1949 wet floor shower pan- how to water proof and keep?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by artzigirl, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. artzigirl

    artzigirl New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Florida
    I recently bought a 1949 bungalow with a compact 3 piece bath containing a 36" square shower. The shower has a nice 4" curb and 1" tile square. There are no visible cracks in the pan but the 3 walls all had a lot of water damage to the shiplap siding that was under the tile. I completely removed one free standing wall and have taken the other two walls down to studs, to expose the galvanized plumbing.
    I don't want to try to remove the shower floor if there is a way to preserve it while waterproofing it. The sub-floor on the entire house is a suspended concrete slab, so I'm gonna guess that they pre-sloped the pan and that these little peach 1" tiles aren't coming up easily....and quite frankly, why mess with solid craftsmenship? I believe that the water got in from the previous shower walls and most everyone that has come to give me a quote wants to rip the whole thing out and put in a new pan. I don't think they understand the original construction and how that may be opening a can of worms.

    Can I simply remove the 4" base tile around the curb and replace anything that is rotten, then cement board with a layer of redguard, then new wall tile?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,896
    Location:
    New England
    In a word, no. Many people think that the tile is a waterproofing layer...it is not. A properly built shower is waterproof (to the structure anyway) before any tile is installed. So, what you likely have (not uncommon in FL, and unfortunately elsewhere) is a shower built without any waterproof liner. Nothing you can put on top of that to make it waterproof while retaining the tile as a top layer...no sealer or topical waterproofing will keep moisture from migrating down, and getting to your walls again.

    Time to tear it out all the way, repair what needs repairing, and rebuild using one of the approved, tested, methods (of which there is certainly more than one!). Personally, I like the Schluter shower system, www.schluter.com , but there are many other ways to build a shower that will work. The traditional shower pan is constructed with a preslope, a waterproof liner, a setting bed, then the tile. That liner creates a waterproof bowl that directs all of the water that gets to the pan to the drain. It sounds like what you have is a sloped pan with just tile on top, with no liner. A recipe for failure (but it may take awhile). In contrast, something using a topical waterproofing system (Schluter's is one), puts a totally waterproof layer on top of the shower walls and sloped pan, and then you install the tiles directly on top. There's much less that can ever get even damp, so especially in an area like FL, where its hot and humid for extended periods of time, I think is a better solution than a conventional shower with the liner and cbu walls. Any of the approved methods will create a long-lasting shower that won't damage the structure. check out www.johnbridge.com for some info and help on whatever type shower you decide on. You'll get help and review by many pros, where here, there's only one that thinks he's god and can do no wrong.
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    3,944
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    It's a little tricker than that but you can do a band aid repair if you see fit or if that is all you can afford. The John Bridge site is great - lots of great advice from men who used to work in the tile business or like Jim here who never worked in the tile business.

    Leaving the old shower floor would be a mistake at this point. Taking it out and redoing it is not that much more work at this point.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,896
    Location:
    New England
    Redgard is one topical waterproofing material that can work for the rest of the shower, but it would NOT allow you to keep the floor, which you want to do. As I said, there is no way to keep the existing tile on the pan and have a reliable, waterproof shower...gut the rest of it.

    There are dozens of actively working professionals that participate at www.johnbridge.com, contrary to what Master Whipple says...try it, if you don't like it, there is nobody that's going to try to keep you there.
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