The downside to slow draining showers

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by johnfrwhipple, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. johnfrwhipple

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

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    I was looking at a fellow's post this morning from Winnipeg. This builder build a shower using a Kerdi Shower Kit and some added Hydro Ban. I do not know if the shower was flood tested or not but here are some pictures and a link to the original discussion.

    So right of the top. Lets see what we have. We have a fellow who does not trust the seams when building with Kerdi. I never did either all the years I used it. Even after dumping Schluter as a supplier I still like to reinforce my seams - to me it makes sense.

    For Schluter - they are lucky. This fellow did not follow instructions so clearly the fault is his. Or is it? How can the added waterproofing affect this preformace.....

    This poor draining shower is something that has been under my radar for a couple years. I'm convinced it is changes in the cement and that is affecting our setting materials. But that is neither here nor there and only speculation on my part.

    Lets remember that I have no lab. No controlled work space. Just my shop. My wives laundry room and of course all the bathrooms I build every year.

    Case Study Number One:

    Lets look at the photo's this fellow posted and see what comes to light.

    [​IMG]

    This picture shows the finished product. No doubt for the builders web page and to show the boys online the latest Kerdi Masterpiece. The first thing I see is 2"x2" tiles. I wonder if a soak test was done.

    Here are some pictures now that the shower has been used for a while.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Image and Source : Natural Stone Tile Not Drying

    Studying these pictures I see a nice clean install. No lips around the Kerdi Drain. Silicone at the change of plane between the wall and the floor. No obvious signs of poor workmanship.

    The first thing I would want to do is soak test the floor tile. My hunch is that the floor tile mesh is failing and the glue is acting as a food source for mold.

    My second guess is that a modified thin-set was used for the floor and this is slowing down the drying time of the shower floor.

    I see no evidence of spot setting but perhaps the lower tile was set with less than 80% coverage behind it.

    Right now the pack of John Bridge "Experts" are being brainwashed, whoops did I say brainwashed? I meant to say trained at Mapei. I would guess there will be much debate as to why it failed. It of course could not be the fault of the thin-set. Nor the grout. Nor the Kerdi. Must be the tile's fault or the tile installers fault.

    Is it not always that way?

    Look again at this shower. Ask yourself if you want t o risk your shower build with these materials. Or maybe - just maybe you might find a way of improving your shower's drainage. I have been showing pictures here and there online.

    Glimpses of my newest approach.

    RED NECK of Course.

    Garage Style of Course.

    But I bet if I had built this shower with one one my ACO drains and my custom drainage system this shower would look ten times better. I would have never used the mesh backer. Nor would I have used Kerdi with Hydro Ban.

    This utterly sucks for the installer - who like I said has done everything right but is the victim in my opinion of a changing tile world. Our products get cheaper. Get greener. Get faster. But are they better? Food for thought.

    JW

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers​

    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014 at 6:34 AM
  2. johnfrwhipple

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

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    As a pro should you listen a designer? I say HELL NO. I #$%&ing can't stand them. So many designers don't know their own ass from a hole in the ground. This poor bastard (the builder) bit his tongue when he should have piped up to say.

    Miss Designer your tile selections SUCK.

    This is a lesson you learn the hard way. Like re-doing this shower. I bet it's the last time he every keeps hi pie hole shut in a meeting with a designer again.

    The guy building the shower should help select the tile. Period.

    Case Study Number Two:

    Here is a conventional shower that is draining slowly. It could be that the weep holes are blocked or no drainage system used under the shower mortar bed. As you research slow draining showers - in the back of your head make mental notes to the shower floor tile type.

    I think (but have no specific data) that the smaller the tile the greater the chance. This leaves me to wonder if the mesh glue is some how to blame.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  3. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

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    Location:
    Minnesota
    Just had a prospective client soak test(whipple method) some chinese glass mosasic she purchased online nice transparent blue....after a weekend in a bucket of her homes own tap water. Mesh and glue was solid ,,,It did NOT turn to A gooey yellow mess. and I quoted the job.........havent heard back on that one. Sticker shock? at $5800 for a reno custom neo angle shower ready for Glass install? cant be....

    I have had one glass mosaic install go bad never again. Cover your BUTT
  4. johnfrwhipple

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

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    I hate glass tile. I like floating the wall out over the waterproofing to add some mass of mortar. The best tile crews I hire use this method. I think it helps with Ghosting and allows the job more area to dry out.

    Case Study Number Three:

    If your shower is draining slowly it might be hair and debris in the shower drain. Look close at this photo. You will see the water level is rising against the left shower wall.

    This shower used a tile insert linear drain (poorly designed drain) and it was catching lots of hair. This hair was slowing the draining down. The poor drain design collected lots of hair and this further slowed the drain down.

    [​IMG]

    This is how I cleaned this linear shower drain to speed up the draining.

    http://no-curb.blogspot.ca/2012/07/cleaning-your-new-linear-shower-drain.html


    Barrier free shower with no Capillary Break.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Without putting a level on the floor to check for proper slope, or build pictures, there's no way to verify that the slope is proper or that there may be flat or birdbaths that allow water to pool. Natural stone requires everything to be done right, but so does a tiled installation...it's just that the natural stone may show problems that a ceramic wouldn't. There is no evidence of a waterproofing failure, but that is impossible to tell from a single photo unless it is really bad, or has been going on for a long time. ANd, there is no indication of how it was actually constructed on the seams, if they and the corners were done properly, or how the tile was installed or with what. So, what we seem to have is one of the majority of tiled shower installs that may fall into the TCNA's study results that say they are not constructed properly. It is not the materials used (as long as they are tested and verified to work), it's their installation. And, mixing Hydroban and Kerdi won't meet either manufacturer's installation instructions, and without testing, no guarantee of long-term compatibility. Also, keep in mind that manufacturers DO tweak their designs, and what may have worked once, may not still work. The only way to ensure that is to stick with one manufacturer's materials or approved components and methods. Ask yourself, if you make a product - do you tell your competitor that you made a change and it is no longer compatible with yours? Not only no, but h*** no! Mixing systems is Russian roulette...it may work, it may not...it might have worked, it may no longer.

    FWIW, Mapei offered some folks from John Bridge a training workshop on their products. Now, it seems John is casting aspersions on the integrity of an over $1B/year company with over 60 factories around the world that has been in business for many years (not as long in the USA, but that should be irrelevant). I happened to be one of those that had the opportunity to go. I did this so that I could be sure of a better chance of understanding what was available and how to use it and therefore providing viable information. We had hands on experience with a bunch of materials to see how they performed and to find out what they could do. While not all of their over 400 products in the line are directly related to tile and flooring, it was useful to try and experience using some of them more applicable to the tiling industry. Another example of John Whipple bashing www.johnbridge.com after he was banned there (IMHO, for cause). He'd still be there if he was civil, even with some of his professed skills and methodology that runs against industry and manufacturer instructions.
  6. johnfrwhipple

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

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    Case Study One update.

    So much speculation over on the JB forum. Everyone thinks its the;

    Sealer. No

    The Chauking. No.

    The tile. No

    The plumber. No

    The Silicone.....

    LOL - Maybe it's the waterproofing? Maybe it's the thin-set choice? Maybe the shower is not draining because they did not use non-modified thin-set and sealed the shit out of the floor.....
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
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    Location:
    New England
    Without knowing exactly how something is built, or a forensic teardown, there are many situations where you'll never know what the cause of any symptom is. You can speculate all day, it's just that, a guess, and one guess is as good as any other.
  8. johnfrwhipple

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

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    Case Study Number Two:

    And here it is again. Poor draining showers the subject of much debate.

    Found these pictures today on John Bridges forum. Have a look.

    [​IMG]
    "How do I get stains off shower floor
    this is a porus tole like travertine or some natural stone.. it was sealed and it about 3 years old. walls are fine and so are most areas... just some black stains around drain. I have tried bleach and even tries steel wool.. how do i get this bleached out??" - Source


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I had to laugh out loud from John's response...

    Hi Shawn [​IMG]

    Did you build this shower?

    How old is this installation?

    What type of pan system was used? (traditional pan liner or surface waterproofing)

    It looks like moisture is accumulating below the stone at the bottom of the drain which can be indicative of no preslope or clogged weep holes.

    The best solution may need that section to be removed and replaced (or intrusive inspection at the drain), or the entire pan to be redone.

    Nothing will be effective to remove the staining if the stone is still wet.

    Let's try to resolve the situation by first solving what is causing the problem.
    __________________
    John... - Source


    I laugh because this forum talks about Kerdi Showers more than any other. Clearly that is a Kerdi Shower drain shown in the three images. John says clogged weep holes... The Kerdi drain has no weep holes. Why John does not ask if it's a Kerdi drain is staggering. I won't rant, but ask yourself why a tile pro with 11,300 plus posts does not know what a Kerdi drain looks like. Really ????

    Or maybe the drain is a Prova - it does look like the Schluter logo in the center. But both are topical waterproofing bondable flange drain showers.

    This mold shown in the showers I would suspect growing from the poor draining kerdi shower and the adhesive used for the sheet tiles is the food source.

    Soak test your tiles.

    Shower looking like this is exactly why I have shied away from tiling over a bonded waterproof system.

    The poster of these images responds later with this updated info.

    this show was done 3 to 4 years ago.. it is a schleuter pan and i did it.. pan was done perfect.. slope in pan was fine as its apre done foam pan by schleuter.. tile should also be ok as these are sheets of small time and therefor probably no air or water under them.. maybe the sealing was ligh amount.. but i was just looking for a way to either bleech them or some cleaner that would penetrate the tile.. any other thoughts??
    thanks - maybe a dremel with grinding stone and grind off tope layer of tile???
    __________________
    Shawn - No Tile Pro here...


    So how can there be no pre-slope with a foam pan?

    Must be installer error - right? Or is it. Maybe - just maybe it's the adhesive used in these Cheap Ass tiles coming out of China and India. I have been bitching about them for years.

    Here is a good use of Kerdi. Not sure how this little guy figured it out at such an early age. And I thought I was the only one crapping on Kerdi......

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  9. johnfrwhipple

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

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    North Vancouver, BC
    So my current build has a pre installed Kerdi Lien drain and Kerdi membrane on the floor. From the left of the shower the floor drops towards the drain. Then lips down an 1/8" and back up to the Kerdi Line drain top.

    The right side continues the same slope away from the drain. Almost 1/4" - 1/2" out.

    Is this OK? Should I leave it?

    The shower was inspected and passed by the City of West Vancouver. Does that mean it's OK to tile?

    I hope these questions sound silly, because I posted them in fun.

    The warning here is that just because a shower is inspected by local inspectors does not mean it is OK to tile or does not leak. Our inspectors rarley make us drain our flood tests and when we do it is not inferable that all the water drains away. This current shower is loaded with mistakes and only one of four showers prepped by the crew.

    The home owner of this job got scared away by her builders team's lack of experience in steam rooms so she hired me to step in and finish the one bathroom. I hope the other showers are built better..... For her sake.
  10. johnfrwhipple

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

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Here is a steam shower job I was not awarded. Instead the builder hired me for a one hour design visit. In the visit I discovered that his Kerdi Line drain was installed wrong.

    There is no slope on the shower floor. None. Flat. Insane.

    [​IMG]

    It appears to have a slope and the reason that is is because the floor outside the shower is sloped from right to left! This caused by the concrete pumpers short changing the builder on material....

    Watch out people! Had I not caught this mistake the shower's floor would have been installed flat and the barrier free shower would have failed. Most likely the best $125.00 this builder has spent on his build so far!
  11. johnfrwhipple

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

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    Home Owners Check List

    Preslope check.

    [​IMG]

    To check the work of your tile crew find a two foot level. Add a 1/2" spacer on the low side and nothing on the right. If a 1/4" per foot slope is in place the level will read level... In the photo above no spacer is used.

    [​IMG]

    This is the concept.

    The math is like this.

    1' level needs 1/4" spacer
    2' level needs 1/2" spacer
    3' level needs 3/4" spacer
    4' level needs 1" spacer
    6' level needs 1 1/2" spacer
  12. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Minnesota
    OK , I was confused and thought this was the shower you are now working on.....Both have Foam supported Linear drains in them? 2 bad Kirdi shower pan / drain installs LOL....supposed to be so easy..!

    More and more of this to come. Id be scared to install that drain and especially the thin kerdi material on the pan and then work on top of it.. Looks good in brochures and advertisements but is that what you want in your home????
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