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Unread 10-05-2020, 02:47 PM   #1
californiahomeowner
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Multiple questions about my shower pan construction. Homeowner seeking advice.

Hi I am just a regular guy homeowner living in Los Angeles, California. I hired general contractor to do a bathroom remodel. I don't know if he knows what his subcontractors are doing or to make sure the subcontractors doing their job properly. Is this ok? The tile subcontractor says this is how he's been doing it for years. The picture is the inside of the shower curb. It is 2x4s underneath for the shower curb with hot mop over that he stapled the lathe to. He also stapled the same way with the lower shower wall below the hardie backer.

What is the solution to fix this then? Obviously remove the staples, New hot mop tar layer?
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Unread 10-05-2020, 02:54 PM   #2
jadnashua
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Code says NO penetrations below 3" above the TOP of the curb, so yes, it's bad.

The proper way to use the lath is to overbend it so it then has to be sprung out slightly when slipping it over the curb, and then only fastening it low on the outside. That overbend (spring effect) will then hug the curb, keeping it in place.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 03:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. That is what I thought. What might be the solution to the multiple staple holes? It is a hot mop tar waterproofing system.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 04:03 PM   #4
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Have them come back and patch any holes they made.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 04:12 PM   #5
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Thanks. Sorry for the questions but how would they patch the holes and what tradesman would be competent to do that? My GC has a common person's knowledge of construction. He is more a middle man who arranges to have his subcontractors sent to the project site - I don't think he knows the details about what is going on with every construction step. I think the subcontractors know this, and that's why they cut corners as in this case.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 04:58 PM   #6
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He may require, or maybe it would be best, to have the people that did the hot mop to patch it. If he balks, ask to have a 24-hour flood test done...my guess is that it would leak. Someone more familiar with hot mopping may have another suggestion. You want something that will last until you decide to remodel, not have to do it because things fail.

With any hot mop, though, you need to be really careful that they did not plug the weep holes in the drain. If those are plugged, the pan won't drain fully, and that can cause damp tile/grout and promote mold growth. The pan is the waterproofing...tile and grout are decorative, wear surfaces.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 05:13 PM   #7
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If it were my shower, I would accept nothing less than a tear out and start over. And I would find a new tile setter since he is the "we have been doing (wrong) for years" installer. What else has he been doing for years that is incorrect? Best not to start out in the negative.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 05:52 PM   #8
californiahomeowner
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Thank you all for your input. I am a first time homeowner. Hiring this GC has been a disaster. Is it normal for the GC not to understand the details of his subcontractor work? For example, I don't think he would know about the fact that you should not staple the lathe through the hot mop. Or another example, I don't think he knows about weep holes. His hot mop subcontractors left my weep holes completely blocked, and I spent two hours of my own time cleaning out the holes of tar.

Is this a normal level of knowledge for a GC? I am at my wit's end. There has been delay upon delay and now this issue with the staples.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 06:28 PM   #9
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These days, seems like very few GC's know what they're doing. They trust their subs to do it right.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 06:50 PM   #10
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It seems that the requirements for a business license have little to do with the knowledge of the job at hand...sad, but true. In some places, they actually need some skills. For the most part, the USA has a very limited apprentice, journeyman, skilled and licensed professionals except maybe in certain professions (like doctors and lawyers), but not so much in the trades. While a plumber and electrician need a license and some level of skill to operate, it's not quite the same with a GC unless I'm missing something important!
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Unread 10-05-2020, 09:52 PM   #11
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I think it is a big failure on the part of a GC if he doesn't know all the aspects of the trades he is employing. I don't expect a general contractor to be faster than his sheetrock guy but I do expect him to know when the sheet rock guy is doing something wrong, like improper spacing of screws or mixing mud way to wet and it is going to crack as soon as it dries. Sounds like this guy is like most of the GC's I have met, they just want to make to make their money lining up bottom dollar contractors so they can put more money in their pockets
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Unread 10-05-2020, 10:42 PM   #12
californiahomeowner
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Good info. Is the rest of the lathe that is attached to the lower shower stall by staples permitted? He also pierced the hot mop waterproofing at those points, too, with multiple staples. This is a total newbie question, but what is the lathe at the lower part for, to extend the mortar bed of the shower pan so that it is flush with the hardie backer above so that the tile thin set can be applied on top?
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Unread 10-05-2020, 11:05 PM   #13
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Anything below 3" above the height of the curb is a no-puncture zone.

I'm not sure what the lath is for, but you may be correct in your assumption.

The thing to do would be extend the board down to 1/2" above floor level, leave the fasteners out of the lower few inches, and allow the mud bed to hold the boards against the framing.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 11:13 PM   #14
jadnashua
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You normally would not have lath there at all, as was said, normally, you'd run the cbu down to the horizontal part of the pan. It looks like you have a 'real' cbu. There are two different methods, if that was a fiber-cement product, you could not run it down that far as it isn't allowed to be embedded in the pan...what you have is (I think) allowed, but you can't secure it down to the bottom...proper construction of the pan would lock it in place when adding the setting bed for the tile.

Time to regroup.

The industry bible is the TCNA handbook, updated annually. That references some other standards like the plumbing code, materials specifications, and probably some other things as well. What was done is not an accepted method of the TCNA handbook, the industry bible, which should be the minimum good practices for this. So, it appears that it doesn't follow the plumbing codes because of the pan penetrations, or the TCNA handbook of industry standards for building a shower.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 11:43 PM   #15
californiahomeowner
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This forum is great. The boards are hardiebacker fiber cement with mold block technology.

So by the statement "what you have is (I think) allowed, but you can't secure it down to the bottom...proper construction of the pan would lock it in place when adding the setting bed for the tile." I take it to mean that the lathe is fine there beneath the hardiebacker, but he should have just stapled only at the top and relied on the setting bed/mortar applied at the bottom to lock the whole lathe against the wall rather than using staples that are too low, per code?

I wish it were that simple to get this done correctly. My contractor refuses to believe that I am just speaking objective truth. He thinks I am causing problems and being difficult, believe it or not. It is like talking to a brick wall. He doesn't want to admit that he doesn't know what he doesn't know and refuses to educate himself about it. It's straight infuriating, and frustrating. I even sent him a link to this forum to read this thread.
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