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Jessidog 07-06-2011 12:40 PM

Odor from the shower drain
My wife has complained for the past couple days about a fishy odor that she says is coming from the shower drain. The problem is I cannot smell anything. I'm sure there is an odor; it is just below my threshold of detection. Additionally, I cannot find any problem with the plumbing. The shower drains well. There is a good exhaust fan that we run during the shower and for at least 30 minutes afterward. The room is air-conditioned and a ceiling fan runs continuously to circulate the air. Towels and floors dry completely and I can not find any signs of unwanted moisture or mold. There is a toilet in the same room, but I cannot find any sign of a leak and there are no issues with flushing. In summary, I cannot find a problem or smell the odor that my wife insists is there.

I poured some bleach down the drain yesterday and afterwards she said the smell was gone. This morning she said the smell is back. I was thinking about pumping the water out of the p-trap and then filling it with bleach or even drano in case something is growing on the sides of plumbing. But this seems like a long shot.

Any suggestions for another possible solution would be appreciated.


Bud Cline 07-06-2011 12:43 PM

If this is a tile shower floor it's the shower floor itself. How old is the shower?:)

Jessidog 07-06-2011 04:01 PM


Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 680842)
If this is a tile shower floor it's the shower floor itself. How old is the shower?:)

The shower is original to the house which was built in 1987. The shower floor is tile. Prior to two days ago, my wife never had any comments about odors in the shower during the 20 years we have lived in the house.

Bud Cline 07-06-2011 04:38 PM


Jessidog 07-06-2011 06:14 PM

I have plans to retile the shower since I know there has been some water damage to the water-resistant drywall (what we called green board many years ago when I used to hang drywall). The shower is about 5' X 4' with a 5" step-down from the floor. There are two windows in the corner that I recently replaced. That is when I saw that the drywall had damaged areas. I patched it up to be passible until I had time to redo all of the tile.

While the floor is sloped nicely for draining the water, the drain screen was about 1/4" or so below the surface of the tile and the edges around the screen were sharp enough to be uncomfortable when stepped on. I replaced the round drain screen with a square one and brought it up flush with the tile. This required removing the tile around the drain. I was surprised to find that the tile is on a bed of sand over the concrete slab floor. When I started a thread about this previously, it was suggested that it was a dry mortar bed and the cement has washed out over the years. But there was no trace of any mortar; just nice clean sand. I read somewhere that this was a method of laying tile floors. A layer of some type of adhesive was spread over the sand and then the tile was set on the adhesive. I removed the sand from the area where I was replacing the tiles and filled the area with cement before reinstalling the tiles. I could imagine that small cracks in the grout may have formed and water seeping into the sand layer could be the source of the odor. Maybe the timetable for retiling the shower got pushed up.


Bud Cline 07-06-2011 06:26 PM


I could imagine that small cracks in the grout may have formed and water seeping into the sand layer could be the source of the odor.
It's not your imagination.:)

Jessidog 07-06-2011 06:38 PM

As I start to plan the new tile job, what is the preferred method for tiling the floor over a concrete slab?

Two walls are the exterior cement block walls with 3/4" firing strips and water-resistant green board. What would be the preferred backing board?

Bud Cline 07-06-2011 09:25 PM

Jessidog 07-06-2011 09:47 PM

Bud - Thanks for the links.


Bud Cline 07-06-2011 10:07 PM

You're welcome. Read up a little then we can discuss it, and answer any questions you may have.:)

There are other ways but we'll start here with the classical basics then we can expand on those a little.:)

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