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Old 02-01-2016, 08:47 PM   #1
Kendrav
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Leaking shower repair... Advice needed

I've been posting about this issue on houzz, and someone there suggested I post about our situation here. So here goes. I'll try to keep it as brief as possible.

Our house was built a year and a half ago and we had a custom tile shower with a pebble floor installed. About 6 months ago, we noticed the shower leaking into the crawl space from the area around the drain. We contacted the tile company and after a lot of back and forth, they've agreed to fix it. Initially, they tore out only the floor and said they were going to leave the existing liner and just fix the drain and then retile. But we noticed that the floor under the liner was just subfloor. There was no preslope and there was a fairly sloppy patch job in the existing liner. We told them that we were not ok with their solution and that we wanted them to take out the bottom row of wall tiles and put in the appropriate slope and a new liner. They acted like we were crazy to think that was necessary, but after we showed them the building code they were violating, they agreed. They demoed the shower today and took out the old liner.

Before we let them proceed, I have a few questions. First, the subfloor is still wet. Should they wait for it to dry out? Should we treat it with bleach to kill any mold that might be growing?

Next, does the preslope just go right on the subfloor? Or are they supposed to put something down over the wood first?

I'll try to attach a picture of the drain area. Please let me know your thoughts about what it looks like at this point. Any red flags?

Thank you.
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Old 02-01-2016, 08:56 PM   #2
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Kendra,

Welcome to the forum.

Can you add your location to your User CP ? It helps us to give guidance on materials and methods.

Speaking of methods, which waterproofing system will you be using ?

Placing a box fan over the area will help dry it out.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:04 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum, Kendra.

Yes, let the ply dry out. Or speed it up with a fan. No need for treating the floor for mold. Mold requires moisture. If there is currently any mold whatsoever, it will not survive the upcoming absence of moisture.

The pre-slope generally has a barrier like tarpaper put down on the ply to prevent moisture from escaping out of the mortar too quickly as you work with it and it dries. Also some mesh tacked down to keep the thin layer of mud together. But if you were to use a pre-made product like Noble's ProSlope, you could lay it on the floor and immediately install your liner.

Perhaps it's because I'm looking at the pic on a phone, but I can't see what kinna drain you've got there.

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Old 02-01-2016, 09:05 PM   #4
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Hi Kendra, welcome! Back in the day when I used that system, I would set the drain about a 1/2" to 3/4" above the subfloor. There's a flange on it that in your pic is set right on the subfloor. After the drain is set tar paper (roofing felt) or 4 mil plastic goes down then diamond mesh goes on that stapled to the floor. Pre slope should be 1/4" per foot from the furthest part of the drain made with deck mud (sand mix). After that has dried the the pan liner goes in and then a minimum of 1 1/4" of deck mud on that at 1/4" per foot.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:38 AM   #5
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Wow. Thank you for all the responses. You guys are quick!

We are in Georgia, USA. Not sure how to add it to my profile, but I will figure it out later when I can get on the computer.

Im not sure what kind of drain it is, but I attached another picture with the other piece of the drain. So you're saying that dark gray part of the drain should be raised above the subfloor? Oops.

The installers really seem to be about as clueless as I am when it comes to how to do this right. I don't know what kind of waterproofing they are doing. Before it was just a pvc liner laid over bare subfloor with mud and tile on top of that. After the first demo, they spread red guard over the liner and we're going to tile over that until we said no. I don't think they can use anything like kerdi without tearing out the whole shower, right?

Oops. Looks like my picture is upside down :/
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:21 AM   #6
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When you get home, can you take a few more pictures?

A few steps backwards so we can have an overall view, and one close up on the joint where they left the old tile so we can see what the layers are behind the tile.
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:43 AM   #7
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Here's one
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:46 AM   #8
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And here's one of the curb area. They haven't finished demoing. They are waiting for the shower door to be taken down before they take out the remaining tile.
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:49 AM   #9
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Sorry, forgot the pic.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:03 AM   #10
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One thing is certain; they nailed the top of the curb down. Unacceptable. Water will penetrate it and rot away the curb in short order.
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:56 PM   #11
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Oh boy. Ok. So do we have enough incompetence displayed here for us to ask for our money back for the shower so we can find someone else to do this job correctly? At this point I have zero confidence that these guys can build a shower that is not going to fail.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:33 PM   #12
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Welcome, Kendra.

I would recommend you find someone else to do your shower if that is an option under your contractual obligations. The current guys don't appear to have a very good grasp of the concept.

Or, better still, get your money refunded and build the new shower yourself.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:10 PM   #13
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Kendra~ You might go to the "User CP" in the blue bar at the top of the page and add your location. Then, go to the "Professional's Hangout" and see if we have someone in your area that could work with you.

Saw your post in Houzz and glad you stopped in to see us. Welcome!
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:41 PM   #14
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So do any of you know how this would work legally? We absolutely don't have the money to just pay for this shower a second time. At this point we have no contractual obligations because they are working to fix what was paid for a year and a half ago. Unless the tile company will refund what we spent on the shower, we are stuck with these guys. They aren't even really a tile company. They're a flooring company and they contract out the installation. And the flooring company was hired by our builder, not by us. My husband doesn't think we have a good enough case. He thinks we have to let them try to fix it. They didn't even show up today. No phone call. Nothing. This is such a nightmare.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:57 PM   #15
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Kender,

In my fair state (and probably yours too) you must give the contractor the chance to fix it properly. If they cannot or will not they owe you a refund. What they do owe you is a properly built shower as per manufacturer instructions, ANSI standards, contemporary industry standards (the TCNA manual) and local building code. If they fail at any one step, you have a basis to take them to court for a full refund. The more steps they fail at the better your case.

IMHO your best bet at this point is to have a 'Come to Jesus' meeting with the people you contracted with / people you paid. They are the ones legally responsible. Present to them your state and local laws concerning performance contracts. Whether its printed in your contract or not, ALL contracts include manufacturer instructions, ANSI standards, contemporary industry standards (the TCNA manual) and local building code. (see a theme here?) The fine folks at the TCNA work with the manufacturers so the instructions overlap and piece together seamlessly.

After reminding your builder of the codes he must follow, pose the question, "Do you want those same knuckleheads the same guys trying again or will you be hiring someone who is a NTCA member who has the backing of (name of company who's waterproofing system you choose)?

Graciously remind him you will be taking pictures all along the way and having the progress reviewed by learned industry professionals.

After he grumbles for a bit, let us know what he has to say.
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