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Unread 05-03-2021, 08:19 PM   #1
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Shower floor leak...

Hi all,

I really appreciate this site!! It's really fantastic! So much information to absorb.

I'm posting because I had an issue with a shower floor leak and would like your advice as to the possible cause. I live in a slab foundation home.

I had the shower remodeled about 6 months ago so it would have a glass encasement instead of drywall which it originally had. The previous owners wall papered the external shower walls and needless to say mold built up after years of use so I figured it had to go.

Well, recently we had a plugged sewer line that was corrected, but needless to say, I needed to sanitize the shower floor since the sewer backed up into it. After cleaning it, I filled the shower floor with a watered down bleach solution and let it soak. The shower floor was filled up just above where the floor meets the wall (well below the footer ledge). I let it set for about an hour and then drained and dried it. Later that day, I noticed that water had seeped through behind the baseboard on both sides outside of the shower. The water actually wicked all the way around to the baseboard on the other side of the toilet as well (off picture).

Was I too aggressive? I'm assuming there may be a problem with the membrane corners underneath the tile, but would like to get your input.

Thank you,
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Unread 05-04-2021, 07:24 AM   #2
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Welcome, Brian, we've moved your thread into the advice forum since your issue isn't related to cleaning, restoration, or sealing (of tile).

The curb of your shower has what appears to be a solid surface top on it. From your description you filled the shower receptor to well below the bottom edge of that solid surface top, correct?

If so, it sounds like there is definitely an issue with how the inside corners of the curb were water proofed. If water proofed correctly you should be able to fill that receptor with water up to the height of the curb and have no water loss for days (except evaporation), even before the tile is installed (tile and grout are not the water proof layer).

So yeah, itsa leakin. Unfortunately there is no lasting remedy short of removing the tile and correcting the water proofing, though your contractor might attempt to convince you that merely re-caulking will to the trick. And it might, but for only a relatively short time.

Not that it matters at this point, but do you have any idea how the receptor was fashioned? Indeed, how the entire shower was built? Any photos of the process, of the materials used?
If I recall correctly my memory is excellent, but my ability to access it is intermittent.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 10:23 AM   #3
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Thank you for getting me to the appropriate board.

Unfortunately I missed the part prior to them putting up the duroc so I can't really see the corners of the membrane.
The drain needed to be centered so a hole was punched through the foundation and then patched.
They used 4x4 lumber for the curb and covered in duroc (shown).
The tile is porcelain.
The curb topping is marble (in the previous image).

A liquid membrane wasn't used on the duroc (not even on the seams); they told me it wasn't necessary and that they never had issues from their other customers. There also isn't any plastic behind the duroc, but I wasn't sure if that would be a plus or a hinderance. Oh and that spash of red seen for the niche, that's when I asked to have some type of liquid membrane on the wall, but then the workers were told not to do the full shower with it.

Thank you for responding. I at least have a better idea of what's going on.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 11:05 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, Brian! Oh man...this doesn't look good. Do you have any better pictures of the curb construction? I can't tell from your current pics if those are screws in the top of it. If so, a huge no-no. Just seeing those pictures, I'd be extremely worried with all of the construction. They obviously didn't follow the Durock installation instructions (I see no evidence of mesh tape and mortar at the seems), no surface applied membrane and no membrane behind the Durock also is cause for concern. Did you get any warranty from the contractor that installed your shower? Any and all pictures you have would help us, but it's not looking good so far.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 11:15 AM   #5
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Industry standards say NO penetration of the liner within 2" above the top of the curb...that also means no screws INTO the curb at least on the top and on the inside. The liner is the waterproofing, not the tile, grout, or caulking. WIth a conventional liner, there's no way to use CBU on the curb successfully.

While the seams on a cbu don't need to be waterproofed, depending on the build method, the manufacturer DOES require that they be reinforced with alkali resistant mesh tape. That can be done as you tile and it's easier to prevent making a speed bump then, but it can be done prior, and needs to be if you're using a liquid applied waterproofing in your build.

If the 4x4 material was pressure treated and not kiln dried after treatment (KDAT), that could be an issue, too...when delivered, that stuff is VERY wet, and it tends to shrink and crack as it dries out. That can mess with fasteners, not counting that it can make them corrode if not special for that material, but also loosen and in the shrinking process, twist. Tile doesn't like movement!
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Unread 05-05-2021, 12:59 PM   #6
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Thanks Phil and Jim for your input!

Unfortunately, I didn't know much and had no experience with shower installations hence my hiring a company that does that kind of thing. I didn't have enough info at the time to ask the on site contractor (not the owner) to do things a certain way for my installation and when I did challenge like asking the on-site contractor to use some type of liquid membrane on the duroc I was told that they have done installs without using the liquid membrane for many clients and haven't had any issues/callbacks.

The work that they did is warranted and the owner will be contacting me soon. I was a little surprised he didn't come out to inspect the work after it was complete, but I thought maybe he was busy and relied on his contractor to report any issues.

As far as pictures, I don't have any showing how the pvc membrane was laid out, but there are screws in the duroc on top of the curb (pic added). The 4x4 they used looks to be heat treated KD19 HT was stamped on the wood.

Again, thanks again for the quick responses!

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Last edited by evegnar; 05-05-2021 at 01:01 PM. Reason: clarification
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Unread 05-05-2021, 03:30 PM   #7
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Brian, you shouldn't need to have the experience and knowledge, that's why you hired them. There's a lot of things wrong with this shower.

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