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Unread 05-13-2021, 11:27 AM   #1
TimNorth
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Water Puddling on Shower Floor

Hi all,

I've just had a new shower put in.

Base: mud base with Kerdi membrane and Kerdi curbs, 2x2 tile
Wall: Kerdi membrane over drywall with 12x24 wall tiles.
Kerdi linear drain.

This is a second-time install for me as the initial shower reno in this bath was botched by the first contractors several years ago. So I've been very attentive to details of waterproofing, thanks to knowledge I've gained reading these forums.

Yesterday the grout and sealant was dry, so I turned on the shower head to test the waterflow of the finished surface, and found that the water flows well when the shower is on, but when it is off, water puddles in an area in front of the drain to a depth of about 1/8".

I checked with a level and found that while the overall slope of the shower is adequate, there is a low spot in this area creating the opportunity for water to pool.

Picture: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AqH...ew?usp=sharing

Video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fz1...ew?usp=sharing

Now - I am fully aware that this is not correct, and to his credit, the contractor acknowledged that as well and took responsibility for the error. He is an experienced and well-regarded contractor, and I think it was just a goof-up.

He is fully willing to fix it by raising that low spot, but he has said it will require ripping up the floor and the first course of wall tile and could risk damaging the membrane or scratching other finishes in the process.

My alternative is to simply squeegee the water off that spot after I shower. I keep a squeegee in the shower and would be squeegeeing anyways.

My question for the group is: how big a deal is this?

Clearly it's annoying/frustrating to have this problem in a brand new shower, and I know it's not "right," but the situation is what it is and so I have to consider the tradeoffs of various options. Given that, is it worth the potential risks to try to fix it?

I know that if I allowed the water to stand there, it could increase the chance of mold and the grout in that spot would discolor/wear faster most likely. But if I am planning to squeegee the water after each shower anyways, are there other long-term risks of leaving it that I might not be considering?

I would welcome some external perspective - thanks in advance.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 01:15 PM   #2
HilltopRehab
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Quote:
I know that if I allowed the water to stand there, it could increase the chance of mold and the grout in that spot would discolor/wear faster most likely. But if I am planning to squeegee the water after each shower anyways, are there other long-term risks of leaving it that I might not be considering?

I would welcome some external perspective - thanks in advance.
Seems like you already know the answer, but to add to your point above - the squeegee will remove water from the tile surface, but it won't remove water from inside the tile/grout/mortar itself, the porous materials above the low spot in the waterproof layer. I suppose the real question is whether relying on evaporation for that is going to be enough to prevent damage or mold growth. It looks like a pretty wide puddle, I think it would drive me nuts having to squeegee it anyway. Sounds like you have a good contractor, I'd let him make it right.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 03:14 PM   #3
fabian55
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Hello, Im not a professional or contract so this is just my view. Firstly I would try to figure out why the low spots? Is it the actual mud bed that has the low spot or did the tiles in the middle of those spots have too much thinset added and were not leveled with the others.

I think finding that out first would determine how to correct the issue. If it's the Mud Bed, then water between the grout that filters thru would not drain down the slope and into the drain and would stay in the same spot possibly cause future issues, the squeegee won't remove the water on the grout.

If its the tile that was not leveled correctly etc, I think that would be much easier to fix. Maybe someone here can confirm, but possibly you can remove the floor tiles without the wall tiles and do a new slope via thinset. This is assuming its the tile not being leveled, not the Mud bed.

Hope this helps..
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Unread 05-13-2021, 03:46 PM   #4
cx
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Tim, it'll help if you'll attach your photos from storage on your computer so they appear in your post and are a permanent part of your thread, rather than third-party links that disappear when the third party changes the URLs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabian
Maybe someone here can confirm, but possibly you can remove the floor tiles without the wall tiles and do a new slope via thinset. This is assuming its the tile not being leveled, not the Mud bed.
Removing the tiles from the floor, given that he's got a direct bonded waterproofing membrane for his receptor, is seldom as easy as it sounds without seriously compromising the membrane. And we hope none of his shower floor tiles are "leveled," eh? Thinset mortar is not an appropriate product for correcting the flatness or height of his floor tiles.

A difficult situation he has and indicates one of the drawbacks to use of direct bonded waterproofing membranes; the difficulty in making any necessary repairs or adjustments.

And I'm not seeing your contractor's reasoning in removing the bottom layer of wall tiles, Tim. He'll have the same problem with damaging and not being able to repair the waterproofing membrane there, to, non?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 05:16 PM   #5
TimNorth
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Thank you all for your feedback - appreciated.

@cx - to answer your question:

Quote:
I'm not seeing your contractor's reasoning in removing the bottom layer of wall tiles, Tim. He'll have the same problem with damaging and not being able to repair the waterproofing membrane there, to, non?
The explanation there is that the floor tiles come in 12x12 sheets with a mesh backer, and he did not feel it would be possible to remove the tiles individually from the sheet without damaging the membrane, but would need to take up entire sheets. And because the first course of wall tile rests on the floor tile, it would require taking off that course as well.

The risk of membrane damage seems to be an overall hazard of removing anything, as well as the difficulty of achieving the required 2" overlap in patching any repairs.

Of course, he could just demolish the entire base and rebuild it - but I'm trying to understand whether pushing for such a drastic step is really necessary for any practical reason if the water is squeegeed off consistently (e.g, a risk of mold, damage or shortened lifespan in the future).

Regarding the effectiveness of the squeegeeing - my thinking is that all the grout lines are getting saturated in roughly equal measure during the showering process (the tiles themselves are impervious porcelain), so the only difference is whether water is allowed to stand on them and further saturate them after the shower is complete.

The point about whether the water that has already penetrated into the thinset in the low spot during the shower would be able to dissipate by evaporation alone is worth considering, given that it couldn't drain via gravity there.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 05:48 PM   #6
cx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
Of course, he could just demolish the entire base and rebuild it...
Still doesn't eliminate the problem of connecting the waterproof membrane, Tim.

It's entirely up to you what you are willing to accept, but you paid for a new shower with the expectation that it would function properly. That's what your contractor should provide. Makes no difference what is required for him to provide that. A deal's a deal, eh?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 06:43 PM   #7
TimNorth
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It's true - good food for thought. Thanks cx.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 08:46 PM   #8
Davy
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I'd make him fix it. Makes me wonder if he actually has 1/4 inch per ft pitch.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 09:38 PM   #9
Snets
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I'm not convinced that the spot where the water is pooling is a low spot, it's possible that the drain is a high spot (in the slope). What happens if you drag that straight edge back and put the low end in the middle of the puddling area? Does it slope properly to that point and then go back up or level out?

If that is the case, it won't be fixed by raising the low spot, it would create a level area, or larger level area which would not resolve the issue ( assuming he could do this while maintaining waterproofing). I think it's an entire do over.

This stinks for your contractor, but he was paid to do it right, and it's not right.
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Unread 05-14-2021, 12:29 AM   #10
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Looking at your level in the picture, I don't think you have a 1/4" per foot of slope there. That's the biggest mistake.

But it also looks like the edge of the drain sits just above the tile, preventing water that's less than 1/8" deep from draining.

I would have built the floor with more slope, and set the drain level with or just barely below the face of the tile.

I just don't think I could bring myself to squeegee the floor of a brand new shower every day.
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