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Old 02-13-2018, 11:32 AM   #1
zhongg
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shower curb leak

I have a new shower which is less than one year old. Recently I found that it leaks outside the curb at the corner. After some investigation, I found the water comes from the crack at inside top corner. Here are pictures. I also checked the slope of the curb, it is not level, the leaking end is lower. So the water is sneaking between the curb top and the hot mop, and goes out.

In the meantime, I use tape to cover the crack, and the leak stops. What should be the proper fix?
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:34 AM   #2
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Here is how the shower was built:
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:42 PM   #3
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I don't see anything blatantly wrong with that installation. I see they actually did a mud curb so they didn't penetrate the hot mop waterproofing there which is good. I can' tell how low the fasteners for the Hardibacker go but given that they built a mud curb to avoid penetrating the waterproofing they hopefully knew not to penetrate the waterproofing for the Hardibacker. Hopefully there is some moisture barrier behind the Hardibacker as I don't see any direct bonded waterproofing.

The most obvious potential penetration of the waterproofing on your curb is the glass bracket on top of the curb (if they did indeed drive a screw all the way to the wood). Penetrations in the waterproofing on horizontal surfaces is a big no no but very few glass installers follow that rule leading to many curb failures. That alone could be the source of your water leak and curb failure but hard to say for certain. The bracket is on the opposite side of where you say the water is leaking but you also said it's sloped towards that corner?

Anyway the grout is cracking because the wood curb is getting wet and swelling. As the wood continues to absorb moisture and swell the curb will continue to pull apart.

The proper fix? Unfortunately the shower pan and curb will have to be redone at a minimum and that's assuming they can tie into the waterproofing behind the wall (hopefully there is waterproofing). Is there any warranty from the installer?

Do you have any other pictures of the install?
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:10 PM   #4
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A slight slope L-R isn't fantastic but not catastrophic, but what is the slope of the top of it? It should slope into the shower. Ideally, the waterproofing AND the top surface would slope into the shower on the curb.

As said, cracked grout is almost always a sign of movement, and on a wooden curb, that usually implies moisture is getting inside of it. It could be getting in from the outside after running down to the floor level rather than in from the top or inside.
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:55 PM   #5
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For the shower wall, there is plastic sheet under the cement board. I may find more pictures tonight.

The bracket for the glass does have a screw into the curb, not sure how deep it goes. Here is the specification of the bracket attached.

The curb top is sloped into the shower. The left side of the curb is lower.

Very frustrated. The old shower was tear down because of leakage, at exactly the same spot. It had a acrylic shower pan. The grout between the wall tile and shower pan cracked; and somebody intentionally block the weephole with grout. So water had to go out.

After so much effort to build a new shower, and it leaks again...
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:08 PM   #6
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The big one I see is the hardi screwed through your shower seat on the top..other than that the prep looked almost textbook. Such good prep only to screw through it.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:34 PM   #7
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Like John mentioned, it's good that he mudded the curb but we can see if he stapled the lath on the top and inside of the curb. The lath that covers all three sides of the curb should be made from one piece. It should be folded and bent to hug the curb then stapled or nailed on the outside only. Do you have any pictures of the curb showing the lath before it was mudded out?
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:01 PM   #8
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I think the tile guy put staples only above the curb top, not below. But I don't have such pictures to prove.

I checked all the grouts around the curb, and only the middle of inside top got cracked, all the rest grouts are in good condition, as shows in the 1st picture. If the wood inside curb is wet and swells, the affected grouts cannot be limited to that section only. So I guess the wood should be OK and the nail in the glass bracket may not play a role here.

In general, if water reach underneath of the curb top cover, how can we guarantee that it will flow to the inside of shower? I don't see any mechanism to prevent water to flow outside. In my opinion, that's the fundamental reason that both my old show and the new shower leaks.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:49 PM   #9
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Is it possible that the water is running through the hole made for the shower door and pooling in the corner where you have wet/cracked grout marked. Is the curb pitched that way? I can't tell which way the bubble is going in the picture but Jim said L-R so I am guessing
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Old 03-06-2018, 01:47 AM   #10
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I removed the interior wall tile of the curb. It turns out that the curb is hollow. Only the bottom half of the tile has thinset behind. Thus, with tile in place, there is trench inside the curb, which will collect the leaked water from the cracked grout. When the trench is full of water, it will overflow to outside through the gap at the end of the curb, where the curb meets with the shower wall tile.

What's the best fix? I am thinking of the following options:

1) remove the curb cap, build a 100% solid curb

2) keep the curb cap, put back the tile and make sure no void behind the tile and the curb is 100% solid

3) put back the tile and leave a similar trench inside the curb, but leave a weep hole at the corner where curb meets the shower wall and shower floor.

I am pretty sure making the curb 100% solid will fix the leak in the meantime. But I am not sure how long it can last. As the grout/mortar cracks/shrinks, new leak may develop.

Do you guys have any concern about option 3): keep the curb hollow, just open weephole to drain out possible leak?
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:06 AM   #11
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The waterproofing must come up and over the curb. There isn't any good way to install cbu on the curb. It appears that's what's there and that it is screwed in place. Without a liner over the top of the curb, that's the least of your worries.

Neither tile nor grout is waterproof, and a shower pan should hold water without leaking when you plug the drain up to the top of the curb. Most codes requires a flood test to pass the plumbing inspection. That does not appear to have happened.

Sounds like anything you do is just a patch. That leak will likely start to rot out the subflooring and maybe joists underneath.

Maybe someone else will see some other path, but it looks to me like it's pan and curb tearout along with enough wall tile to properly install a new one. By the time you've done that, often, it's easier to just gut it and build a new one done per one of the approved industry standard methods.
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:20 AM   #12
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There is water proof layer (hot mop) inside the curb. Please refer to my original post. The brownish thing is the rusted mesh wire, not screw.
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Old 03-06-2018, 12:11 PM   #13
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bad idea using timber for the curb
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:24 PM   #14
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I wouldn't have any problem using lumber for the curb over a wood floor.
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