART) and adhered to a substrate such as plywood. I believe you are referring to what we call either "solid surfacing" (brand name CORIAN) or to a phenolic-core material (brand name TRESPA). The latter two are great for shower/bath walls. The FORMICA-type would be, in my opinion, a disastrous choice which might be mitigated by choosing the right substrate.

    Whichever product you use as basis of specification you should follow manufacturer's recommended detailing. While perhaps not required by code, standard US detailing is to terminate the vertical walls of the shower above the floor pan rather than relying on sealants to keep water out of slots/troughs/tracks. Ideally it is detailed like a roof, with a waterproof membrane that flashes up the vertical subsurface (your plywood) and then has the wall finish applied. The Tile Council Handbook has details you can use to get started.

    David
    David,

    Thank you very much for your message,

    TRESPA, exactly what I am talking about, in Europe we call it 'Compact Laminate". I first wrote HPL because Chinese call it that way, so I guessed it to be that for the US.. I was wrong..

    Thanks again for your attention and guidance,

    Connor

    Last edited by Connor Akally; 01-12-2015 at 12:02 PM. Reason: I simplified my long answer.
    Connor Akally

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Illinois
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    7

    Default Re: HPL shower cubicle design

    Quote Originally Posted by Connor Akally View Post
    David,

    Thank you very much for your message,

    TRESPA, exactly what I am talking about, in Europe we call it 'Compact Laminate". I first wrote HPL because Chinese call it that way, so I guessed it to be that for the US.. I was wrong..

    I was using Corian for prototype tests but it expands and shrinks a lot with seasonal temp differences, endangering the joints' seal stability.

    Thanks again for your attention and guidance,

    Connor
    For shower bases you can look at Swanstone brand as an example; the goal is to make sure your wall panel overlaps the tile flange on the sides. (We still call it a tile flange, even when not using tile.) You can get custom fabricated bases which may suit your needs in a mass fabrication scenario; I don't have experience with showerbase.com but it's an example. Avonite (aristechsurfaces.com) is a Corian competitor that has shower pans and shower enclosure details on their website. Schluter makes some tiling accessories that might be useful, too, for detailing ideas.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: HPL shower cubicle design

    Connor,

    Have you considered stamped or formed steel bases and walls for the cabin?

    The finished surface would simply be decorative.

    Laminate provides may options and is rigid like the steel, but is not forgiving to deflections like the steel is - the laminate may crack.

    Have you investigated rubber or vinyl?

    First there was real wood flooring (3/4" thick wood); then there was engineered wood flooring (real wood, but only the top 1/8" was the finish wood; then there was laminate flooring (plastic laminate on particle board, then on MDF); and now there is rubber flooring to give the same look but is somewhat flexible and does not chip/break/crack like laminate does).

    You could even offer the stamped or formed bases and walls in stainless steel with a brushed finish for those who prefer those sterile finishes.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Oct 2014
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Default Re: HPL shower cubicle design

    Quote Originally Posted by dbsaia View Post
    the goal is to make sure your wall panel overlaps the tile flange on the sides. (We still call it a tile flange, even when not using tile.).
    David,

    Above lines was the most useful ever, I cancelled the old shape and created a new one accordingly, thank you)))

    showerbase.com is an underpan, before tiling. Thanks a lot for the Avonite. I will check their shapes, thanks))

    Hereby I would like to mention that CA has so many requirements concerning the solid surface materials and so far not everyone have those certifications yet))

    Thanks))
    Connor

    Last edited by Connor Akally; 01-12-2015 at 12:03 PM. Reason: correction
    Connor Akally

  7. #7
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    Default Re: HPL shower cubicle design

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Connor,

    Have you considered stamped or formed steel bases and walls for the cabin?

    The finished surface would simply be decorative.

    Laminate provides may options and is rigid like the steel, but is not forgiving to deflections like the steel is - the laminate may crack.

    Have you investigated rubber or vinyl?

    First there was real wood flooring (3/4" thick wood); then there was engineered wood flooring (real wood, but only the top 1/8" was the finish wood; then there was laminate flooring (plastic laminate on particle board, then on MDF); and now there is rubber flooring to give the same look but is somewhat flexible and does not chip/break/crack like laminate does).

    You could even offer the stamped or formed bases and walls in stainless steel with a brushed finish for those who prefer those sterile finishes.
    Jerry,

    I am trying to stay away from metals since they are complicated and look cold. So I am avoiding the steel...

    About the rubber, that is very interesting. It would be really great to find a Compact Laminate with not laminate final face, but with rubber one........!

    Ever heard of that?

    Connor

    Last edited by Connor Akally; 01-12-2015 at 12:05 PM.
    Connor Akally

  8. #8
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    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: HPL shower cubicle design

    Quote Originally Posted by Connor Akally View Post
    About the rubber, that is very interesting:
    This stuff is available in rolls - they may be able to produce it in a manner which allows you to laminate it to the the base of your choice.

    ECOsurfaces Recycled Rubber Flooring: ECOnights - Gerbert Ltd

    Composite laminate (Formica, etc.) on wood would be near the bottom of my choice of materials due the laminates thin, brittle surface which chips easily at edges, combined with the wood backing which does not play well with water when water intrudes ... and water will intrude. Wood and water do not place nice together in the sand box.

    On pre-assembled and manufactured units, the joints (all corners, including along the bottom at the shower receptor) would likely require a flexible material gasket type of seal and careful assembly. The joints could be wet sealed (liquid sealant applied to the joint, then the pieces assembled together), but I'm not sure the longevity of the sealed joint would match that of a good gasket design system.

    For assemble on site units, the wet sealed joints would likely end up being destroyed while fitting and refitting the panels, and the assembler may end up using the sealant to "externally caulk" along the joints (leakage will be likely right way as that was not the intended design). And, for gasket type joints, a trial fit and sliding to adjust the panels may damage the gasket.

    While no joint would be "water tight" without a gasket or be sealed, the joint could be designed to "shed water" such that (under normal conditions) the water would not penetrate the joint.

    Any water getting past the joint and the wood will end up being history (no good).

    Have you considered a large mould and using ABS or some other similar material which is forced into the mould to produce a single piece unit? Not joints to have to seal, no panels to have to assemble, no fiberglass to crack, etc.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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