Contrary to popular belief, any kind of stone, ceramic, or porcelain tile isn’t waterproof, and neither is grout or mortar. If tile is installed in an area with heavy moisture, like the shower, it can take in moisture and develop mold and mildew. This is one reason why you can't install tile directly on your shower form. You need a shower bed. Let’s look at the traditional mud bed versus the Schluter Shower System.
Mud beds have been used for a long time, and they have some pros and cons. With the mud bed method, you can build your shower any size you want, but installation can be complicated and requires a lot more materials than Schluter shower kits. Cement board is generally used as backing and is relatively heavy and often harder to install. When forming the shower bed, a slope toward the shower drain must be made. If your installer doesn’t form the slope well enough, you can have issues like water collection and leakage, leading to mold and even rotting.
Schluter shower kits completely waterproof your space and are much simpler to install. The Schluter System uses Kerdi, a thin polyurethane sheet that's bonded between two sheets of polyester fleece, known as backing. Kerdi is much lighter and easier to handle when installing than cement board backing. The best thing about Kerdi is that when water soaks through your tile and mortar, it hits the Kerdi backing and slides right down to the drain. This keeps water from building up and causing mold and damage. With the Schluter System, you can customize your shower to any size with the Kerdi-Shower St fabricated foam tray. This tray has its own slope, leaving little room for installer error.
While the Schluter Shower System is more expensive than the mud bed method, it’s less expensive than replacing your shower in a few years because of water damage. Using the Schluter System will protect your investment and keep your bathroom beautiful.