Help - water not draining properly from shower floor

cam06December 17, 2010

We just completed a remodel of our master bathroom and DH used the shower for the first time today. He was very upset to find that when he turned the shower off, that some water still remained pooled on the floor. The floor is tiled with marble mosaic. The drain is on the left - a holdover from the tub we took out and replaced with the shower.

We think the problem is that the slope of the floor is not adequate to allow all the water to drain. The water is pooling about 12-18" to the right of the drain. The shower is 5' long.

My question is what can the contractor do to fix the problem. I'm hoping that it doesn't require pulling up and redoing the floor, but I can't think of what else he could do.

Please help -tomorrow houseguests arrive for 2 weeks!

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    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 12:23PM
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It simply sounds as though the installer did NOT put the proper pitch to the floor. MINIMUM is 1/4" per linear foot. If this was not done, it will never drain properly. Sometimes this can be fixed easily....sometimes it is a major re-build. Is this a "tradional" shower or a "Kerdi"-type shower? As was said, pictures are always good...also, what size tile is on the floor?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 8:12PM
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Our contractor looked at the problem and took full responsibility. It clearly is a 'pitch' problem - I was able to pour (9) 8oz cupfuls of water into the depression before it overflowed into the drain.

This is a 'traditional' shower installation with 2 cm calacatta polished tile. As you point out, what is not clear is the extent of the repair. Could this also have been caused by an improper set of the mud?? In other words, he pitched it properly but there was a problem with the mix. I think he let it cure long enough.

I would appreciate opinions as to what work needs to be done. Our contractor thinks that he can get away with doing part of the floor but I'm not very trusting of him at this point.

It took me a while to figure out how to link to photos so hope this works. Was unable to figure out how to insert photo into msg

Here is a link that might be useful: shower floor

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 1:42PM
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Your photos:

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 2:03PM
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A properly packed mud base won't shrink or change slope after it's packed.

Proper analysis is as simple as taking a straight edge and give the pitch of the entire floor a good once-over, looking to see if it's a simple depression in that one area. A "bird bath" so to speak.

If it's a simple bird bath, then the tiles in and around the area can be cut away, the mud base can be rebuilt, and tile reset.

How few or how much of the floor tile needs to be pulled up is simply a factor of how much of the floor is improperly pitched.

Going off the intersection of the floor tile to the wall tile and how the tile falls away from that area, it does indeed look like the slope peters out a little to early, though it's tough to tell off of 2-D photos and not by putting a 3-D eyeball on your shower floor.

So as laz inferred, if it's tile over deck mud with a buried CPE membrane, the repair is fairly easy.

If it's tile over a topical membrane, it's still repairable, but a bit more involved.

Best, Mongo

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Many thanks to Suero for posting the photos and to Mongo and Laz for taking the time to reply at such a busy time of the year.

I'm just now getting a breather after the Christmas crush and so have had time time to read and reply.

"Birdbath" is indeed a very appropriate description of our shower floor.

I've ordered more tile for the floor. The contractor will return after the New Year when our houseguests leave. Hope the repair will be easy as you suggest it might be.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 4:51PM
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My pleasure, and thanks for the "Kudos," Mongo.

My opinion, after seeing the photos, is that what is needed is to pull the existing tile and re-do the slope with floor mud. Typically, he should make a "slurry" of modified thinset....smear it over the old mud bed and do a new mudbed over it that gives you a MINIMUM of 1/4" per linear foot slope. Let it set and put the new tile in. Hopefully, he won't have an issue with re-setting the drain at the new height. Best of luck and a great New Year!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 7:17PM
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