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Unread 10-30-2022, 08:16 PM   #1
Turbinator
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Turbinator's Master Bath Remodel (w/pics)

Hi folks, brand new member, weekend warrior DIY'er working on a master bathroom remodel. Prompted to remodel thanks to some water damage and a leaking 2nd story master bath shower pan / shower, dripping into the kitchen below. Thanks to the leaking, I've decided to take the plunge and do a whole master bath remodel -- everything pretty much.

I've started the demolition and am starting to run into some questions, I will be asking those here. Some pics to kick this off:


Above: Dated linoleum floor damaged by water.


Above: Shower door removed, toe kick cultured marble panel removed. This is the size and scope of the shower I'm dealing with. Tub is positioned to the right, not shown in this pic.


Above: Got the heavy shower pan out today. Is it normal for a shower pan to just be a slab, without any lip or walls? Feels like having a flat shower pan was part of the reason why I may have had a leak in the first place.


Above: The cast iron shower flange. There are 3 weep holes that are rusted shut. I also think this might be partly why I am having a leak problem as well. Question - is it normal to use cast iron flanges? Feels to me like a flange that rusts over time and gets its weep holes clogged up, is not a good idea.


Above: I started clearing the gravel from around the shower flange. Question: Since I plan to redo this whole shower mortar etc, presume I should just go ahead and demo all of this out completely, and start from scratch? How does one actually remove the old cast iron flange?

Thanks folks for looking, I will be updating this thread as I've seen others do for their own threads in this forum. This will be quite an adventure!

Turby
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Unread 10-30-2022, 08:28 PM   #2
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Welcome, Turby.

A geographic location in your User Profile is often helpful in responding to some types of questions.

Interesting drain. Is there some sort of waterproofing membrane under what we see in your photos? With the lower portions of a clamping ring drain?

There would be no reason to have any sort of weep hole protectors with a manufactured marble-type shower floor set-up, unless that was just a decorative covering over a traditional mud/liner/mud receptor, a trick I have never seen before.

Clogged weep holes in a clamping ring drain would cause problems, but would not cause the shower to leak.

Yes, I would certainly remove everything I see in your photos thus far. And when you find the rest of that drain and determine to what it's connected, you'll have a better idea where you need to go from there.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-30-2022, 09:51 PM   #3
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Hi CX,

Thanks for reading and replying so quickly! I notice you're one of the more active members here, that's great - thanks again.

Some answers:

I'm located (the shower is located) in California, Bay Area.

The waterproofing membrane appears to be tar paper, which appears to be installed up the sides of the greenboard (though I can't quite tell how far up just yet). The shower dam was also lined / covered with this tar paper. The paper seems to be holding up, but is discolored from what I presume is the presence of water over time. I assume this because the tar paper appears to have once been black, but is now brownish in some areas where I think water has had a bit of contact with the paper.

The cement mortar appears to be poured over the tar paper, making up the shower pan area.

The reason why I thought the clogged weep holes contributed to the leak, is because water had nowhere else to go, it accumulated under the pan, and eventually wicked its way around to one corner of the tar paper that appears to have a gap leading to the subfloor. Just a guess.


Ok - next steps, I'll be taking out all of that gravel & cement, discarding it, and then seeing what I can find underneath. Thanks!

Turby
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Unread 10-30-2022, 10:10 PM   #4
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Much like my home state, the difference between the climate in north, south, and middle in California can be substantially different. Maybe you could narrow that down a bit in your Profile, eh?

I've seen the construction you describe exactly once in my building and remodeling career, that being in one of the older San Antonio neighborhoods. The shower was about 80 years old at the time, and that was more than 20 years ago. Some sort of black paper that I couldn't actually identify at the time and haven't seen since. Pretty substantially failed by the time I uncovered it.

You're clearly gonna need to start over from scratch, and I'll be curious to see what you find when you've finished with the tear-out phase.
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Unread 10-31-2022, 07:16 AM   #5
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Got it, I'll amend my location description in my profile.

Thanks for relating the 80 year old shower you found. This shower was built somewhere around 2006. I wouldn't be surprised if all the homes here (built by Shapell) have their showers built the same way. Your observations suggest that this is not a common approach to building showers, and that this method doesn't appear to be one of the better ways to build a shower. I really don't know why they did it this way - cost savings perhaps?

Yes - I intend on starting over, needed or not. I'll keep going with the demolition and will come back to post updates as I get through. Thanks!

Turby
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Unread 10-31-2022, 10:14 AM   #6
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In your part of the country we'd generally expect to see a hot-mopped shower receptor. Layers of hot tar and roofing felt as the waterproofing system. Doesn't seem to be what you've got there.
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Unread 10-31-2022, 10:24 AM   #7
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Turby, can you take a photo that is a little more zoomed out so we can see the layout of the bathroom? I'm curious what's to the right of the shower and if that space is in play to extend the shower out?

Also, did you have a fiberglass shower floor or was it tile? A fiberglass pan would explain the lack of waterproofing underneath the floor.

Finally, any idea why the curb is so enormous? is the wall that thick? Is it a block wall? Bearing wall?
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Unread 10-31-2022, 01:23 PM   #8
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Hi James, here's a zoomed out photo of the area pre-demolition:



You can see there is a standard tub to the right of the shower. Could I extend the shower? Possibly - I am thinking I would extend it outwards beyond the old door frame, potentially.

The shower floor felt like it was a single piece of cultured marble, when I took it out. Definitely not fiberglass and definitely not tile. The texture & composition of the shower pan seemed to match the cultured marble walls.

Don't know why the shower curb is so big. Can only presume the builder had their own ideas as to why it was needed. Could be that they ran plumbing through it - I will find out when I take it apart. It might share the same plumbing (water supply) as the adjacent tub.

Hi CX, could it be that the paper that I keep calling "tar paper" is hot mopped felt? I've never seen hot mopped felt before, so I wouldn't know how to identify it. I can take some closeups of the black paper if you'd like to armchair diagnose it further.

Thanks guys!

Chipping away at the cement / mortar sub-pan layer now, getting out some big chunks. Will post an update pic soon.

Turby
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Unread 10-31-2022, 02:36 PM   #9
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You should get a better idea whether you have a hot-mop when you take out the floor mortar, Turby. The old shower I was comparing was definitely not a hot-mop. Just some sort of black impregnated paper used as the presumptive waterproofing layer.
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Unread 11-01-2022, 02:49 PM   #10
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Update for today. Removed all the mortar / cement under the shower pan area. Vacuumed up the debris. This is what is left:


Above: The shower pan area left after the cement mix was taken out.


Above: I am finding some cracks and breaks in the black paper liner. Could be a potential source for water leakage to the 1st floor?


Above: Image showing where some of this black tar paper appears to be splitting or separating. Discoloration suggests to me that this area has been damp or wet before. Yet another possible source for water leaking?


Above: Found this big gap in the black tar paper liner. If water were to find its way under the pan, past the cement, and along the black paper, wouldn't this be a huge gap for water to escape to downstairs below? Looks like it to me.


So what say the experts here - is this hot mopped felt? What is this stuff? I do see evidence that seems to suggest there was black tar was once placed around this area, I see some splashes on the shower dam wood.

Next step - rip out all the black tar paper?

Turby
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Unread 11-01-2022, 04:31 PM   #11
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Keep digging, Turby. That looks like an old hot-mop to me.

Is the shower floor recessed below the OSB floor we see in the photo? I can't tell from the photo.
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Unread 11-01-2022, 05:01 PM   #12
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A "proper" hot-mop here in CA, and maybe elsewhere too, should be done with three layers of 50# tar paper soaked and covered with tar. Somewhere along the timeline "I think" reinforced fiberglass corners imbedded into the tar was added to the code. There is likely some sort of material used for a pre-slope under the layers of tar and paper. You said this is an upstairs shower? You should run into wood at some point!

You can also try a propane torch carefully to soften things as you dig and scrape at the material. It may start to smoke and smell up the house if you start melting the tar too much. Remember, heating to soften, not catch things on fire.
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Unread 11-01-2022, 05:47 PM   #13
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You sure that's not #15 roofing felt, rather than 50# "tar paper," John? Of course, one never knows about California (the OP is in your State), but that sounds kinda extreme. And not too workable, either.
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Unread 11-01-2022, 06:07 PM   #14
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CX, yes that's a typo! That would be some thick material. #15 roofing felt (I think a lot of folks call it tar paper here)
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Unread 11-01-2022, 06:18 PM   #15
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Yeah, I grew up calling it tar paper, too, Snets. I was probably near 40 before I found out it was roofing felt. 'Course, that was also back when it was call 15 or 30 pound material (15# or 30#). Then the 15 "pound" started becoming so thin you could actually see light through some places. Instead of making the manufacturers comply with the required standards, they just changed the name to number 15 and number 30 (#15 and #30). Don't recall exactly when that happened.
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Last edited by cx; 11-01-2022 at 07:53 PM. Reason: typo
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