Need advice tile Floor shower leak [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-17-2017, 06:56 PM
Alright so tile floor shower is slowly leaking into garage below. Drop ceiling so I have access. I can't find any leaking other than this one spot to the side of the drain. Can't find any large cracks in the tile either. Used a bit of silicon around the drain to tile joint just in case but didn't help. Drain pipe is NOT wet, just the little section of wood circled. It's also not wet at any part on the wood besides the very edge. Any ideas? Shower built in 2001 and I don't have any information on who did it.

Please let me know what other information I can give to help..

Thanks much!

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01-17-2017, 07:22 PM
The tile surface has nothing at all to do with the waterproofing of the shower pan. This looks to me like a conventional shower built with a clamping style drain which means there is probably a PVC/CPE liner clamped into the drain. This is what actually keeps the water in the pan from getting out, the tile on top is just your decorative easy to clean wear surface. Tile and grout are not waterproof so water does flow under the tile through your mud bed and to the liner. If there is a breach in the liner the water will exit the shower pan. Hard to tell what's going on there for sure but it looks to me like the connection of the liner to the clamping drain is leaking. It's also possible the liner is penetrated somewhere else and this is where the water is running to and exiting. Doesn't look like the leak is from the trap tail pipe to clamping drain connection. In which case this is going to be at a minimum a complete shower pan tear out and redo which is the majority of the cost of a new shower so you would just want to rebuild the entire shower to insure all the waterproofing is properly tied in which can be difficult/impossible to do if you are only repairing the shower pan. Wish I had better news. Maybe someone else in here will have a different opinion but I don't really see any other option.

01-17-2017, 07:22 PM
Since you have access, can you feel to the sides of the hole above the floor and try to determine if the liner is flat on the floor, or if there's a mortar product (typically called mudbed) underneath it?

Plumbing code requires that the waterproofing layer be sloped to the drain - that would be the liner. The liner should have slope to it...the setting bed on top ends up sloped because the bottom layer is, not because it has an 'individual' slope to it (in fact, it's generally equal thickness all across it, it's just that there's a preslope layer there to follow). My guess is that you have your liner (tile is NOT the waterproofing layer!) flat on the floor, and over the years, moisture has built up underneath the tile and that they also did not seal the drain properly to the liner and it's now leaking out. You need some sealant around the liner-to-clamping drain to ensure a proper seal.

01-17-2017, 07:33 PM
Jim, John thanks for the quick responses.

Jim you mean feel above the wood sub? You mention some sealant around the liner to clamping drain is that something that wouldn't require a rip out and re do? Once again thanks for the help gents

01-17-2017, 07:33 PM
Jim is there anyway you can try to seal/reseal the liner to clamping drain connection after the fact? I can't think of anyway to do this without tearing it all out.

01-17-2017, 07:37 PM
Adam, the sealant (usually 100% silicone) is applied to the perimeter of the clamping drain and then the liner draped over and clamped by the other half of the drain. This insures that water can not get through the holes cut into the liner for the drain hole and screw holes and end up going anywhere other than down the drain. I have seen "how to" videos on youtube where the installer omitted this step and simply clamped the liner with no sealant whatsoever. Some drain manufacturers apparently don't specify a sealant be used in this step. I don't know of any way to seal this connection after the fact. Also, it's possible the liner is leaking simply because it has been penetrated somewhere.

01-17-2017, 07:39 PM
Welcome, Adam. :)

That would require tearing out at least the tile and mud around the drain enough that the top part of the clamping drain could be removed and caulking applied under the liner on top of the bottom portion of the drain.

You really want to determine whether you have a pre-slope first as the repair wouldn't likely be worthwhile if you don't.

My opinion; worth price charged.

01-17-2017, 07:41 PM
Not sure if this helps but I felt up under the place where the drain pipe goes down and there was some sort of mud or grout feeling stuff coming off. Felt like sandy clumps