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Thread: Fiberglass Shower Drain Removal

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member North_Shore's Avatar
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    Default Fiberglass Shower Drain Removal

    I have started to notice water coming out from under our baseboard moldings after we use our shower so I am thinking it's a leaking drain. I went to remove it to inspect and putty it but it proves to be more challenging than expected (of course). The drain is made by B&K Industries for what it's worth. There is really nothing to grab on to to turn the upper ring and the lock nut although accessible from the basement, cannot be reached due to it being up tight to the sub-floor with a tight rough opening. It appears that some sealant might also be present under the flange which could be keeping this from being taken apart. Any suggestions as to how I can go about removing this? I considered cutting the riser at the trap and then trying to turn the whole assembly to loosen it. If that doesn't work I am just digging my whole deeper though. Any help appreciated!
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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    You can use a hack saw blade from the top, and cut through the retaining ring on the bottom of the pan. Once you have split the nut, you can lift the drain out. Assuming it isn't siliconed in real good. If they used putty, it should lift right out. That would make sense why it would leak. Silicone is a pretty permanent fix.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member North_Shore's Avatar
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    Thanks Terry. Just to make sure I understand this correctly, do I have to drill an opening to get the blade in and then cut through vertically (see attached)? Assuming I get the drain out once the nut it cut, am I backing myself into a corner with access to the underside of the pan being tight at the r.o. of the floor? I am worried about being able to install a new drain after getting the old one out. With everything being so tight, I can only think that the drain was connected to the pan and then set on the floor, after which the riser was connected with PVC cement.
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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You do NOT have much leeway to cut the nut from the top without also DAMAGING the shower floor. You also have to create enough space under the shower floor for the nut to be removed through the hole, AND install the new one. That drain is glued to the riser pipe so it CANNOT be removed from the drain, at least not easily and probably not with the tools you have. You COULD be digging yourself into a hole that is too deep to get out of. BUT, since you CAN see the bottom of the drain, AND the floor is cut out under the drain, what makes you think that is the source of the leak. IF the drain were leaking the water would be in the basement, not on your floor. If the leak appears at the wall where the valve and head are, I would suspect a bad shower arm before anything else.

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    DIY Junior Member North_Shore's Avatar
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    Back from holidays and here is what I have to report. Worried that I might be going down the wrong path I did a drain leak test to see if the drain truly is the source of the problem. I taped over the grate and filled the shower base with about 2" of water and left it for 20-30 minutes. From the basement I was getting a drip but it was quite minimal, to the point that no way could this be the source of the water from under the baseboard. A quick check of the corner sealant conditions confirmed it was bad sealant. Should have checked there first I guess. Rather than rip out the drain I took the easy route and applied a bead of clear sealant around the drain. This solved the drain leak for now. I then removed, cleaned and replaced the sealant at the corners. Splash testing confirmed this to be successful as well.

    I take my first shower after all this and low and behold, water appears from under the baseboard 10 minutes after the shower! I removed the trim at the valve thinking that maybe water was getting behind it and running down the backside of the enclosure. There is actually evidence of a high water mark inside the trim but not enough to rise up and over the enclosure opening that I can see. For kicks I also ran the shower with trim removed and looked for leaks at the top by the shower arm or around the valve. This was difficult to fully view so I am not 100% positive there is no problem but FWIW, no water materialized at the baseboards. I added some sealant around the top edge of the trim in an effort to rule things out. Next shower still produces water at the baseboard. I am running out of options here. I can only think that it is somehow getting behind the enclosure when it splashes off a person in the shower since I can't reproduce with an empty shower. I am not looking to tear this whole thing out of the wall. Thoughts anyone?
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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Have you ruled out that the shower head is not leaking inside the wall or that the mixing valve is not leaking.

    Do you have a bath tub in this room as well? Try feeling up buckets of water and then pouring them down the tub and not use the shower drain at all. This will show you if the leak is not the drain but in fact something else.

    If that reports no leaks then spray down the sides of the shower where the glass door and frame meets the walls. Often these door seals leave much to be desired...

    If that holds as well...

    ...it might be best to cut your looses and just replace the drain connection to the shower base. I would cut out the down spout right out of your way and use a hole saw maybe 5" and drill a new hole large enough to get to the lock nut on the bottom. This hole saw will want to wander so drill first through a piece of plywood and then screw that in position below. This will keep your hole saw tracking in the right position.

    Drill slowly and use a chisel to pry out sections. With this system you can perhaps get a good look at the problem.

    Good Luck.

    John Whipple
    By Any Design Ltd.

    North Vancouver
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 01-11-2011 at 07:45 PM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member North_Shore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    Have you ruled out that the shower head is not leaking inside the wall or that the mixing valve is not leaking.
    I made an effort to do that when I had the mixing valve trim removed. Nothing was coming from the valve itself. As for the shower arm, I could not get a good view inside and up the wall cavity so I just ran the shower for an equivalent time I would shower. No water produced at the baseboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    Do you have a bath tub in this room as well? Try feeling up buckets of water and then poring them down the tub and not use the shower drain at all. This will show you if the leak is not the drain but in fact something else.
    No, this is just a shower stall.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    If that reports no leaks then spray down the sides of the shower where the glass door and frame meets the walls. Often these door seals leave much to be desired...
    I thought I had covered this pretty well after resealing the perimeter. The source of the water is most certainly coming from under the base/behind the wall. The fact that it appears after the shower is over suggests that it's slowly making it's way to the this outlet from behind or under the enclosure. After siliconing the drain perimeter I filled the shower base and no leaks reported after 30 minutes. I am starting to wonder if the added weight of a person in the tub or on top of the drain is what it takes to make the leak.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    If that holds as well...

    ...it might be best to cut your looses and just replace the drain connection to the shower base. I would cut out the down spout right out of your way and use a hole saw maybe 5" and drill a new hole large enough to get to the lock nut on the bottom. This hole saw will want to wander so drill first through a piece of plywood and then screw that in position below. This will keep your hole saw tracking in the right position.

    Drill slowly and use a chisel to pry out sections. With this system you can perhaps get a good look at the problem.
    I hate to have to go this route but it might be necessary.

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    It could be the deflection of the water of your body and this angle was not achieved in your testing.

    It could be the weight of you and flex in the pan and causing the seal to fail somewhat as you move about. Try flooding the pan again and then walking around in the shower.

    Are the walls tiled? It could also be a leak making its way into some fail grout joints.

    Could you send more pictures of the inside.

    JW


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Remove the shower head and attach a small diameter hose, such as one for a hand held shower, to the shower arm. Then turn the water on and use the hose to spray directly onto various areas of the shower joints. Concentrate on one area, then turn the water off and check for a leak downstairs. Repeat the process until you find where it leaks when the water is sprayed.

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