Possible issue with drain in poured shower floor [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-24-2019, 01:15 PM
New member/homeowner with an issue. Please excuse my ignorance of all of the correct terminology.

We had a shower pan built by one contractor and the tile is being installed by another contractor. The tile contractor said the drain was not set correctly. The issue appears to be that the strainer is flush with the poured shower pan. If I understand correctly, the strainer should have been left up enough to be flush with the tile. I think it would work as-is but there would be a large difference in height.

I believe the strainer is adjustable after looking at the drain but cannot say that for sure. There is nothing on the drain or strainer that identifies the manufacturer other than either a W or M stamped in the strainer. The strainer snaps in; it does not use screws as others do.

Here are my questions:

1. Can anyone identify the manufacturer of the drain?

2. If it is adjustable, should I chip away enough of the shower pan so I can turn the strainer and adjust it up?

3. If that does work, should the tile installer adjust it to the correct height and then add material under the edge when tiling?

BTW: the tile installer had to remove their first attempt at installing the floor tile, unrelated to the drain issue. There was an issue with how the tiles were laid out and that’s when they identified the drain issue to me. I wish they had identified this issue before they started the floor. That is why the shower floor looks like it does now. I’m hoping they didn’t damage it too much during their removal. They said it won’t be an issue.

They’re waiting on the drain issue to be resolved before they come back and redo the floor.

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06-24-2019, 01:29 PM
Alan I cannot identify that drain as I don't have that much experience. On your last picture I see some wall tiles along with that damage of the mud bed you are showing. the mud bed damage can be repaired no problem but I'm wondering what type of waterproofing your whole shower is using?. I see open seams of whatever material wallboard is being used I see screws that are not sealed what type of pan liner is underneath your mud bed how does a connect to your drain flange? I think it's a good thing you came here but I think your problems are going to be much more than just this drain.
The shower curb bench and walls do not look like they are ready to be tiled to me. Is that white Subway wall tile hidden on the back of the bench?

06-24-2019, 01:47 PM
Thanks Teddy. What screws and subway tile are you referring to? If it’s the picture of the whole shower, that was taken before any tile work started.

There were multiple steps in the shower pan including mortar, a membrane, more mortar, etc. If memory serves, the guy did a layer of mortar, put the membrane down, then the lower layer of backer board then another layer of mortar. I have a picture when the membrane was being installed which I’ll include with this post.

I didn’t get a picture just before the tile was started but they rolled some green liquid on all of the wall surfaces. I think there was a mesh tape involved around the niche, wall joints and corners at the same time but I’m not certain.

06-24-2019, 01:48 PM
I don’t know why some of my pics are rotated :(

06-24-2019, 01:54 PM
I see white Subway on that last picture and your first post. I thought they started the floor tile first and have not done any walls yet and I see those screws and joints in the wall board that aren't ready for tile.
It does look like the liner goes under the wall board and I don't see any screws down low that's good. hopefully someone will stumble along who knows what drain that is and if you can adjust it's height and if it has a liner clamping feature or not.

06-24-2019, 02:04 PM
I can’t remember the order. I think they did the bench, curb, floor then the walls. They removed the floor last Friday after we identified the issue with the penny tile alignment.

06-24-2019, 02:06 PM
This was the penny tile:

06-24-2019, 02:10 PM
This is the current state. I remember now that the walls were last. The installer used a ledger board above the bench and did the upper tile. Then he removed the ledger and did the lower courses. I’m not sure what the tape is for.

06-24-2019, 09:30 PM
How about a close-up of the floor, but not as close as the one you took of the drain. What little I'm seeing looks very rough, maybe to rough to set tile over in it's current state.

Is it sloped properly at least 1/4" per running foot from every point toward the drain?

06-25-2019, 09:42 AM
This is the whole floor. Yes, it is sloped towards the drain.

Other than the obvious areas that they need to patch/fill, I don’t think it’s too rough. We are going with a pebble tile that has random grout spacing so it should be easier to get it right. Should is the key word.

The plumber is coming tomorrow to install the water valves for the vanity and toilet. I’ll ask him about the drain and see if it’s adjustable. If so, I’m going to chip away as little as possible to get a grip on it and hope for the best.

06-25-2019, 09:54 AM
I think that's probably your best hope to get it right. Hopefully it's not already set so high that it can't be raised.

Oatey's drain has an available extension that would have solved your problem.

06-25-2019, 09:59 AM
Welcome, Alan. :)

1. Not I. I've seen similar drains, but they were not the proper clamping drain for a shower receptor.

2. Yes, but I don't know that it's adjustable.

3. Yes.

From the looks of that mud bed I would recommend it be removed and replaced. Usually not terribly difficult and with a little care you won't damage the waterproof liner. That will also allow you to evaluate the drain, the adequacy of the pre-slope, and the thickness of the top mud bed (minimum 1 1/2" thick).

Keep in mind that the slope should be under the waterproof liner and should be a minimum of 1/4" per horizontal foot from the drain to the farthest point in the shower floor. The top mud bed should be of uniform thickness following that slope.

My opinion; worth price charged.

06-25-2019, 03:09 PM
real small, pebble tile will make any inconsistencies in the flatness of the shower floor HARDER to deal with, not easier.

Those small tiles need more slope to avoid getting birdbaths on the shower floor. You said it slopes to the drain, but did you put a level on the floor in like 12 different spots to ensure it does on all points??

06-25-2019, 09:14 PM
Yep, I usually slope the floor at 1/2" per foot when installing pebbles.

06-26-2019, 09:39 AM
Thanks everyone. The plumber confirmed that the drain is not adjustable. So, now I’ll work with the tile installer on getting a game plan pulled together. I’ll talk to him about redoing the top layer. I’m not sure he’s going to be willing to do that since he could damage the liner and cause more trouble.

Since the drain isn’t adjustable, I’m thinking of putting a piece of pipe or similar inside the drain flange and having the tile cover the outer flange with tile. Then, the strainer would sit on top of the tile. This is a mock-up of what I mean.

06-26-2019, 10:43 AM
Alan, I am concerned about the load on that grate. Grates need to be load-bearing since you step on them. That's usually done by redirecting the load into the drain body. If you put a pipe in there, the load might straight go to the bottom portion of your drain body, putting pressure on your drain pipe. Not sure if that will be ok.

06-26-2019, 10:48 AM
Sorry. What I mean is use a piece of pipe to give the installer something to work around and get a clean installation. The pipe would be removed when they’re down and the strainer would sit on the tile directly.

Based on earlier posts, we may have to switch from pebbles to another small tile.

06-26-2019, 10:57 AM
Alan, I've never seen a strainer that sits on the tile directly and that is at the same time slightly below the tile to allow for complete drainage.

06-26-2019, 11:00 AM
The installer said he can grind the pan down so the tile would be flush with the drain. Hopefully all will be ok.