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Unread 04-10-2021, 04:53 PM   #1
midwest girl
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Need Help - professional shower install

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

I have some Qs regarding a shower installation that’s being completed right now at my home. It’s part of a bigger renovation project that includes kitchen/hall bathroom/master bathroom/staircase/refinishing existing hardwoods/replacing all carpet with wood floors/floating media center in family room/fire pit, patio, and covered deck/laundry room (including mud room type built-in + doggie shower.

My contractor had to leave town - unexpected passing of his father. Work is continuing while he’s away - a subcontractor/employee (it’s still a little unclear) is working on one of the showers.

I’ve been on Houzz for several months - looking for ideas. I’ve also been learning some important/useful things along the way. Whenever someone posts a tile question on Houzz that relates to a shower, at least four people jump in and comment about waterproofing. Now, don’t get me wrong - it’s EXTREMELY helpful most of the time - some people seem to make comments just to “scare” the OP. Houzz is where I learned about this forum. Many professionals direct others in need over here to you guys for help.

I’m going to give some facts here reluctantly because I had two people “jump on” me because of it. I own my home - my SO is getting ready to move in with me. Instead of buying a new house together - we decided to renovate this one. The housing market in this area is CRAZY (maybe it is almost everywhere - based upon some comments on Houzz - it’s not crazy everywhere). While I could sell my home and make a nice profit - there’s basically NOTHING TO BUY. My SO wanted to pay for the renovations. I thought this info was needed in order to explain why my SO actually engaged the contractor and is the one communicating with the subcontractor/employee (SC).

Contractor has been awesome - he’s completed quite a few projects for my SO’s law partners (and my former law partners). He’s already installed wood floors in the house and completed work in another bathroom (tub/shower combo).

On Wednesday, I discovered that the PVC liner had been installed. I was surprised (photo #1 below). I immediately noticed an issue. No preslope. My understanding was that this was going to be a traditionally built shower with a clamping drain. I discussed the issue with my SO. He’s never researched anything about shower construction. He was surprised that I knew something was wrong - I explained it was from threads I read on Houzz. It was clear that he didn’t think Houzz was a great resource (he’s never been on there - he only knows about Houzz because of me). He said that he’d talk to the SC.

On Thursday, my SO told me that the preslope was going on top of the PVC liner - and then another PVC liner would be installed prior to the deck mud. I questioned that - wasn’t typical based upon what I’ve read. Late Thursday afternoon, I saw that the “preslope” had been installed (photo #2). There were a few problems that I noticed (pls forgive if I fail to use/misuse the correct terminology):

1. There didn’t seem to be enough room for another PVC liner + deck mud

2. There were screws on the inside of the curb - one is BARELY above the “preslope” - there are also many screw on the top of the curb

3. Part of the shower walls (lower) had CBU attached - this seems like an issue because another PVC liner wouldn’t be able to be placed behind it.

4. The liner looks like it was cut (not an issue I guess if that’s not the real PVC liner) + it’s not notched into studs. I know that shims/furring can be used in order to make wall plumb - but there wasn’t any behind the CBU that I could see.

5. I also didn’t see any sand - all I saw was thin set. I also looked in the materials stored in the garage.

6. There are significant gaps in the curb corners and between the top and inside of curb (photo #3)

There may be other issues - these are the ones I remember of the top of my head.

I immediately told my SO. He said that he would discuss it with SC in the morning. Yesterday I was home all day in bed (not feeling well). No work was completed. When I spoke to my SO in the early afternoon, he told me that I was worrying for no reason. He said that the SC told him that he’s been building showers for over 20+ years and that he’s NEVER had an issue. He then told me that the SC wasn’t installing another PVC liner and layer of mud - he was putting a liner on the top (I assume that the SC actually said or was referring to a surface waterproof membrane).

I told my SO that we definitely had a problem. There was a clamping drain installed with no preslope already + now a surface membrane = trapped water siting on a flat PVC liner. I told him that it wasn’t allowed by code. I asked when/if an inspection was being performed. I asked about a water test.

I was pretty upset at this point - I have some serious health issues that basically caused me to be bedridden for 4 years. I only as able to move back into my home last fall. I have a form of mast cell disease - specifically, systemic mastocytosis. My mast cells basically attack other systems in my body. Mold/bacteria/dust/etc can all trigger my health issues = trips to ER for anaphylactic shock at times. I’ve spent quite a bit of money adding an air purification system to my home + ripped out all carpet + donated/trashed all furniture that wasn’t wood/marble/etc. I CANNOT risk having something happen because of the way this shower is installed.

Both of us being attorneys = some interesting arguments. While I explained all of the compliance issues - being an attorney, my SO wanted me to give him the exact codes/regulations/specifications that weren’t being complied with by the SC.

The SC was on his way over to my house - I needed the exact sections ASAP.
So - I tried to join this forum in order to receive some guidance. I had an issue with my email - so I couldn’t post until now. I went on Houzz out of desperation - I received some good advice. I also received some nasty comments. That’s typical - and that’s why I didn’t want to post my issue over there.

The SC never showed up. I had a conversation with him this morning. He told me that he was using Kerdi in the shower. I asked if he was using a Kerdi drain - he said yes. I felt relieved. I know the PVC is still unusual - but if Kerdi works as well as I’ve read, no water is going to go down there anyway. . .

Then I purchased John’s book on Kerdi. My drain doesn’t look like a flange . . .

My SO is playing golf. I sent him some texts letting him know that I didn’t think the issue was solved. He was not happy. He told me to stay off of Houzz because they are giving me bad information. I didn’t even post this issue on Houzz - I was waiting to discuss everything here with you all.

I’m sorry about the long post. I’m upset. I’m not feeling well. Stress greatly aggravated my health - I am worried that I’m going to wind up back in the hospital.

All guidance/suggestions/advice is greatly appreciated.


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