Rusty Drain, New Condo, Marble Floor, Unknown Material - help please

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by bls, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. bls

    bls New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Hello friendly people that know way more than I do.

    I have a brand new condo. It has a shower stall made all of marble. The floor is little marble tiles. And after a whopping seven months, the drain is rusted. (can you say "low bidder wins? :) )

    Anyway, may I ask:
    • If anyone knows how this thing comes out and if the floor will survive
    • What are the hard blobs of material all over the place; some say mortar, some say plumber's putty. I think it is from Mars
    • For any recommendations as to what to do. This is litterally a brand new building and this is messing up my sleep let alone my life

    Including picture with color coded information

    Thank you to whoever can answer.=
    rusty drain marble floor help please.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2015
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I believe that the round ring there can be tossed. It's just protection until the job is finished. It may have been leaving rust on the other pieces that can be cleaned off.

    That stuff near the bottom may be either caulking or grout.
    Those drains clamp with weep holes. They may not have sealed that. I hope they installed with a liner that clamped in there, or things will be getting pretty wet under there.
     
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    It could be mastic rather than thinset that was used to set the tile. Don't know of any that is specified for any manufacturer for use on a shower pan. It's easier to use because you don't have to mix it up and can stop when you want and put the cover back on the bucket. But, that's the reason you can't use it on the pan of a shower...it gets soft again when it gets wet, and guess what, your shower floor is wet!

    Do any of the tile seem a little loose? Any grout cracking?

    I'd post this at www.johnbridge.com, where they deal with tiling issues exclusively.
     
  5. bls

    bls New Member

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    Thank you very much for the super-prompt response! I need to ask a bit more and explain a bit more. Also attaching a larger picture.

    Ignoring the tiles for now... they are not wet, nor loose. But I think the process of fixing the rust will change that. rust overview.JPG
    • I am not sure what "round ring" is there that could be rusty. Nothing moves on top of the square piece with the grout around it.
    • The square piece which seems to be at least one or more solid pieces, is what is rusty. The strainer screws go into the square piece. The threaded holes on the square piece are completely rusted; I could probably break one off with my finger. Something has to hold down the strainer and those threaded holes are about to break.
    • I have tried to educate myself (not well) but I think the square piece is a drain that should be rust proof. I believe that it will need to be replaced which is what I am trying to determine. Showing another picture which indicates that rust seems to be under the square piece and is eating its way through the top. Just like my 1974 Camaro did. Only the Camaro took longer.
    • May I ask if there is a "job title" that can come in and evaluate this situation? I don't know if it is a master plumber, some other person, who can thoroughly evaluate this installation and recommend what needs to be done.
    Thank you again!
     
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Not all drains are created equal. A better design would have had that part made of plated brass or solid stainless steel. I'm not certain, but that does not look like a conventional clamping drain. IOW, I'm not sure it is the correct drain for your application. If I'm correct, and I'm not sure, the whole shower pan and waterproofing may not be right.
     
  7. bls

    bls New Member

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    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Thank you. I cannot comment on the design since this is a high rise.

    I did take a look at another drain and there is no blob material. However if you look closely you can see a small space between pipes.

    Regarding the rust... the drain itself is cast iron. The rust is kind of normal. I called a manufacturer about the rust on the chrome. People have to drop something once in a while scratching the surface. The manufacturer suggests Rustoleum.

    Finally to replace the drain would require removal of the entire tile structure at a cost of near $10K (it's marble).

    If there was only a sure fire way to keep the rust off the shiny parts, and I knew that the blob guck was actually okay, i'd leave it alone. Murphy's Law says if I get it "fixed," it'll leak.

    Thanks to those who respond. Picture below. another drain no blob but notice the space and it is rusted.JPG
     
  8. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    Montreal, Canada
    Think realistically what can be done.

    Drains and especially shower drains can't be disassembled like a toilet. You've removed as much as anyone else can: the cover.

    Either you gut out and demolish the whole drain and floor, or you do nothing. Use it as-is until a repair is genuinely called for.

    There is no "magic fix" solution that will teleport parts off that are otherwise cemented and cured.

    Enjoy your new condo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Some people prefer Por-15 over the Rustolium primer. http://www.por15.com/POR-15_Rust_Preventive_Coating It does cost more. If you go with Rustolium, I would go with their brick-red primer (smells like fish for a bit).

    The rust on the stainless will probably rub off with a cleaning pad.
     
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    That does appear to be a clamping drain...it looks like a weep hole near the base on one photo. There'd be at least one more, and probably more around the perimeter at that level.

    You might find a SS grate which should not rust. As said, it might just polish off, and the grate may not actually be rusting.
     
  11. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    The photo with the "blob material" has got thinset covering the weep holes.

    For those that do not know what weep holes and their purpose are, they have been discussed here in the forums here many times.

    Contractors that rush often cover them, and this ultimately leads to material failure in a few months or years down the line.

    It may be a good idea to seek legal aid at this point.
     
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    If the 'blobs' are somewhat soft, it's not a cement-based mortar, it's mastic. If they crumble if you try to crush them, they're mortar...if they're somewhat soft, they're mastic. If mastic, the whole pan's construction is questionable. If it's mortar, they were just sloppy.

    Some places require an all-metal drain. But, if where you live they allow a plastic one, it would not rust! High rises tend to require metal, but it looks like you have abs drain pipe, so they could have used an abs clamping drain verses a CI one.
     
  13. bls

    bls New Member

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    Chicago, Illinois
    Thanks to all that answered.


    To jadnashua
    The blobs are rock hard. Non-friable. But, the worry is they break off, clog things, and a mess is created. Mortar?


    To standardairconditioner
    No doubt this place was rushed together. I do have a legal person on standby, but, I think I liked your first post which is "enjoy the condo." Unless something changed and the picture shows something to worry about. I’d rather not go the legal rout


    The chrome piece that started this whole thing is pitted albeit tiny nicks. (low bidder). I know rust and it is not going away. it'll only get worse. Question is how long.

    To everyone

    May I ask, can anyone recommend an “inspector like” person who can look at this, write up what “could” happen, e.g., “weep holes,” who would be considered an expert? I did have the place inspected, a lot was fixed, but, the drain was pristine at that time. Not sure a building inspector has the plumbing expertise to help with an “out” should the thing break. Nor do I think the developer would go along with it. Who knos.


    Again thanks…

    So, looking for:

    Since the stuff is rock hard, it is likely: (mortar?)

    And is there a professional title for an inspector to look this thing over.


    Happy New Year to everyone!
     
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    There are forensic tile inspectors, but to hire a decent one may end up costing more than you'd want to pay. Without as built, progress pictures or a full tear-out, it's often really hard to tell how things were built, or what's wrong. SOrt of like doing an autopsy...can't tell from just looking at the outside!

    To test the weepholes, you'd need a drain test plug. Install it, fill the pan up to near the curb top, let it sit for maybe a day or so to saturate things entirely (longer if you can afford the time), then let things drain out of the top. There should be enough water that got into the setting bed beneath the tile to be seen weeping out of the weep holes. IF after a short time, the inside of the drain dries (the weep holes are between the top and bottom section of the drain, where the liner is supposed to clamp and seal) and there's no moisture coming from the weep holes, it is likely that they are blocked. Mastic can get hard, but usually it won't stay that way when exposed to moisture on a regular basis which is why it is not specified for shower floors. It can work (if it's the right type) on a wall, since you won't have water, aided by gravity, trying to force its way beneath the tile. But, with marble, some mastics can stain them, and it would never be a proper choice.

    Check out www.johnbridge.com, where they have lots more tiled shower experience.
     
  15. bls

    bls New Member

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    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Thanks again to everyone for the very insightful information.
     
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