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Old 05-22-2011, 04:49 PM   #1
HH
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Walk in shower drain or pitch problem

Hello - I am having problems with my brand new walk in shower. My contractor is coming again tomorrow to do a full test but he has already told me it looked fine. I will try and explain my problem below, but please ask me for more information -

The walk in shower is 29 width 59 length. The drain is 52 inches from the farthest wall. The floor is poured concrete below. The older tub drain was replaced with a shower drain. Pictures attached - The last 2 are with water filled floor. While the shower is on the water rises almost 1/2 inch all the way around the shower. It feels like a bath to me as I was expecting the water to drain right away. It does pool at the back in small puddles which take awhile to dry after the water is off. I don't think it was pitched enough and the rear of the shower seems almost level. I told my contractor people have told me 1/4 inch per foot is proper pitch. He said I was incorrect because code only applies to the drain run, but my research tells me that is standard practice. I don't think the drain is clogged but they are checking that tomorrow as well. There is a curb and I was told everything done correctly in regards to the membrane and sealing. These guys have years of experience and did a great job otherwise, so am I overreacting or is this a problem???

Any help would be great. The final 1/3 project cost is due upon completion and a passed inspection. I am a novice but I am confident this needs to be redone and pitched at least .75 inches from drain to rear wall. Please help!

Tim from MA
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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You definitely have a serious concern there, that should not be happening at all. There must be a drain issue and it's certainly not pitched right either, but there should be absolutely no standing water. And no little pools either, all water should flow right down the drain, Honestly it looks like it was improperly built with not enough pitch and a full tearout should be done, then a qaulified tilesetter should rebuild the shower correctly.
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:22 PM   #3
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Welcome Tim, glad you found us.

What Chuck said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
There is a curb and I was told everything done correctly in regards to the membrane and sealing. These guys have years of experience and did a great job otherwise, so am I overreacting or is this a problem???
Well, based on what you've shown us, I'm not so sure about this "contractor". I mean, you've got an improperly constructed shower floor and who knows what else... Can you tell us about how the shower was put together? What kind of waterproofing? Got any 'in progress' photos? Trust your gut here... you're definitely NOT over reacting.

And you are correct about the slope, most codes require 1/4" per foot *minimum* on that floor. With 52" to the wall, that's over 1" difference from drain height to perimeter tile height. That's the entire floor that must slope to drain, no flat spots, no pools, no water in the corners, etc...
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:26 PM   #4
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Walk in shower drain and pitch problem

Thank you for the quick response. Glad to know I am not crazy because things got tense today between the contractor and I. The tile guys finished and I didn't actually have a working shower for another week. They never tested which scares me because I had to point this out and bother them multiple times about this.

Do I allow them to redo? How would you make sure they do it properly and not too little pitch or too much pitch the next time.

The tile subcontractor already messed up once and I worry how upset they will be doing it again. Hopefully my contractor agrees with me because this is clearly not done properly. I am not paying a dime for this to be redone.

Good learning experience I guess.
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:34 PM   #5
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I worry how upset they will be doing it again.
Stop that! You should not give a fig how upset they might be. Your worry is to get a quality installation for your money. The tile setter's job is to provide that quality installation. It is the GC's job to see that the contractor does his job properly. None of you are there to form life-long bonds of friendship (although, it would be a plus if such were to occur). Speaking of money, keep as much of it as you can until the job is finished to your satisfaction. That's the only thing that will keep them coming back to make things right.
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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Additional Pictures

Here are some more pictures - I don't think they are what you need. I have a bunch every day from when I came home from work. I didn't see the membrane because there was tile when I came home that day. I was told membrane was installed over the curb and at least 6 inches high but now of course I am not sure about anything. I have contracts, permits and an inspector from the city overseeing my project. If they will not replace then I will be getting someone from the city in ASAP, probably either way at this point.
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
Do I allow them to redo?
You're in a tough spot, no doubt about it. Some guys just don't know, and want to learn. Others, well, don't know and never will. I think it's best to allow a guy to fix his mistakes if he can... We can help you with the re-build, but you gotta have a plan going in. Like asking them about meeting industry standards and building codes, not just passing inspections. Putting this in writing isn't a bad idea.

Inspectors are not there to make sure your shower is built properly. They have little time to see everything that goes into a project, and only spot-check at best. And this is the good, knowledgeable ones.

And the industry standards and codes are available, but not for free typically. Your local building department may be able to give you copies of a few important pages if you ask nicely, though.

edit; and what Bob said too. They put themselves in this spot, not you.
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:36 PM   #8
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Ok, something is not right here, if the " membrane " goes over the curb and up the wall 6" If it's a liner it should go behind the durock and over the curb. If it's a surface membrane the drain is not set up for that application. I personally would not want the installer who put this shower in back. He either does not know what he is doing or doesn't care to give a quality install, probably both. The gc might be just ignorant to what a quality shower installation is. This shower is all wrong and needs to be completely torn out and redone by a true pro. Don't feel bad about them! They were going to leave you with a sweet little mold factory, and perhaps lots more water damage then you might realize. For an example of what you would end up with go over to our Pros Hangout and check out the " Pic of the Worst Tile job " thread.
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:55 PM   #9
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I'm with Chuck on this one.

Things we know for sure;

1- That particular drain is a clamping style that is used with a traditional vinyl liner.
2- The old drain line was 1.5" The new drain is 2"
3- The new clamping drain was set very close to the existing slab.
4- These guys are in denial about the required minimum slope
5- With the CBU already on the walls, there is no room for the liner.

I am amazed your shower doesn't leak already. Plug the drain with a test plug and fill the pan with water to the tippy top. (you'll want to do this when your downstairs neighbor is home) Listen carefully. Let it set overnight. Let it set for all day Saturday when you are around to keep an eye on this.

If the pan holds water (God willing) you can re-float the floor and set the slope properly, re-tile and have a functioning shower. I'll have my fingers crossed for you.

Aside from this slope issue and the questionable waterproofing (bless their hearts), the shower does look great.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:22 PM   #10
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More Pics

THANK YOU all for taking time to help me out. It's so valuable to have the proper knowledge going forward. Now I have to get this taken care of and make sure this bathroom is finished properly.

I don't know what the membrane looks like or what is under and I don't have any pics of that. I will make sure I document what is done in the replacement and run it by you all.

They also broke my toilet (they replaced), didn't order baseboard tile, and left debris behind the durock (I had them remove). I had 20 contractors in before I picked these guys and thought I had done my homework. Guess I did and got an F!
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:34 PM   #11
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Tim,

Does the valve body swing in the breeze like that? Did they add any way to fasten it down?
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:38 PM   #12
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Tim,

Can you take the escutcheon plate off the valve and snap a picture like this?

It will give us X-ray vision as to how your wall was waterproofed.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #13
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I agree with Chuck & Paul regarding no vinyl liner, but there are other ways to properly waterproof showers. Based on the photos you've posted Tim, it appears that the shower could have been waterproofed properly by using a surface applied membrane like Redgard, HydroBan or even a sheet like Kerdi. You'll find out at demo time.

The floor has to come out regardless, but you already know that.

Any other photos will help. And when the floor is demo'd, I think it a good idea if you're there to document what they did. At that time, you'll find out about wall waterproofing as well, if you don't see it before then.
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:30 AM   #14
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Right Dana, but remember Tim stated that the gc told him the membrane came 6" up the wall, there obviously is no liner, so if they waterproofed with a surface membrane it's only waterproofed 6" up the wall, thats not gonna last without problems. And then that means the seat is most likely not waterproofed either. The whole shower needs to come out, not just the bottom portion. Tear the whole thing out and start over! These folks cannot be trusted with the new install, my opinion.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:18 AM   #15
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Hello again,

I will get the details on the membrane and take pictures when the new floor is being put in. I was told that durock is waterproof and does not need extra protection if not on an outside wall. True? Does the whole shower need to come out? The last post scares the hell out of me to be sure.

Here is the response I just got from the contractor -

I've been at your place for about an hr, plumber found shower head to be delivering about 4-5 gal per minute, plus the existing line is causing this problem. I've instructed XXX tile to give me more pitch than the 3/16 that is there know, and drop the drain by an 1/8 inch.
Please get a shower head that gives out the 1.6 tat will improve the draining issue
Also, I spoke with --- the bullnose was to costly for baseboard so what are your thoughts on base.
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