Shower pan creaking - unsure, need advice please [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

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meezits
01-18-2017, 06:36 PM
Hello,

My first post, and sorry for the description, I'm worried I need to rip my base out and re-tile the wall and part of the floor again. (spent way too much already)

I've been an avid reader on this forum for over a year now as I remodeled my bathroom by myself and it was a journey, and I wanted everything to be done right.

I ripped out old floor pan with these little subway tiles. (1 ton of old mortar from 1930's) Replaced ruined joists, and sistered the remaining ones. All are solid and sound.

Added 2 layers of 1/2 plywood. (was going to hardwood floor then wanted tile, added additional support)

I installed a dreamline shower base, and a framesless shower glass.

I installed the showerpan with modified mortar, almost 3/4 of a 50 lb bag. Mixed it a little thicker than I would if I was laying tile and inserted the pan into it. It was extremely solid for months while I worked on the rest.

After finishing the bathroom, I've used it almost daily and I've had company come over and spend the night, which also used it.

I noticed small pops, not loud, or cracks after 2 weeks of using the shower.

I dont feel or see movement in the subfloor, I'm assuming either the mortar separated from the pan is slightly higher than the mortar and it bounces.

Should I be concerned? I dont think I want to spray "foam" to fix this or leave it alone.

Thanks again, :o

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cx
01-18-2017, 07:13 PM
Welcome, Kyle. :)I dont feel or see movement in the subfloor, I'm assuming either the mortar separated from the pan is slightly higher than the mortar and it bounces.Sorry, 'fraid I don't follow that at all.

Any poping noise coming from any part of a shower installation is a bad sign, but I can't make any kind of guess with the information provided.

The two layers of nominal half-inch plywood you have for a subfloor is not something you want under a ceramic tile installation unless you actually glue-laminated the layers using a full spread of wood glue and lots of mechanical fasteners.

My opinion; worth price charged.

jadnashua
01-18-2017, 08:16 PM
There's a reason why they call thinset THINset...it tends to shrink and crack when installed thicker than the design. Is it catastrophic? Probably not, but it could shorten the life of the thing as stress cracks may form. Worst case, the movement could cause the drain connection to loosen and leak.

meezits
01-18-2017, 08:45 PM
Thanks for the reply!

I went under the floor and had someone walk around, the movement doesn't feel or seem to be the floor at all.

The two layers of nominal half-inch plywood you have for a subfloor is not something you want under a ceramic tile installation unless you actually glue-laminated the layers using a full spread of wood glue and lots of mechanical fasteners.

I actually followed the code in my area for what the recommended floor joists are and minimum thickness of sub-flooring needed. both sheets are 19/32.

And The first layer was glued to the joists and the second layer wasn't spread "glue" but was glued with 4 tubes of construction adhesive. and spread in opposite patterns with 1/16 ~ 1/18 gap between each adjacent sheet with screws every 4-6 inches. First Sheet screwed every 3 inches on joists, and the second sheet wasn't screwed into the joists at all. just screwed every 6 inches to the first layer sub floor.


The tile I have is porcelain.

The modified thin-set mortar was recommend by the manufacturer of the shower base. (I laid the base 6 months ago, without issues this whole time.)

I can understand it shrunk a little bit and maybe that's why it is moving.

Not sure what to do at this time? A little advice might help.

Steve in Denver
01-18-2017, 09:20 PM
Since you have already spent too much, and you can observe the shower floor from below, I'd be inclined to live with it until it starts leaking, or until the squeaking / creaking bothers you enough that you'd rather re-do it.

Sorry to hear about your predicament...I know I'd be pretty unhappy with that result after all that work....

meezits
01-18-2017, 09:33 PM
I'm not sure how it'd start leaking, the base itself or the drain? The popping is small for now.

I boxed the joists around the drain in that area. Not sure if theirs tiny bit of movement under there. I located the spot to about 4-5 inches in front of the drain in the middle of the base. which is roughly in the middle of the open joists.

ZZZK
01-18-2017, 10:49 PM
The dreamline shower base is a fiberglass shower base correct? There is no tile in the base?

meezits
01-19-2017, 10:26 AM
Yes it is fiberglass. I have roughly 40 lbs of latex modified thinset under the base. I do however have backboard under the shower that was places before I purchased the shower. That is Mortered down and fastened with screws

ZZZK
01-20-2017, 01:29 PM
Well at this point you are kinda stuck unless you are willing to tear it out. Hopefully the base won't end up cracking from the flex. Next time use deck mud for this! The same as if you were setting a fiberglass tub. Thin set shrinks and cracks like crazy if you try to build it up over its recommended max thickness (which you are way, way beyond as 40 pounds of thinset trowed at max allowable thickness would cover around 40 square feet). What probably happened is the modified thinset did stick to the bottom of the base but it also shrank and cracked a ton leaving voids here and there. However because a certain amount was stuck to the pan it gave some resistance to flex and gave the impression it was well supported. As you used it you just induced more and more cracks and loosened up whatever rigid thinset structure remained.

cx
01-20-2017, 01:32 PM
I've gotta disagree with John a bit here. Deck mud doesn't work well in that application, either. You really want fat mud or a pre-bagged Mortar Mix or Mason's Mix. Something that will moosh well, which is not one of the features of deck mud.

My opinion; worth price charged.