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Unread 10-11-2003, 03:16 PM   #1
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Angry plumbers by and large lay vinyl directly on subfloor

Ok- so my new beautiful bathroom has been nothing but trouble behind the scenes. I ripped out the sheet rock after seeing mold on the wall in the closet. Found a leak in the plumbing- Had that repaired. Now I see black mold on the back of the backer board- I can see the vinyl pan and there is water/moisture between that and the backer board. I think that there is no slope to the floor so that the water just sits there! Is there anything I can do without ripping up the whole shower??? Maybe put some waterproofing between the vinyl and backer board which I can access thru the closet.
Should have done the work myself!
Thank you,
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Unread 10-11-2003, 03:48 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard, Kathleen.

Wish you had stopped by under more pleasant circumstances.

The short answer to your initial question is, yes, plumbers most frequently install shower pans directly on the sub-floor. Worse than that, most building inspectors are quite happy to approve those installations.

Do I understand that you have only removed sheetrock from behind the shower wall and not removed any part of the shower itself?

If so, is it possible that all the moisture you are seeing came from the plumbing leak that you repaired?

If visible moisture is present outside the shower pan that did not originate outside the shower, you most likely have a problem more serious than a simple lack of pre-slope.

It is possible to tear out only the bottom portion of the shower and replace the pan, but, as a designer, you're not gonna be happy with the result. And if you plan to do whatever work is necessary yourownself, there would not be enough saving of dinero to warrant that sort of half measure. If I understand the problem correctly, I think I would hafta suggest tearing the whole thing out and starting over. Sometimes that's just the easiest approach, professionally or as a DIYer.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-11-2003, 09:44 PM   #3
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Dear CX,
Not the answer I wanted to read! But let me explain it better and maybe you can think of something else to do- I am still in denial about this - (would like to ____the professional tiler that did this job)
The water is still in the socalled pan -above the vinyl - where he -( the idiot - uhps - that just slipped out )installed about 2-3" of mud. Its not alot of water- really moisture but the mold was growing before I sprayed it with clorox. I only expossed one side of the shower- thru the closet so don't know what is happening to the other sides. I can also access this thru the bottom since this room is over the garage. I have not touched any of the tile.
I haven't called this id---t yet- don't know if I want him back in the house. I wonder if the weep holes are working?- maybe that is something I can check. How much water can come thru the tile(tumbled marble)and the grout? Is there a way to waterproof it.?- The tile has been sealed 3x with "Tile lab surfacegard penetrating sealer"
Sorry for the saga,
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Unread 10-11-2003, 10:00 PM   #4
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Must be having a senior moment here, Kathleen, I still can't see it.

Can you post a picher of the wet area? We like pichers.

Maybe somebody else will understand your description and have better ideas.

How old is this installation?

Did the same plumber who installed the pan and plumbing come back to fix the leak? Did you axe him how the pan liner was installed?

Even if all the moisture is inside the pan, if you've already got a mold problem, I still think you have no choice but to replace the pan. Quite a bit of water can get through tile and grout walls, actually, which is why the big-time tile guys hereabouts make such a big issue of properly constructing the shower pan and wall substrate.

I can't speak to your sealer, but we have people who know exactly what it is and what to expect. What you can not expect is that, or any other, sealer to completely waterproof your shower walls. Well, there are some available, but then you have either a bright red or flat black shower. Don't think that's what you had in mind, eh?
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Unread 10-11-2003, 11:57 PM   #5
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Welcome Kathleen, sounds like the weep holes are stopped up, and or no preslope.
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Unread 10-12-2003, 05:14 AM   #6
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Hi Kathleen

My guess is that the bottom of the backer board is buried in the mud, with the edges and face unsealed and not waterproofed. Since there is likely no slope under the pan, and the weep holes clogged with mortar and/or pipe dope (something I see on most pan liners installed by plumbers), then the shower floor is staying saturated (as you already mentioned) and the backerboard is wicking moisture.

If you pulled out the shower floor tile and the mud, you could seal the lower edges of the backer board with something like Noblesealant 150. This would stop the wicking. Unfortunately, you can't do anything about the pan liner or the cement board with out tearing out everything. You could try the 150 and redo the floor, but you may still end up with mold problems.
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Unread 10-12-2003, 08:58 AM   #7
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This is why i tear out all pans installed by plumbers.When the moisture problems happen due to an innefectual pan installation its always the tileguys fault.Ive never met a plumbers pan installation i have accepted and tear them all out with no exceptions.The mechanics of a shower pan are the most critical aspect of a shower installation.if its not right,its all over before you start.
My reccomendation is to redo it all including a good cleaning of the area and bleaching of studs etc.Read everything you can in our liberry about shower pans and do a search on pan installations.there are many threads here that take showers step by step from beginning to completion.you may even get a chuckle or two along the road.we have some part time comedians in here that help to lighten your day
TIP YOUR TILE MAN, His Retirement plan is not nearly as lucrative as yours and his waning years will be far more painful to boot.
He gives much so you can have a Beautiful Home!!
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Unread 10-13-2003, 06:11 AM   #8
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Hi Kathleen,

If we end up tearing something out here, I would tear out only the floor, curb and lower wall portions -- a couple rows of tile all the way around. Tumbled stone is expensive material, and I see no need to rip it all out and waste it.

I would do a shower pan replacement it it comes to it. It is possible to unclog drain weepholes by removing the tiles and mortor from around the drain. You can them remove the upper drain flange and clean everything. It's not to much of a chore to patch the floor in the area of the drain. That's the least painful of the possibilities and the one I would try first.

Get us a picture or two posted here.
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