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Thread: old leak-how to repair

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bellaslady's Avatar
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    Default old leak-how to repair

    Have a shower, no tub, with an aproximately 4 inch lip to step over to get in. It looks like the previous owners just used plaster or sheet rock mud on the outside of it, applied wallpaper and then baseboard. Sometime in the past, water must have leaked to the outside, and got the plaster wet and under the baseboard, and now it is crumblng and moldy and stinks as I took the baseboard off. How do I repair that? Looks like the previous owners also repaired it once before. There is tiny tiles (like a sheet of tile) on the floor, and do not know why they would not have continued that over that lip and down to the floor. Can I do that now? And how would I repair the plaster before it so there would be something to adhere to. Also looks like there has at some point been a little water UNDER the vinyl flooring, and not sure where that would have come from. Perhaps a leak in the tile inside the shower?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There is a good chance that the shower curb (and maybe the whole shower) was not constructed properly and there could be a lot of rot in there. The curb should have a waterproof liner applied over the top and down the outside of the curb. then, metal lath covered with mortar. That could then be finished any way you wanted to on the outside, but the top and inside would normally be tiled (as the outside typically would). So, without some additional idea of what you really have, might only cover up a disaster waiting to be discovered. If you take an ice pick and push it into the wood of the curb from the outside, is it solid or all punky? If it is soft and rotten, it may be time to tear out and redo.

    Check out www.johnbridge.com for further help with your shower.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member bellaslady's Avatar
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    Default old leak

    It looks like they actually have put the metal lathe over already, but that looks a little rusty, probably from the water, and the mortar on top of that has crumbled off, so probably has been "fixed" before. But things are pretty solid underneath the metal lathe. I just noticed that the tile on top of the curb has been done kind of "lazy" so that may have been repaired before also. Probably just need to remove all that and start over.

    Thanks for the reply

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I think you are right about tearing it out and starting over. You very well should consider whether you really want to tackle this as a DIY job or have it professionally done. As an avid DIYer myself, I have had to admit that there are some jobs that require more knowledge, skills, and tools than I possess, and calling in the pros is cheaper in the long run,

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member bellaslady's Avatar
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    Default old leak

    I would then just have to replace the curb and not the whole shower? I did find out earlier this evening that the pipe in the drain or the seal around it could be rusted and that is where the leak is coming from and rotting it from the bottom up, as I have a cement slab floor under my flooring; so I guess I better start there first.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default shower

    One problem with curbs that have a wood substructure. The wood will expand if it gets wet and create immense pressure. Enough pressure that things will move and cause the tile joints to crack and leak. Then the leaks make the wood even wetter and magnify the problem.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you have a concrete slab and a wooden curb, that could be the source of the problems as HJ said. Even if the shower didn't leak, you can sometimes get moisture from the slab that can swell the wood. If you use wood on the slab for a curb, you should put a moisture barrier down first so there is no initimate contact. Also, some places assume you don't need a waterproof liner when installing a shower on a slab. Those people have the misguided conception that the tile and grout are waterproof. Code requires a waterproof, sloped shower pan, independent of the tile. If the shower was built without that, unless you live in a very dry climate or use the shower infrequently, it's likely a total tearout, or at least the bottom foot or so. Since it is really hard to match any old tilework, that usually means tear the whole thing out and build a new one.

    If you can see the metal lath in the curb, is there an area you could dig through on the outside to see if you can find a liner? No liner, my thought, tear it out and put in a new one built right.
    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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