shower w/ concrete base leaking

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by debbiec, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. debbiec

    debbiec New Member

    Hi there,
    We recently purchased a home with a shower in the basement (seems to be from a kit with a concrete base). It is leaking and puddles on the floor. There are several small cracks in the concrete that extend from the drain. We tried using a silicone caulk on these cracks around the drain, but... it still seems to be leaking a little.

    Any suggestions?? Hoping not to rip out and replace the whole unit as we have folks moving in, in a few days
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Just a guess here, but maybe you could screw out the drain basket, then use something like a carbide grout-cutting bit (looks like an end mill) in a rotary tool (such as a Dremel) to cut those cracks into v-grooves (maybe 1/4" x 1/4"), then fill those grooves with thinset, then coat the entire surface with a quality epoxy coating (possibly including sand for a no-slip surface) and re-install the drain basket.
  3. Few options open to you

    that suggestion might work. It is highly likely to hold water. Whether it is 99.5% likely or only 98% likely, no-one can say.

    Since your water leak is onto a slab with ground under it, the consequences are not as severe (in terms of health and safety) as if the leak were onto wood or an upper floor. Also, FYI, in some places the Code (plumbing and building) is not as strict for showers on slabs by not requiring a waterproofing membrane in residential construction (when build on a slab on ground). This lets some water seep into the concrete; not an optimal state of affairs.

    Shower experts here and on another site will not advise you to do this, as they will not want to leave permanent recommendations on record for someone to do something that isn't 100% sure. No-one will guarantee the suggestion made above.

    Within a few days timeframe, almost nothing can be done.

    There are liquid membranes, paintable and trowelable, that go on concrete. Some are manufactured to be shower membranes. Some are manufactured to resist hygroscopic pressure, i.e. to waterproof leaking basement walls. Manufacturers' guarantees are available. Look into what is available in your area.

    In your shower, what is the finish layer? Tile? Concrete? Something else?

  4. debbiec

    debbiec New Member

    The finish is just concrete.
    I had a better look at it today (my husband had done the initial caulking) It seems to be leaking slightly through the concrete and at the concrete/drain interaction.
    Also there is a slight leak where the black rubber hose/tube meets the pvc (which then attaches to the metal drain.) It is old and there is no trap, the shower floor is raised about 6 inches to create a slope for it to drain. I re-tightened the metal clamp at the hose/pvc joining and now it continues to leak.

  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    No trap is a health problem, are you sure there isn't one? Without a trap, there is a direct pipe to sewer gasses.

    Sound like it might be time to tear it out and do it right. You might be able to just do the pan and maybe a foot up the walls, but if in fact it doesn't have a trap, you really should put one in.
  6. hard to understand, or hard to believe what i think i understand.

    you said you can see 1. rubber hose/tube 2. pvc 3. metal drain. Hard for me to picture this.

    Then, you also said "No Trap". Hard to believe, for me.

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