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Shower problems

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  1. #1
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    Default Shower problems

    Hi all,
    Hoping I might be able to get some advice regarding some issues presenting themselves in a couple of showers in my home.

    I moved into the home 2 years ago, and the bathroom & ensuite had both been somewhat recently renovated - they both appear to be constructed in the same fashion.
    Now when I first moved in I did notice some vertical cracking through some of the grout - but we were in the middle of a record drought in Victoria, so didn't know if there was some seasonal movement causing it.
    As time as gone on, the grout on the floor tiles has begun to come out in chunks in some places. Each shower now has a loose tile in its base.

    Is this likely to be repairable, or is even a single loose'ish, spongey tile a dead end with water ingress?
    Would I be able to rake out the existing grout, and replace it with an epoxy like product?
    Any thoughts or info would be much appreciated - let me know if more info or photos would be helpful.
    Cheers

    .1-shower-setup.jpg
    3-floor-tile-grout.jpg2-wall-tile-grout.jpg4-floor-tile-.jpg

  2. #2
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    What is the floor ? concrete ? timber ?
    Loose squishy tiles usually means break down of waterproofing but not necessarily, maybe tiles not glued correctly ?? maybe membrane not done correctly
    Tiles are waterproof, grout is not, so waterproof membrane is needed but they can break down with movement especially on timber floors.
    There will be water under the floor tiles, that is normal.

    I would scrape the grout and see if the tiles come off, that will give you a starting point.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
    What is the floor ? concrete ? timber ?
    Loose squishy tiles usually means break down of waterproofing but not necessarily, maybe tiles not glued correctly ?? maybe membrane not done correctly
    Tiles are waterproof, grout is not, so waterproof membrane is needed but they can break down with movement especially on timber floors.
    There will be water under the floor tiles, that is normal.

    I would scrape the grout and see if the tiles come off, that will give you a starting point.
    Thanks cyclic.

    The house is on stumps, with hardwood floor framing, and what I assume is pine floorboards.
    I've had a look under the house at the bottom of the shower, and can't see any sign of a waterleak, which is a relief. I'll attach some pics.

    None the tiles are massively loose, but if you press down on the tiles with the missing grout after a shower, some water will swell up the grout line with the pressure.

    So with a tile installation, do the layers go something like waterproof substrate > leveling screed > waterproof membrane > tile adhesive > tiles & grout?
    Just trying to get an understanding of the mechanics of it all - so in normal operation, some water will pass through to underneath the tile/grout, but can't cause any issue as long as the membrane is intact? (assuming the build was correct)
    Does the water just absorb/evaporate out in time?

    This is a photo of the underside of the house under a non wet-room, just to show to normal staining from the atmospheric moisture.
    floor-1.jpg

    This is from beneath the shower
    shower-1.jpgshower-2.jpg
    Thanks again

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootes View Post
    Thanks cyclic.

    The house is on stumps, with hardwood floor framing, and what I assume is pine floorboards.
    I've had a look under the house at the bottom of the shower, and can't see any sign of a waterleak, which is a relief. I'll attach some pics.

    None the tiles are massively loose, but if you press down on the tiles with the missing grout after a shower, some water will swell up the grout line with the pressure.

    (A) So with a tile installation, do the layers go something like waterproof substrate > leveling screed > waterproof membrane > tile adhesive > tiles & grout?
    Just trying to get an understanding of the mechanics of it all - so in normal operation, some water will pass through to underneath the tile/grout, but can't cause any issue as long as the membrane is intact? (assuming the build was correct)
    (B) Does the water just absorb/evaporate out in time?


    Thanks again
    (A) Correct
    (B) No, it should drain to the puddle flange provided the puddle flange is not above the floor/waterproof level which is often the case.
    The fact the tiles are squishy leads me to believe the bed and or tiles have been laid a bit like hows yer father.
    There should not be squishy water to the extent you have.

    If the shower grate is removable pull it out and have a look inside and see if the grate section has holes/slots for the water to drain into the waste pipe from the tiled area.
    I have seen people fit puddle flanges then glue the grate section straight on the pipe which won't allow any water to drain from the tiled area.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
    tiles have been laid a bit like hows yer father.
    That wouldn't be overly surprising, some of the finer details look a bit rushed/half arsed in places.

    This is a picture under the grate - I'm assuming the build is all grout, or screed. The one in the other shower is a bit less messy, but has some white dregs, of what I assume is tile adhesive.
    grate1.jpg
    Without having installed one before, I can't picture what it should look like - I could scrape this build up away, but wasn't sure whether it wasn't something that should be there to form a seal between the grate & PVC?

    If the piece was manufactured with drain holes/slots, would I be looking on the stainless part, or the PVC?
    grate2.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootes View Post
    That wouldn't be overly surprising, some of the finer details look a bit rushed/half arsed in places.

    This is a picture under the grate - I'm assuming the build is all grout, or screed. The one in the other shower is a bit less messy, but has some white dregs, of what I assume is tile adhesive.

    Without having installed one before, I can't picture what it should look like - I could scrape this build up away, but wasn't sure whether it wasn't something that should be there to form a seal between the grate & PVC?

    (!) If the piece was manufactured with drain holes/slots, would I be looking on the stainless part, or the PVC?
    (!) PVC, but what I see is no puddle flange so no way for the water between the tiles and water proofing to escape.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
    (!) PVC, but what I see is no puddle flange so no way for the water between the tiles and water proofing to escape.
    Ahh right - so if that is the case, would the connection between the grate & the pipe be effectively forming like a dam wall, and any water that gets through the grout is trapped unable to get the drainpipe?

    Any suggested short term fixes (i.e drilling a weep holes in the grate housing etc), or would this really only be a tear out & rebuild/replace kinda fix?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootes View Post
    (A) Ahh right - so if that is the case, would the connection between the grate & the pipe be effectively forming like a dam wall, and any water that gets through the grout is trapped unable to get the drainpipe?

    (B) Any suggested short term fixes (i.e drilling a weep holes in the grate housing etc), or would this really only be a tear out & rebuild/replace kinda fix?
    (A) Yes

    (B) Rebuild is of course best.
    If you have spare tiles and are very careful not to damage the membrane and can get the floor tiles up closest to the waste and chip away gently at the bed if there is even a bed, then you may be able to seal a part membrane to the existing one over a puddle flange but to make it work correctly the flange will have to be set into the floor boards and this in itself will probably jar loose the other floor tiles.
    Another way is take all the floor up and one tile high around the wall then start a fresh but you are still relying on sealing to the existing waterproofing.
    Lots of if's.

    They must have just sealed the water proof membrane to the waste pipe so if you can get a tile up each side of the grate to see where the membrane finishes, you may be able to drill a hole each side above the membrane
    but it may be short term fix anyway.

    If you can figure out the depth of the bed you could drill 6 mm holes into the tapered section of the waste below the tile but above the waterproofing membrane.
    Put a depth tube on the drill bit so you only drill to 4 mm depth
    Not the best of ideas but
    The worse that can happen then is you damage the waterproofing and create a leak and have to rebuild anyway.

    Personally I would attempt a repair before a rebuild but I often repair rather than rebuild if I think it will work.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post

    They must have just sealed the water proof membrane to the waste pipe so if you can get a tile up each side of the grate to see where the membrane finishes, you may be able to drill a hole each side above the membrane
    but it may be short term fix anyway.

    If you can figure out the depth of the bed you could drill 6 mm holes into the tapered section of the waste below the tile but above the waterproofing membrane.
    Put a depth tube on the drill bit so you only drill to 4 mm depth
    Just so I'm on the same page, can I ask the thoughts behind those particular hole diameter/depths. I'm assuming its taking into account the normal tile thickness (10mm in this case), adhesive thickness, etc.?

    I guess as you say, do anything that damages the membrane & potentially risk creating creating deeper water penetration, which could lead to serious damage of joists & bearers if left unchecked.

    I think I only have 1 or 2 spares tiles, so that I'll have to think further about that option.

    As I have 2 showers, I could consider letting things dry out, do some repairs to the grout/tile adhesion & then try something like this sealant over the top. (https://www.bunnings.com.au/cpc-220m...alant_p1585225)
    I suppose as long as it doesn't make the deconstruction harder for repair/rebuild? Might at least help whilst I try & track down someone suited to do a proper fix.

    And thanks very much for taking the time to answer my 20 questions cyclic, very much appreciate it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootes View Post
    (1) Just so I'm on the same page, can I ask the thoughts behind those particular hole diameter/depths. I'm assuming its taking into account the normal tile thickness (10mm in this case), adhesive thickness, etc.?

    (2) I guess as you say, do anything that damages the membrane & potentially risk creating creating deeper water penetration, which could lead to serious damage of joists & bearers if left unchecked.

    I think I only have 1 or 2 spares tiles, so that I'll have to think further about that option.

    (3) As I have 2 showers, I could consider letting things dry out, do some repairs to the grout/tile adhesion & then try something like this sealant over the top. (https://www.bunnings.com.au/cpc-220m...alant_p1585225)
    I suppose as long as it doesn't make the deconstruction harder for repair/rebuild? Might at least help whilst I try & track down someone suited to do a proper fix.

    And thanks very much for taking the time to answer my 20 questions cyclic, very much appreciate it.
    (1) No one knows how or where the water proof membrane has been attached to the waste pipe and looking at the under shower pic I venture to say the tiles are on a glue bed not mortar bed, or a very thin mortar bed at best, which means you have a very small area to drill, also, the old copper tray wastes (before today's water proofing) were a brass flange approx 100 dia with a 50 mm male thread for the trap and a 50 mm female thread for the grate piece, and this flange was silver soldered to the copper tray then the grate section was lightly screwed into the flange section and this grate section had 4x6mm holes to allow the water in the bed to drain into the waste.

    (2) Correct

    (3) Shower plug has been around for many years.
    I used it once on a property that was due to be sold and was told by the owner some years later it worked, but you have to be sure the tiles are thoroughly clean and dry and any loose/missing grout must be repaired along with any loose tiles as it is basically silicone liquid which is sealing the grout and you have to paint the whole shower including walls.

    Do not think tube silicone will work to seal the shower, it won't but it can be applied after the shower plug has dried but I have never seen the point in using tube silicone other than for expansion purposes between the walls and floor which is why tilers use it.

    Warning... In my reply #8 I suggested drilling into the tapered section but I would now say drill in to vertical section just below the grate and just under the tile to be on the safe side.

    Good luck

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