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Unread 01-15-2021, 03:36 PM   #1
bova80
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Shower Leak Question

We recently had a leak in our shower which is only about 5 years old, same age as home, built by Ryan Homes. The shower has a bench and 2 shower heads across from each, will attach photo. Shower is tile and pan is just one piece. What happened was since the bench is completely tile the top grout line cracks frequently, I have fixed it before but it continues to crack, I know the bench should probably be a solid piece, but this is how it came from the builder.

Anyways, I cut out ceiling below and inspected all plumbing to ensure leak wasn't coming from there. What I believe is happening is water is getting in behind the tile then getting between shower pan and concrete board. This doesn't happen all the time as it depends on how long the shower is running, normally I take a shower in the morning and my wife at night, but the first time this happened is when I took a shower and she took one probably 20min after.

So after removing a single tile this is what I revealed. Let me know your thoughts on this, obviously it doesn't seem right as it's not a completely sealed system.

Picture of shower was before house was completed, pictures of tile removed were as of today.

sorry if that was hard to follow. basically looking to place blame on Ryan Homes for bad installation as they said warranty won't cover it unless it's an installation issue.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 04:15 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, CB.

From what I can see, it looks like they relied on the tile and cement board to waterproof the bench. At least, I don't see any evidence of waterproofing in the pictures.

Sad to say, there is no way to fix it, at least as far as I can tell. If they didn't waterproof the walls at all, it's not worth fixing anyway.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 04:39 PM   #3
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So there was a green coating applied to the concrete board. Let me dig up a photo from construction.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 05:34 PM   #4
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Looks like "Hydroban" which in and of itself is a good waterproofing liquid.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 06:46 PM   #5
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Welcome, CB.

Can you back away a bit and show us some perspective of the area where you removed the tile? I can't tell what you might be showing us on accounta I'm not as bright as Kevin.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 06:54 PM   #6
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I think it's the flange, and what's left of the cement board that came down on the flange. The tile is removed.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 06:55 PM   #7
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Not that it matters in this case, but I thought Hydroban was more of an olive green color.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 07:21 PM   #8
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OK, and the board stops above the tiling flange with essentially no waterproofing at all at that junction? And what's the white mesh?

The green looks too dark to be Hydroban to my eye, too.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 07:28 PM   #9
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Here is a better perspective. The concrete board just came down to the lip on the pan and there was a tiny gap between. The tile went down in front of the lip so there was like 1/4” gap behind. Shouldn’t the gap between concrete board and shower pan be sealed? I think the white mesh you see is on the concrete board as maybe when the tile came off it pulled some of that water proofing membrane.

I removed that tile, so I could see what was going on behind there causing the leak.

Edit: sorry when I uploaded photos it rotated them for some reason
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Unread 01-15-2021, 08:08 PM   #10
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What should have been done there was to use some of the reinforcing fabric that almost certainly comes with that green waterproofing material and, using the fabric and the liquid. tile the wall waterproofing to the tiling flange. It appears they might have used some sort of fabric on some of the wallboard seems and I don't understand why they wouldn't have used it on the wall/receptor joint, too.

No question you have some water leakage there.

Do you perhaps know what the waterproofing membrane was called? Ever see a bucket, perhaps?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 09:20 PM   #11
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In the picture above that bucket that says SP-1 on it is what they used I think. Other than that I don’t think I have any other info. My wife and I haven’t really been happy with the shower since it was built cause they were just terrible installers and had to tear out around the window cause they didn’t line up tiles correctly. We’ve been thinking about redoing the whole thing, but this kind of sped that process up. If I tear it all out I’d probably use kerdi products all around.

Edit: this appears to be what they used. https://merkrete.com/p/waterproofing...ast-drying.htm
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Unread 01-15-2021, 09:45 PM   #12
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Yeah, I know we've seen that product here before, but not very often and I don't know why that is. Merkrete usta have a black liquid-applied membrane, too, but I don't know if this Hydro Gard replaced that.

At any rate, nothing at all wrong with the product, problem is with the application at that wall/receptor junction.

I've no direct experience with Ryan Homes, but I would expect them to operate similar to all the other large tract builders and that means paying the absolute minimum to any subcontractors, including tile mechanics. And if the tile guys are in-house, their incentive is gonna be for speed, not quality.

You could re-do that shower with the same products and have a lasting shower, or you could, as you suggest, change to another product line and also have a lasting shower construction. The difference is always in reading and following the product manufacturer's instructions and also following the ceramic tile industry's guidelines.

It'll help if you'll put a geographic location into your User Profile. Helps our folks answer some types of questions.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 10:09 PM   #13
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Every time I see a tile shower in a tract home, it's got a leaking bench in it.
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Unread 01-16-2021, 09:04 AM   #14
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Unfair generalization, Kevin. I'm sure the only showers that leak at the bench are the the ones that have a bench.
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Unread 01-16-2021, 10:07 AM   #15
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I've used Mercrete products several times, on two balconies that are still in service. Their products are top notch as far I can tell.

I wonder if the bench has a pitch or if it's close to level. I would have treated the bench with wall to wall fabric, folding up on the wall and 2-3 coats of membrane. The membrane looks thin to me.

I missed it at first glance but the pic that shows the bucket also shows a roll of fabric.
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