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Thread: Shower make-over

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  1. #1

    Default Shower make-over

    Hi folks: This my first post of any kind - ever - so be gentle.
    Project started as a simple re-tiling of a 1970s shower-toilet-vanity. Replace the floor tiles (and install in-floor heating at the same time), replace the wall tile around the shower and toilet area, and replace the floor tile in shower.
    I found the bottom row of wall tiles around the shower just fell off into my hands. The gyproc behind was wet, so I ripped off all the gyproc around the shower to see if there was any damage to the framing (None, thankfully).
    The shower pan is galvanized, 48"x34". I dug out the wet gyproc around the mud+tile slab, which left a 3/4" trough all the way round the inside of the floor pan. There was some free water in the bottom (I wonder why that would not have drained away?)
    The shower never leaked. It's on the 2nd floor with no access from below without major damage to 1st floor ceiling. I want to use the Kerdi membrane on the shower walls.
    Q1: Is it wise to keep the galvanized floor pan? If not, I have to rip out the entire floor and start again?
    Q2: If I can keep it and chip off the existing shower floor tiles, I would want to run the Kerdi membrane down the walls and across the floor pan before installing the new shower floor tiles: Is it possible to tie the Kerdi membrane to the existing shower drain? Or do I have to excavate the old drain and replace it with the Shluter drain? Is that even possible?
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  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pan

    Regarless of what the pan looks like above the shower, I have NEVER seen an older one which was not almost completely rusted through under the tile. And if it is not already so, it will probably be worn out shortly. I would take it out and start over.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    That pan is almost certainly flat on the floor. By code, the waterproof layer (the pan, not the tile) must be sloped to the drain. There will be water that gets below the tile and the pan must slope to the drain to allow it to flow out. While it doesn't leak (yet), your pan is not built properly and should be removed and replaced.

    Kerdi is only designed as a system...walls, pan, drain. It would not be warranteed unless you use the whole system (note, you do not need to use their preformed pan as part of the system, but can if it fits your needs). There isn't a good way to attach Kerdi to a conventional drain.

    Tear it out!

    Read up on proper shower construction at www.johnbridge.com.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4

    Default Shower make-over

    Thanks JADNASHUA and HJ for your replies.
    Great advice, even though you confirmed my worst fear - having to rip out the entire shower floor. What started as a simple re-tiling project...well, you know how that goes. I'd rather do it right, though, so I will rip out the shower floor. And you are correct: The pan is flat to the floor. No wonder water collected around the edges.

    Q1: Am I best to chip away at the edges and work my way towards the drain, or is it possible to excavate the drain, cut it and then lift out the entire floor pan? It would weigh a couple hundred pounds I imagine, so I'm guessing that's not the way.

    In the same project, I have a question about a toilet flange. Along with the old floor tiles I have taken up the old 5/16" ply subfloor, except around the toilet flange which is still sitting on the old tiles-and-subfloor. I will be raising the height of the floor by almost an inch (thicker subfloor plus in-floor heating). The existing flange, by its color, seems to be brass or bronze, soldered (I'm guessing) to the 3" copper waste pipe. The "advisor" at our local building supply center suggested I leave the existing flange in place and insert a 4"x3" ABS flange into it. This would add 5/8" to the total flange height, not quite as much as the increase in floor height (13/16"). I bought one and it fits nice and tight into the existing flange. The "advisor" suggested I only need to silicone it to seal them together. He was cagey when I asked if this would meet code.
    Q2: What do you think of the idea of adding a second flange on top of the first? If not, is my only alternative to cut the copper drain to get the old flange off, and then use a flex coupling to install a new plastic riser and flange?

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Default

    I'll add the third strike... It's outta here!
    The John Bridge site that Jadnashua linked will be a most valuable resource to you on your project. There is a forum there as well.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It might be possible to remove the existing flange and reuse it - the coupling part may be deep enough.

    If you have access from below, you could cut it off, then add on a riser and new flange properly installed and supported by the new floor.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Its funny how smockman suggests repairs like that then when asked about code he gets a little cagey.

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