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Unread 12-13-2021, 01:04 PM   #1
Mattagaffer
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How deep do I have to go?

New guy here..

I have a pebble shower floor that’s starting to break apart near the drain and I’m wondering how much I need to replace. It started with a couple pebbles popping loose near the drain. The house and the shower floor are 6 years old. The grout was sealed only once about 5 years ago. The drain is a Schluter but aside from that I can’t tell how else it was constructed. Water has never pooled anywhere and the floor is well sloped. It still doesn’t pool with the pebbles missing which makes me think the weep holes aren’t clogged.

Any idea what would cause this?
Can I get away with pulling up the pebbles and grout and re-tiling? I’d like to replace the pebbles with a tile that’s easier to clean.

Thanks!
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Unread 12-13-2021, 04:57 PM   #2
Lou_MA
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Schluter drain doesn’t have weep holes. Sealer (or not) isn’t relevant. Stuff “breaking up” indicates movement, which isn’t good.

If you step on and around the drain can you see / feel any flex anywhere?
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Unread 12-13-2021, 06:26 PM   #3
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Is it on a foam base? tray)
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Unread 12-13-2021, 08:05 PM   #4
Kman
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Foam tray would likely cause that.

Outside of that, maybe the grout isn't holding up. I have a similar shower floor that has let go of a half dozen or so pebbles. It's a little older than six years, though.

I'm like you, I'm ready for these pebbles to go away. But I'm thinking about replacing it all with a steam shower, so I'm just biding my time.

I doubt you'll get all the pebbles and the grout up without damaging the waterproofing layer.
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Unread 12-13-2021, 08:39 PM   #5
Just In Tile LLC
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Hey Matt, like what was said, foam could be the culprit for the movement that is happening...but it's hard to know that fact unless you decide that you want to tear it out. The newer waterproofing systems are very hard to remove anything and reuse, my guess is you'd create a larger problem later down the road in the likely event that it would leak after you installed your new tile.

It's hard to tell from the pictures but another issue exasperating the cracking is what looks to be unsanded grout around the pebbles. Maybe not but the grout does look smoother than sanded grout from my monitor.
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Unread 12-14-2021, 10:58 AM   #6
Mattagaffer
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Thanks everyone for the help, it’s much appreciated!

I tried pushing and jumping on it with all 250lbs of me and it doesn’t budge at all. It’s rock solid. To me the grout seems to have become brittle. It started with just one stone popping out. After that the grout around it would crack off freeing up the next stone. The grout underneath the rocks seems much sturdier. I’m not sure if it’s sanded or unsanded grout but it’s rough to the touch. My guess would be it’s sanded. I do know that both Laticrete 1500 sanded and 1600 unsanded were used on the house but I don’t know which was used where.

If I pour water into the opened cavity it all drains like it should. With the drain cover off I can see the water seeping through into the drain under the black collar.

Do you guys think there’s a way I can repair this without redoing the whole thing? Even it means keeping the pebbles. Can I pull out any grout that comes off easily, reset the stones, and regrout over the top?
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Unread 12-15-2021, 01:14 AM   #7
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I doubt you'd have much success with that. The leftover grout would have so many high and low spots.

If it were mine, I might try to do what you propose, but be fully ready to replace the shower if it doesn't work. If you tear up the membrane on the floor, there's really no reliable way to repair it.
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