Tile Shower Leak, How to Fix?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by ramlco, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. ramlco

    ramlco New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Hello,

    I have a less than 2 year old home with a tile shower in the master. There is a fiberglass base which stands maybe four inches tall, then there are tiles covering the walls. There is also a seat that projects away from the fiberglass base about a foot. This is also covered with the tile. My wife and I are pretty religious about squeegeeing water off the seat after every use.

    While cleaning the shower the other day, I ran the water aimed at the seat for about 10 minutes while I was scrubbing the shower floor. I came downstairs after and noticed a drip had made its way down the wall from the ceiling below the shower. This is the first time this has happened.

    I'm pretty sure the base isn't leaking, but there are some cracks in the grout between some of the tile where the shower was aimed and in the corners of the shower. I'm debating whether I need to simply repair the grout by either replacing it or filling in the cracks with some sort of grout repair.

    The other concern I have is that, from what I've read, is that grout isn't waterproof anyways and that there should be a liner behind the tile to funnel the water to the drain to begin with. So even if the grout isn't repelling the water, it shouldn't leak from the ceiling. To fix this, would be a total shower re-do in my almost new house.

    So, do I simply repair the grout? Or are I in need of a total overhaul?

    Thanks in advance for the help!
    ramlco
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Location:
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  3. dhagin

    dhagin builder:anti-builder

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    oahu
    Welcome aboard. What you've read is correct. If you have no waterproofing or moisture proofing, especially with a bench, you may be looking at a total redo. Suggest checking out a tile specific site to help you sort through the details, where many seasoned tile professionals hang out and advise folks in your situation. :)

    Here ya go.
    http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=1
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Location:
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    eBook on Barrier Free Shower Construction

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  5. ramlco

    ramlco New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Well I only had a 1 year warranty on this home, so I know that it is out. I do have the builders phone number so I will try calling him to see how they sealed the bench. Maybe he will give me a discount on fixing it. On the other hand, I may not want to pay him to fix his own mistake. I feel like my dad and I can probably do better work than this guy at this poi
  6. ramlco

    ramlco New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I just spoke with the builder. He said there is durock and a vapor barrier beneath the bench and around the walls and that I should just use a colored caulking to fix the cracks in the grout around the shower. I can see visible cracks along the edges so this seems to fit.

    This is sounds a whole lot better than a complete re-do, but will it actually fix my problem? The water did make it too my ceiling below which makes me think that the barrier must not be 100%, but it was a very small amount and the shower head was spraying directly onto the bench for about 10 minutes straight, which I never do unless I'm cleaning it, so I wonder if that's enough of a problem to warrant a complete re-do.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,830
    Location:
    New England
    Unfortunately, that is unlikely to resolve your problem.

    John Whipple has a big chip on his shoulder...he was banned from www.johnbridge.com and another website for being himself...abusive, regardless of whatever skill he may have. For years, John Bridge's forum sent people here for plumbing issues, and people here sent them to John Bridge's site for tiling issues. Terry Love knows John Bridge, and each respect where the knowledge is.

    When you build a bench, keep in mind that the cbu is not damaged by water, but is not waterproof. On a wall, since gravity causes the surface water to run off, and the cbu isn't affected by becoming damp, with a vapor barrier behind it, it keeps moisture out of the wood, and it doesn't build up. Similar to your floor, or pan in the shower, there's a waterproof layer (in your case, fiberglass), that is neither affected by moisture nor absorbs any, and directs it to the drain.

    The bench, from what you indicated, was attached to the (probably wooden) framing, putting holes into the vapor barrier, and since neither tile nor the grout is waterproof, and it's a flat surface, any moisture that accumulates on it can and will eventually leak through. A bench needs a topical waterproofing scheme that directs the water off the top (which should have a slight slope so it can drain into the shower pan) and prevent it from getting into the wall or joints, or screw holes, or through the board itself.

    FWIW, a shower should be water-tight before any tile is installed. Anything you do on top is a temporary stop-gap. IOW, the tile and grout are decorative wear surfaces, and not the waterproofing layer of a shower.
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Location:
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  9. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    3,837
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
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