Modern day shower enclosures [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-08-2001, 09:21 PM
Hey guys,

For the third time this month my non-paying buddies have asked me to help them work on a leaky shower enclosure. No these are not the mud pan models ; they have the acrylic/fiberglass manufactured base with either tile or cultured marble walls and a glass door.

The culprit seems to be the door/glass panel that comprises one of the four sides. Two sides are tile/fake marble and the other two are glass panel in an extruded aluminum frame- one of which contains the door.

All three of these showers are less than 5 years old. They all leak at the corners where the glass frames join the acrylic. The result of failed silicone sealant in my opinion

In all three cases I have taken out the aluminum frame, checked for water damage behind the walls, replaced some greenboard, resealed with silicone, and re-installed the glass.

This seems to be a short term solution since the flaw is truly in the design.

Have any of you guys seen this issue? If so, any long term recommendations - other than doing a tearout and replcing it with a mud job.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated


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Rob Z
09-08-2001, 09:27 PM
Hi jason

Are you cleaning everything with mineral spirits before applying the silicone caulk? that will help the caulk stick better.

It's hard to say about the doors....I've put in lots of shower doors of varying quality, and as a general rule the cheap ones ....leak.

Do you have a brand name on these doors?


09-08-2001, 10:22 PM
Hi Rob,

These aluminum frames, doors, glass panels are usually subbed out to a local glass shop. They do site measurement and then fabricate the glass and frames. No particular brand.


John Bridge
09-09-2001, 08:56 AM
The problem is not usually the enclosure. If you look at the flange/rim/ridge/lip going around the top of a plastic shower receptor, you'll notice it stops short of the front of the curb. In fact, it ends about halfway across the curb. This is usually the problem area, hidden behind the tile where no one sees it. It is right at the point where the shower enclosure attaches.

When installing the receptor is is paramount to get the thing absolutely level all the way around. If it's the least bit out of level, it'll leak at one side of the curb.

Additionally, you should make a bead (glob) of silicone that will sort of extend the flange/lip outward toward the front of the curb. It only needs to be about an eighth of an inch high. The curb does have a slight slope to it. It will direct the water back in if it's not allowed to escape out the side.

Then, of course, it's essential to keep the tile/receptor joint tightly caulked. The glass guys usually do a pretty good job of caulking the enclosure.

09-09-2001, 07:58 PM
Hi John,

I see you are familiar with my problem. I was afraid the issue was lost in the verbage.

In any case, what you described is exactly the problem I've been addressing. The glass guys do a good job of sealing framing initially but it seems to deterioriate rather quickly. The area that requires periodic "re-sealing" is not easily accessible unless you take out some of the aluminum/glass "framing"

Then of course you never know you have a leak until the adjacent sheetrock begins to bubble.

Short of installing a better pan are there any retrofit designs on the market that would solve this problem?


John Bridge
09-10-2001, 05:58 AM
I don't know of any, but you might try Terry Love's board. Find the link on our links page. Sometimes they're so busy they don't answer up there, though. You may need to use our old trick of mentioning beer in the message title. :)

The biggest single factor is getting the thing perfectly level to begin with. Then prevent water from getting behind the tile.