ADA shower stall - seeking input before tilers return tomorrow

pnadarouxApril 17, 2014

This is a follow-up to the below thread:

Background: for ADA reasons, our shower stall was built with no curb. There is a continuous waterproof membrane and continuous mudbed over it that run from the shower to the rest of the bathroom. Water had been penetrating from the shower stall to the adjacent marble flooring, noticeable as the marble darkened. We guessed that the problem was water moving through the mudbed to outside the shower. Can't say for sure. Back in January, the tile contractors dug out the tile and mudbed on the nonshower-side of the saddle and applied a black waterproofing mastic to the vertical surface of the mud directly underneath the saddle, connecting it with the adjacent waterproof membrane. They did not apply mastic to the leftmost few inches (where we didn't notice water penetration until after mongoct pointed it out - thanks again!!) and not sure how well it was applied everywhere else. I figured that if this was in concept the right fix, we would see no further (or less) water penetration on the right end of the saddle (where a lot of mastic was applied) while the left side would be the same as before.

The update is that after showering for a couple weeks, we noticed the marble floor outside the shower darkening again! On both sides. It's hard to say whether it is penetrating as fast as or slower than before, but it seems about the same to me. IOW the mastic didn't seem to do anything. Long story short, the sponsor got involved this time and the contractors appear motivated to fix it properly (w/o incurring too much expense) this time. Their proposal now is to remove the saddle, all the mud underneath and apply the waterproof mastic on the vertical surface of the mudbed surrounding ALL sides of the saddle. I really hope this works, but am skeptical based on our experience so far.

I've taken several pictures of what the space looks like right now to see if anyone has insights or tips based on what they see. So far the tile contractors have removed the saddle and mudbed underneath. They are waiting for the area to dry before they apply the mastic. I believe they are going to do a water test (where they fill the shower stall w/ water) once the area has been remudded & saddle installed.

One question, too - it looks like they put up greenboard in the shower stall. Would the waterproof membrane under the mudbed in the shower continue past the greenboard and vertically, up the other side of the greenboard?

Sorry if my post is rambling and long! I am writing this quickly in hopes of getting some feedback before the contractors return tomorrow morning.

Many thanks in advance!

right side of shower:

right side of shower, facing rest of bathroom:

left side of shower:

left side of shower (left side of photo is non-shower side):

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Greenboard has no place in a shower, unless it was covered by Schluter. It must be removed.

The fact that your tilers and GC didn't know this speaks volumes.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:42PM
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I agree but this is not something for me to deal with right now. The contractors were hired by the builder so I can't dictate to them the shower specs, only that they repair their existing work.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:56PM
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That's like saying that the tires on the car you purchased from the dealer that were made of cream cheese instead of rubber aren't your problem.

So instead of replacing them with rubber tires, they are spraying them with waterproofing, hoping you won't notice they're built of the wrong material.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:20PM
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I'm not going to debate with you whether I should rip out and replace a new shower in a new apartment. It is code compliant so I have no leverage to get them to redo their work. They are in the middle of repairs, I just want them to finish them in the best way possible before we think about the next step. So if your only advice is to redo the entire shower, you've made your point and moving on...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 2:04AM
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I only have time for a quick post...and I am truly sorry for your troubles...

But greenboard was banned by the January 2006 code revision as a tile backer board in showers and tub surrounds. You can't install greenboard and tile directly on it.

As trebuchet wrote, if they covered the greenboard with something like Kerdi, that is allowed. But if they tiled directly on the greenboard? That's a no-no, it's been a code violation for the past 8 years.

This is from 2006, the 2009 and 2012 versions have slight changes in language but the intent remains the same:

R702.4 Ceramic tile.

R702.4.1 General.

Ceramic tile surfaces shall be installed in accordance with ANSI A108.1, A108.4, A108.5, A108.6, A108.11, A118.1, A118.3, A136.1 and A137.1.

R702.4.2 Cement, fiber-cement and glass mat gypsum backers.

Cement, fiber-cement or glass mat gypsum backers in compliance with ASTM C 1288, C 1325 or C 1178 and installed in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations shall be used as backers for wall tile in tub and shower areas and wall panels in shower areas.

Other than that, I'm guessing from your post the repair was already completed?

Did they dig out the mud along the entire length of the shower (along the glass door and along the fixed glass panel) and repair the membrane to completely isolate the shower mud and thinset from the bathroom floor mud and thinset?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:49PM
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I agree but this is not something for me to deal with right now.

But this is the best time to deal with it - there's never going to be a better time because your shower is torn up and you have their undivided attention. If the tile guys did something that is a code violation, why in the world wouldn't you demand to have it fixed? After all, you are paying for and you deserve work that is at least code compliant.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:12PM
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Mongoct & jerzeegirl - thanks for your replies! Mongoct - I was hoping you would write!!!

I'm sorry, I should have clarified that no one has ever confirmed for me what exactly is backing the tile. I just assumed it was greenboard based on my limited observation skills and because I thought the use of greenboard only was code compliant. (In my old apartment, the tile contractor used greenboard in the tub surround and swore it complied with code.) Despite my grievances, I actually do not think the current contractors would go so far as to violate code. Operating under this assumption, I would not expect the contractors to do more than to repair the water penetration issue. You all have given me food for thought, though. I will ask the GC on Monday what is backing the tile. If they are violating code, I certainly will make them replace our shower!

Other than that, I'm guessing from your post the repair was already completed?

Did they dig out the mud along the entire length of the shower (along the glass door and along the fixed glass panel) and repair the membrane to completely isolate the shower mud and thinset from the bathroom floor mud and thinset?

Mongo - the work is not done. The mudbed was still damp today so we are running a fan all weekend and hopefully, the tile workers will be able to do the waterproof job on Monday. They have digged out the mud under the saddle the full length of the shower. Their plan is to paint the waterproof mastic vertically on the mud that is on either side of the saddle. I am going to ask them to use the mastic on the perpendicular sides (i.e., the walls) as well, although they may already be planning to do this. I really hope this works...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Mastic? Are you sure about this use? It should not be used in showers either as it will soften if it gets wet.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:22PM
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