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Thread: Smith floor drain needs a pan to be happy

  1. #1
    We do tile installation and maintenance, try not to practice plumbing while we're at it! claycarson@comcast.net's Avatar
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    Question Smith floor drain needs a pan to be happy

    Howdy, folks!

    We hang out at the John Bridge tile forum a lot, and posted the same question there. But this seems more like a plumbing question.

    We're replacing a shower in a commercial location because it leaked. Set on a slab, poured concrete, not deck mud. Cement board walls with mastic, but that's another story.

    It had no noticeable slope to the drain, maybe very slight. The drain cover was round, 4-5 inches, made by JR Smith. Gentleman at plumbing supply store thinks it may be the 2005 series.

    The previous contractor installed it with no shower pan liner, which is a no-no as far as I know. I'm looking for a way to install a liner. I don't really care if it's Kerdi, Hydroment Ultra Set Trowel on liquid, 2 coats, PVC or even a copper pan. The main thing is I want to do it right and stop the leaking.

    The diagrams on their website, www.jrsmith.com show a weep hole, but it's a good 2 inches down. For us to put a liner in, we'd have to chisel/jackhammer or chip through 2 inches of solid concrete at the drain to reach that weep hole. Not fun. I'm not even sure it's structurally a good idea to start bashing through a commercial buildings foundation. Hey, what if we crack too much cement, break the foundation, discover the place was built on wetlands and we've got our very own geyser in the bathroom! You think they'd name it after our company??

    Seriously, any creative ideas on how to use this type of drain without major surgery on the slab? Any adaptors we could add that incorporate weep holes higher up? I know there's an extension we could add, but it has no weep holes. Drill them in??? Make our own?

    Thanks!
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    Clay Carson
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  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    The pan has to be clamped between the two sections of the drain, and then the shower sub base poured over the pan up to the level of the drain grid. If the existing shower is level with the drain cover, then there is no option other than to remove the concrete down to the flange and install the pan at that point.

  3. #3
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Clay, you are right that a trowel on, paint on, roller on, liquid membrane (there are many manufacturers) is a good option. Two or three coats.

    Then, the weep holes become useless, and that is fine. They become meaningless, not redundant, not insurance. They no longer function. And they don't need to function, since a trowelable memebrane is located at the surface, just under the tile, just like Kerdi sheet goods, which also do not require weepholes. Weep holes are for the kind of installation that has you put down a fairly thick (e.g. 1") layer on top of a pre-sloped liner (which itself may have been laid on sloped deck mud ...). Just to say everything necessary for clarity and for future reference, this deck mud layer with a weep hole drain with more layering on top of the membrane, would raise the floor level.

    If Schluter were my main sponsor, I'd be required to tell you never to mix and match product from other manufacturers, or I'd have to send you a PM to do that. I know people who use a 3" strip of Kerdi here and there to waterproof across two different materials, and then they trowel the real membrane on top of that and everywhere else.

    David

  4. #4
    We do tile installation and maintenance, try not to practice plumbing while we're at it! claycarson@comcast.net's Avatar
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    HJ and Dave, I'm exactly between the both of you in what I'm thinking.

    The weep holes make me feel better, cuz then I'm installing it as it was meant to be used.

    Chipping through concrete for hours is a bummer, though.

    But if I use a trowel on membrane, I can't get my head around the space between the last tile and the drain cover. Aren't I asking the pooled water to drain down to that last spot, then UP to the drain, since it starts out under the tile, but has to end up over it??

    I drew a crude diagram I'm really proud of, so tell me I'm a great artist even if you hate it, cuz my ego needs a boost

    I'd take this approach, just don't wanna ask water to fight gravity for me..
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    Clay Carson
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Screw the drain up so that you have room for the tile to be flush and the liner and tile are all parallel. The Kerdi drain flange is huge in comparison to a clamping drain, and then it is a central depression that allows the lower water accumulation to drain along with that that comes in from the top of the grate. Using that drain, though, would require replacing your drain which could be a major pain.
    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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    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    clay, you are right again. The uphill battle is a big deal. That is why you'll have to make or get a grate as a cover plate to go on top, flush with the tiles' top edge. It is true that weephole drains stand proud and wiat fo rth etiles to come up to their level. But you will never get those weepholes to work as designed. So, you first have to fill in more concrete, a patching mix that adds, say, 1/2" everywhere, keeping the slope. Thickness depends on your tile. Then you membrane the surface. Water flows downhill into the drain. Then you get a cover grate to beautify the end result after tiles go down and the drain looks sunken (which it is). A drain once proud gets sunken.

    david

  7. #7
    We do tile installation and maintenance, try not to practice plumbing while we're at it! claycarson@comcast.net's Avatar
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    OK, so the plumber helped us by removing the top half of the drain cover, exposing the weep holes. Then my guy carefully chipped away all around the drain, down to the weep holes. We cleared them out, so they work. The bolts are rusted in place, but as long as we can trowel on membrane down to the plate where the weepholes are, we don't need to clamp down a PVC liner per se.

    One nice touch was the plumber got an oversized drain cover for the top, so we can drain the water a bit faster and it's brand new, so it screws up and down easy and looks better.

    I'll try to post photo when done, but I'm a lousy shooter who usually gets closeups of my thumb.....

    Thanks!
    Clay Carson
    www.tileboston.com

  8. #8
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claycarson@comcast.net
    ... trowel on membrane down to the plate where the weepholes are ... got an oversized drain cover for the top....
    two good things done. A big drain opening on top will dry that area out faster too. It was a good idea to chip out the concrete to see whether or not you could salvage (make operational) the weepholes.

    If you are willing to hear one more idea: epoxy grout.

    david

  9. #9
    We do tile installation and maintenance, try not to practice plumbing while we're at it! claycarson@comcast.net's Avatar
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    David, I agree with you on the epoxy grout. For a shower floor especially, I want as chemical resistant and water resistant as possible. I believe it's more cleanable as well, since it's more like plastic with sand in it than portland cement.

    Plus, while it's a pain to install the stuff, at least it's only in a small area. So the suffering and moaning of my guys and me is kinda limited...

    Thanks!
    Clay Carson
    www.tileboston.com

  10. #10
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    clay, did you plan on putting liquid membrane only for a few inches around the depression, or over the entire shower pan surface?

    btw, check out http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13836 as this guy needs your help with grout haze before it happens. On marble.

    david

  11. #11
    We do tile installation and maintenance, try not to practice plumbing while we're at it! claycarson@comcast.net's Avatar
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    We put it all around the base and 8 inches up the walls. Form a cup shape, sorta.

    Went on the marble install post, but can't add much cuz the others gave out good advice already! Thx!
    Clay Carson
    www.tileboston.com

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