Noble Thin Bed Drains

Showing the three components of the Noble thin bed drain

Noble Company introduced a new thin bed drain probably over a year ago at this point and with all the shower drain selections on the market, this one is a good product for your arsenal.  For those of you that prefer a fabric waterproofing membrane may be interested in the slick clamping ring feature that will create a firm watertight seal at the drain area.  This specific drain was comped by the company quite awhile ago and I held onto it for a tile shower installation in Harrisburg, Pa where I’m installing the full Noble system, including one of their preformed niches!

The grate finish is Brushed Golden Nickel which I think is pretty neat and will match up well with a more yellow toned Brushed Nickel faucet, Pewter finishes and a compliment to Oil Rubbed Bronze at that.  I also prefer a square drain for the sake of cleaner cuts around the drain area but do think the round drain grates look neat with pebble flooring.

This is a 3 part drain that accepts 2″ PVC (or there are models for ABS, as well) and a pretty heavy piece of equipment I might add.  The main flange attached to the drain body screws down to the sub floor and heights may vary depending on the situation.  That same flange is your screed point for the shower floor mud and noticing the gap and screws, I decided to leave that portion open underneath so I could pack mud all underneath the drain area, so at this point, it is screwed down and keeping things in place for later stages.  The next part is the clamping ring that will sandwich the waterproofing membrane between the two flanges and then of course the drain grate which threads into place for adjustment.  Making sure the drain body being roughed in level is an important step so you are achieving evenness with your tile (around the drain) and of course your water drainage…

Of course I read the directions but eyeing up the drain and thickness of the grate, left me in question when sizing up the thickness of the floor tile for the shower… Keeping in mind that the design is great like most drains are but some situations you have to “tweak the system” a bit to make thing work perfectly.  Obviously something I’m no stranger to and any homeowners reading this will leave a good idea of how the small things on these tile shower projects are made to work by an experienced individual.

I figured that I needed about 3/16″ extra height of the mud floor to make this work so using the main flange as a screed point was a no-go.  Instead of making a template out of luan or thin foam, I grabbed some 1/8″ thick small wedge spacers that are used for shimming tiles and glass mosaics.  In short, I bolted down the clamp ring with the wedges underneath them to create the extra height needed and the clamp ring became my new screed point which was later shaved back and beveled so there would be a smooth transition from the mud to the metal flange.

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From there it became a standard mud job for a shower floor with felt paper, wire mesh nailed to the sub flooring.  Packing mud under and around the shower drain must be filled in well and tight so the drain is supported fully in all areas.  Achieving a 1/4″ per foot slope is important when setting mud in a shower.  Just to play it safe, I’ll even go 5/16″ and sometimes more… especially when installing pebbles in a shower.  After curing, I also like to do a skim coat over the floor with medium bed thin set mortar just to smooth things out, fill in any small dips etc…

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This shower is being waterproofed with ValueSeal (another product by Noble Company) which is designed for both walls and floors of a shower.  Cutting the membrane to size with a good dry fit  will ensure that all creased corners of the product will fit nice when its time to glue down.  The membrane is set into a bed of Noble Bond EXT which is probably the stickiest glue in America so it’s important to wear gloves and use a throwaway vinyl trowel to install.  There’s no cleaning off a trowel to use again with this stuff!  Around the drain flange is two thick beads of Noble Sealant 150 which is applied right before placing the membrane to the shower floor.  The membrane is smoothed out releasing all air bubbles underneath.

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The final preparation includes cutting out the drain hole and pushing the membrane into the bed of sealant.  After that, I load up the bottom of the clamp ring with Noble Sealant 150… bolt down tight so there is some squeeze out around the full perimeter.  I then wrap up embedding all the folds and finish wrapping the curb etc…  Noble Sealant 150 needs at least 20 hours to cure before flood testing your shower which is step that cannot be skipped.  Unfortunately there are plenty of people that will tell you this portion is unnecessary, however, it is of good practice to do so JUST so everyone knows all seams are watertight before tile installation begins.  Laying the floor tile in place shows that it’s just about perfectly even with the drain grate but the thickness of the mortar will raise the tile just a touch to tip the tiles around the drain into the grate for a clean install.

Final drain install with tile sized up to the drain area.

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