Schluter System

Phil Woodruff joins the Carey Brothers to discuss how Schluter Systems can have your tile done better!

Guest: Phil Woodruff – territory manager of Schluter Systems


3 Points For Success – Phil Woodruff:

The first one is education. As a former tile contractor, I felt I knew exactly that I needed to do. But I cut myself short, so at Schluter Systems we pride ourselves on education. So, I would I would challenge anybody listening to be more educated about what they’re doing whether it’s their business or whether it’s about installation.

The second one is don’t be afraid to make money.

The third one is align yourself with good partners. And I feel that Schluter Systems is that partner. You know most anybody that is in sales for Schluter has installed, so we’ve been there and we take great pride in that.

Carey Bros Pros Phil Woodruff Schluter Systems.mp3

James [00:00:00] I’m James and it’s great to have you with us on this, another edition of CareyBrosPros.

Morris [00:00:06] And I’m Morris, and yes, we are professional contractors and brothers.

James [00:00:11] And welcome to this special podcast from the International Builders Show and Kitchen Bath Industry Show 2019. We are in Las Vegas Nevada. Water is a contractor’s biggest nightmare for callbacks. That’s no news to you listening. It’s leaking plumbing or break down and waterproofing or moisture barriers that’s typically the root of most water related problems.

Morris [00:00:39] And that’s why we’ve invited Phil Woodruff with Schluter Systems – I love it – to join us. Welcome to CareyBrosPros, Phil.

Phil [00:00:48] Thank you gentlemen. Glad to be here.

James [00:00:50] So we have had the opportunity to work with Schluter product for many years. We’re familiar with it. We understand the value proposition of the Schluter System. And it is a system.

Phil [00:01:04] It is.

James [00:01:04] That consists of Kurdi board, Kurdi fixed, there’s Ditra heat, you have uncoupling product. You have a lot of different solutions as part of your system to offer to our designers, architects, builders, and remodelers. Why don’t you take us through a little bit of what Schluter has to offer.

Phil [00:01:27] Yes I’d like to talk about the new products that we’ve got this year.

James [00:01:31] Yeah we’ll do all that too. We’ll do all of that.

Phil [00:01:32] Please!

James [00:01:32] But let’s paint with the broad brush first. Tell us about what you have.

Phil [00:01:36] While Schluter Systems is a tile installation manufacturer, we sell systems Feifer treatments of profiles on tile. We’ve got underlayments that heat your tile, keep your tile from cracking. And then the one that you called out is the shower system where we’re were completely waterproofing the envelope of the shower, keeping water out of the wall cavity.

Morris [00:01:59] Is project planning a part of what you guys do?

Phil [00:02:02] I wouldn’t say project planning is what we do, but we have the ability to help the contractor, the pro, to plan you know through education, through our website, as well as, you know, our videos we know what you guys are doing.

James [00:02:15] Yeah. And I have to tell you we have lots of videos I know that you have a research and development facility. You have a space where you demonstrate how the product is fabricated and assembled in specific uses. And I’ve got to tell you one of my first projects I had taken such terrific pride in building this wood bench in the shower. I built a wood bench, as we have traditionally had a little bit of fall. OK. So that when the tile went on water wouldn’t pond, it would sheet off the bench. And the fellow who was intimately familiar with utilizing Schluter took a hammer and tore the bench out and he said oh I built my benches this way and he used the Kurdi board.

Phil [00:03:03] Kurdi board!

James [00:03:03] And created a bench out of Kurdi board. It took me an hour and a half to do that bench. It took him about 15 minutes to build the bench.

Phil [00:03:14] And the bench that you built that he tore out was not waterproof was it?

James [00:03:18] It was not Waterproof.

Morris [00:03:19] No! But the bench he built was, and it was so quick and easy to build and so strong.

James [00:03:25] I should also tell you that he tore out the pressure treated threshold that I had fastened to the concrete slab. That went out with the bench. And of course he used Kurdi board there as well and he used Kurdi fix. And I don’t know whether you have a product called Kurdi fix. He called it Kurdi Fix but it’s the thin set which is the thin set adhesive, the mortar, and he attached the Kurdi to the concrete with that.

Phil [00:03:53] Yeah. Kerdi Fix a siliconised eurothane.

James [00:03:56] Ok.

Phil [00:03:56] Yeah. So it’s a caulk.

James [00:03:57] Yeah.

Phil [00:03:57] Yeah. And then we do have then set as well that sets your tile but yeah getting that pressure treated lumber out of the out of the curb is important. It’s just going to swell and wreak havoc.

James [00:04:07] So let’s talk a little bit more about, and I know you have new products that- but what is the real value proposition for the pros listening if we have a designer listening or an architect that’s doing product specification and wants to design something really unique, really exciting, and really durable. Or a builder listening who wants to make sure that the installed product has terrific integrity, will last and they won’t end up losing their profit by going back and making repairs down the road. What’s the value proposition associated?

Phil [00:04:43] The value proposition with Schluter is “it’s not what you see it’s what you get.” So not only are you going to have a waterproof complete shower behind this beautiful tile work. It’s going to last. We’re looking at a lifetime warranty if you use our thin set to put our membranes together so whether using Kurdi board which is a waterproof panel or whether you’re using Kurdi membrane it’s all integrating with our shower system which is a bonding flange, the drain. And then we’ve got the shower trays that eliminate having to dry pack, sand and cement. So we’re we’re expediting. Not only are we are we making a shower system that’s got warranty and the builder doesn’t ever have to worry about that callback. The homeowner doesn’t have to worry about mold or mildew. We’re doing it a whole lot faster.

James [00:05:28] Talk about that for a moment. You said a mouthful there and it may not have had the opportunity to sink in among our listeners and that is a shower tray eliminates the dry pack.

Phil [00:05:42] Yes.

James [00:05:43] Speak to that. Talk about the shower tray.

Phil [00:05:45] Definitely. You know being a former tile contractor for almost 20 years we learn how to build showers by somebody else. And you know our education director Andy Acker talks about the telephone game and that’s a lot of the way how tile has been taught over the years. So you know Morris maybe you’re a tile setter and I come to work for you and you build a shower a particular way. I go out on my own. I don’t like the way you did it. I changed some things. And so the problem is is that there’s we call him Franken-showers. Everybody has a different way of building a shower. And it’s typically done with a two stage drain.

James [00:06:23] [laughs] Francken-showers! I love it.

Morris [00:06:25] Franken-showers [ laughs].

James [00:06:26] Scars and all!

Phil [00:06:26] Scars and all and it’s got that shower pan liner, that bladder underneath, that the dry pack goes in. And that’s the slope to the drain. The problem arises once that mud gets wet it is wet for the life of the shower. And then you got to look at how the curve is constructed. Is that water that’s saturating that mud bed is it soaking up the walls at the back backer board?

Morris [00:06:45] yes it is!

Phil [00:06:45] And we know it happens. It is, you’re  right and now it’s in the wall cavity.

Morris [00:06:48] It is it takes 20 years but it rots everything around it.

Phil [00:06:52] And we’re building our houses so tight now energy efficient there’s no natural air exchange in that wall cavity. So the moisture.

James [00:07:00] That would otherwise dry it out dry it out.

Phil [00:07:02] And so it’s an old system that was probably developed in the 1920s and whenever I speak to a group of contractors you know I say hey know give me your cell phone. Now you’ve got to go use a pager again because really that technology has changed.

James [00:07:14] I see I see where the telephone analogy comes in. Now I get it.

Phil [00:07:18] Yes. So you know when we look at when we look at this the value proposition for a builder. The last thing he wants to do is get the phone call from Mrs. Jones two years later that his shower is leaking.

James [00:07:31] Right! Tile’s beautiful.

Morris [00:07:31] And that’s the one thing that the Schluter design prevents.

Phil [00:07:35] Absolutely.

Morris [00:07:36] And that’s a buildup of moisture. There’s no trade to hold water. It is a waterproof surface from top to bottom front to back.

Phil [00:07:45] Absolutely highest water source all the way down to our drain.

Morris [00:07:48] Bam.

Phil [00:07:49] Bam done.

James [00:07:49] And somebody might say well wait a minute this dry pack has fall so that there’s proper watershed to the drain in the system.

Phil [00:07:58] And our shower trays have that fall whether it’s a.

James [00:08:01] Built in.

Phil [00:08:02] Built in line drain or a point drain. But the thing that I think the pros need to also understand is that the flexibility of our system, another added value is, if you still want to do the traditional dry pack sand and cement you can install our bonding flange float your mud off of it and then put the Kurdi membrane over the top of the mud bag. So it’s very flexible.

James [00:08:21] One of the standard issues with a.

Morris [00:08:25] Waste of time and money [laughs]

James [00:08:26] A Roman drain drain. You have your waterproof membrane. You have the Roman drain that sandwiches that waterproof membrane within the two the components.

Morris [00:08:35] Don’t do need that anymore.

James [00:08:37] There are weap poles that are part of that you know that as a tile contractor that’s not part of the new Schluter drain system. That’s not something you need to deal with. That’s not something you need to worry about.

Phil [00:08:49] Because the waterproofing is connected on top and not from underneath.

Morris [00:08:53] Correct.

Phil [00:08:54] Yes.

Morris [00:08:55] Oh it took me 20 years to learn about Schluter from the day I first heard about it and when I finally realized what the system worked like I just thought why haven’t we been doing this all the time why did we wait so long.

Phil [00:09:12] Because we don’t know what we don’t know and.

James [00:09:14] We don’t know what we don’t know.

Phil [00:09:15] And you know and typically what we hear at Schluter Systems is I’ve been doing it this way for however long and I never had a problem.

James [00:09:23] Right.

Phil [00:09:23] The problem is is that you don’t know they don’t have a problem right because you can get moisture in your wall cavity. It’s not leaking. But what is that moisture turning into.

Morris [00:09:32] Right. Rot.

Phil [00:09:34] mold.

James [00:09:35] That’s another issue. I want to talk about a couple of things that components that you have the linear drains.

Phil [00:09:42] Yeah.

James [00:09:43] They’re wonderful. You can have a linear drain that you can tile over so that it disappears and it’s just awesome. Or you can have a linear drain with the decorative grate or traditional round or square finish. In a variety of finishes.

Phil [00:10:01] Yup.

James [00:10:01] Now you have a drain for those of us who do a lot of construction work. On slab on grade and most of our clients aren’t looking for a smaller shower than they currently have, they’re looking for a bigger shower which means that we’re going to center the drain. We’re going to need to move it a little bit which means jack hammering out concrete and doing rough plumbing. You’ve solved that with a new product that you’ve introduced to the show. Tell us about.

Phil [00:10:28] We’ve got a Kurdi drain H for a horizontal drain outlet. And as long as we’re within 24 inches of the trap we can put that drain anywhere in the shower and then run the waistline to the 2 inch line to the existing trap. So you’re exactly right. If I’ve got or if I’ve got structure that I can’t get through I can go over the top of it to get to the trap it’s a very flexible system it is going to raise the floor up the shower pan up.

Morris [00:10:52] But we’re talking inches not feet.

Phil [00:10:55] Correct. Yep.

Morris [00:10:56] That’s really wonderful. You know we know what the Schluter product can be used for now, but how does a contractor go about learning how to do the Schluter System?

James [00:11:06] Yeah.

Phil [00:11:07] Well there’s there’s two avenues. One is we would invite anybody that’s in the trade to one of our workshops. We hosted last year over 300 two day seminars free to the trade.

James [00:11:19] Wow.

Phil [00:11:19] All you have to do is get there. We also do architectural.

James [00:11:23] Will you put me up and feed me?

Phil [00:11:24] Absolutely!

James [00:11:25] [laughs] You know you don’t know you’re out.

Morris [00:11:29] [laughs]

Phil [00:11:30] Typically if you’re over an hour away from the venue we include two hotel nights and five really good meals.

James [00:11:37] Wow. we know because we sent crew members up.

Phil [00:11:40] Yes so that that information you know even find that it at the Education tab. The other thing is is that we have lost track of the amount of YouTube videos on our on our YouTube channel. Schluter Systems number one. Last I knew there was over a hundred and fifty different videos that are shot by our team in Montreal.

James [00:12:00] It’s wonderful. Now you have another new product that you’ve rolled out at the show and it’s decorative and it’s in that corner of a shower or a shower over a tub. Tell us about it. I’m very excited.

Phil [00:12:11] We’ve jumped into the corner shelves. So we have three versions, three styles. They’re based off of the designer grate. So we’ve got a shelf that will fit into our slides behind the tile on the wall.

Morris [00:12:25] And it matches the drain grate!

Phil [00:12:26] Matches the drain grate.

Morris [00:12:27] Oh that’s cool!

Phil [00:12:28] Yeah. And then we have three options that would fit into the grout joints into the corner. Those can be installed with the tile or.

James [00:12:35] Or retrofit!

Phil [00:12:36] Retrofit.

James [00:12:37] I’m loving that dude. I’m all over that.

Phil [00:12:39] And then the last thing that I think is really cool but simple is the niche shelf. So instead of you know that bulky piece of  Kurdi board in our niche, now we have the shelf that will just slide in a stainless steel 3 30 seconds very clean matching again as you said.

James [00:12:55] And speaking of niches you have prefabricated niches for them for ease of installation of a niche and for the waterproofing.

Phil [00:13:03] Absolutely. You know as you talk all of our products whether you’re talking about the ditra heat or the the uncoupling the Kurdi board it all integrates together. So if you want to do a curbless shower you can make that all work. We can waterproof it from the doorway to the drain.

James [00:13:18] I love it. Or as we say stem to stern stem.

Phil [00:13:21] Stem to stern!

James [00:13:22] Alright Phil. It’s that time when during our CareyBrosPros podcast we ask our guest to share three points for success that you’d like to leave them with and their businesses.

Phil [00:13:33] Perfect. I think the first one that I want to talk about is education. As a former tile contractor I felt I knew exactly in everything that I needed to do. But I cut myself short so at Shcluter Systems we pride ourselves on education. So I would I would challenge anybody listening to be more educated about what they’re doing whether it’s their business or whether it’s about installation. Guess the second one is don’t be afraid to make money.

James [00:13:57] What a novel idea!

Morris [00:13:58] What a novel idea!

James [00:14:00] With all the risk and pressure that we’re under.

Phil [00:14:02] Absolutely.

James [00:14:03] All of the liability that we accept, what a novel idea.

 [00:14:06] Exactly. And you know and then the third one is align yourself with good partners. And I feel that Schluter Systems is that partner. You know most anybody that that is in sales for Schluter has installed. So we’ve been there and we take great pride in that.

James [00:14:22] Wow. Three terrific points.

Morris [00:14:24] Really good. Good points. Our thanks to Phil Woodruff with Schluter Systems for spending time with us on this episode of CareyBrosPros. You can learn more about their products and services at their web site

James [00:14:44] But remember if you’re looking for information about any of our guests including Phil as well as other podcasts videos and articles, simply check out our website. It is

James [00:14:57] Phil, as always a pleasure. Thanks so much for joining us.

Phil [00:15:00] It was a pleasure to be here.

Morris [00:15:01] Good job. Good job. Hope to see you again. Yes.

About The Author James Carey

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