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Thread: Shower Drain is too high against the floor

  1. #1

    Default Shower Drain is too high against the floor

    I recently had a large custom shower mud pan installed by a contractor. The mud pan sits on a single story concrete slab floor.

    When installing it, he asked how high I wanted the shower drain off the floor to accommodate the pebble floor I would later install. I told him ½” but he installed the drain at 5/8”. Frankly, I paid no attention to the difference until now. Actually, ½” may have been just slightly too high as well.

    I installed a pebble floor on top of the mud pan. I first placed the mortar base, then the 12” x 12” sheets of mesh backed pebbles, then filled in those spaces where the pebbles weren’t matching up well. Then I placed my grout down.

    In my opinion, it looks darn good for my first job ever. I tell you this to tell you, the shower drain protrudes 1/8” above the floor at the “base” of my slope.

    Put another way, the shower drain it too high to drain all of the water from the shower and allows about 1/8” of standing water to remain.

    I dread thinking about tearing out the pebble around the drain to somehow move the drain down.

    My question is, although I KNOW this is not the best solution, can I drill a small hole next to the drain, to allow that small amount of water to move to the weep holes in the lower portion of the drain?

    A thick vinyl shower mat was installed under the mud pan to collect any residual water towards the weep holes.

    Any advice is GREATLY appreciated.

    Terron

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

    Sounds like you had a clamping drain installed with a liner. Out of curiosity, is the liner flat on the floor, or is it on a sloped preslope? Normally, the top part of the drain is adjustable, at least a little. BTW, if the liner is not sloped, the water that gets below the stone will accumulate - it may promote mold and smells in the long run.

    The best place I've found for questions on tiled (or in your case stone) showers is www.johnbridge.com.

    How thick is the mudbed by the drain? NOt sure the best approach, but you'll get some comments from professional tilers where indicated.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

    Default The vinyl layer is on the mud pan

    The mud pan is on the slab. The mud pan was created with a proper slope (Even with the pebbles down, water flows well over to the drain). The vinyl layer is in fact on the mud pan, so water should move to the weep holes if on the vinyl layer.

    For this reason, I considered drilling a single "drain hole" to allow water to move to the vinyl layer near the drain, which SHOULD move to the weep holes.

    The drain will capture all but the very last of the water. However, so long as the 8 shower heads are running, the "drain hole" will be responsible for draining the shower pan as well.

    Incredibly frustrating situation. which I hope can be simply rectified.

    Thanx for your prompt response. I'll check out the other site you suggested.

    Terron

  4. #4

    Default

    Is building up the pebble floor another 1/8" possible, or would that be more of a pain than digging up your existing flooring to lower the drain?

  5. #5

    Default I'd have to tear up the peebles

    The pebbles are already in. I've attached a picture.

    If I built up the entire floor with more grout, that 1/8" rise would likely cover the pebbles entirely...in other words, I'd just have a big grout floor.

    In the picture, the darker color is the most recent pebbles and grout I laid, that's why it's a darker color. Both "sections" are the same color now that it's all dry.

    Water drains just fine over to the chrome drain, and drains nicely down the drain. However, there is now standing water on the closest corner side, up to the drain itself. I'd drill my hole there if I can get a consensus on that being the best idea.

    Thanx again!!

    Terron
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  6. #6

    Default

    I would just build up that one area with the standing water. Maybe you can add some really thin pebbles to the grout mix.

  7. #7
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default

    I'd be looking seriously at lowering the drain, but of course I don't know how it's installed. In general, I've learned it usually pays to bite the bullet and do things right, rather than fret about it and try to make a half-assed fix work. Dumb question, I guess, but why didn't you start laying the pebble floor at the drain, and work your way out?

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    One solution, since you did not lay the pebble floor to the height of the drain, would be to remove the floor around the drain fitting, and then install a new top piece with an adjustable top so you could screw it down to the proper level. The contractor probably gave you the extra 1/8" because it would be easier to build up to a high drain, than it would be to drop down to one that was too low. I would think that the drain being above the floor would be uncomfortable, if not unsafe in a shower stall.
    Last edited by hj; 09-14-2006 at 06:38 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Another solution

    Thanx all for your ideas. I know the best way would be "to do it right". However, I'm REALLY afraid that if I screw with the drain too much, I may somehow compromise the integrity of the vinyl layer. If I mess that up, I might as well jack hammer the whole floor out and spend another $2,000 to get me rolling again.

    I posted this problem on several forums around the Internet.

    Another idea that was proposed, in light of the seriousness of damaging the vinyl layer is, remove the chrome drain cover and carefully grind down the plastic surface of the drain. I recall that there's a good 1/4" of surface to grind away at. Thus, this would lower the entry surface and I can re-drill the cover securing holes in the drain mount, and re-fasten the chrome cover.

    I think this method, although not the "perfect" method, requires the least amount of drastic work and I think has the least chance to affect the vinyl layer. It also requires the least amount of re-grouting.

    I'm going to continue to watch the forums for another day or so and see if any better ideas roll in before I touch this.

    Again, thanx a million for your ideas!!

    Terron

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tlindy
    Another idea that was proposed, in light of the seriousness of damaging the vinyl layer is, remove the chrome drain cover and carefully grind down the plastic surface of the drain. I recall that there's a good 1/4" of surface to grind away at. Thus, this would lower the entry surface and I can re-drill the cover securing holes in the drain mount, and re-fasten the chrome cover.
    That's an excellent idea. I had actually thought about doing that, but I didn't think you would be able to do it without messing up the floor around the drain. Go for it! If you can't screw the drain cover back on, you should be able to find a strainer cover with metal prongs that you can use instead.
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    Last edited by Verdeboy; 09-14-2006 at 11:42 AM.

  11. #11
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default

    You could use an inside pipe cutting saw to trim the pipe underneath. They work pretty slick. Post a picture of what the drain looks like with the chrome drain grille off it.

  12. #12
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    you are on the right track, Terron.

    You can keep your floor intact and leave it alone.

    Cut whatever you need to after you remove the drain cover. Put the drain cover back over it.

    david

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