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Old 03-05-2013, 02:06 PM   #1
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tile shower smell


Hi All,

I'm new to the forum here, and it seems like a great place to get some things figured out.

I recently (January 2013) purchased a remodeled house built in 1955. The shower in question was completed when we first looked at the house. It is a walk-in tile shower in the master bathroom that began to smell after a couple weeks of use. We've had a couple different plumbers check it out. We've had the toilet wax ring and flange replaced. The p-trap has water. I don't think it is a venting issue, but i'm not certain of that (as a side note, we also had part of our sewer line replaced already too as a section of the pipe in the front yard had collapsed from root invasion).

I've searched the web far and wide looking for answers and tried a couple things, such as plugging the shower drain and soaking the floor with simple green, then again with bleach. No luck. I've tried sealing the shower drain to see if it was coming from the drain itself, and the smell still happens in the shower, which makes me think it must be water festering in the pan under the tile and grout.

Then today I tried one more soak and noticed a tiny hole in the grout on the vertical part of the tile where you step into the tub, about 1" higher than the floor. Since I had filled the floor with 1" of bleach and water, the water started to run out of the hole, so I went underneath the bathroom in the basement and saw water stains on the ceiling tile (drop ceiling), removed the 2 ceiling tiles, and water was streaming out from above (picture attached).

Sherwin Williams installed the shower. Or, they contracted the person who installed it. The company who renovated the house has been terrible, so I cannot look to them for help. I've called SW and am waiting for a reply once they talk to the installer, but from what I can tell, this will involve a total tear out and redo of this shower, as there is no other way to repair this.

Any thoughts or suggestions? The worst part of this has been trying to find the smell and everybody kinda scratching their heads. I'm looking forward to walking in the bathroom and taking a deep breath of FRESH air.

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Old 03-05-2013, 03:28 PM   #2
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tile shower smell


what i see is a shower with improper or no water membrane under shower. you have 2 options in my opinion is first and best tear it out replace rotten wood treat with a mold killer " not just bleach " and start over. the second choice would be to find someone who can put a shower liner in ( bci ,liners direct, luxury bath, re bath, bath fitters, or bath planet )

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Old 03-05-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
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tile shower smell


Post a shot of the shower itself----You have a failure there----might need replacing---
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:57 PM   #4
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Here's a shower pic, and a close-up of the "hole".



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Old 03-05-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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Oh,boy-------------I think you are in trouble-----How to build a shower - Building a shower pan with pre-sloped mortar bed, liner and curb.

I think you have an improperly installed liner------in which case you have a tear out.

do a flood test by plugging the drain with an inflatable plug---fill and let it sit for 24 hours.

If that hold water for 24 hours--start looking for a leak in the shower arm---or other water leak above the curb---

I don't think it will pass the flood test----sorry----
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:24 PM   #6
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Thanks, Mike. Both times I plugged the drain to soak the floor, the shower floor was dry within hours...so that fails the test doesn't it?
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:30 AM   #7
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Yep----you have a leaker----sorry to be the bearer of bag news---

That link shows one method of shower building--

There are a couple of others---

The Schluter system and other like that use a surface membrane---very dependable--

Latacrete has Hydroban---another surface membrane ,but painted on---

You have a tear out----retire that shower until you can get it replaced----
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:28 AM   #8
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Get a Lawyer, and take a lot of pictures as the real tile people take the old one apart. All the work I see in your photos was done by a hack, plumbing, carpentry, and tile. What makes a paint manufacturer think they know how to remodel a bathroom?????

Missing grout should not matter a hoot to water tightness.
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Last edited by jagans; 03-06-2013 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:40 PM   #9
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That test you did was probably not exactly right---that pan has two drains--one above the tile and one below ,to drain the membrane----so an inflatable drain plug must be used to stop both drains.

That being said----you still have a leaker---I just wanted to tell you that to avoid being told you did the test wrong by the installer----

Some people should not build shower pans-----while not rocket science---they must be done correctly----
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:41 PM   #10
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Tear it out the original installer did not pan the shower correctly... Also sue the seller for not disclosing it. Contact your local code authority and see if permits were issued it will help if they hacked it all in without one.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:27 PM   #11
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Sherwin Williams' answer - The installer came by today and said the curb tile needed more of a slope, so they replaced some of the tile. He thought the curb was holding water. He also said the smell was probably because the shower is so enclosed and only has that 23" wide opening (i'm calling BS on this). This guy's english wasn't very good, so I let him do his thing - then i'll push for a tear out and re-do once this happens again in a couple days.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:49 PM   #12
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PS - where can I get an inflatable drain plug?
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:25 PM   #13
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Any plumbing supply house---tell them you are doing a flood test on a shower with a two inch drain---

Very common item-----
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:18 PM   #14
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Tear it out or one day you will fall through the floor.

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