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toocheaptohire 10-14-2012 10:53 AM

Need advice in fixing "contractor's" botched shower floor tile job
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Definitely file this under "if you want it done right, do it yourself". We recently finished a master bath/bed remodel in which we contracted out a few portions that we could have done ourselves, but with very busy full time jobs, decided to pay for speed and hired out to professional contractors. One of these was the bathroom tile.

I designed a very detailed layout, ordered the tile and hired a tile contractor we used before on a smaller job (actually, to finish the tile work on another, smaller bathroom that I couldn't get to with a crazy work schedule) - he did a good job finishing the 1/3 of the tile left and we decided to hire him again for the full tile job here.

Waterproofing was the Schluter-Kerdi shower base, membrane and band system.

Floor tile is 2" square mosaic shower floor tiles.

After a few months, I noticed the grout had cracked in the shower floor on a few tiles near the drain. When we ground out the grout, the tiles began just popping out and we quickly realized he removed a significant portion of the waterproofing membrane around the drain and the shower base was very wet! I assume the moron did this as a fix to the lack of a slope near the drain which we pointed out when he first put the tile in (which I assumed was due to him using too much mortar on these tile near the drain).

Note the Schluter-Kerdi system includes a pre-sloped base. Needless to say, we kept removing floor tiles to see how far back he removed the membrane. Words fail to describe how angry we are with this clown (especially after all the grandstanding he made about how ethical and responsible he is in his work as a Christian).

Finally, my question: what is the repair here? I'm tempted to take out the floor tile fairly far back, perhaps even to the shower walls, cut out the foam shower base since it is now pretty compromised between our digging out the tile and the "contractor's" botched job, and replacing the slope with a mud shower bed over a rubber waterproof membrane (that's the system I put in MYSELF in the other bath which worked very well), which would probably mean I overlap the rubber waterproof membrane over the remaining Schluter-Kerdi membrane to create a waterproof seal, then fill in the void with mud? Will this work?

Is there a better approach? Please don't say bring in another contractor - I'm very burned out at starting with another contractor at this point and am confident in my skills.

Thanks - sorry for the long post!

funfool 10-14-2012 11:31 AM

That sucks, sounds like you know what you need to do.
If he removed it because of a slope issue, patching in another piece is going to make it even higher.
If the pan is being destroyed as you remove all the floor tiles to fix the slope issue?
I think building your own as you suggested may be the best cure.
Hope someone else has a better idea, but yeah, sucks to do it twice.

oh'mike 10-14-2012 06:31 PM

Jaz or Bud Cline know this system well----Let's see if either one of them has a suggestion----

I think you have a problem---

JazMan 10-14-2012 08:54 PM

Sorry to hear of your botched shower installation. Apparently this guy does not have much experience in building showers correctly.

Since he used the sloped foam base I have no idea why he would change the built-in slope, it's perfect as is. Was the floor not level to begin with? Makes no sense.

Removing what you've got to replace with a traditional pre-slope + shower pan membrane + deck mud isn't gonna work cuz the membrane needs to go up and behind the wall substrate and over the curb on the studs. So all those tiles would need to be removed too. You'd also have to change the drain, essentially start over.

I don't see why you shouldn't keep what you've got and repair it by adding the missing Kerdi fabric. Remove as many tiles as are loose, then trim the fabric so there's about 2" exposed so that the new fabric will overlap the old by that much. (2"). Remember it doesn't matter that the new fabric is on top of the old going down hill....matters not.

Besides the apparent poor workmanship, do you know specifically what other materials he used in the installation? Mainly which thinset mortar. Also, is the foam base solid? Did you follow the steps of installation, any pics?

Honestly, a Kerdi membrane/drain system is superior to a traditional shower for several reasons. It just has to be done right.


toocheaptohire 10-15-2012 08:33 AM

Thanks all, especially JazMan for detailed reply - I'd forgotten that the membrane needs to go up on the wall to work.

The floor was level to begin with and the foam base seems like it's secured installed. We'll just take this one step at a time and re-Kerdi the exposed floor.

And it just gets better!!! Last night we noticed a wretched odor from the basement - sewer backed up. Called a 24 hour plumber who quickly found the cause - we have an sewer access point in our driveway and water levels were quite high. He called the city who poked around for a couple of hours and discovered....wait for it....significant amounts of hardened asphalt in the sewer pipe! Not a coincidence we had our driveway repaved last month and deduction says some clown on that highly recommended contractor team knocked over the manhole and let all that hot asphalt fall into the sewer....and apparently was hoping no one would notice. Said contractor is on his way out our place this morning....I've decided to take this in stride since the alternative is to laugh, need to fix this botched job before tackling the other botched (shower floor) job....hopefully some good luck is coming my way.

JazMan 10-15-2012 02:31 PM

OMG man, aren't you the lucky one. I guess we won't be asking you for contractor recommendations.


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