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Old 06-07-2019, 11:32 AM   #1
NativeNYerChicHK
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Old Shower Base Pan with no visible drain flange?

I am about to embark on a full bathroom remodel and have a doozy of a problem that has me quite baffled... It currently has a stand up shower but with a molded shower base pan that I will be changing out for a tiled shower floor. And I believe whatís there now may be original to he home, built in 1982.
I am still investigating what Iíve got and educating myself on how to properly remove the old to replace with the new.

So I took the screwless snap-on cover to the shower drain off to see what type of drain assembly was used, normally itís some type of a compression fitting in these things. But what I found was nothing I can make sense of. Whatís there is the edge of the shower base, then mortar and then the center PVC drain pipe, thatís it. Whoever built this shower did not use the cap that the snap on drain cover is supposed to fit into, they made their own with mortar. The only thing I can imagine is that they must have depressed the snap on cover into wet mortar, removed it to let it dry and just used that mold to hold the drain cover in place. It is not siliconed either, it just sits into the man-made groves in the mortar underneath it. This is on my second floor of my home, not a concrete slab. I really donít want to have to open the ceiling of my living room, weíve already had to open it and patch the ceiling for a leak, thus the reason for this remodel. It wasnít the drain that leaked though, it was grout failure that we were able to patch temporarily which bought us a little more time in order to be able to do this remodel right, not under duress.
Iím thinking there must be a compression ring under that mortar but I canít be sure until I start taking this out. Attached pic is what Iím talking about.
What I think Iím going to have to do it cut the shower base around the drain, detach it from the studs and remove the majority of the base. Then I think I will be able to have a better look at what was used to secure this drain pipe into this base without it ever leaking. I am hoping to see something I recognize so that I will be able to remove it all without damaging the drainpipe or having to cut it back too far. I can do minor plumbing like replacing a drain assembly which I was hoping to be able to do here myself and not have to spend the money on a plumber to figure out this mess.
So has anyone seen a drain encased in mortar like this in a shower with a moulded base?
I have been searching online plumbing blogs, online forums and YouTube videos and cannot find one mention of anyone running into this type of drain set up. Iím thinking there is a compression ring under this mortar, or at least Iím hoping thatís the case. If it is, that can easily be carefully drilled out, the compression ring removed and that will free up the drain pipe for use with my new drain assembly.
Please tell me someone has seen this before and has some good advice for me, Iím really at my wits end on how to proceed until I can start the demo a few weeks from now. I like to educate myself to be as prepared as I can be, I donít like surprises - especially costly ones, and I canít find anything that even remotely looks like this.
If I do have to cut the drain pipe down to remove this mess then I know I could use a coupler and a new riser but I really donít want to have to do that. I know it meets code but by my own estimation, the less interference (cuts and reattachments) in piping, the less of a chance of leaks from any extra fittings or failures at glued together pieces.

Help! Please?
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:20 PM   #2
Carbidetooth
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I'd guess stripped threads, lost top ring or clueless installer.

I'd also question why it matters at this point. You're going to be replacing with an appropriate drain anyway, right?

1. Decide on method of construction
2. Gather what you think you'll need
3. Demo existing
4. Assess what's different than imagined
5. Gather more stuff
6. Install new drain and proceed with plan

Edit to add. There's nothing you'll want to reuse there save the vertical pipe and maybe trap. Frame or slab underneath?
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:37 PM   #3
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Yeah, not looking to salvage anything but the drain pipe. I am doing a complete Schluter Kerdi Shower install, boards, base, including a kerdi drain. So I do know Iíll have to cut that riser back (and the subfloor around the drain possibly depending on the size of the drain opening under this base) somewhat to make room for the Kerdi drain assembly but donít want to cut it too far down that Iíll need to add a coupler and riser to it, ya know?
Iím just worried I guess about what the heck kind of build this is?!? And if anyone had any advice on how to proceed without doing too much damage to the drain pipe itself, the only thing I donít want to ruin in this bathroom. I can not wait to rip this thing apart, it well past time.
I mean, after the amount of research Iíve done looking for anyone having the same issue, I can find not a one. So I honestly do think crappy installer is to blame, this look really unprofessional. Like they lost the piece or used it for another house (quite a few went up when mine did) and just winged it on my build. Glad itís held up as long as it did, which I think at this point, really looking closely at this, is probably pure luck. I have never seen anything like this. Base, mortar and pipe - without any view of an actual drain assembly in sight. Iím really hoping there is a compression ring under that mortar because I canít think of any other way this thing hasnít leaked through mortar alone.
Thanks for your reply though, it is what it is I guess. Iíll have to just carefully take this apart when the time comes.
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:56 PM   #4
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I'm going to guess that stuff is plumber's putty, Carrie, and it's probably hardened a bit over the years. I'd further guess that if you chip it out you'll find the top edge of the plastic riser pipe and the sealing rubber sleeve.

Someone may have left the pipe long which caused the base to hold water and shampoo and soap and hair and and and between the base and the pipe. Filling it with putty was easier than cutting the pipe down to the rubber sleeve.

Just a guess though.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:09 PM   #5
Carbidetooth
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Ohhh, I like puzzles!

If the pan floor adjacent to that drain is really solid, my money is on a big blob of mortar underneath pan. Someone may have thought " I'll just plop down mortar gob with pipe extending through, set pan and cut off excess".


Don't fear the coupler, Carrie, water won't know the difference. And keep us posted as discovery unfolds.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:16 PM   #6
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From your mouth to god ears, Dan.
That’s what I’m so hoping I find when I start drilling this hardened stuff out. I really think it may be mortar, it has the texture of mortar and is as hard as it as well. But it most certainly could be really old hardened putty too.
I can’t imagine that there isn’t anything under it that is stopping water from leaking out. It would be ideal if it is putty or mortar on a rubber sleeve, at least I know what to do with that and I can get that off of the drain pipe without too much of a hassle and without cutting it back so far that I’d have to use a coupler and new riser. I have a bit of a phobia about piecing things together if I can keep something in one solid piece to begin with. Nightmares about failures and leaks behind walls and in floors. I know the right products to piece piping together are tried & true but I can’t help but worry anyway. Especially since I can’t immediately identity what actual drain assembly was used, probably the rubber gasket type. My fingers are crossed!!
Thanks for that. I was beginning to worry about the unknown under this. I’m no expert but I’m no novice either. I am the daughter of a professional handyman dad (maintained a two high rise complex in Manhattan, around 400 apartments) retired after 40 yrs in the business. But an even more handy mom who finished all the work in our place that my dad started but never got to finishing at home LOL I’m an avid DIYer, only thing I won’t touch is electric, that stuff scares the life out of me.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:22 PM   #7
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I know I worry too much Peter LOL Couplers wouldnít be used if they didnít bond properly with the right glue. I know that in my head but itís my subconscious that will be impatiently waiting for it to begin leaking 😂
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:22 PM   #8
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I hear ya, Carrie, I don't care for piecing bits together either if there's a way not to.

I don't mind electrical at all, I'm actually better at it than tiling!

Let us know whatcha find.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:45 PM   #9
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And I love tiling, itís like a puzzle to piece together just perfectly so, the perfectionist in me loves that. And in the end, if itís done just right, itís like a piece of artwork admiring the finished tiling product. You have some leeway with all other building products and materials, but electric though? If you get that wrong it could cost your house and/or your life and that seriously terrifies me. Got an uncle who will be doing that for me, heís taken over where my dad left off since his passing. I could stand to learn more about it, it would probably help getting rid of this fear I got. Iím fairly confident in my abilities but that all goes out the window at the thought of doing electric wiring.

I will most definitely report back here, not a whole lot of people in my life will be quite as interested in this stuff as you guys LOL Definitely not many of my female friends, they really donít get why I enjoy doing this stuff! But itís just in my blood, what Iíve always known to do. The old motto ďif you want something done right, do it yourselfĒ was they mantra of my parents. Besides, I really do like saving money, not hiring out what I know for certain I can do myself. Which I honestly believe was the motivation behind my parents handiness, we didnít have a whole lot of money growing up and Iím the youngest of 5. Thatís a lot of mouths to feed LOL

Thanks guys! Itís been helpful to quell my fears about whatís under here. Iím just really grateful at this point that this all held out as long as it did, save the grout failure leak we had. Iím actually pretty impressed that if this is the original 1982 build that it hasnít crumbled long before now. Former homeowners did a load of real bad DIY work that Iím slowly but surely fixing and/or replacing. People shouldnít be attempting to do things in their homes if theyíve never done it before and arenít willing to do their homework and due diligence about how to do right. Iíll never understand those people. Itís a real fool whoís confidence far exceeds their abilities.
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Old 06-09-2019, 02:45 PM   #10
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Carrie. Glad to see it's coming along. Can't tell from the photo, but a Kerdi drain assembly requires a 2" opening...The Kerdi flange needs to fit that with the required height above the floor. Your riser may or may not to be cut or modified to fit the flange.

Fitting the flange requires that you chip or hammer out an opening of about 6" or so...about 3-4 inches deep to fit the flange.....

This video might be helpful. There are others at www.schluter.com

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...18&FORM=VDRVRV
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:31 PM   #11
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Don't fret about a coupler and riser, Or worry so much about damaging the pipe. You can cut it off with one of these so you don't need much access. Get after it man!
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-In...Q&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
People shouldnít be attempting to do things in their homes if theyíve never done it before and arenít willing to do their homework and due diligence about how to do right.
In all fairness, there's a lot of bad / wrong info out there, some from sources that look legit. Even if you think you've been diligent in your research.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:55 PM   #13
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Thanks for that Teddy, I do have an internal pipe cutter already. I donít want to open my living room ceiling again, already did that after the leak.

Lazarus, I specifically got the schluter kerdi no access drain assembly and have watched all of their videos. I knew that Iíd need to cut the pipe and subfloor to size specifically for this drain, since itís nothing like the prefab base drains. But when I popped that cover off I just wasnít sure what I was looking at and came here to see if anyone else had seen anything like it before. Honestly, Iíve never seen a drain that was missing the piece that the drain cover is supposed to fit into 🤷🏻*♀️

I know a lot of you guys run into so many botched jobs... Which is why I came here, this forum is full of really knowledgeable pros & DIYers and Iíve appreciated you all taking your time to offer advice. Hoping maybe someone had experience with seeing something that looked like this and could offer a perspective and idea that I hadnít already thought of.

All the answers Iíve gotten thus far have confirmed what I already thought, which made me less anxious. Just cut the base around it, remove that and then see what Iím dealing with. I am really hoping to see the bottom portion of a recognizable drain assembly on the underside. Then Iíll be happy enough just to be able to cut that mess off and be able to move forward with the rebuild. I am really hoping there are no more surprises waiting for me under there LOL

Lou. I hear ya on that. But I really think people should try to educate themselves before taking on jobs in their homes and botching them all. Which is unfortunately what Iíve been dealing with since buying this house. Itís maddening. There are so many informational resources available from pros, associations, building codes... etc... That to me there is really no excuse for winging it like it seems the former homeowners have done here. Itís one thing if itíll be the home you keep forever, but to do this crappy work and then sell it to someone else to have to deal with is not a very nice thing to do. Iím frustrated to say the least. If youíre that unsure, then hire a professional.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:26 PM   #14
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Whenever possible, watching videos from the manufacturer is best. Be careful, A lot of the pros are installing tile the wrong way and You Tube is loaded with them.
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