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Unread 02-12-2020, 08:30 PM   #1
Rkoehler
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Shower pan weeping water at edges

Hi everyone, long time lurker here, first post. I’m a tile contractor and was called to diagnose a shower pan that is continually weeping water at the edges where the floor meets the wall. I thought for sure the weep holes were clogged and possibly no preslope. Pan is pvc liner and mud with cast iron 2 piece drain. Well I demoed a little tile and mud around the drain today and the weep holes were clear and the mud and the pan was surprisingly dry after 2 showers in the morning. It was about 1pm when I removed the tile and mud. I’m stumped! Any idea what might cause water to be at the edges of the pan but not the drain? Even with no preslope, I would think the pan would be evenly wet and especially wet around the drain. General contractor who called me did the tile himself 10 years ago but doesn’t remember if there was a preslope or not but said it passed inspection here in California. I only have one pic but I’ll get more if you guys think it will help. . Thanks!
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Unread 02-12-2020, 08:40 PM   #2
Just In Tile LLC
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Hi Ryan, Welcome

When you say weeping where the wall meets the floor are you saying water is slowly coming out where they meet? Or that the floor remains wet around the perimeter?

If I understand what you're saying correctly sounds like the water is draining slowly from the wall assembly. Maybe not full contact on the wall tiles and they slowly drain after each use down the wall?
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Unread 02-12-2020, 08:55 PM   #3
Rkoehler
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Hi Justin, thanks for the welcome. Yes water is always coming out where the walls meet the floor. The owner says what side it comes from varies with time like comes from one side for a while then comes from another side? Yeah could be poor contact between tiles and wall but I would still think the entire pan under the mud would be wet including the drain. It’s almost like the subfloor is sloped the opposite direction? Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
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Unread 02-12-2020, 09:12 PM   #4
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Yeah could be a moat around the perimeter and the rest of the water escapes to the drain, but since it weeps where they meet I'm inclined to lean toward the wall shedding water slowly...but like you've said you'd expect to see some moisture in the pan.

With the tear-out done around the drain sounds like you're invested at this point I'd
1)Start running tests to recreate the situation and see how water flows to the open weepholes. (Least intrusive)
2)Tear out the rest of the pan/shower and see whats happenings.(Most intrusive)

I'm assuming they are not wanting a redo if possible by your small look into the pan around the drain.
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Unread 02-12-2020, 10:32 PM   #5
Rkoehler
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Yeah already invested for sure, but just wanted to throw it out here and see if there is any other way besides Re building the entire pan. They don’t want that and neither do I because I’m so swamped right now, but looks like that’s the way I’m leaning. I didn’t run any water down the weep holes bc they were clear, but maybe I’ll do that just for confirmation
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Unread 02-13-2020, 07:45 AM   #6
Just In Tile LLC
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Being swamped is a good thing!..and stressful

Along with pouring water down the weep holes, I'd also wonder how water flowed through the mud bed and made its way to the weep holes. Run the shower over everything for a length of time and just see if anything seems outta the ordinary.
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Unread 02-13-2020, 09:12 AM   #7
Rkoehler
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That’s what I’m wondering as well because the mud bed is so dry around the drain. Yeah I will run water over everything. Anyone else have any ideas?
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Unread 02-13-2020, 09:23 AM   #8
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Welcome, Ryan.

That's a problem I've generally associated with direct bonded waterproofing membrane showers that have spot-bonded wall tiles. I'm wondering if you've got one of those constructions where the installer thought he could get some sort of double protection by continuing his liquid-applied membrane on the walls down onto the final mud bed of the shower receptor.

I would generally expect the wall water to run down into a traditional mud bed receptor, but if that was somehow blocked you could certainly experience the problem with wall water weeping out onto the shower floor. And in some severe cases it might weep for weeks with the shower not in use.

Not sure how you'd determine that without some more destructive analysis, though. Might be able to look in the shower control opening to see if there is an indication of a waterproof membrane behind the tiles.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-13-2020, 03:21 PM   #9
Rkoehler
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Thanks CX, never thought of that. This is definitely a severe case as the owner says the water does come out for weeks after not being used. Doesn’t look like any waterproofing membrane was applied at least at the drain area. I agree more destructive analysis is required, just not looking forward to it!
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Unread 02-13-2020, 03:41 PM   #10
jerrymlr1
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Sounds to me like the shower was just built wrong or there were holes made in the liner after the flood test was done, if there was one anyway.
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Unread 02-13-2020, 03:57 PM   #11
jadnashua
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Try tapping on some of the wall tiles with maybe the handle of a screw driver or something similar that's hard to try to determine how complete the thinset coverage is behind the tiles. Ideally, industry calls for 100% of the edges and at least 95% of the rest of the tile to be fully bonded. More can leave voids behind that can accumulate and then weep moisture out for an extended time.
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Unread 02-13-2020, 04:50 PM   #12
Rkoehler
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Thanks Jerry and Jim, I will try tapping on the wall tiles to determine full coverage. Looks like either way I’ll be doing more demo, but maybe if it is the wall tiles not fully bonded, that would be easier than replacing the entire pan, floor and curb
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Unread 02-13-2020, 07:33 PM   #13
D & D Reno
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You mentioned it can weep for weeks after use. Did you check the shower diverter for leaks? And chance it’s leaking behind the wall and actually the water you see doesn’t pertain the inside of the shower pan?
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Unread 02-14-2020, 07:21 PM   #14
Rkoehler
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Antonio, yes the owner did take the diverter cover off and looked behind the wall, said it wasn’t leaking. Would it even be possible for the diverter or water pipe to leak inside of the pan liner? I would think of it did leak it would be behind it and eventually become wet underneath the house. Which is also not the case after 10 years of the shower being used.
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Unread 02-14-2020, 07:37 PM   #15
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Ryan I'm really curious to the cause, Cx brought up a good point with a P.O.M. being used on top of the deck mud might explain the dry mudbed.

If and when you find the culprit please share the results!
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