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Thread: Who ya gonna call?

  1. #1

    Default Who ya gonna call?

    I have a vintage 1920s bungalo with a walkin shower stall with gorgeous 1920s tile. Unfortunately, when I bought the property the shower pan (cement) was noted by the inspector to leak. I hired a neighbor contractor to replace the pan and try to spare as much wall tile as possible.

    The original pan was demo-ed and it was found that the floor beams were all rotted. Those were replaced. Unfortunately he convinced me to NOT put in a shower pan but a custom shower floor made out of a soap stone material, which he raised up from under the floor crawl space and just set on the new beams and just caulked around the edge where it met the original wall tile.

    Well that didn't leak for like, 2 weeks. (just time enough for him to run off with $2k of money for other projects--another story).

    Now I have a shower with no shower pan and need one created on top of floor studs and hot mopped and tiled, but I don't know who does this. I can find hot moppers, tilers but not someone to reframe and form the pan. Who does this routinely? Plumbers? tilers? Bath renovators? Its not a huge job but, who ya gonna call. (Although when I found this web site, Terry Love sounded like a good start) Any Recommendations would be very appreciative. I need it done right this time, vintage tile or not.... Thanks.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    Default

    Check out www.johnbridge.com. they'll at least help you decide the best way to fix this, even if you don't want to do or can't fix it yourself.

    In order to prevent leaking, there needs to be a vapor barrier behind the walls that laps over the flange of the pan. With what you have, it sounds like there is too much deflection, and when you are standing in the shower, the floor deflects, pulling the pan away from the walls. Caulk only can do so much. If you let it dry out, cleaned out the caulk, then put enough weight in the thing while caulking, you'd have the biggest gap. Let it cure, then remove the weight, it MIGHT last longer, but it is not constructed well.

    Note that the tile and grout is not totally waterproof, so water can migrate through it (that is why the vapor barrier is required), accumulate and do some nasty things. Any cracks in the grout or tile make liquid water available behind the walls. It needs to go somewhere.

    The best solution may be demolish and rebuild. I'd be worried about how the old floor was repaired...my guess is you have too much deflection. It would need to be addressed for any long-term reliable fix.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    Hot mop is pretty much ancient history. I would not recommend this method.

    It is difficult to install a new pan and get a waterproof transition to the old wall, but it can be done. Plumbers sometimes do pans, but most of this is really a tile worker project.

    The recommended johnbridge forum will help you with idea, and help you know what to ask for when you talk to some bidders.

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