How to prevent water leak in shower wall

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Victork, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Victork

    Victork New Member

    I have a shower and the surrounding walls have 6x6 inch tiles. When we take shower, the water is leaking through the wall into the drywall and adjoining wood beams

    My Plumber told me - re-model the shower at a cost of $4500.00 Before I do that, I wish to investigate options...

    I have 2 questions:

    1. If I re-grout the tiles will this problem go away?

    2. Is there a clear liquid sealant that I can use a paint brush to paint over the tiles to make it water proof?

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2012
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    First, a properly built shower is waterproof without the tile on it, so no, neither the grout nor sealer will solve the problem. Drywall as a tiled surface in a wet area is never allowed, and does not conform to any approved methods. I think you're likely to need to tear out and re-do. Since they used drywall for the walls, they probably committed other errors in the whole construction as well.

    There are numerous approved methods, and lots more ways to do it wrong. Any of the approved methods works, but some have some interesting attributes that can make a good shower better. Even if you don't try to do this yourself, you should read up on how a proper shower is supposed to be built. Most of those are documented in the TCNA (Tile Council of North America). You can buy that handbook, or verify that the guy doing it is familar with it and will sign off that he is using one of the approved methods. One good place to review some of the techniques is 'Tile Your World' forum. My favorite method is Kerdi from, but there are many other good methods out there. You can view their site and watch some of the videos they have. Personally, I'd use a surface membrane to waterproof the enclosure directly beneath the tile. Tile is decorative and a wear surface, NOT the waterproofing layer.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    Grout, even if well sealed, will not keep out moisture. Most likely, you already have damage behind the tiles, and potentially mold. You could always glue on some FRP...but it doesn't look that great,,,and you still have the underlying problems.

    You could save some on the cost possibly if you are willing to do all the demolition.
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Land of Cheese
    If you can dry out the existing installation, I would recommend installing FRP over the exiting walls until you are able to have a proper replacement done. The panels can be purchased in 4x8 sheets and cut to fit. Where the panels meet in the corners they can be sealed with silicone caulking.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    How big is the shower? $4,500.00 seems a bit steep for anything other than a very large one, but then, I would NOT give you a price on a complete remodel. I would refer you to a tile company and I would do the necessary plumbing work for them.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    $4500 in at least parts of CA, is a reasonable price for a complete tiled shower. But, alot depends on local labor rates and how hungry the installer is. You can buy tile for as little as $0.50/sq ft, or over $200/sq ft, and that's not installed! Throw in some fancy accent pieces, or a seat or multiple niches and multiple shower heads, body sprays, etc., and the cost can skyrocket. But, the basic materials cost can be obtained for in the order of hundreds of dollars, not thousands. But, labor and permits are not cheap and most people prefer something nicer than those low-end, non-descript choices.
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