Repair PVC shower pan liner?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by piplate, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. piplate

    piplate New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NC
    I discovered a leak in my shower pan. By selectively flooding portions of the shower pan, I narrowed the leak to the drain area. Due to the fact that there is no replacement wall/curb tile, I asked the contractor (repairing under warranty) to attempt a spot repair of the liner just around the drain. Approximately 12x12 inches of tile/mortar were removed. Then a new piece of Oatey PVC liner was adhered to the original liner. Then we leak tested, and it failed.

    Now the contractor wants to try a more exotic solution, and I am concerned about the long term viability of the solution. His suggestion is to cover the exposed shower pan liner with one of:
    1. 3M 80 Rubber & Vinyl Spray Adhesive

    2. Amazing Goop 5400040 Coat-It Waterproof Epoxy Sealer

    3. Rust-Oleum LeakSeal Flexible Rubber Coating

    4. Flex Seal

    5. FireShield® EPDM Elastomeric Roofing Membrane (water-based acrylic rubber liquid that cures to form a seamless rubber membrane)

    Has anyone on the forum tried any of these in this situation and can vouch for the long term effectiveness? I feel comfortable that the leak test will show if the seal is successful at install time, but I don't know about how long the product will last. I also have some concern that the installation of the patch has created a "ridge" the water will not get past, negating the purpose of the pre-slope. Adding additional materials just heightens my concerns about this. As background, in initial conversations about the patch, the contractor said it would be installed like a shingle- at the overlap, the new piece placed under the original lining- but when the plumber actually applied the patch, he put it on top because he said it was not possible to place it underneath the original lining.

    Does anyone on the forum know what codes or professional bodies or technical manuals might apply to this situation? Given that the work is being done under warranty, I don't have the (free) option to simply work with a different contractor. The contractor has taken the position that I have to convince him this is a bad solution. As a non-professional in the field, this is a difficult position to be in. How do I find information to prove if this is okay, or not okay?
  2. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet Member

    Messages:
    377
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    Your concerns are entirely justified. Your "contractor" has already demonstrated by his actions and his "product" that he lacks the knowledge and competence
    to be installing tiled shower receptors. Industry standards for such installations are to be found in the Tile Council Of North America Handbooks, for instance, and no doubt the
    building and plumbing codes in effect in your area have very similar or identical requirements for site-built showers. I take it there was no inspection or leak test
    performed on the shower pan? Those proposals by your "contractor" sound like hare-brained acts of desperation to me. I would demand that he provide proof that any
    substance or method he suggests is warranteed by the manufacturer and approved by a recognized agency (such as the UPC) for the intended use. Or you could just
    find a different, qualified tile professional to remedy the situation, although that will cost you at least in the short run.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,319
    Location:
    New England
    I have to ask, where is the liner? If it is flat on the floor, the whole shower pan isn't constructed properly.

    Right now, you don't know if there's a liner problem, a clamping drain problem, or something else. It's very hard to tell where a leak actually is, as water can flow or wick all sorts of places. A properly installed liner to the clamping drain, when properly tightened, should be waterproof, but some people first put some silicon around the ring. KerdiFix is a good, long-term urethane sealant, but I wouldn't have a clue where to actually apply it to seal what you have. There are so many things that could be wrong, it's really hard to know what to tell you without being there or knowing how things were originally constructed. A nail or screw through the top or inside of the curb could cause a leak that could appear to occur near the drain, as could an improperly installed corner where the liner needs to be cut for the curb, or a hole somewhere that's too small to see, or was ignored during construction.

    To replace the liner, you need to tear out the floor and wall tile, at least one row or so up (maybe more - the liner should go at least 3" above the top of the curb, and no fasteners below that level).
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,827
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  5. piplate

    piplate New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NC
    The shower pan liner has a pre-slope under it. The original leak was definitely at the clamping drain- it was obvious during deconstruction, we could see the leak. As for where it's leaking now, it's true that I can't be sure.

    What body would care of the repair doesn't meet the TCNA (tile council of north america?) Specs? Or the IAMPO certification? Do I complain to the local code inspectors? The general contractor licensing board? I can say it to the contractor- but given our recent conversations, I don't think that will do much to convince him.
  6. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet Member

    Messages:
    377
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    You have a right to demand that the "contractor" provide a product that meets industry standards, or else you can withold payment, file a lawsuit, complain to government
    agencies, etc. The stuff mentioned is what defines "industry standards". Whether you will ever get satisfaction in the end, who knows? It frequently happens that consumers
    hiring incompetent contractors never get their due. Life is like that. Good luck.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Your most direct source of an " authoritative " judgement would be to ask the manufacturer of the liner itself if they have an approved repair procedure.
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