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 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

My home is 35 years old and we have had a recurring problem with 2nd floor shower stall leak, off the master bedroom. About a year ago, entire bathroom was renovated and despite my concerns about the terrazzo mud pan; my contractor assured me it was fine and would not pose a problem with the rubber-like lining he was installing. In short, the bathroom looks great, but the stall is still leaking down into the hall foyer below. Leak is not immediate but seems to occur after several days of usage. A plumber noted that caulking was placed around the drain cap and he believes water is seeping down around outer perimeter of drain cap, around cauking, and then going down to ceiling and wall on to first floor. To my surprise, plumber recommended I get tile guy out first to reinstall proper drain cap first...thought this was plumber's job. Assuming problem goes beyond the drain cap and that the terrazzo pan needs to be removed, can this be done and a new updated pan be installed without tearing out the ceiling on foyer below to get at drain connection?
Would appreciate your advise on best and least costly repair procedure. Also, what is the best way of testing to rule out other possible areas for leaking?
Thanks

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: hj (AZ)

IF the rubberized liner was installed correctly, there is NO WAY water can leak into the area below the shower stall, REGARDLESSS of whether the "shower cap" is leaking or not. That is the function of the liner, so either it was not installed correctly, in which case there is no cure except to remove the tile, terrazzo, and liner then redo it. Assuming it is not the liner, then there are a few other potential leak points but they will be very difficult to issolate if it takes several days of showering to reveal them.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

Thanks for the prompt response. I watched as the liner was being installed and considerable care was given to getting material in place, can't recall, however, how liner was placed around the actual drain pipe and this is what bothers me... to clarify, there is NO cap, just a chrome plated strainer lid that fits flush against shower floor. As the floor flexes under weight, I can see how water could possibly slowly seep under silicon caulking. A small knee wall was installed around the stall's outer wall which I believe was also to secure liner up above edge of terrazzo pan. While I am prepared to rip out the floor and have another liner installed, you mentioned possibility of other more difficult areas to reach? I have pretty well eliminated wall, shower head or faucet leaks which might cause continual leaking, even when shower is not on use.

Author: hj
IF the rubberized liner was installed correctly, there is NO WAY water can leak into the area below the shower stall, REGARDLESSS of whether the "shower cap" is leaking or not. That is the function of the liner, so either it was not installed correctly, in which case there is no cure except to remove the tile, terrazzo, and liner then redo it. Assuming it is not the liner, then there are a few other potential leak points but they will be very difficult to issolate if it takes several days of showering to reveal them.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: North Carolina Plumber (NC)

The drain should be in 3 pieces, the first piece accepts the drain pipe and has a large flange that rests atop the subfloor, the 2 nd piece clamps atop the rubber liner and is secured to first piece with 4 stainless steel bolts, and the 3 rd piece, with the chrome cover which is visible screws down into the middle section. Plug the drain pipe with an air bladder, fill the shower up til just the drain is covered and allow it to sit overnight, then you'll know for sure if the drain is at fault.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

Thanks, I will follow your suggestion.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: hj (AZ)

The floor should NOT flex under weight and the linere SHOULD have been secured to the shower drain fitting before the terrazzo was installed.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

Just to clarify your last point, terrazzo pan was Not installed as part of recent renovation... suspect the terrazzo was laid when house was built, over 30 yrs. ago. The new floor has 4x4" ceramic tile squares.
Thanks again and I certainly appreciate any further thoughts you might have for me. You mentioned testing with an air bladder and it suddenly occurred to me I've never used this device before. Is this something I can rent or purchase locally?

Also, for the record, floor appears to be well pitched and solid...no flex.



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: North Carolina Plumber (NC)

Any plumbing supply store in your area should have one. Or I'm sure a local plumber would let you borrow one. Also available from the sponsor of this site.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: hj (AZ)

WAIT A MINUTE! Do you mean the new tile base was installed over an old one which was NOT removed? If so then there was probably NO WAY the "pan" could have been properly sealed to the drain fitting.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

Thanks, this is great and I'm anxious to get this test done.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

I was not present during the entire job,but know the rubberized lining was installed over existing terrazzo mud pan, There was no tile on the floor, just the terrazzo surface. New tile was only laid after rubberized lining was sealed in place.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: packy (MA)

i echo what hj says above. the rubber is installed under the terrazzo, not over it.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: hj (AZ)

"Terrazzo" and "mud pan" are two different things, but in most cases the new liner could NOT have been properly installed without removing either one.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: waukeshaplumbing (WI)

from my experience all shower pans eventually leak....every demo'd one i see shows sign of some level of leakage

if its leaking already it was obviously installed wrong....if the liner is installed properly it cant leak....so odds are its the liner...if the ceiling is water damaged id open up the ceiling and see exactly where its leaking...call your tile guy and have him redo it...

i recommend a fiberglass pan...it will never leak

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

Thanks, WI. My first mistake was not insisting that the terrazzo pan be removed completely. My guys obviously took a faulty, and now costly, shortcut by laying liner on top of old terrazzo. Ceiling, as you described, isn't water-stained as only a small amount of water actually leaked through at corner with wall. I agree that I've got to rip out a section of ceiling to locate source of leak. You suggest getting a tile guy, but shouldn't I be looking for a good plumber first? I'm also not convinced that the drain connection was done properly. Got to get this job right this time. Also, regarding ceiling, don't we have to get at bottom side of sub floor to secure flange hardware securely in making repair?

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: hj (AZ)

A tile guy will probably be cheaper than a plumber to rip out the base, but you may need a plumber to install the proper drain fitting to seal to the liner.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: toby23 (NJ)

Thanks again, Hj. I've learned a lot from you guys and only wish I had found this site earlier.

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 Re: 2nd Floor Shower Stall Leak
Author: Paul48 (CT)

If I was doing one in my house, I'd use one of the TileRedi pans.A little pricey, but nothing compared to doing the job multiple times. It has the same leak-proof advantages as a fiberglass unit only with tile.

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