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Thread: Water under shower floor

  1. #1

    Default Water under shower floor

    When one steps into our 'cultured marble' shower they can hear water swooshing between the marble shower floor and it's support. I have stripped of all the caulking and when you push down on the floor the water seeps up via the seams where the caulking was recently removed. I guess there could be a leak through the drain area or through the caulking. Do I have to rip up the shower floor to dry it out and then re-install it etc? What is the best/simplest way to clean this up and then fix it so it does not reoccur?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you've got water UNDER the floor, you've got a major problem...the floor it's sitting on might be all rotten (if it's wood). Before it leaked enough to pool, it could have been seeping - it could have been going on for a long time.

    Is there any way you could take a look from below?

    Sounds like the seal between the drain and the pan is leaking - could be a broken part, seal slipped out, or seal rotten, or something is loose.

    I'm afraid to ensure the subfloor is solid, I'd want to remove it and then evaluate what's going on. This may entail removing the walls, too.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default floor

    You do have to remove the floor, and since that is usually the first piece installed that means the walls probably have to come out also.

  4. #4

    Default Water under shower floor

    I looked under the floor and there is no water leaking from the show at all anywhere. All the wooden sub-floor and floor joists are clear of any signs of water damage. I have a suspended ceiling in the basement and have a clear view of it all once the insulation was removed.

    The amount of water 'swooshing' is decreasing. It seems to be slowly evaporating since we have stopped using the shower and all the caulking has been removed. Should I start ripping it up or let it dry out and try to seal everything up and see if the problem goes away?

    Thanks for your help.
    DLan.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    There is no sealing this up! The actual waterproof surface is below the surface of the tile and should be sloped to weep holes in the drain assy.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Doesn't make sense! Those cultured marble things don't normally delaminate, which is what would have to happen to get trapped water that isn't underneath it. Or, I suppose, it just started to leak and damage hasn't happened to the subflooring yet. I'm surprised there are no signs of water, though.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    Web and graphics designer. StrawberryBlonde's Avatar
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    I had a similar problem in my old house in SC.

    The master bath had a shower surround with the classic shower base, not a cultured marble floor, but after a couple of years I noticed a weird squishing noise when I stepped in and out of the shower.

    We (ummm, to be honest that should read HE, as in my hubby) went into the crawl space and looked everywhere for water leaks...nothing...nada.

    So I let it go for another 6 months, till the squishy noise just wouldn't quit and I was getting nervous about the entire floor falling out one day.

    I wanted to remodel that bathroom anyways, so I got busy and started tearing stuff out. Had to remove the walls first to get to the flooring. I yanked up the base and found a mass of rotted subfloor and joists.

    At that point I called in an expert and asked him to repair, replace, etc.

    He was in that bathroom for about 20 minutes before he called me in to show me the problem. There were two of them actually. The drain pipe was no longer attached to the drain! It had worked itself loose and allowed water to shove itself back up under the base occasionally...not all the time, guess it depended on who was in the shower and how they moved around on the floor.

    The second problem was a slow leak from the hot water pipes. It had been slowly dripping down the pipe and back wall...then onto the subflooring, where it pooled and most likely dried itself up before leaking clean through the flooring to the crawlspace.

    The plumber explained it this way: There was leaking, but unless we took several showers in a day, there wasn't quite enough water to seep through the flooring, just enough water collected to make the squishy noise. The water then slowly evaporated...till the next shower.

    He pointed out staining that we couldn't see when we inspected the crawlspace. It was there, just not moist and glaring at us.

    Ended up tearing it down, replacing a ton of wood, including two rotting joists and then redoing the plumbing and putting in a new shower.

    Whatever you do, don't ignore it or try the "let it dry and reseal" technique for the floor. It might mask the problem for awhile, but it won't cure it and you'll just end up spending huge bucks later on when the floor eventually rots out completely. Better to tear it all out and fix the issue and then replace with a new shower now.

    Strawberry

    PS You just might end up with a shower you like better too...I did! I found a false wall when I was tearing things out and ended up with a full walk-in shower instead of a standard 36" stall shower.

    Cost of the new plumbing, new joists, new subflooring and new backer board: $1500.00

    Cost of the walk-in shower and new ceramic floor to match it: $1500.00

    Cost of new paint and new lighting: $200.00

    Cost of a new wax ring to replace the toilet when the new flooring was in: $5.00

    Peace of mind when the squishing stopped: Priceless

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