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catitudes 03-27-2009 05:08 PM

New tiled shower won't drain; mortar in drain.
We had a cheap fiberglass shower stall in our basement bathroom that leaked. A new acrylic wouldn't fit. We opted to have a porcelain tile shower stall installed. The installer assured us he could do it with no problem. It's done, it looks nice, but it barely drains. My husband snaked it and got out a chunk of concrete or mortar. Evidently the installer allowed mortar from the mortar bed to invade the drain? We've snaked it twice and it still moves too slow to use the shower. The installer will not return our calls. I say we need to hire a plumber, but my husband is having a fit, since the tile shower was my idea. By the way, the toilet and the sink drain just fine so the problem has to be confined to the shower area. Since this is a basement bathroom, the pipes are encased in concrete. Is there a trap under the shower that could be filled with mortar? Will snaking it again and again help or are we just spinning our wheels? HELP!:censored:

zosoplumber 03-27-2009 07:06 PM

yes, there is a trap under the concrete, you maybe able to break it up with a snake and then try shop-vacing the trap of debris

AllanJ 03-27-2009 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by catitudes (Post 251253)
. The installer will not return our calls. I say we need to hire a plumber,

I have the sneaking suspicion you may need to hire a lawyer.

More practically, small claims court will probably suffice.

If mortar was wet when it went down and solidified into a large mass, a snake is likely to break off inside the drain and not chew up the mortar.

johnnyboy 03-27-2009 08:49 PM

$23.00 and you can make your own drain camera and see what's going on, worked for me...

JDC 03-28-2009 06:27 AM

What size cable are you using to auger this drain out? If you're using a drill type machine I doubt that its going to do much. Of course we're dealing with mortar and/or thinset here. It may be that NOTHING is going to get it.

I'd hire a plumber to come out and try to auger out the drain with his machine. Explain the situation so he knows what he's up against to begin with. He'll probably tell you there's no guarantee that he'll clear it out but what other option do you really have at this point. If ALL else fails then you're going to have to bust up the floor and replace some piping. It sucks I know.

I had something similar happen to me on a job....but on a larger scale. Installed 700 feet of trench drain. Drained into a 4" ptrap. Concrete guys poured and guess what? They said they got "some" concrete into the drain. Well...nothing all. I saw cut the floor, dug up 15 feet of 4" pipe and the trap that was FULL of concrete. IT sucked, but I backcharged the hell out of them. Sorry....your story just brought that to mind and I got mad all over again! lol

Good luck!

catitudes 03-29-2009 01:08 PM

Update on shower
We've snaked it several times now, after pouring vinegar down the drain in an attempt to soften the mortar up. We vacuumed out several more chunks of mortar and the drain is now working sufficiently to use the shower. It's still a little bit slower than before but are hopeful it's going to get better after a bit of usage and maybe another snaking. We know the installer had a cap over the drain to keep mortar from entering it, but somehow some leaked through. At any rate, we don't think it made it as far as the trap. My husband thinks it was confined to the area right around the drain.

Needless to say, we won't have that installer back. I've hired another tile company to finish the job. Thanks for all the advice; this is a wonderful community!

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