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)-shArk> 03-01-2006 04:46 PM

Back Again
I am finally ready to start back up on my shower. You all gave me great advice a few months back, but since then I have been reading the forum and came up with a new strategy. I am sure it will get shot down, but I am gonna throw it out there anyway--I mean, why else would I be here? :)

I have a tile shower that I wish to remodel. It is recessed meaning that you step down into the shower a good 2-3 inches lower than the bathroom floor. Originally, we had a leak that came through into the opposing room. Considering the floor height, I am now guessing that it had to be a leak from the old shower door / door track at the curb.

My reasoning?(this is the scary part)-- Wouldn't the entire shower floor need to fill up with 2-3 inches of water in order to seep into the next room? I would love to have a show of hands on this one, and I will definetly go with the majority on the ruling, but before I tear out the entire shower floor and replace it, I figured I would ask.

That being said, I am wondering if I can remove my existing floor tiles and redguard the shower floor and walls, using the existing pan/foundation. Again, it is almost 3 inches lower than the rest of the house, and almost 35 years old. There's no telling what I will find down there if I tear it all out -- probably dirt.

Thanks Again,

rspainhower 03-01-2006 04:50 PM

Is this floor on slab or plywood? At what position in the next room did the water appear?

)-shArk> 03-02-2006 09:33 AM

Yes, the floor is slab, I am hoping it is slab underneath the shower pan. I have heard of / seen pictures of homes where they tear out the shower floor/pan and then there is dirt. This is what is scaring me. The house is 35 years old, and if it is going to happen to anyone, it will be me.

The shower walls are drywall, lathe, about an inch of cement or mortar, then tile. I have begun the tear out, but only the walls. Thinking that I may be able to tile over the existing floor and extend the drain.

Thanks Again,

bbcamp 03-02-2006 11:51 AM

Dean, Is the leak coming into the other room at slab level or higher on the wall? What did you see behind the walls?

)-shArk> 03-02-2006 02:11 PM

It is at slab level. Nothing seemes to be leaking as far as plumbing goes. The wall in front of the shower door was rotted out in an area around the toilet freshwater valve. this is in close proximity to the track for the shower door. Also, I remember the kids leaving puddles(Edit 3/3 -- Puddles From The Shower!) in front of the curb near the same area next to the toilet.

Man, I am guessing, but I really think the shower would have to fill up to meet the level of the slab--in the rest of the house I mean. It is a good 2-3 inches lower than the bathroom and the kitchen, which is on the other side where we detected the leak (while we were remodeling our kitchen btw--but that's a post for another time).

If in fact the pan/floor is good, what is the conscensus on tiling over the exisitng floor tiles in the shower? Can it/should it be done? Or do I need to use some precision and remove the floor tiles?

Thanks Again.


)-shArk> 03-04-2006 02:01 PM

Holy !@#--What Do I Do Now??
2 Attachment(s)
Yep, just my luck. Anyone know a contractor in the Fort Myers area?

So--Here are pics of the floor. Notice the depth of the holes I made. There is nothing substantial underneath--some old cement or mud, and some sand, and notice my favorite---the roots. How in the name of Zeus's Butt do you build a shower on Florida sand?

Oh Yeah, the shiny stuff resembles clear 1mil plastic.

Anyway---what in the world do I do now? HELP!


John Bridge 03-04-2006 02:17 PM

Geez, I think we need a Florida engineer! :)

I hope Bob comes back and affirms what I'm about to say, because I've never run into this. I think I would dig down and form a sort of slab out of deck mud that is about 4 inches. thick. Do a pre-slope on that and work up from there.

)-shArk> 03-04-2006 10:18 PM

Coming from you JB, sounds like I am going to be contracting this one out. What a mess.

Seriously, There are 2 different kinds of mud in that hole, and then what I am sure is earth (sand in FL) at the very bottom. I was able to probe at least 7 inches down with no resistance. What I am thinking is why not pour a good 2-3 inches right on top of the whole darn thing, extend the flange and tile right on top of the new cement.

PLEASE let me know what you think. We are obviously in the area of "Creative Liberty" now. I don't wish this one on anyone---notice again the roots, and I wont even comment on the ants. Let's just say the things you never see going on inside your own house are simply amazing.


)-shArk> 03-06-2006 01:07 PM

No ideas?? There has to be someone out there who has experienced this or knows how I should run with it.

Must I Beg? :bow:


jdm 03-06-2006 01:41 PM

It's possible that the lower layer of mud you found is really a very poorly-built slab.

To repair, you must pour a new slab, and on top of that build a mud preslope, install a shower pan, and then build a mud setting bed layer. Or you could skip the pan and second mud layer and instead use Kerdi. Take a look at the Liberry shower-construction thread for details on proper shower-building.

You can put the new slab at any level you want, provided it is poured over a sound base, and doweled into the existing slab.

cx 03-06-2006 01:50 PM

We've seen an identical Florida shower here not long ago, Dean, but I don't know how to find it.

I agree with Jeff, you need to chip out what you have and pour a real slab down there, doweled into the existing. I further agree that it makes on difference at what level you pour the new slab. Could still be recessed (always my preference) or level.

Not sure you can't do just what you're suggesting, though, and just pour over what you've got there if it's reasonably sound.

In any case, you then start with new shower construction of whatever method suits you.

Maybe somebody can find that other thread and you can compare pictures. I'm bettin' it's the same thing you're dealing with.

My opinion; worth price charged.

jdm 03-06-2006 01:59 PM

Kelly --

Is this the thread that you were looking for?

It's a FL shower with a problem slab and has your purty avatar in it.

)-shArk> 03-06-2006 02:52 PM

Thanks for the quick replies. I have followed the link to that other South FL problem shower and while I see similarities, do not believe we are in the same situation. I often see that other guy refer to his slab more than once. I believe that I have no slab underneath my shower, I know there is no slab at least 7 inches below my tile. I can also see how the top most layer of mud could be fat mud, it does crumble easily and mine is dry as a bone. I think his sloppy mess could have been related to water damage and/or flooding.

That all being said, did I mention that you can see 2 layers of different mud in those holes. One is gray and the other is white. The gray is the softer, kind of crumbly and easily broken up. The white underneath is not as grainy and still pretty soft. You can take a screwdriver and shove it all the way through to the handle after you remove both layers.

At the top of the photo, you can see a furring strip that the mud was floated under. Also, the floor seems pretty strong as is, it is also 35 years old and the original shower (can't believe this design worked this long).

All this being said, what is the vote on just floating a new floor right on top pf this mess, and then building the pan on top? Also, what type of a deal would I be in with my walls? The previous mess floated the mud under the drywall. Mine would go to the framing and CBS back wall. I was thinking 1x4's all the way around the base and then 1x4 furring strips with Durarock. Kind of creating a mold for the new build.

Thanks Again.


)-shArk> 03-07-2006 03:50 PM

OK--let's say I pour a new floor and extend the drain. Then I use Durarock for my walls and slope a layer of mud for my floor. Can I use Redgard on the whole thing? I mean floor, walls, everything? After the Redgard can you tile directly to it on the floor and if so, will it hold up? I think what I'm wondering is if the Redgard will cure durable enough that it won't tear away with normal foot traffic and expansion/contraction.

Again----I turn to your expertise.


r8ingbull 03-07-2006 06:52 PM

How far is this shower floor from an exterior wall?

)-shArk> 03-08-2006 11:20 AM

Two interior walls and one exterior CBS wall.

bbcamp 03-08-2006 11:35 AM


OK--let's say I pour a new floor and extend the drain. Then I use Durarock for my walls and slope a layer of mud for my floor. Can I use Redgard on the whole thing? I mean floor, walls, everything? After the Redgard can you tile directly to it on the floor and if so, will it hold up? I think what I'm wondering is if the Redgard will cure durable enough that it won't tear away with normal foot traffic and expansion/contraction.
Yes, you could do that. Redgard is meant to be tiled on. Redgard has a detail for attaching the membrane to the drain fitting, but many here think it is a weak link. A couple of things to remember: 1) use CBU tape and thinset to tape and mud all the backerboard joints before you apply the Redgard. 2) You will need a setting bed (final slope of deck mud) over the Redgard on the shower floor (that's the way the Redgard people want it). 3) Be careful with the Redgard on the shower floor, since you could plug up the weepholes in the drain fitting. 4) You do not Redgard the setting bed, water simply soaks through it and into the drain.

)-shArk> 03-08-2006 03:36 PM

Thanks for the response Bob. I am still forming my gameplan and not sure which approach to take when tackling this remodel. I am hoping that I can find some resolution this weekend when I go out into the real world and see what I have avaiable to me in the way of materials. I do know that I can get my hands on Redgard, is there anything else you all feel I should be considering?

Thanks Again---You guys rock.


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