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Old 03-03-2018, 06:00 PM   #1
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Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?


This is not explicitly related to a remodel but rather a situation that I am trying to fix/salvage.

I have an "unusual" situation on my hands. I have a custom master shower in a home that I purchased which, by all measures, is a total disaster. I've had several contractors come in to take a look. After they get past the laughing, head-scratching, and making fun of the original builder(long gone), they all seem to say something along the lines of "nothing can be done, you will need to rip all of this out."

Given that the worst case is that it all gets ripped out, I'd like to try a hail-mary attempt to fix the situation. I have no experience with home repair or wet-work in the bathroom of any sort. I know some basic terms but am not conversant in typical construction terminology so I'll apologize up front if I am remiss in my descriptions. I read the post explaining "What is Mud?" and found it interesting but not able to answer my question(s).

The shower is basically square, about 4' x 4' with a single surface, flat piece of quartz or synthetic material that looks like quartz. On one edge of this large flat surface is a drop-off which runs the length of that edge. The edge of the surface drops off about 3-4" and basically operates as a trough tilted to the drain at one end. The main surface of the shower also overhangs the trough by about 0.5-1". Picture a long rectangle trough along one side of the shower floor. Somewhere, likely multiple places, in this trough water is getting through and leaking down through the floor into the ceiling of the room below. We've ripped open the ceiling but the internals(cross-beams, wiring, insulation, etc.) prevent actually getting a good look at anything from underneath. So there is no way to actually pinpoint the location of the leak(s) in the trough.

My grand plan is to fill in the trough as much as possible, sloping towards the drain. I do not care how it looks but only if I can seal the leaks. My biggest question is what material would I use to fill this trough in...Multiset mortar? Cementitious grout? Epoxy grout? I have no idea how to go about this nor where to start. I need something bulky enough to fill the space and, of course, be waterproof. I don't know if this means put in some sort of filler and then seal over the top with the waterproofing material or just use one material to fill and do the entire job. Again, the look of this isn't important, I will fill it with concrete if that is the answer. Just want to prevent further leaking and avoid a total remodel of the shower and bathroom.

Added some pictures for context.
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Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?-trough1.jpg   Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?-trough2.jpg   Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?-trough3.jpg   Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?-ceiling1.jpg  
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:48 PM   #2
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Re: Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?


Where on the planet are you?
I agree it's the strangest tile and drain job I've ever seen, but if it's not leaking why do anything?
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:02 PM   #3
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Re: Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?


Before proceeding, I would determine exactly where the leak is comong from.

In that regard, hopefully it leaks quickly so you can trace it's occurance.

I'd try just filling, and contually refilling your drain ONLY, to see if it is in your drain plumbing. The issue may not be the drain trough.

If no leak, keep filling just your trough... same logic.

For both instances, I'd use a hose from a sink, or buckets. The leak could be in your supply shower head plumbing, and not the pan at all.

If it is reasonably proven that it's the drain trough only, then I guess I MIGHT red guard the trough, and fill with a mortor bed sand mix and raise my drain.

The problem with this is that moisture and moldy smell might accumulate within the trough after use. I can't think of wheather you could put a weep hole drain (like an OTEY shower drain) in place of your original drain and then somehow raise it to your desired floor level.

Have to think about it.

Good luck
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?


Location: Pennsylvania U.S.

If there is any doubt, this situation is definitely LEAKING. I gorilla taped the drain closed and let the trough fill and the waterworks started below, pouring out of the ceiling. I do not believe it is the drain(I will not rule this out entirely, it could be the trough and the drain).

It is not possible to determine the exact spot of the leak because 1) it is all but impossible to access the area from beneath and 2) it is probably leaking from multiple locations.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:22 PM   #5
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Re: Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?


And you are sure it is not your supply (shower) plumbing.?


(I say this as my wife had a client listing and was ready to tear out what had been assesed as a leaking shower pan. Probably a 5k custom job.)

I capped /plugged the shower arm, and turned the shower on.... it was a split/broken shower arm..... )
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:25 PM   #6
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Re: Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?


And, have you tested that it is solely the trough,,,,,,,, why do all that and find out it's the whole pan leaking.....????

And water "GUSHING" out, does not sound like a pan/tile leak at all. (Could depend on your concept of "GUSHING"

EDIT:I guess you did not say gushing, but pouring out the ceiling somehow made me think it was a quick and substantial flow.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:31 PM   #7
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Re: Dirty Work: Bathroom Fix?


And I don't find your shower that strainge.... there are many perimeter type draains, although normally with a grate.
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