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Unread 10-30-2011, 08:29 AM   #1
trmatty
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Mysterious water leaking....how could tile be at fault?

I have a jack and jill bath upstairs that has a tub/shower combo. The tub is steel and the surround is 4x4 white tile. House was built less than 2 years ago. Some time ago I noticed a water stain in my bath ceiling which is below this bath (which my sons use) For a while I believed they had been careless in taking care that water was being contained with shower curtain. As water mark grew and changed I realized it was more than splashing. After many hours with plumber and builder rep it was determined that there was some bad joints in the plumbing and all was replaced. I got a smaller shower head to make it more difficult to allow water to spray out of shower and installed splash guards at the outer corners of tub. Sealed all the dry wall holes and believed all was fixed.

Few weeks later water is again staining the ceiling below. Also recognize that the wet corners of tile floor at outer corners of tub is NOT due to my son's bathing but rather the water is coming OUT of the grout lines. Plumbing company #2 which included a supervisor comes out and watches water flow out of ceiling below and determines that original fix was not done properly and redoes all of pvc work done by plumber #1.

Later that day I run shower to see if it is indeed fixed and water is flowing faster than ever from up above. We have a tile guy come who says he cannot imagine it being a pin hole or crack as water flow is too heavy. He redoes all of silicone caulk on interior of tub. Still leaking.

Plumbing company #1 returns with owner of company who cut more holes in dry wall and spend more than 2 hours trying to find out why the water is collecting at the outer corners under tub. They use a camera with a long, flexible neck to see where we cannot. Cannot find any plumbing connection to the water. Decide it must be tile.

We ran a test where we hung plastic sheeting on interior perimeter of walls and ran shower and there was no leak. Water was not hitting walls.

So. This is what I know. A cement type backerboard was used. This backer board does not sit IN the lip of tub but sits almost 1/2 inch above the lip and end opposite the faucet. In that 1/2 inch gap I can see the back of tile and grout and whatever is used to adhere tile to wall.

We have another tile person coming on Tues to pop tiles off wall to see if it can be determined if tile was installed properly. Builder rep believes they used Red Guard as a water proof measure. At least that is what they do now. Do not know if it was the practice when house was built 2 years ago.

Please if you have ideas or suggestions of where to go to find out what could be going wrong. Here is a look at how the water is flowing out of ceiling.
I have youtube videos of the leak if you would like to see.
We wondered if caulk was flawed in back corner so we cut it out. This is what we found when we removed caulk.
I have a youtube video if you would like to see.


Thank you in advance.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 08:35 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Since the leak was solved when you use plastic sheeting to keep the water off the walls, it is the walls that are leaking. There's no doubt in my mind that the original waterproofing was not done correctly and there's no doubt in my mind that it cannot be fixed by simply recaulking. I believe this will require removing all the tile and backer on the walls and starting over. While they are doing that, have them check that the tub is level. You want the tub deck to slope to the tub so no water collects at the bottom of the walls.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 08:43 AM   #3
trmatty
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Response to Bob

Bob,
Will we be able to tell that installation was not done properly by removing the tiles? What should we look for? We are still under warranty by builder if we can show it was their installation. I do not want them to say it is grout as that is not in warranty any longer. They have used levels several times with the floor and I think also checked tub. Can you elaborate a bit more as to the slope of tub deck.

Also, can you explain something else. I have heard from 2 plumbers that water will escape through grout as it is porous. They explain that the lip of the tub is intended to catch any water that does escape and then water is to drain back into tub. How does it get back to tub if it is sealed at tub/tile joint?

Thanks much!
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Unread 10-30-2011, 08:54 AM   #4
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Hi Tracy,

Grout is not meant to waterproof. It is the method used behind the tile (liquid membrane, poly sheeting, roofing felt, other membrane options) that waterproofs your shower. Whatever method used, extending over the tub flange enables moisture to stay in versus behind (and in the walls) the tub.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 09:17 AM   #5
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Welcome, Tracy.

What them others said.

Let me pile on here a little. You're being fed a good bit of, well.........smoke, there.

All of those people should know, and at least one of them does know, that your shower should be completely watertight and usable for showering before any tiles or grout are installed. Be a little difficult to clean, but it won't leak.

Grout and caulking are not the cause of your leaks and, therefore, cannot be the solution. The cause is improper construction at probably a very basic level and correcting that, as has been pointed out, is the solution.

That may require complete removal to the wall studs and correct rebuilding. You should accept nothing less as a repair.

You might wanna point out that there are industry standards for the construction of showers and tub/showers and invite your builder to show you which parts he relied upon in the construction of your shower. Ask specifically about the accepted method relied upon that permits the half-inch gap between the wall board and the top of the tub's tiling flange.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 09:32 AM   #6
trmatty
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I am so thankful to have found this place!
CX - Are you saying that there should NOT be a gap between backerboard and tub lip? Should that board sit flush with lip or sit inside of lip?
Is there any place that would have illustrations or step by step of how backerboard and waterproofing should be installed with a tub? I am a novice and am trying to learn what I can so that I can argue my case.

Thanks much!
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Unread 10-30-2011, 09:37 AM   #7
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Tracy, each backerboard manufacturer will provide instructions for installing their product in a tub situation. Many will specify a 1/8" joint when installing the backerboard above the tub flange, and many will also provide instructions for overlapping the flange. We almost always prefer setting over the flange, since this method gives you some additional measures to keep the water in the tub.

Waterproofing membrane manufacturers also provide detailed instructions, and most follow along with the backerboard folks with options for over or over-lap installations.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 09:47 AM   #8
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What Bob said.

And if your installer elects to stop the backerboard above the tub lip he should have previously installed a moisture barrier over the studs that overlaps the tiling flange to direct any moisture that penetrates the walls into the tub.

You see any sign of that?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 09:52 AM   #9
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I am going to try to upload some pics that might help those in the know to see exactly what is going on at far end of tub (opposite faucets) The 3rd pic shows the back corner of tub where there is a rusted nail that backer board appears to be sitting upon. The others are intended to show the gap which exists between backer board and tup lip(flange?) Does this help to clarify any problems? Thanks much!
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Unread 10-30-2011, 10:02 AM   #10
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You're gonna hafta help a lot with them pichers, Tracy.

1. The bright white is the back of your CBU wallboard?

2. The dark gray horizontal stripe is the tub's tiling flange?

3. Between those is the back of your tiles?

4. Weird green slime onna stud is on accounta it's Halloween?
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Unread 10-30-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
trmatty
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CX-
Sorry! I thought you guys were the experts and would be able to tell exactly what the pics are
Let's see...
The bright white/grey is back of backerboard.
Yes horizontal grey is the tub lip.
The space between is back of tile with some exposed tile adhesive or grout or both.
Green - I have not idea.

You mention overlapping backer board and tub flange and Bob mentions setting over flange. From what I can tell neither of these scenarios is in place. Yes?

Hope this helps to clarify my pics.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy
You mention overlapping backer board and tub flange and Bob mentions setting over flange. From what I can tell neither of these scenarios is in place. Yes?
That would be correct.

As Bob points out, some manufacturers indicate installing the backer board in the fashion of yours (except with a more reasonable gap), but those installations require the moisture barrier I mentioned above.

There is simply no water containment system in place in your shower at all. Removal down to the green-oozing studs and doing "overs" is your only real option.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 11:59 AM   #13
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Tracy , I only hobby in tile but I've done a lot of roofing . It's best not to count on caulking or membranes to stop gap leaks .
I fir out my stud walls above tub so durock goes over tub flange or if tub flange is tight to studs I will rabbet out some of the back side , no more than a 5/16 with 1/2 inch material so it will slip over tub . If I rabbet the durock I leave a bit of gap above in case of any expansion.
If tub is properly set and durock goes over the tub lip ,there is no way water will go behind waterproofed durock .
One problem I have seen with manufacturers that recommend backer board above tub flange and waterproofing between tub and backer board ,settlement in most new homes will destroy any kind of waterproofing slopped in that crack.
The worst settlement I have seen in a five year old new home was one inch throughout the entire center of the home. Homeowners called ,told me a lot of my doors wouldn't close. Three story home with slate roof.
Framers forgot to shim the piers .

After jacking up the home ,steel shims on piers ,installing joists under the stairway and correcting over spans with footers, beams, and pipe columns, home was back to original and I made five grand..
The sad part, when I was installing the interior trim ,I told the builder I noticed some 3/8 " out of level on a walkway .
He said keep trimming.
I don't sub work from builders anymore.
90% of the builders I've seen in my neck of the woods ,should be flipping burgers instead of homes.
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Unread 10-30-2011, 12:05 PM   #14
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You have prolly tried but have you run the shower head while peeking thru the hole that you took the pitchers from?
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Unread 10-30-2011, 12:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trmatty
Builder rep believes they used Red Guard as a water proof measure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trmatty
of how backerboard and waterproofing should be installed with a tub?
I run my cementboard down and hold off tub a 1/8". then I tape off the tub and silicone the bottom gap. after the silicone is dried I paint the liquid membrane on the wall, caulk and and 1/8" onto the tub, remove tape. tile and caulk with grout color matching caulk and then grout.

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