Using IPE/Tropical wood in shower

Discussion in 'Tilers' Talk' started by Raffagaff, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Raffagaff

    Raffagaff New Member

    I Have around 10m2 of spare IPE/Brazilian tropical hardwood unused from a recent deck I built. I'm in the process of renovating my bathroom and was thinking of using it instead of tiling in the shower area. I have the shower currently clad in 12mm cement-board.

    Pintrest and google display many examples of IPE being used in wet areas and from previous experience using it, it should not suffer from water exposure although it does expand and shrink quite a bit with moisture which I planned to combat with two coats of matt Poly.

    My plan was to tank the cement-board with a membrane and fix to IPE planks using fiber reinforced modified tile adhesive.

    I thought about battening it off and using stainless screws but i'm reluctant to have any kind of holes through the membrane even if they are sealed.

    Any suggestions welcome.

  2. CGN

    CGN Well-Known Member

    Try it and report back.
  3. Raffagaff

    Raffagaff New Member

    Is it a ridiculous idea? Is my installation method going to cause me issues? I understand its not the type of setup that you see everyday. My main concern would be with expansion and contraction of the IPE that the tile adhesive might not cope. I planned to spray Poly on both sides of the boards to mitigate water ingress as well as use a modified adhesive. I don't mind experimentation as its my own bathroom and on the ground floor (slab).
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  4. longboat

    longboat Well-Known Member

    Get the boards machined into a tongue and groove profile, tank the area and seal all joints then use secret nails to fasten to treated battening.
    With periodic maintenance it'll last at least 20 years.
  5. Raffagaff

    Raffagaff New Member

    Thank you for the advice. I can run them though my table router with TG profile. Might need to resharpen the tool after every board though as they are extremely hard. Or as you suggest have them machined somewhere. Any advice on where I could get this done? I think my tile adhesive idea would potentially be a disastrous idea due to movement in the wood, but it would certainly have been easier.
    longboat likes this.
  6. JustPhil

    JustPhil Active Member

    Brilliant idea. Not without challenge, but worth a good go.
    No specific advise from me, but definitely look for a mounting system that allows movement without compromising appearance - eg t+g or shadow board style as your photo. And tanking behind, so that the wood is not expected to be a water barrier to the substrate, more decorative.
    longboat likes this.
  7. longboat

    longboat Well-Known Member

    I think it's a great idea and the results will be spectacular. If you've already got a router table then the cost and time taken to do it yourself is a no brainer. Set it up, do one board and before you know it they'll all be done.
    If you can use some of the ipe cut into strips for battening it will be far more resilient than any treated softwood you can buy.
    As nikey says "just do it", please post some pics of the finished project though.
    Quality remains when the price and effort is forgotten.
    CGN likes this.
  8. JustPhil

    JustPhil Active Member

    Well I think you’ve got all of us interested.
  9. longboat

    longboat Well-Known Member

    Absolutely so.
    Raffagaff ? Don't disappear on this thread, if you need anymore advice just ask.
    With a bit of effort the finished result will be beautiful.
  10. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    Is there a way of making up boards that hang independently within a tanked area so that they are free to move without affecting the integrity of the tanking? I was thinking of French cleats with a gap top and bottom of the boards (for appearance sake and so that you've got room to install/remove) where the wall mounted 'hooks' are already part of the waterproofed system. Maybe keku clips would work better?
  11. Raffagaff

    Raffagaff New Member

    I'm honestly quite surprised there's any interest at all. I thought I would be branded an idiot and told many reasons not to do it.

    I may end up using a system like this.

  12. goldenboy

    goldenboy Well-Known Member

    Boards vertically would be much better.

    French cleat system as Willy suggests would be better

    Use offcuts to make them so all components move at the same pace.
  13. Raffagaff

    Raffagaff New Member

    Yes I agree. Boards must be vertical. For aesthetic reasons.
  14. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    I would have thought vertical for the sole reason of shedding water.
  15. Raffagaff

    Raffagaff New Member

    Once the edges have been machined to TG it would be better horizontal as the water could not run against gravity back and over the T&G. Vertical I suppose there would be some chance that it could. But as mentioned before the IPE is not being relied on for waterproofing, only as cladding so it would not really matter. I would imagine it's best to avoid any kind of water behind the boards anyway due to mold etc.
  16. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Well-Known Member

    This was my thinking as I started to read the thread - make the boards independent of the waterproofing. If you are concerned about mould/cleaning behind, using something like a keku clip could make the boards demountable. I suspect if you tanked the walls, you could then use one of the high-performance gun adhesives to fix mounting battens for the clips.

    Interesting - we want photos eventually :)

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