Leaking Tile Shower Redo

Project by bigcreekwoodworker posted 10-16-2013 07:24 PM 4573 views 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Leaking Tile Shower Redo
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I had a full tile shower that kept leaking when we used it a lot. Tried figuring it out for a long time and then finally decided to jump in with both feet on figuring out the problem.

The floor had been poured concrete, and when the liner was put in, the corners were cut and bent up instead of being folded and bent up. With all of the water that had been in there, I found some mold. So I ripped out tile until I couldn’t find it anymore.

From this point on I pretty much just followed the example shown here:

This is a great step by step for anyone looking to build a shower pan.

My next step was to replace the vapor barrier on the walls and put down plastic and lath (basically expanded metal)on the floor to give the mortar something to stick to.

Then I put in the pre-slope. I made it drop about 5/8” per foot for good drainage. This took more mortar than I expected and was pretty tedious to get a nice consistent slope all the way around. (I know why people hire pros to do this stuff now.)

Next it was time for the shower pan liner. You can by this by the foot at some home centers and in precut sections at others. The precut was cheaper, but I found it a week after I installed this. Make sure that you fold the corners. Do NOT cut them. This was the major problem that was causing the leaking to start with. I folded the corners so that the extra material was coming inside of the liner. My thought was that there would be less places for water to get stuck and just sit. On the curb, I spent some time cutting extra pieces to create “flashing” around and in corners. Kind of like roofing here. I used roofing nails to tack the liner up high. I then used bathroom caulk to cover the nail holes and seal spots that I had “flashed around.”

Around the drainage flange, I cut the pan liner to leave access to the weep holes and then caulked the liner and flange together.

Hardibacker board went up next. I made sure not to put screws any closer than 6 inches to the floor and tried to keep the board at least a 1/2” off of the liner to limit any possible water absorption.

I them mudded the hardibacker joints. I made sure to use the alkali resistant mesh tape for this. I’m not sure why, but everything I found, told me I should.

More lath was used to cover the curb. I bent it to fit over the curb and then stapled it on. I only stapled this from the outside of the curb. The mortar worked to keep the inside nice and tight.

For the mortar I used a sand/portland mixture. It was much less expensive to mix it myself compared to buying the mortar mix bags.

I drew a line around the shower so that I new how high to build the edges of the bed. I unscrewed my drain so that I had 3/4” of space for mortar. This gets kind of tricky when you’re considering the slope you want, the thickness of the mortar bed, and also the thickness of your tile.

We decided to use pebbles for our shower floor. Would I do that again? I’m not sure. I like one side of the shower and not the other. The pebbles we purchased came in 12×12 sheets with wavy edges to allow for a seamless look. I dry fit them in the shower first and my wife and I walked around on them to find any pebbles that felt out of place. When we found a high spot, I simply pulled it off of the mesh backing and found a different stone that worked. When we were done I carefully took them out and stacked them in the order that I would be installing them in.

I put down the pebble with adhesive and when it was cured I went through and sealed all of the pebbles. This is to help keep water out, but also to keep the rock from absorbing color from the grout.

Then I grouted them. It takes a LOT of grout. Make sure to really work it in from all directions to fill under the pebbles.

Unfortunately, this is where I forgot to keep taking pictures. To finish the walls we were able to find the matching tile. I worked the tile from the top edge down on the walls so that my cut tiles were on the floor wall seam. This worked out pretty well.
Then I grouted the wall tile and sealed everything.
And it ended like this. Not bad, for my first time tiling.

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View MarkTheFiddler's profile


448 posts in 1776 days

posted 05-15-2014 12:32 PM

Thank you for showing the fix! I’m going to refer back to this.

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

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posted 01-07-2017 01:51 AM

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