On and off over the past 2 years we have been considering various options for our bus bathroom. We wanted the luxurious look of marble but obviously REAL marble is not a great option for a bus conversion.
We looked at marble looking tiles, peel and stick tiles, wall planks and all kinds of alternative options. Then we discovered Flexstone and we were instantly sold.
It has the look of marble but it is lightweight, flexible and easy to install. Their images are taken from natural stone so it creates the realistic look we were looking for, plus it is easy to maintain as it is mildew and mold resistant and requires no grout.
You can purchase a kit where they provide you with the wall surrounds, trim, adhesives and silicone to waterproof the seams. Flexstone’s parent company, Sentrel , actually supplies shower kits for high end RV’s, so we knew this would work well in our bus. We also used a Flexstone Shower base and added on a corner shelf and a shaving shelf (a place to put your foot while you shave your legs).
Once we completed building our shower walls and ran our hot and cold PEX water pipes through the wall, we were ready to install the shower base. It’s important to have a flat and level surface to adhere the base to, so we cut our vinyl flooring planks to size of the shower base so we could glue it directly to our plywood subfloor. Then we lay our shower base down to mark out where the drain would go and cut it out with a hole saw.
Using the silicone sealant provided by Flexstone we glued our drain into the shower base. Then applied Flexstone’s adhesive to the floor in large beads, about 2 to 3 inches apart, and placed the shower base into its home. We covered the shower base with some cardboard and walked around on top of it to ensure good adhesion all round.
You have to make sure it fits really snug into place up against the wall and studs so we used shims anywhere there was a slight gap. After making pilot holes through the nailing flange of the base into the studs they recommend putting a little bit of the silicone into the holes before screwing the base into the studs. This nailing flange will end up being covered by the wall panels once they go in.
Once the base is down, we could install our ¼ inch cement board which sits directly on top of the ¼ inch nailing flange. We carefully measured and marked off where our pipes and studs were and used 1 ¼ inch backer board screws to secure the cement board to our walls.
We were initially concerned that these boards would add a lot of weight to our bus. After calculating the square footage of our shower it came to 80 lbs. Which in the big picture is not that bad. There are some lighter backer board options out there, but they can be pricey (eg. schluter kerdi system) or require special order (Go Board is 80% lighter than cement but was not available in our area, so if you want lighter backer board I recommend you order in advance!).
We waterproof the shower with thin set mortar and waterproof membrane before installing our Flexstone wall panels
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Flexstone is a unique plastic composite material developed to achieve the look of natural stone, without the cost and maintenance hassles associated with real stone. It is lightweight, durable and easy to install. Available in store and online at Menards, and online only at Lowes, Home Depot and Wayfair.