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Thread: Shower pan with no mortar support

  1. #1

    Unhappy Shower pan with no mortar support

    A "plumber" who was recommended by a "friend" installed a glass shower enclosure and made a mess of it and now my husband and I are trying to fix it. I think we can fix the part where it leaks where it meets the tile because the silicon bead is not complete. But the shower pan was installed with no mortar underneath and when you step on it the acrylic crackles and gives. At present there is no access to the back of the shower but I am going to open up the wall behind it which backs onto a main hallway and make a linen closet with access to the plumbing at the back wall of the closet. At the same time, we thought we could drill some holes into the outer wall of the shower pan and then use a grout hand pump to drive some mortar in under the pan to solve the problem and then cork up the holes. Can anyone comment on this solution and if it's not a good idea, does anyone have any other ideas besides ripping out the $1200 unit (not enthused about that!).
    Thanks,
    Charmaine

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Here's what I did on a shower stall I installed in my basement. I knew I needed to support the base, but I was afraid to use mortar in case I didn't get the unit set right. I had a sack of Armstrong Self Floor Leveling, and I mixed that up and poured it in one side and the back that was open. I had to temporarily caulk the edges with some old towels, then a bit of clean up after the stuff had set, but it worked just fine. I'm sure we could see under the stall that there are cracks in the product, it wasn't designed to be used in a thick build up like I did, but it provided solid support under the shower floor.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member reddog2002's Avatar
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    I have seen on the tv where they used the spray foam to set tubs on. Dont know how good this would be.
    Stacey

  4. #4
    DIY Member plumbtired's Avatar
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    Default Sand for support

    We used sand (the playground stuff that is sold in bags) to support our shower pan. The sand is virtually self-leveling. Our shower pan doesn't move whereas the original one was probably like yours--no support--and it flexed to the point that it finally cracked. Just be sure that your floor support is adequate since sand in volume does weigh quite a bit.

    I am not sure, though, how you would get the sand under your already-installed shower.

  5. #5
    DIY Member Sincraft's Avatar
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    That mortar idea is probably a bad one.

    Look at another pan that is identical to yours, there are usually fins and pegs. The pegs sit on the ground and the fins are for structural support. The fins will block the mortar from flowing, not to mention...probably most of it will NOT make it to the back of the pan or even mid way.

    IF IT does make it mid way, it will most likely fall into the hole that the drain comes out of. You don't want 20 pounds of mortar to fall on your head along with a half sheet of drywall in the room below do you?

    Just a suggestion, but I would rip the whole damn thing up and start over, or just forget about it.

    my tub cracked and creeked for 2 weeks and still occasionally does when we first got it installed. I was sure I leveled the floor perfectly prior and at first was pretty upset about it, then it subsided.

    If you floor wasn't cleaned prior to the pan being placed down, it could also be hovering in some areas (not support) on dirt and debris and might eventually give.

    Creating an access point is going to be pretty pointless unless you are working on the area that you turn the water on and off, if you are just doing this to get to the pan you are going to be probably surprised to realize that you will be staring at the side of the pan and MAYBE a 1/2" area where you might be able to look at the bottom.

    With the footer plate of the 2x4 wall, you wont be able to put your head low enough to make a visual inspection very well.

    You have a mess on your hands, and need to research much more prior to doing anything. I like what the other person mentioned about the foam, but the sand and mortar ideas are pretty poor ideas after the fact.

    I would love to see pictures or be there in person to see what's up. Because I think I understand your situation almost completely but this is one of those things where you would have to see it to suggest a resolution.

    If I were you, I would stop the leaks and live with the cracking sounds. If the pan actually cracks then yes you will have to do something about it but to do it right you would have to rip the entire project apart anyway.

    I don't know many plumbers that wouldn't stand by their work either. Why aren't you contacting them or , if they are neglecting you - taking them to small claims court? They have 'or should have!' insurance so, you should be able to get your money. It sounds like this is a handyman and not a plumber. Big difference there. Were they insured?

    I would never let anyone in my house that isn't insured do any work. Including friends, family, the pope, or GOD himself!

  6. #6
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking go get foam

    go out and buy some of that foam insualtion that comes in a can.. it usually comes with a spray straw that is about a foot long.....which can usually be added to if necessary

    get a good number of cans and pump that under the shower pan from left , right and back if you can...

    .

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Hope you don't jack up the base with it!

  8. #8
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    If you are going to use spray cans of foam get the kind that does not expand. The expanding type will do as Redwood says. I must differ with Sincraft about using mortar or other supporting media. The installation instructions on the bases that I am familiar with strongly advise the mortar to prevent the flexing of the base. It does not have to be a solid layer, just spotted around. There may be some manufacturers that construct their bases in such a way as to eliminate the necessity of this support, so you should check your installation instructions to see for sure.

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