Tile Shower Beginning to Mildly Degrade -- Seeking Solutions

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by riggyk, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. riggyk

    riggyk New Member

    Dec 10, 2017
    Buffalo, NY
    Hello Everyone,

    I hope this post finds you all well.

    I'm posting to ascertain some possible solutions for an older tile shower, in a unit that I'm currently renting.

    It seems that the tiles are coming apart from the mortar bed, and that the grout and substrate adhesive is beginning to weather, rendering some tiles with cracks and thus the potential for water seepage. The wood that runs into the bas of the shower at this particular corner is beginning to warp from water damage, that I believe to be trickling down from pooling and compromised tile integrity: this is the corner in question that seems to be problematic.



    In addition to the aforementioned, either the pan itself was not constructed with a pre-slope to the drain at all, or somehow the substrate or floor joists shifted (not sure if that's even possible) but it seems that the water tends to pool in exactly in this corner which is producing a problem:


    So my questions to you all are:

    1. What might a realistic plan of attack to address all of this holistically and properly?

    2. Is it possible to just fill in the cracked areas in between the tiles with more grout, or perhaps more thinset and then grout?

    3. If this is just a more significant problem waiting to happen, is it possible to essentially re-tile the pan of the shower vs yanking out and re-doing the entire thing? I assume this was an older school, pre schluter system type job... perhaps tile/red guard/cement board, mortar pan.
    What can I do here to fix this and prevent any further issues?

    I appreciate anyone who can offer solutions or insights, very much thanks.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    To be practical, this is an issue for your landlord (unless that’s you!?).

    FWIW, a shower should not leak even prior to the installation of the tile and grout, as the tile and grout are a decorative/wear surface, not waterproofing.

    If water is pooling, it could be the preslope was not done right, but it could easily also be the final mud bed.

    A loose tile is almost always the result of movement. You can break a cement based thin set bond, but it does not degrade through use (well, thin set is a method, and if they used a mastic, that could soften, degrade, and possibly even wash away!!).

    So, if there are leaks outside the shower, it’s likely going to need a tear out and replacement. Anything else is just going to be a patch on a broken shower. You might check to see if there’s any slope to the top of the curb (there should be and it should slope into the shower), but failing to build a curb properly is a very common mistake people make. Having no preslope done prior to the liner is a plumbing code violation, but if otherwise done properly, should not be a source of any leaks.

    If you want help in building a proper shower, check out www.johnbridge.com.
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  4. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Aug 13, 2013
    What jad said, contact the landlord.
    I also see a new shower floor in the future, if your LL is responsive.
  5. Mark.MPC

    Mark.MPC New Member

    Mar 7, 2021
    Probably best to tear it up and fix the slope and curb before it causes major leaks
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