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Unread 09-11-2019, 04:39 AM   #1
JoelDi
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Dark Center of Pebble Shower Floor

We've remodeled our master bathroom and had a pebble shower floor installed. The bathroom was gutted, so the pan is completely new. I'm not sure what pan system was used, but I think the drain is made by Oatey.

As the pictures show, the center of the floor has gotten dark, presumably by moisture. We'd only been using the shower for about a week and a half and this appeared. Subsequently we haven't used it for almost two weeks and it's drying out, albeit slowly.

My question is what might be causing this. The installer said he doesn't know and has never seen this before. A person at the tile store where we purchased all of the tile said that every time he's seen something like this it was because the pan wasn't draining, that perhaps the weep holes around the drain are clogged. I do know that they pebbles were not sealed before the grout went on, as I've seen recommended here.

As one of the pictures shows, there is a fairly large gap around the drain, which I can grout or caulk, but still, the water should drain...

What are your thoughts? Thanks!
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Unread 09-11-2019, 04:59 AM   #2
Kman
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Welcome to the forum, Joel.

Clogged weep holes is certainly a possibility.

Do you know if the floor underneath the liner was sloped, or is the liner flat on the concrete/subfloor? Lack of slope for the liner is a common mistake in many conventional showers.

Is the pebble floor sloped well enough to shed water to the drain? Do you have a torpedo level to check it? I typically slope a pebble floor at 1/2" per running foot to get good drainage.

Even if it's got the minimum required slope, it shouldn't take days to dry out.
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Unread 09-11-2019, 06:34 PM   #3
Davy
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My guess is clogged weepholes. Ask the installer if he protected the weep holes. Ask him what kind of mud he used under the floor tiles, what brand and type?
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Unread 09-11-2019, 08:14 PM   #4
Tool Guy - Kg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelDi
...I do know that they pebbles were not sealed before the grout went on, as I've seen recommended here.
Good, glad they aren't sealed, as it's likely to do more harm than good.

These guys got you on the right path. Investigate everything you can with the construction of the pan.

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Unread 09-11-2019, 09:39 PM   #5
jadnashua
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Some stone will not actually absorb any sealer - they're too impervious. But, with a mix of stone types, some of them probably would absorb some. Keep in mind that a sealer won't prevent moisture from being absorbed, it's more to slow the absorption of things that might stain, giving you a bit of time to clean it up before it becomes permanent. That doesn't mean you can wait until the next day...it means you've got time to go get something to clean up the spill right now rather than it be a too little, too late situation. It can slow the moisture from getting out of them once it does get in, though.
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Unread 09-12-2019, 05:23 AM   #6
JoelDi
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I don't think the floor under the liner was sloped. The slope of the tile is about 3/16" per foot. We were fastidious about using a squeegee to push as much of the water into the drain as possible after each shower.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts on this!
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Unread 09-12-2019, 09:23 PM   #7
jadnashua
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Well, that's two things (at least) that weren't done to industry standards. The pitch should be a MINIMUM or 1/4" per foot, and with pebbles, more is recommended.

The plumbing code calls for the waterproofing to be sloped to the drain. Neither tile nor grout are considered the waterproofing. It's natural for some moisture to penetrate the tile and grout (usually more in the grout than the tile, but that depends on the type). WIth a conventional shower build, the deck mud above the liner tends to get wet. Gravity and wicking tends to draw it deeper into the mud bed. The weep holes are required to let that moisture out. That moisture tends to be constantly, but slowly, flushing out through the mud bed. WIth no slope, it must build up much more and instead of slightly damp, can become saturated. That will make the tile and grout wet from underneath and usually will take much longer to dry out. Deck mud, when done right, is quite porous. Thinset isn't. Using a different shower build method with say a tileable waterproof membrane means there's no deck mud beneath the tiles, it's quite thin in comparison to deck mud, is less porous, and has fewer issues overall. Usually, any moisture that gets into the tile or grout (much less than typically in a conventional build because of the porosity and thickness) will evaporate in between showers.
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