Can a water trap be replaced without tearing up the entire tile floor?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by KCEdds, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. KCEdds

    KCEdds New Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    I have a sewer smell coming from my upstairs (3rd floor) shower drain. The bathroom shower on the other side of the wall has no smell. The vent stack is not obstructed on the roof.

    I had a tile guy come in and say that he needed to rip up the entire tile floor and then have a plumber replace the water trap and possible the drain pipe. I'm wondering if I can just have the plumber come in and replace it while only tearing up a few of the surrounding tiles around the drain pipe? Or does it all need to be ripped up so the plumber can better see what the problem is?

    Also, it's a 70-year-old house. The tile guy said that the shower floor is three inches higher than it used to be before it was remodeled years ago (before I bought the house). He said there might be a gap between the tile and the drip pan (or maybe he said below the drip pan) where mold is forming causing the smell. But it sure smells like sewer gas. And if it was a water leak wouldn't the ceiling below be showing water damage by now?

    I'm wondering if maybe the original shower floor was a solid (steel?) one with NO tiles. And when it was remodeled, the previous owners wanted tile so they had to then install a drip pan and tiles on top of that, thus causing the floor to be three inches higher than it previously was.

    Any thoughts?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    You can suppose all you want to, but there is no way to tell what is under the tile without removing it. If the "water trap" is not damaged, and you can tell that by looking into the drain and seeing water in the pipe, (and if it were damaged you would have water coming out of the ceiling EVERY time the shower was used), then replacing it would not accomplish anything.
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Many showers are built right, but there's a huge amount that aren't. Really hard to tell. Stagnent water that may be trapped in the shower pan can smell pretty raunchy. Check out for tiling help. Doing a tile-over in a shower is often unsuccessful long term.
  5. KCEdds

    KCEdds New Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Thanks to you and jadnashua. Looks like we're gonna pull up some tile!
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