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Unread 12-22-2015, 03:28 PM   #1
jkvas
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Tile Shower with Leaking Bench Repair

I purchased a home with a tile shower with a bench seat. The home inspection was clean, however just this week I noticed significant leaking in the basement under the shower. Doing further investigation, I noticed that there was a crack in the grout and tile on the lip of the bench seat in the shower.

After running hot water on the seat I was able to confirm that water was leaking between this crack in the lip of the bench seat and under the sub-floor (not good I know).

After tearing off the tile off the of the bench seat, I found even further problems. The shower pan liner had not been wrapped up above the bench seat but just 10 inches above the floor pan.

My question at this point is there a way I can just repair the shower and just install a new bench and waterproof it without having to replace the entire floor pan or entire shower? I have tore out a previous tile shower in another home and installed a brand new floor pan, liner and walls from scratch but I don't want to have to do this with this one unless necessary. Any advice from experts would greatly be appreciated as you know I don't want to have any future leaks and only want to do this job once.

I did get a home warranty and also 100 days warranty from the company that did the inspection before we bought the home. Is there any way either of these would cover fixing this?

I can provide pictures if needed. Thanks Josh.
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Last edited by jkvas; 12-22-2015 at 04:34 PM.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 03:37 PM   #2
standardairconditioner
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Pics would invite others to make a more accurrate assessment and provide you answers specific to your situtation.

Please use Post-It's or Blue Painters tape to mark areas of interest.

Often advice is generalized and the faster you get clear answers, the quicker you can act on your repair.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 05:17 PM   #3
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I would think that the minimum would be to take out at least the upper tiles on the bench and see if there is waterproofing up to that level. If not, go for the second layer.

If no waterproofing is there....it might be technically possible to rebuild the top and add Kerdi or a similar product over the entire bench and re-tile it.

My concern would be the junction where the bench meets the floor tile. As I understand it, that is where the leak is occuring, and if there is no continuous waterproofing to bridge the floor and the vertical side of the bench, woe be unto you. A rebuild is in order.

As was stated, more pics might help........
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Unread 12-22-2015, 07:18 PM   #4
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I don't see any waterproofing.

If I were to bid this job, the only way I could warranty the work (and sleep at night) is to re-do the entire shower. Since there is no waterproofing on the bench, Its a pretty good guess there is no waterproofing on the walls, and there are numerous other mistakes. There's no way I'd put my name on any of the previous work.

Contact the NTCA to get local names of skilled contractors and start taking bids. They will have to bid it as replacing the exact same shower (including very similar tiles) to satisfy the insurance company.

After that check is written, you can select a different material or upgrade, but that will be on your dime.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 07:28 PM   #5
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Pictures

This is where I am currently at with the bench tore apart. As you can see it only comes up half length of the vertical side of the bench and also the pan liner does not come over the curb.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 07:33 PM   #6
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Keep going.

This is like watching a slow motion car wreck.

That curb is a disaster. Did they put an inch and a half of thinset below the top curb tile ?
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Unread 12-22-2015, 07:52 PM   #7
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Welcome, Josh.

'Fraid you been had.

You'll find no way to tie any waterproofing you might provide for that bench into the waterproofing in your walls because you apparently have no waterproofing in your walls at all.

And, as Paul points out, your curb is pretty questionable, too.

Don't know how old this sale was, but you might still wanna get your title insurance company involved here. The shower construction looks rather new and your might be able to claim some sort of fraud there. I'd try to think of something on accounta it's gonna cost you a new shower one way or another.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 07:53 PM   #8
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Yeah, the crack in the grout had nothing to do with the leak. The crack was caused by the wood swelling.

Like Paul and CX said, not many would try to repair this. I really see no way to extend the pan liner and get it to hold.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 08:02 PM   #9
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Not my work so I appreciate the scrutiny guys.

I just pulled the sellers disclosure and the tile shower was remolded in 2012, so its roughly 3-4 years old.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 08:12 PM   #10
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Josh,

As we see this soooooo many times, this probably isn't a purposeful hiding. The phrase I've decided upon is "willful ignorance" on the part of the contractor. My guess, the home owner had no idea and got lucky the damage didn't show up earlier.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 08:20 PM   #11
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Is this worth trying to get covered from my 1 year home warranty or should I file a claim with my home owners insurance policy?

Like I said, I am not a professional but have researched and installed a tile shower properly with a tile pan liner completely over the curb and up the wall at a previous home. If I can't get this covered, I can tear out the complete shower and replace it. Just wasn't expecting to have to do this with the remolded bathroom I thought was in working order we just purchased.

Would anyone a good replacement if I end up doing this myself? In the past I installed a plywood sub-over with tar paper over metal mesh and thin set mortar and then pan liner, however there are new systems out like the kerdi someone had recently mentioned. Is one easier, better, more cost effective?
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Unread 12-22-2015, 08:53 PM   #12
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You'll still need the 3 estimates for your claim whether you re-do the shower yourself or hire someone.

A surface applied membrane is the way to go IMHO. We stopped doing liners over 20 years ago.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 10:40 PM   #13
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I have to (ruefully) laugh at Paul's comment in Post #6:

"That curb is a disaster. Did they put an inch and a half of thinset below the top curb tile ?"

We were so concerned about the shower walls installed in April that we had a new tile contractor demo the entire shower last month and start anew. Well, first thing they had me look at during demo was the curb. Previous tile contractor had used at least 2" of thinset to build up the curb. I knew he had done so because I was present during construction but I had no idea that it wasn't the way things should be.
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Unread 12-23-2015, 07:30 AM   #14
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Well, the installers that have stopped installing pan liners claim they start smelling, etc from stagnant water. Most likely, they are probably doing something wrong during installation. There are still more pan liner showers installed than all the other types combined so if they are done properly, they will last a very long time without problems. I wouldn't be scared away from that type of liner because of Paul's comment.

There should never be 2 inches of thinset under any tile installation. They should have added another 2x4 to the curb, which would have raised the pan liner that's on the curb and cut the mud down to 1/2 inch instead of 2 inches.
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Unread 12-23-2015, 07:52 AM   #15
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this forum and especially treads like this one absolutely scare the shit out of me and i am not sure i can ever move now that i've done bathroom renovations and know for certain my house is done properly.

sorry about your shower, dude. that is a bummer.
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