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Old 10-30-2017, 08:13 AM   #1
branimal
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Replace/Repair lead pan shower

Im redoing a bathroom in my home and wanted to just replace the tile and fixtures.

When I knocked off the tile I found what may be a lead pan shower.

The slope to the drain seems pretty consistent all around. The shower didnt leak - I used it daily.

I think I have a few options at this point:

1. Tile the shower floor

2. Red-guard the floor then tile.

3. Break up that top mortar bed and check the lead pan for damage. It could be 23 years old. Some of the cement board I removed was dated 1994. Ive read that lead pans only last 25 -30 years or so.

4. If the lead pan isnt damaged, carefully pull up the lead pan and check for a preslope on the bottom mortar layer. I could also make sure the weep holes are covered with small pebbles.

5. Replace the lead pan with a pvc liner. Ensure there is proper sloping underneath pvc liner.

Now in terms of experience, I am pretty green. Ive installed a schluter-Kerdi shower in my other bathroom. I have no experience with mud-jobs. Willing to learn.

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Old 10-30-2017, 08:41 AM   #2
Dave Gobis
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Working with lead pans is a rare skill for even seasoned tradespeople. If you start pulling at it you are likely going to be replacing it.
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Old 10-30-2017, 09:42 AM   #3
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lead pan

Listen to Dave Gobis. That size with those angles would be an expensive copper pan and making up a membrane would require a very good and experienced person. If you can gently crack and remove the mud in pieces do so but stay away from the drain assembly for now. I would call in an EXPERIENCED PLUMBER who has at least some familiarity with lead and certainly Copper pan drains. May need a plumber or tin knocker comfortable with soldering irons if the drain loosens. But unless there are holes in the pan which I doubt, Hopefully, No reason you cant re-mud the pan and carry on. Be careful near the drain.

Good luck,

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Old 10-30-2017, 11:33 AM   #4
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3. Looks like the top mortar bed is broken up already, Jake, so no going back there.

That said, there is no way I'd even consider trying to re-use a 23 year old lead shower receptor under any circumstances. Remove it completely and start over with a new traditional mud/liner/mud receptor or move up to a direct bonded waterproof membrane shower as you did in your previous project.

I'd recommend the USG Durock Shower System membrane this tile so you can see how much easier it is to install than the Kerdi system you used last time.

If you'll add a geographic location to your User Profile we'll be better able to guess whether you're in NYC or Boston.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 10-30-2017, 02:13 PM   #5
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It would be a very rare instance where the lead (or copper) liner was installed over a preslope. Plumbing code requires the waterproof layer to be sloped to the drain. Neither tile nor the setting bed are waterproof, just not damaged by being wet. The waterproof layer is the liner. Now's the time to fix that.
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:56 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice.

One other item I did not mention is I am under a time constraint here. This property is my primary residence and I will be renting it out to get into a more affordable setup.

Based on everyones input I think the right thing to do is to replace the lead pan with a pvc liner or a direct bonded waterproof membrane. Watching some videos tells me that liner will me tricky to install given the showers shape and limited access. Cutting a waterproof membrane would be a easier but no walk in the park.

Is there a third acceptable option? Can I re-mud or thinset the top layer to properly slope all around and fix the chunk of cement I knocked off? The top layer seems to be fairly intact sans that one chunk.

I know this is not the RIGHT solution. And I may have to replace it in the future. Ill save some wall tiles in case I need to redo the job.

Btw, CX Im in nyc. Howd you guess? Lead pan only required in those cities?
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:22 AM   #7
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While the angles are fun, it would not be hard to use a sheet membrane. You can do it in sections, as long as you have the right overlap, so you don't have to come up with a whacky sheet to make it around all of the corners. A traditional liner would strike me as being much more difficult. Plus, with the sheet membrane, just one mud bed.
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:30 PM   #8
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Jake, that material you've broken off does not look like deck mud to my eye and it looks like it's but one layer of two layers of something on that floor. Looks more like a concrete mix, which is not at all what you want for a final mud bed in a traditional shower receptor.

If you ask folks who have spent a lot of time in the remodeling business, you'll likely get a consensus opinion that's it nearly always saves time and effort if you remove everything you can in the remodel area and start fresh. That would apply even more strictly to showers in my experience. I've got to recommend you tear out that whole receptor/pan and build you a proper one from scratch.
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Originally Posted by Jake
One other item I did not mention is I am under a time constraint here.
When you're in a hurry is the most important time to slow down and do things right so you don't spend a lot of time doing things twice. I learned that when I was an air traffic controller. Sometimes there wasn't even time to do things once. Jake, that material you've broken off does not look like deck mud to my eye and it looks like it's but one layer of two layers of something on that floor. Looks more like a concrete mix, which is not at all what you want for a final mud bed in a traditional shower receptor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake
Btw, CX I’m in nyc. How’d you guess? Lead pan only required in those cities?
I think NYC is the only place we read about on here where lead pans are actually required, Jake. Boston is infamous for wanting (but I don't think requiring) copper pans and they apparently favor lead, too. The rest of the nation seems to have at least moved up to PVC/CPE liners and much of the country accepts direct bonded waterproof membrane receptors. Y'all only about a hunnert years behind.


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Old 10-31-2017, 06:57 PM   #9
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Jlbos - yeah if Im going to tear this out, Im going with a sheet membrane. - durock as Cx recommended. I think I can get the angles right using an angle finder and practicing using cardboard a few times. Then trace the correct cardboard template on the sheet membrane. If I get a large enough membrane, the slopes should all be correct.




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Old 10-31-2017, 07:03 PM   #10
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Cx - Im going to take a closer look at that material. I know at one point the shower leaked and the prior owner had it repaired. This could be part of his repair. Im really not sure.

When you're in a hurry is the most important time to slow down and do things right so you don't spend a lot of time doing things twice.

This is sooo true. If I had a penny for everything Ive done 2 or 3x.....


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Old 10-31-2017, 07:06 PM   #11
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Replace/Repair lead pan shower

While debating the complete tear out and rebuild with durock or Kerdi membrane option i came across another option.

I spoke with someone at Custom Building Products and he walked me through using Red-gaurd over the top layer of pre sloped mortar. The Red-gaurd serves as a shower liner (PVC or lead pan in my case). It seems like a simple fix to faulty shower pan issues.

Here is the CBP diagram: http://www.custombuildingproducts.co...5830/CB421.pdf

Here are the steps from what I understand. Ive never seen a shower drain assembly so feel free to correct my errors in describing it.

1. Cut around the existing drain 2-3 large than existing drain hole using a dry cutting blade on an angle grinder. Tap with hammer and chisel as you get close to the drain assembly.
2. Remove the three drain flange bolts (pray that they are not rusted out). Remove the upper flange and bolts.
3. Cut a 45 degree angle to the drain all around the drain. See attached image.
4. Replace upper flange and bolts with new cast iron or plastic./ABS
5. Repair the shower floor (broken chunk in prior post).
6. Ensure 1/4 / foot slope all around. Can use portland paste, thinset, etc.
7. Paint the entire shower floor and slope to the drain.
8. Stack pebbles on the weep holes.
9. Cover 45 degree angled hole with mud ensuring slope is 1/4 per foot

I may have missed some steps or mis-ordered things. Anyone have thoughts or experience with this method?

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Old 10-31-2017, 07:30 PM   #12
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There's no way I'd do it that way. Rip it all out like CX said.
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:21 PM   #13
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Liquid applied membranes can work, but it's not as simple as painting a wall. Getting the paint applied within the min/max without pinholes, runs, or voids is harder than you'd think until you get some experience. With a sheet membrane, you're worrying about getting the seams done right, but the membrane itself is entirely waterproof all over.

ALso, with a surface applied membrane, either liquid or sheet, you really should go at least up to the height of the showerhead. Otherwise, moisture from above might get trapped behind it on its way down.
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:58 AM   #14
branimal
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Jad - I agree, applying red-gaurd correctly takes experience. I have painted a shower wall with Red-gaurd (3 coats) but I cannot say for certain Ive done it right. Time will tell.

That said, I am not solely relying on the red-gaurded floor for waterproofing. I still have a working Lead pan underneath. If I do end up with pinholes / voids that water should run down to the lead pan and flow to the drain. Thats the theory at least. Im not sure how cutting that 45 degree angle to the drain will affect the lead pan.

I just want to know my options before I remove the mud bed.

Regardless of which option I go with, I will be red-guarding the shower walls to 95 (ceiling height). And tiling all the way up. That will be at least a foot above the shower head.


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Old 11-03-2017, 10:23 AM   #15
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Ok enough horsing around. Im breaking up the mortar. Will take pics along the way.

Cx, why do you say the durock is easier to work with than the Kerdi product.


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