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Unread 02-15-2020, 09:48 PM   #1
Ryanc22
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Shower Bench Leak Advice

So I had what appeared to be a small section of water damaged drywall just outside my shower door (see pic with hole thru wall). I decided to dig in a little and ended up finding that there was moisture, mold and mildew under the tile on the bench and around the lower shower door. The water does not appear to have penetrated underneath the rubber sheeting and the mold and mildew was just sitting on top of the rubber sheeting. The wood bench was clean and I cut out a hole to get a better look underneath which also showed no damage (also we have had no water in the basement below the shower).

The blue rubber sheeting is laid over wood. The rubber sheet was nailed down and you can see the nail heads are rusty. They then put cement board over top of the rubber and the tile on top. I’m not sure if this was the proper way to do this job. The slope on the bench appears correct and water does not sit on it. The tile job is at least 5 years old and we have used the shower pretty much every day since moving in 4 years ago. The spot on the drywall has been there most of that time and slowly gotten larger.

I cleaned up the area with bleach but I’m not sure where to start on a fix. Should I lay the cement board on top of the rubber sheeting and then use another waterproof barrier? I am also a little concerned with the gap between the bench and the cement shower pan. I just don’t want to run into another issue and any advice would be appreciated.
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Unread 02-15-2020, 09:52 PM   #2
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Unread 02-15-2020, 10:00 PM   #3
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Ryan,

Hate to tell you this but the only way to properly fix this is to start over from the studs out. If the bench is this much of a disaster, the rest of the shower is too.
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Unread 02-15-2020, 11:45 PM   #4
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More than likely they've done the curb the same way with cement board and nails, puncturing the liner every few inches.

Keep tearing out until you don't see any signs of mold, water damage, or bad workmanship. I imagine you'll have most or all of the shower torn out before you're finished.
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Unread 02-16-2020, 07:17 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I think I will just keep tearing back as recommended and hope it doesn’t continue with the mold. Have you all ever used this blue rubber membrane? I am assuming that this should have been installed with thinset instead of the nails?
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Unread 02-16-2020, 09:32 AM   #6
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While there are membranes that are installed using thinset mortar, Ryan, that blue rubber stuff isn't one of them.

As said, if the curb was constructed the same way you're likely to find similar damage there too. Keep taking it apart.
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Unread 02-16-2020, 09:59 AM   #7
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Welcome back, Ryan.

While that bench area is in better condition than I would have expected after five years, we're talking about only five years into what should be an absolute minimum of a 30 year lifespan. And I gotta agree with Kevin that the curb, if done the same as the bench, is likely to be in worse condition than what you've already uncovered.

You can, of course, patch it up and continue using the shower if you need to, but I'd certainly start a shower savings plan to re-do the whole thing when you start having serious problems with it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-16-2020, 10:27 AM   #8
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If you go back with the same installation method, tear out the wood and build the new seat on top of the pan liner with concrete blocks.
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Unread 02-17-2020, 05:53 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info. I am just going to tear it all out and start over. The comments make sense and I can imagine there are plenty of other issues that I would be patching. I also couldn’t find a good match for the tile. The tear out starts tomorrow! Thanks!
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Unread 02-17-2020, 08:13 AM   #10
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Be sure to snap some photos Ryan. Not for you, of course, but for us.
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Unread 02-18-2020, 05:40 PM   #11
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I completed the tear out today and I’m glad I listened to you guys. The curb was definitely a problem and there was some rot on the 2x4s beneath the rubber. The mold and mildew was all over the rubber mat which ran under the cement pan and about 5 inches up the wall. There was no other membrane, just Hardiebacker on the rest of it. The rest of it looked pretty good though. There is a little mildew on the bottom 2x4 along the back wall, but the wood is still solid. I hit it with some bleach and scrubbed it after the pics. I plan on tearing out the bench tomorrow along with the short wall by the window. I plan on running the curb all the way to the wall so I can have larger shower doors and also plan to ditch the bench all together. I am also going to tear out the tub which is in the other side of the wall with the plumbing.

I will post some pics so you guys can see what it looks like and if you have any suggestions. I plan on using Kerdi board to finish the walls and a Kerdi tray on the floor. I haven’t used these products before but it seems pretty straight forward. Thanks!
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Unread 02-18-2020, 05:44 PM   #12
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Unread 02-18-2020, 05:48 PM   #13
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Unread 02-18-2020, 05:51 PM   #14
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Unread 02-18-2020, 10:53 PM   #15
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Comparatively speaking, you're lucky. We've seen a lot worse on here.

I've knocked down several that were in use far less time than yours, and suffered much more damage.

Glad you found us.
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