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Thread: Pre-Fab Shower Crack

  1. #1

    Unhappy Pre-Fab Shower Crack

    Had some bad news today.
    Noticed a slow leak into my garage beneath the shower the other day.

    Just had a plumber leave the house a couple of hours ago, turns out the
    fiberglass pre-fab 1 piece shower is cracked right near the shower drain and this is causing the leak into the garage. He could see it by opening the drywall in the garage and looking at the shower from underneath.
    The piping is fine. I myself have yet to see as my wife was the only one home.

    He put some silicone in the crack, but said I really need to replace the entire
    shower enclosure and charged $100 for this.
    What could have caused this, house was built 4 years ago?
    He quoted me $1800.00 starting price for a replacement installed , really don't have that type of coin lying around.

    House settling? Bad Install or crack to begin with?
    No one has ever slipped or fell inside the shower or anything dropped that could have cracked the shower.

    Any advise for noobie?
    Repair Kit? I thought the one piece units don't ever crack!!!
    Now a new one I imagine would have to be a mutil-piece to get the thing installed upstairs, is that right, or maybe save some money and get a tile shower made which will cost more but look better? Am I on the right track with these suggestions/thoughts. Any ideas on how much more for full tile installed, $2000/$4000 ???
    Small single stall shower / seperate tub.

    Cheers,
    M

  2. #2

    Default

    We've had this happen on two different occasions with two different showers.

    The first was in our new home about 2 months after the home was built. The builder forgot to put supports under the pre-fab base. They came in, cut some out, added supports and then had a fiberglass guy come in and redo the base. Worked great after that. I dunno what the cost was as the builder covered it.

    Most recent was in our current home. Shower had a history of leaking. Was a combination of a cheap pre-fab that was used that did not have enough support, and a poor seal on the surround.

    I did not feel I had the skills necessary to do a poured & tiled floor, so I shopped around and found a pre-fab base that was very thuroughly supported on all areas of the base. Installed it and it has been very solid.

    I think it is a 'you get what you pay for' deal. Some builders go cheap..and others go with quality. Unfortunately the home owner dosen't usually know until they have a failure.

    With yours, even if the crack is sealed, since there is probably a lack of support under the base it will probably crack again someplace else.

    What type of surround does your shower have? We had tile and ended up finding a matching tile and just removed the first two rows to pull out the bad base and slap in a new one...retile..and wala.

  3. #3

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    I have a true fix for anyone with cracks in fiberglass and it is time tested over the last 8 years. When I first started refinishing tubs I would do a ton of mobile homes, as you know most of them have the cheepest parts in them. Well fiberglass is what they make all showers and most tubs. Repairing a crack was 20% of my business so this is the solution that I came up with.

    1st get a drill and a bit the size of a can of spray foams tip. Next you will need the spray foam, fiberglass mesh (can be found next to bondo in Home Depot) adheasive to apply the fiberglass mesh and a smother tool (I use a Bondo scraper tool.

    The process is very simple yet 100% effective. On both ends of your crack you are going to want to drill a hole, this will releave the crack from going farther, next take the can of spray foam and stick the nozzle in one of the holes and start to spray. In about 2 minutes the foam will begin to come out of the other hole and at that time you can stop. The foam will harden and act as a support under the crack. I allow that to dry for about 1 hour and then I come in with a paint scraping razor and clean off the foam to level with the hole. Sand the area around the hole and clean using denatured alchol. Apply the adheasive to the area going about 1" outside of all repair areas, lay your fiberglass and then more adheasive on top. The adheasive is self leveling so it will level out and it is clear so it wont be a huge noticable patch.
    That is all you have to do and in about 4 hours of dry time the repair is done!

  4. #4

    Question Foam under a fiberglass shower stall

    Hello,

    I too have a crack adjacent to my drain that I need to repair. I have seen info sugesting the use of expansion foam though small holes. I am wondering which foam to use. It seems to me the regular foam may bloat it up and mak my problem worse. Any suggestion would be gladly accepted.

    Thank you

    Louie...

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default

    If you go that route, you want to use a low-expansion, high-density, closed cell foam as might be used around window casings. If you use a high-expansion one, it can and will bow things out.

    The best solution is to do it right at time of installation...provide a good support underneath the pan with mortar or simliar dense setting type material. Many of the manufacturers say it is optional, but in reality, unless the base is very structurally strong, you need something down there for support. The other hassle is that few floors are actually nice, flat, and level. You shower base or tub needs to be level and supported after installation or you risk both drainage problems and structural problems as things flex.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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