View Full Version : Plug for testing the pan liner in the shower base??
10-12-2010, 03:55 PM
Now that I have the shower pans built and have the PVC liner and the 3 piece drains in place, how do you get down to the pipe to put in the plug? I noticed every place has pretty much the same expanding rubber plug with the wing nut on it. Problem is, they don't fit down past the threads in the 3 piece drain.
So if they are selling a million of these Sioux Chief drains from Home Depot, how are they plugging them to do the water leak test? :mad:
10-12-2010, 05:02 PM
A plumbing supply house would have an inflatable, reusable plug designed for this, but some people just use a rubber balloon. The trick is to blow it up then tie the neck off while standing on your head! A long one makes it easier. It has to extend far enough to block the weep holes.
10-12-2010, 07:11 PM
Cherne is one brand of inflatable rubber plug - you can buy them online: http://www.simplyplumbing.com/cherneindustri-270-024.html You'll probably want to get an extension hose to go along with the plug to make it easier to inflate / deflate.
10-13-2010, 12:07 AM
These are the one's we use.
01-09-2011, 11:17 PM
Glad to hear your flood testing your shower. This is a code required step and missing advice on many web sites.
Do you know how to measure the evaporation rate?
01-31-2011, 08:52 PM
How do you measure the evaporation rate?
quote; How do you measure the evaporation rate?
WHO CARES? You are looking for leaks from the pan, not loss of water from it, and since you are only testing for a short time evaporation will be a nonissue unless you are in the Sahara Desert.
02-01-2011, 07:58 AM
Durning the warmer seasons and when there is a lot of moving air you can loose some water do to evaporation. This should be measured and is very easy to do.
Fill up your flood test and place a stack of pennies or dimes in the water. Use a shim or something to insure the stack of coins is level and add as many as it takes until the water level is exactly the same height as your coin stack.
Grab a large baking sheet or bread pan and do the same. Water will evaporate at the same rate. It will take an even amount from the shower as it will the baking dish.
If you really want to flood your shower out right flood it for 72 hours. In the heat of the summer you need to know that the pan is holding water and not leaking. By measuring this evaporation rate you can know for sure....
Usually, we test for leaking shower pans by filling them with water and LOOKING for water outside the unit, which is also what the inspector does. As for using a balloon for a test plug, I doubt that anyone could blow one up with the pressure needed to seal it in the drain, especially since a balloon can expand longitudinally as it is inflated so it does NOT have to expand outward against the pipe walls.
02-02-2011, 08:03 AM
Personally, I don't see a need for a flood test longer than say overnight or maybe 24-hours. A shower doesn't have standing water in it unless your drain clogs, and if you don't see any evidence of a leak in 24-hours, it isn't going to be a problem. In a conventional shower, 24-hours would saturate it and show a leak in the liner, if there was one. In a surface membrane or waterproofing scheme, there's no mortar bed to saturate.
02-02-2011, 08:20 AM
I like using the inflatable test plugs. These are the safest form of plug you can use as no downward pressure needs to be used in setting a twist and set type plug.
Often you will see a ballon as a plug for a Kerdi Drain - the Kerdi Drain does not have any weep holes and it appears this approach works as I have seen it showcased a number of times.
An air hose or bicycle pump works to inflate these plugs.
The mini compressor can be dialed into the right pressure. The proper pressure for each size plug will be listed in the instructions.
I flood up and ontop of my curbs. A coin or in this case a screw was placed to mark the water level. After 70 hours under flood the water mark did not move a hair!
Flood test are code required for all showers. 24 hours at the very minimum and 72 hours to be for sure for sure.
Remember that it can take some time for small leak to find it's way through a mortar bed. Once fully soaked and a clear path developed the water will leak forever through this route. Most busy showers never completely dry out and grout with or with a sealer in most cases is subject to water migration.
The only way to know your plumber or tile setter did their job correctly and that your home is safe from water damage is to do this code required step.
Schluter Showers - Flood Them
Nobel TS Showers - Flood Them
Hydro Ban Showers - Flood Them
Custom Red Guard Showers - Flood Them
Mapei Aqua Defense Showers - Flood Them
Standard compression drains with a liner - Flood them and for the love of God make sure your tile crew does not come in and start banging in roofing nails through the liner. Since I'm venting about standard liners and compression drains you should understand that many inspectors, plumbers, builders, tile installers will skip the pre-slope under the liner. This is just the way it is. It's fast, cheaper and easier to work with the liner without the pre-slope. This is a huge mistake. It may pass inspection. It may be code approved. Is it right? No Way.
Always a preslope.
Insure that all the water drains away after the flood test. If you are left with a small puddle caused by the compression ring you will always have standing water under your tile. This tile around the drain will Sometimes look darker and chances are that the grout will lighten at this point.
02-02-2011, 11:07 AM
A competant inspector at least should NOT pass a shower liner installed flat on the floor. Code requires the waterproof layer to be sloped to the drain...the tile is decorative, it is NOT the waterproof layer. I'm sure it happens every day, but I also agree, it is just NOT RIGHT.
The natural alkalinity of a mortar shower base tends to inhibit nasty stuff from growing in the saturated mudbed for awhile. But, eventually, body oils, detergents, soaps, and other soluable things that can and will accumulate there if the liner is flat will start to 'fester' Ever walked through a swamp in the dead of summer heat? Your shower WILL start smelling like that if the liner (or surface membrane if using that type) is not properly sloped and is used well and frequently. May take a number of years, but unless only occasionally used, that stuff will accumulate. But, if it is sloped, it eventually drains. This is why is it crucial to keep the weep holes on a conventional clamping drain clear and to have that slope.
02-02-2011, 03:43 PM
FWIW, the International Plumbing Code requires a 15-minute shower liner flood test (section 312.9). I opted for a 24-hour test on my Kerdi shower.
02-04-2011, 06:47 AM
Jadziedzic I believe the International Plumbing Code is only for Multilevel housing projects and larger commercial jobs. These limited time frames are a joke if you ask me. Just last year I had to rip out my entire waterproofing system because I knick the liner with a pair of channel locks. I was onsite an hour measuring the water level before we left. The leak showed up on hour 30 of a 72 hour test.
A fifteen minute flood test is not in the best interest of the family living in the home. It is in the best interest of speedy building.
I'm glad you did a 24 hour test on your Kerdi Shower. Did you follow the proper procedure specified by Schluter and did you wait at least 24 hours after installing the Kerdi to flood your shower. Many think that you can install a Kerdi Shower and tile but in fact to install the Kerdi Shower by the book you need to install the Kerdi. Then wait at least 24 hours (I would wait 72) and then flood test. This is one of the main reasons I prefer working with Nobel TS these days.