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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    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    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.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  2. johnfrwhipple

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

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    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 Member

    Messages:
    320
    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.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    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

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    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.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    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:
    22,023
    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.
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