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Unread 11-13-2014, 08:30 AM   #1
Martin Louis
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Madisonville LA
Posts: 2
Help - Start this Job Over?

First, thanks for a great forum and any insight you can provide.

We had a tile shower built 8 years ago and apparently it was slowly leaking from day 1. The liner was cut at the corners, laid flat etc.

Using all the expert advice here, I have educated myself a little. I hired a general contractor to redo it. Nice guy, and he did a great job painting my house, but perhaps he and his crew oversold me on their shower expertise? I'm not wanting to cast blame or argue or rip anybody off- I just do not want have to do this again in a few years. So...

Here's where the job is at today. We are in a lull because my tile is on order and I now see potential problems. Please see photos.

It's a corner shower. Removed the bottom row of tiles (some of the second row too) and cement board behind them. We replaced the rotting wood joists, put a new plywood floor. Then Roofing felt. Sloped mortar bed. Installed liner. Put new cement board. So far so good, I guess.

I mentioned mortar for the curb but they told me they would use cement board and not penetrate liner. It'll be fine etc. So that's a 2 x 4 curb. The liner is over it and screwed on the outside. The cement board was affixed to the liner with liquid nails and weighted down. Mortar bed - sloped but not with shims etc. just eyeball and level. Then 3 coats of Mapei Aquadefense were applied. So that's what we see.

Here's my issues: I tried a water test but I used a balloon ad the water slowly leaked through the drain. Will redo with a plumber ball, however, see photo 1. Issues:

-Water slightly pools inside the red circle. Is that acceptable?

-The Mapei turned soft and mushy from water sitting on it. I disfigured it when I put my hands on it to examine the pooling area. Is that normal?

Photo 2- This is the outside curb corner. The liquid nail apparently wasn't holding here so they put screws on the outside edge (where circled). I did not want liner penetrated etc. I have a bad feeling here.

I am willing to start this job completely over. Please advise what you would do in my shoes.

Thanks for any and all insight and assistance.

P.S. I am in Madisonville, LA if anyone is close or has a referral. Thx.
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Last edited by Martin Louis; 11-13-2014 at 08:36 AM. Reason: typos
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Unread 11-13-2014, 09:35 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boerne, Texas
Posts: 96,477
Welcome, Martin.

If you don't add that geographic location to your User Profile it'll be lost before we leave this page.

1. No.

2. I don't use AquaDefense and don't know to what extent it's expected to soften when wet. But the much bigger problem is that the AquaDefense shouldn't be on that floor surface at all.

You indicate that a new traditional pan liner was installed in, I presume, the existing clamping drain. That being the case, you really want the top mud bed completely open except for the tile surface so moisture that doesn't pass through the weep holes can evaporate through the surface.

3. There is no Liquid Nail product of which I'm aware that will bond a CBU - or anything else - effectively to your PVC liner. The mechanical fasteners are at least on the outside edge of the curb, but still unacceptable. If you were building a complete direct bonded waterproofing membrane shower, using CBU installed with mechanical fasteners at the curb would be fine. But you're not.

There is only one proper method of covering the liner on the curb of a traditional shower and that's to use metal lath and "fat mud," or brick mortar.

What you are doing/have done, replacing only the bottom foot or so of the shower, is considered a band-aid approach to repairing your failed shower. Regardless how the original shower walls were waterproofed, if they were, your new waterproofing membrane is not tied into that previous system at all. Your "new" shower may last a few years, but it will fail prematurely.

Up to you how you proceed, but what you really need is a new shower, properly constructed either by a competent professional or by you, a knowledgeable and trainable home owner.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 11-13-2014, 12:25 PM   #3
Martin Louis
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Madisonville LA
Posts: 2
Thanks for your reply CX. I figured I was going to have to start all over, but I had to hear it.

Meanwhile, if I could just vent for a second. What is the deal with going 0 for 2 on my shower? Neither time have I tried to cheapskate it, half-ass it, or hire non-licensed contractors. I also never told these guys how to do their job. I hate to think that's the problem!

I think there's ripe opportunities for quality guys here in south la based on your competition.
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Unread 11-13-2014, 02:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NW Arkansas, Ozark Mountains
Posts: 12,403
Martin, if you spend a little time here, you'll see that you are just one of many thousands that has gone through this. Most homeowners don't know enough to question a job as you have done, so they just trust the installer to do the right thing. Unfortunately, many of them turn out the way yours has.

Look at it this way: at least you caught it at this stage instead of after the shower was leaking again. Next time around, if you hire this job out again, don't be afraid to have the potential installer give you an explanation of what they're going to do to waterproof your shower. You can go further with that if you want, that's just the step that we've found that where installers falter.

The top ten reasons to procrastinate:

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