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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the beginning when we took a shower and stepped on the area that I have torn up we could hear water squishing at cracks in the grout. It's too late to ask now but should I have started doing what I'm doing? How deep should I go down? As deep as I am it feels moist so should it be moist that deep? Does anybody have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Richstaug
 

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Naildriver
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Technically nothing will keep water from going under tile. Squishing is another game. Do you know how the pan was built? The proper way would have been to build a pre slope, then line it and apply your wall panels, then build a slope, and then your thinset and tile. The preslope will ensure any water that goes past the tile and final slope will be directed to the drain with no harm below. Knowing how it was built will help.

We had a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. Luckily the client had matching tiles left over. Original installer laid PVC liner flat on floor, giving water no where to go.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Technically nothing will keep water from going under tile. Squishing is another game. Do you know how the pan was built? The proper way would have been to build a pre slope, then line it and apply your wall panels, then build a slope, and then your thinset and tile. The preslope will ensure any water that goes past the tile and final slope will be directed to the drain with no harm below. Knowing how it was built will help.

We had a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. Luckily the client had matching tiles left over. Original installer laid PVC liner flat on floor, giving water no where to go.

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I appreciate your reply. No, I'm not sure how he did it. I know the water would sit and it appeared not to to slope enough in my opinion. I think I have more wall tile if I need it. I just wonder how deep I should go? There's a black piece of plastic in certain areas that I believe you can see in my picture. So far now I am ripping up the tile floor and the netting under it and then there appears to be something like thin cardboard under that and then moist concrete or something. You can tell I'm an amateur but I thought I'd try and save some money by ripping it up and have a professional reinstall.
 

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Naildriver
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I think you are on the right path. Take pictures as you do so if you do hire someone to do the work, they can have an idea what you did. There should be no "netting", as it appears the installer used Durock as a base, and it doesn't give any slope as you are finding out.

Sadly, from what you are describing, you may have to go all the way to subfloor, tearing out all the floor. We removed one bottom tile, installed a pre slope, liner and slope , then replaced the wall tiles.
 

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Naildriver
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You have no choice. I would rent an SDS hammer with a flat blade and go under all the tile and stuff and remove all of it, starting over with a new palate so to speak.

You will probably need to remove 2 layers of subway tile on the wall, but it is generally available, so you can replace it. Your line needs to go up on the wall.
 

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First, if you are over a crawlspace, check underneath to see if the wood has gotten wet.

There are 2 issues here:
  • waterproofing of the shower floor
  • slope of the shower floor

If it's not waterproofed, then you have to rip it all out and start over. But even if it is, but it's not sloped correctly, you are always going to have this problem because most likely it's a poly liner sitting flat on the subfloor with no slope underneath and that only way you can fix that is by ripping it out and starting over.

Basically you could get by with taking out the bottom row of tiles on the walls and rebuilding from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If I remember correctly he put a gray piece of something like thick plastic down and ran it up the wall but I'm not sure how far down that would be, do you know? There is no crawl space, we're on a slab. The netting I'm referring to was what the pebble stone was attached to. What would be under the thinset, it's some thing like cardboard, what is that?
 

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The gray poly liner normally goes up about 12" on the wall. So maybe you'd have to take out 2 rows of tile to redo it.

The "netting" is part of the mosaic tile. It's not important.

The white mortar material you see is the thinset. The gray mortar material you see is the solid mortar bed of the shower floor.

You have one of two problems, and maybe both. The way the shower is supposed to be built (when using a liner like this), is that first a mortar bed (gray) is supposed to be put down. This bed is supposed to be sloped toward the drain. This is called the "preslope". Then the poly liner is put on top of this. Then another layer of mortar (gray) is supposed to be put down on top of the liner. This is because tile can't be applied directly to the liner because it won't stick. The slope of this layer should match the sloper of the preslope and the liner.

So almost surely they did not put down a preslope. It's also possible they didn't slope the mortar bed on top of the liner either, although they probably did, just possibly not very well.

If you're on top of a slab and haven't noticed any water leaking anywhere, then hopefully you are waterproof. But you cannot get the correct slope to drain water without taking out your shower floor and at least a row or two of wall tiles, then installing everything again correctly.

I do this kind of thing occasionally, but I use a Kerdi shower floor system when I correct it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The gray poly liner normally goes up about 12" on the wall. So maybe you'd have to take out 2 rows of tile to redo it.

The "netting" is part of the mosaic tile. It's not important.

The white mortar material you see is the thinset. The gray mortar material you see is the solid mortar bed of the shower floor.

You have one of two problems, and maybe both. The way the shower is supposed to be built (when using a liner like this), is that first a mortar bed (gray) is supposed to be put down. This bed is supposed to be sloped toward the drain. This is called the "preslope". Then the poly liner is put on top of this. Then another layer of mortar (gray) is supposed to be put down on top of the liner. This is because tile can't be applied directly to the liner because it won't stick. The slope of this layer should match the sloper of the preslope and the liner.

So almost surely they did not put down a preslope. It's also possible they didn't slope the mortar bed on top of the liner either, although they probably did, just possibly not very well.

If you're on top of a slab and haven't noticed any water leaking anywhere, then hopefully you are waterproof. But you cannot get the correct slope to drain water without taking out your shower floor and at least a row or two of wall tiles, then installing everything again correctly.

I do this kind of thing occasionally, but I use a Kerdi shower floor system when I correct it.
Thanks Jeff,

What do you think that cardboard material is under the thinset?
 

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Thanks Jeff,

What do you think that cardboard material is under the thinset?
I am not a pro but I think the cardboard may be a product that is supposed to create the slope for a shower. It is expensive but the reviews that I have read on it were not favorable. I would not use it because even when it is new, to me it appears that it will do exactly what you are experiencing. Maybe the liner was supposed to be on top of that slope product but installed with liner below so when the slope product got wet it collapsed.
Just my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am not a pro but I think the cardboard may be a product that is supposed to create the slope for a shower. It is expensive but the reviews that I have read on it were not favorable. I would not use it because even when it is new, to me it appears that it will do exactly what you are experiencing. Maybe the liner was supposed to be on top of that slope product but installed with liner below so when the slope product got wet it collapsed.
Just my thoughts.
I think your explanation is correct. I believe once grout the grout cracked it allowed the water to get trapped under the tile/thinset and above the cardboard and that was the squishing noise we were hearing. To be honest looking back I wonder if I could have gotten away with just regrouting after allowing the shower to dry real well?
 
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