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Thread: Pre slope and water leak test

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Andy P's Avatar
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    Default Pre slope and water leak test

    Poured my pre slope, put liner down and performed leak test. Used a water balloon to plug drain for test. Level dropped about 1/8th inch in 20 hours (48 x 42 pan). I don't think the balloon made a complete seal - I noticed when someone flushed an adjacent toilet that a very small bubble came up from the drain area?? When I drained the water from leak test, there was a small amount of water on the liner. My questions are: Do you think leak test was successful? Should the liner be void of any water after you drain the leak test water? Thanks for your help.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Was there any sign of leakage like dampness in the walls or curb? Being winter, the air is fairly dry, so 1/8" over 20-hours wouldn't bother me. The bubble when a toilet was flushed does bother me a bit...are you sure the shower is vented properly? The whole idea of a vent is to minimize pressure differentials in a drain's trap (vacuum is worse than pressure).

    Birdbaths in the preslope are not the best thing. If you use a straightedge, how big and deep is it? Keep in mind that in a conventional shower pan, there WILL be some moisture that gets down to the liner. It won't be much, but it will get there. The reason they use deck mud is that it is porous, and that moisture will drain to the weep holes and down the drain. If it can accumulate, after a number of years, it can be the source of some swamp like smells. Takes awhile, and much more common when there's no preslope. Can you post a picture?

    When you say poured your preslope, that's not easy with deck mud...What did you use? Deck mud is easy to shape and it stays there...something liquid enough to pour, probably isn't.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy P View Post
    Poured my pre slope, put liner down and performed leak test. Used a water balloon to plug drain for test. Level dropped about 1/8th inch in 20 hours (48 x 42 pan). I don't think the balloon made a complete seal - I noticed when someone flushed an adjacent toilet that a very small bubble came up from the drain area?? When I drained the water from leak test, there was a small amount of water on the liner. My questions are: Do you think leak test was successful? Should the liner be void of any water after you drain the leak test water? Thanks for your help.
    You lost about a gallon of water if my calculations are correct. Do you have a P-trap installed with water in it under the shower? How much water was left on the liner? The preslope should not allow puddling.

    Jadnash refered to it as "birdbaths" and thats a good description. I also agree its not a good thing.

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    DIY Junior Member Andy P's Avatar
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    There was no sign of leakage. I looked on the floor, around the curb, on the ceiling below the drain, nothing. The birdbath is about 1/16th inch deep and about as big as a dinner plate. It is close to the drain area. I did use deck mud. I found it somewhat difficult to work with, however I made the first batch wetter than instructed per a Mark E industries Goof Proof Shower Installation video suggested.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you don't fix that, you may find that the grout stays wet in that area. It may not show up for a few months, as very little gets beneath the tile layer, but it does get there. The slope should be at the MINIMUM, 1/4" per foot from any wall to the drain. Moisture is one side of a triangle that enables mold to grow (moisture, food, spores). You could use some thinset to fill that birdbath if you can lift the liner enough to get to it.
    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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    DIY Junior Member Andy P's Avatar
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    Thanks jadnashua. I did 1/4 " per foot slope. but obviously did not do a very good job of getting it flat (not level). I have read on other forums (maybe this one also) that I can use modified thinset over the existing deck mud to try to get it right. If I can't get it right I plan on tearing it out and starting over. Any tips on floating the deck mud to get it flat? I used a product by North American Adhesives called NA1200 Shower Base and Floor Mortar. I used the srtaight side of a 1/4 " notched trowel to float it and found it hard to work with. What tool should I use to float the modified thinset that use to fill the birdbath? How thick can the modified thinset be. I might want to go a little bit more than the 1/4" per foot to make sure no ponding of water, if so should i put downt the thinset and add more deck mud over it? thanks for all your help.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Most thinsets can easily stand 1/4" max thickness. A medium bed mortar (often called granite and marble mortar) can go a lot thicker, some up to nearly an inch.

    On the deckmud, you need something MUCH longer than a typical trowel for final shaping. Get yourself a nice straight (sometimes hard to find) piece of hard pine with a nice sharp square edge. Make it about the length of the distance from the drain edge to the edge of the shower (if the shower isn't square, you'll need at least two in different lengths) - it needs to be a little shorter so you can maneuver it around. Use that to make the final smoothing, shaping of the slope after packing it down. You can also use it to find low spots. While it is still fresh, you can throw a little extra down there, tamp it in, then screed it if you find a low spot. The screed will chop off the high spots. Takes a little practice, but most people get it pretty quickly.
    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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    DIY Junior Member Andy P's Avatar
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    OK, redid my leak test an water level did not drop (balloon must not have made a complete seal first time). When I drained water there is still a little water in places on the liner. Name:  shower 214.1.JPG
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    Is this amount of water too much and will it cause problems over time?

  9. #9
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    How is your tile project moving along? I see you found your answers on another post in the Shower Section!

    I'm finding that more homeowners are preforming flood tests that pros lately online. I hope the exposure I give this subject is helping some there. Any pro not preforming a flood test on your shower should be told to start over.

    Insist that these test are done and you will have a wonderful shower for years to come. Skip them and a some much can go wrong.

    You will also find you get a better job if the tile setter or plumber know before hand that you plan a 2 or 3 day flood test.

    Well done! Your install above is one of the best examples I've seen done. I can only imagine your acing the install!

    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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    I'm doing a shower right now and the tile guy wanted to do the drain and liner. For the money its not even worth doing for me compared to the liability. I said..."go for it"

    The inspectors do not care as long as they have a business license and are bonded. I had the homeowner sign TWICE that I did not install the drain or pan.

    I have all the work I want so there is no need for me to bother with it. Maybe I will get to tear it out one day. LOL

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Logistically, but maybe not legally, it's often better to let the tiler install the pan and drain, assuming they're doing it per accepted practices (preslope, then liner). Otherwise, the plumber does the drain, the tiler does the preslope and maybe installs the liner, then the thing can get a leak test, then it gets the setting bed and tile. Lots of wasted time. The leak test is important, and at least in some places, the inspector doesn't have a clue because they allow the liner on the floor. Now if they read the rules saying the waterproof layer is required to have a slope to the drain, and understood it, they wouldn't.
    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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    No I'm not responsible for it. I didn't install it nor am I calling for the inspection for it. Thats the tile guys and the homeowners problem. I checked with the inspector and made sure I'm not required to handle it,thats when he informed me that a tile person can install the pan as long as they have a business license and insurance.

  13. #13
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy P View Post
    ...Used a water balloon to plug drain for test. ...

    A side note to this thread is that a water ballon does not test the connection of the drain to the vertical leg after the PTrap. A water ballon is not a proper testing plug and would not be accepted by any plumber inspector I would imagine.

    The inflatable test plugs are ideal.

    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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