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Old 10-23-2012, 10:28 AM   #1
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


HI,
about a year ago my husband and I hired a contractor to build out a tiled stand up shower in our bathroom.

We wanted this to be deep and sloped due to the fact that this was a walk in, no door shower. The contractor took a 4x4 piece of wood at the lip of the shower to create a frame and step and then filled in the shower floor with concrete, creating a slope...everything worked and looked great until about 6 months later.

We started noticing grout cracks along the step that led into the shower. We figured this was happening due to the house settling (its a new build) and the weight we put on it everyday stepping into the shower.

Soon after we noticed this every piece of grout from the lip and about 6 inches in started separating and breaking off-as well as the tiles that made of the wall of the small step.

The typical pink shower mold and a very aggressive black one took over the lip and entryway of the shower - i clean my grout pretty religiously (its white!) so i figured it was under the tile and making its way up. We stopped using the shower immediately and took a dremel tool to remove the grout and affected tile (2x2 tile). At the lip we found the 4x4 wood that the contractor used to frame up the concrete slope had been completely soaked (there was redguard used so I dont exactly know how this happened).

I attacked the molds (they stopped where the tile was unaffected so thankfully they were just under the broken grout)and removed all the nasty bits around it. It is now a month later and the wood has completely dried out and I have sanded the remainder into a smooth area ready to be tiled again. My question is...how do i ensure that the wood will not get wet in the future and also, how do i keep the grout from cracking again? I cannot handle the mold issue again.
thanks!
(it should probably be said that our floor is concrete, no subflooring is in our house)
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Last edited by oh'mike; 10-23-2012 at 08:13 PM. Reason: added spaces
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:55 AM   #2
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


Hello and welcome kyann, to the best darn DIY'r site on the web.

Unfortunately you are not going to like what you hear, that looks to me to be a complete redo, as whoever you hired, didn't build it right in the first place.

Built correctly the wood would never get wet, as there is a multiple steps to get it right, preslope, liner and then sloped floor on top of the liner. The liner would wrap over the step, the drain would allow water to drain from the liner into it.

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Old 10-23-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


is the wood at the higher end of the shower? where is the drain in relation to the wood. sounds like the contractor didn't waterproof everything thoroughly behind the tile. was this a tile contractor that did the job or a general contractor?
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


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is the wood at the higher end of the shower? where is the drain in relation to the wood. sounds like the contractor didn't waterproof everything thoroughly behind the tile. was this a tile contractor that did the job or a general contractor?
No amount of water proofing replaces a job done correctly and without a liner that job is not done correctly.

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Old 10-23-2012, 11:28 AM   #5
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


The piece of wood is 26 inches away from the drain. It gets no direct water but there is a small amount of spray that hits it - and then i suppose we drag more to it as we climb out of the shower. The pre-liner and slope all happened but the step i think was missed was pulling the liner completely over the piece of wood. There was a red layer of foam-like material underneath the tile when we pulled it up but it didnt seem to keep any water off of the wood - and it stopped at the lip. I would assume that needed to follow down to the floor?

Oh if i have to have this completely redone I am going to scream.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


@dannyT, this was a tile contractor...10 years of experience...his dad owned the biz before...he came recommended. He was very courteous and made sure he showed me every step he was doing (not that I knew what he was doing) he just reiterated time and time again, "I want to make sure you see what I'm doing and why I am doing it" Very meticulous guy.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:44 AM   #7
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


Yes the rubber liner should have extended completely over the curb (wood) without the liner extending over the curb water will permeate through the tile and grout.

It is unfortunate, you should call this tile guy back and have him explain to you now, why the curb is wet and beginning to rot.

Perhaps he can remove some of the tile in the shower and bond an extension onto the liner then reslope and retile the shower floor.

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Old 10-23-2012, 11:50 AM   #8
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Its convenient...his number is now disconnected. I'm beginning to think this guy shouldn't have come as highly recommended as he did. I have two other contractors coming out later this week so hopefully I can get some answers. I want to use my master bath shower again.
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:02 PM   #9
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


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Originally Posted by kyann38 View Post
Its convenient...his number is now disconnected. I'm beginning to think this guy shouldn't have come as highly recommended as he did. I have two other contractors coming out later this week so hopefully I can get some answers. I want to use my master bath shower again.
I am sorry to hear that, so many go by the way side. As for any suggested fixes by other contractors, I wouldn't accept anything less than replacing or extending the rubber liner.

Heres a link to look at how the job should be done..

http://www.ontariotile.com/preslope.html

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Old 10-23-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


Jackofall1 is correct.
Maybe the contractors father did teach him. Was old school that they did not have or use liners.
I have torn out many old showers, they usually showed signs of leaking.
I would never build a shower pan without a liner, but am now experimenting with redgard as a replacement of the liner approach.

Even if for some reason I thought I would do that job without a liner, [I would not]
I would have poured concrete and not used the wood without a liner.

It might be still possible to remove the tile, then install the liner and another layer on top to embed it. Would raise the step taller then what it is now.

I think Jackofall1 was correct in first post. with what we see, it simply was done wrong, what else is wrong that we do not see?

Even old school with no liner, I have torn out 20 year old showers. You could see the curb was rotten and moldy, probably leaking for 5 years, yours only lasted 1 year.
Must have been leaking from first time it was used.

I just edited this post, I missed where you said it had a partial liner.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:34 PM   #11
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Repairing Botched Shower Tile Step


Looks like the reason being is this looks like contractor made a platform because of the drain and you have a slab there. There should be a saddle of some sorts at the end but its already to high.
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