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Thread: Shower drains slowly

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member BJH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    SF Bay Area

    Default Shower drains slowly

    I am a homeowner who knows nothing about plumbing. I recently had two bathrooms remodeled by a reputable contractor (in business 20+ years, and carefully screened). One bathroom has a walk-in shower with a custom solid surface shower pan (using the most well-known solid-surface material). The pan was installed in the same location as the previous shower by the solid surface specialists, not the contractor. There are two problems:
    1. the pan is so flat that the shower doesn't ever dry completely. After 24 hrs, there are still small 1-2" pools of water on half of the shower (the half behind the stationary glass panel) even when the bathroom window has been open all day.
    2. The bigger problem is that when using the shower, it doesn't drain until the water level gets to be about 1+" high in the pan. When I took the first few showers, I complained to the contractor that the shower was really noisy; he said it was the PVC pipe that was there before and he didn't change anything in the drain itself. However, the drain wasn't noisy before, so I pursued it with him. His plumber wired a sponge into the drain, which helped a lot, but I requested it be removed because I was concerned about it disintegrating in the drain and having future blockage problems. This didn't seem like it was the right solution but I'm still not sure if it was removed. Then, he put a drain cover with smaller holes over the drain. It was a bubble-like plate that just has two prongs on the bottom and holes that go up the sides; the first time I took a shower I stepped on the bubble and flattened it. It's still there, but the longer the time between showers the higher the water gets before it begins to drain. Once it starts to drain, it eventually catches up with the water coming out of the faucet, but that takes several minutes. I can tell that my contractor is frustrated because he's never had this problem and wants to make it right but doesn't know how. Can someone tell me if this problem is related to the flatness of the pan, a problem with the P-Trap (whatever that is?) or something else? I would really appreciate any advice at this point! Thanks.

  2. #2
    One who lurks Basement_Lurker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Victoria, BC


    Your shower isn't flooding, so the the drain is not the problem. But it does sound like your custom shower pan is not sloped properly...only thing you can do is rip it out and start over.
    Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me? -Jack Handy


  3. #3
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold


    Do you know what a "level" is, BJH? Get one and post again after you have measured the slope. Web search using this word: preslope.

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    Am I not reading it correctly? I understand him to say the water gets 1" deep in the pan. That is a drain problem

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    All horizontal surfaces in a shower should be sloped towards the drain (a nominal 1/4" per foot is a good idea). This includes the curb area where the glass walls are. You can get by with slightly less slope there, but if it is flat, or slopes the wrong way, water will pool, and never drain.
    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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