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2sents 01-03-2011 09:13 AM

Repairing water damaged shower entry
My first post here with 2 tiling projects under my belt. Thanks for bearing with me.

The visible water damage is along where the swinging shower (walk-in type shower) door closes. The shower is sunk in to the floor so its about a 6 inch step down into the shower (BTW-its tiled with all 4x4 ceramic). The bathroom floor is carpet-on-plywood which goes right up to the edge of the shower enclosure including the door. A couple inches of the plywood is damaged and the top edge of tiles right under the door have come completely loose. There is no sign of there having been any waterproof material in this area. I haven't yet begun striping back tiles to see the extent of the damage (I will begin that process in a couple of hours) though it appears at least the bottom two inches of the end of the side walls is rotted.

I also have noticed that there is some cracked tile in the floor of the shower. This is 2 separate cracks traveling right through the middle of tiles about a foot or more in length.

BTW-this is in earthquake prone Southern California.

Given the situation, should this shower be completely torn out or can it be saved? Its my mother and step dad's. He made it about 20 yrs ago and barely remembers what he did. I get the impression they would like to save it if at all possible. If it can be reasonably saved, what would be the best line of attack?

JazMan 01-03-2011 10:42 AM


Sounds like the entire thing was done wrong. I'm sure you will find it's much worse than it now appears. Be prepared to rip out the whole thing. Let us know what you find and later ask how to build it right. Pics help.


2sents 01-03-2011 12:03 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Got started tearing out the visibly bad area and found the tile was on backerboard and a plastic type liner tray was used on the floor which goes upthe side about 4 inches. attempting to attach pics taken with my Blackberry of what I have so far.

JazMan 01-03-2011 01:23 PM

Yup, looks very typical. Who ever did that must have thought concrete backer board and ceramic tiles is all you need to waterproof a shower. :censored:


2sents 01-03-2011 02:23 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I have gone back another row some of the backer came off too and showed a bit more water damage. It seems thats as far as it goes there. Does that justify having to redo the whole wall? Or worse yet the whole shower? I'm going to get a grout saw to make it easier to get the tiles out and hopefully save save as many as possible no matter what.

Michael Thomas 01-03-2011 03:19 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Looks like they may have run a few fasteners through there to ice the cake:

2sents 01-03-2011 05:28 PM

Please, would you mind telling me something I don't know? I would like help, if at all possible to keep the job as small as possible. I would like to learn something in the process so please, please, please add your postings to be as helpful as you can. Thank you very much.

Michael Thomas 01-03-2011 05:50 PM

That's a crazy way to build a shower - for starters, the curb should rise above the exterior finished floor to contain water within the shower pan and the liner needs to extend a minimum of 3 inches above the curb at the walls. If those are in fact fastener holes that low on the liner, it's a strong indication that whoever built the shower did not understand how even the current attempt at a pan should be installed. Quite possibly there are other fundamental problems as well (missing pre-slope, etc).

Take a look at Diagram 1 here:

Why Shower Pans Leak – Paragon Inspection Services Chicago/Morton Grove/Buffalo Grove

For some information about how such pans should be constructed.

See Figure 8 for an example of the problems caused by fasteners through pan liners.

That looks like a tear-out and rebuild to me.

2sents 01-03-2011 08:42 PM

thank you! I like that. I will be doing more homework. My step dad isn't trusting my word (or yours) and is trying to get a friend of his son (who has not responded to this request for months). So I'm going to take pics with my good camera and print them for step dad to take to the sons friend. He is a strange character and has his own idea about everything and is hard to convince about anything. Tomorrow I will make a cut into the wood to peek under the floor. We'll see...:eek:

I was looking at another shower downstairs that he had started and the liner was put on the bare plywood without a slope built-in. So there we go. That might explain the cracks in the floor of this damaged shower...

JazMan 01-04-2011 11:12 AM

I would be surprised if more than 5% of all the tiled showers are done correctly.

Your best bet is a complete tear-out. It's possible to spend lots of time and patch it, but it won't be waterproof and it'll look like hell cuz you won't be able to match the tiles.

I recommend you build or find someone who knows how to build a Kerdi shower. :thumbsup:


Bud Cline 01-04-2011 12:16 PM

I agree with Jaz. There is nothing there worth salvaging. Sorry!:)

We would be happy to point you in the right direction if you want.

Michael Thomas 01-05-2011 06:38 AM


Can I get your permission to use one of your pictures in future versions of the document I linked to in post #8? (You can PM me by clicking on my user ID at the upper left of this post.)

2sents 01-06-2011 09:04 AM

The system here won't let me PM yet, but yes Michael, you can use whichever picture you want. Anything to help people learn something. I did take those with my phone. If you'd like I can send you some taken with with a camera that has better resolution.

So, I had a conversation with my step dad's #1 son last night (he knows how his dad built the shower). For a variety of reasons he has concerns about the project though I was able to leave him with a positive feeling of the whole situation. He is a very good and respected contractor. He has committed to coming over Friday night to evaluate the unintentional mess.

BTW: I cut back a small section of the floor so we could see what the damage to the floor joist might be. Thankfully, there is just a little surface stuff--mostly residue from the plywood that was on top of it. Can be easily cleaned and treated.

I'm guessing here, but to do this right, now that I have cut the floor, is it safe to assume I need to go back to adjacent support beams to install 1 large solid piece of plywood instead of trying to fit a small patch?

Next question: what is the best way to clean off the tiles I'm trying to save?

Thanks you guys. You are being very helpful.

Michael Thomas 01-06-2011 10:34 AM


Originally Posted by 2sents (Post 563926)
The system here won't let me PM yet, but yes Michael, you can use whichever picture you want. Anything to help people learn something. I did take those with my phone. If you'd like I can send you some taken with with a camera that has better resolution.

That would be very helpful - send them at the highest resolution you can, and I'll deal with them in Photoshop.

My e-mail is mdt (@ goes here)

Michael Thomas 01-06-2011 10:40 AM


Originally Posted by 2sents (Post 563926)
Next question: what is the best way to clean off the tiles I'm trying to save?

What's on them?

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