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Bathroom Shower Fix

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  • #642753
    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    Hi folks,

    Thanks for reading. The master bath in our home has a glassed shower with a knee wall that becomes the tub deck. The knee wall extends a bit into the shower to provide a small shelf for bottles of shampoo etc. A few weeks ago I noticed that the grout line at the top edge of the knee wall was separating, and it didn’t take much effort to pull up the two long tiles that were there. Needless to say, I was disappointed to see that the plywood tub deck was wet, and more disappointed that the tile was set directly to the plywood. I do know that this is not how it should be done, but short of a full bathroom remodel including pulling the tub and retiling I need some advice.
    My thought at this point is that the shower glass will come out. My wife doesn’t like it much anyway, nor do I. The door isn’t done quite right and the framed glass enclosures have apparently fallen out of style.
    The ideal solution is to paint on waterproofing membrane, then add wonderboard, then tile. However, adding those additional layers is impractical right now, and we have neither the budget nor the time to redo all the tile.
    Once I have the shower glass off, my plan is to paint on membrane, then add a marble shelf where the two tiles once covered. I’d choose marble since I could get one piece to cover the whole thing, and I could extend the shelf out another inch. Obviously, when I put on the marble I’d pitch it slightly into the shower to avoid standing water. Then I’d caulk the joints, and have the new shower glass sit right on top of the marble. I understand that the marble will sit above the level of the tub deck tile by a little, which is not ideal, but I’m fine with that.
    From below, I can see that the plywood tub deck, although looking like it has taken on some water, is still pretty strong and not punky or moldy. Below the bathroom sits a crawl space, and from there I can see that the subflooring looks to be in similar okay shape. The shower pan is the rubber type, and looks pretty good.
    Any advice, suggestions, or comments would be much appreciated. This is not my forte so I appreciate those on this site who are more familiar with this sort of thing than I am. Thanks!

    #642790
    bethepro
    Keymaster
    Mt Prospect, IL

    C’mon Pros. Help a brother out.

    Jim

    Email us at bethepro@bethepro.com

    #642792
    Doobie
    Moderator

    C’mon Pros. Help a brother out.

    Jim

    Friday before the Labour Day weekend…. I’m thinking a lot of pros are on their way out of their ‘Dodge’ for the weekend on the road right now.

    #642797
    RyanF
    Pro

    What youre proposing will work to stop the damage there. Obviously not ideal, but ideal went out the window a long time ago on that shower.

    Like you said, get a continuous piece of marble, and make sure you get a decent pitch on it. Obviously caulk thoroughly around every edge of the marble

    Id be inclined to leave the glass. It’s less work, and since it appears it’s a natural collection area during a shower, youre better off if water runs down the glass, hits your thorough caulk joint between glass frame and ledge, then runs off the front of the pitched marble piece…than if it gets past your marble piece and collects between it and the tub.

    #642800
    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    Id be inclined to leave the glass.

    Thanks @RyanF and everyone else! By leaving the glass, do you mean not bothering to replace the glass that’s there? If so, the marble will reach higher up on the glass than the old tile did, which leaves my only insurance against this happening again the membrane and my caulk joint. Which might be okay. If so I’ll run it by the boss (wife). I’m just nervous since it’s not the sort of thing I usually do. If you think that’s a cheaper/faster solution, though, then I may be inclined to go that route since it would save a bunch of $ on buying a new custom shower glass enclosure.

    #642801
    RonW
    Moderator
    Holladay, Tn

    What a mess. I’d have to demo a bit further before making a decision on how to proceed. If they didn’t do the top right. I’d have to wonder if they finished the shower pan correctly? If not could make for a bigger project.

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #642804
    RyanF
    Pro

    Yes, leave the existing. It looks to me like you have enough frame to butt a typical 3/4″ threshold with room to spare, height-wise. Then caulk the gap.

    Once you silicone every change of plane around a continuous piece of marble, especially sloped inward, i wouldnt be concerned about it. By the book? No. Good enough for your objective now? Yeah. Put it this way. Id no longer be concerned about that area being the weak link of the shower system as a whole.

    #642814

    My question is how sturdy are the tile in the front of that wall . Has water gotten in between the surfaces . When you say that the rest of the subfloor looks simlair is that bad .

    Always willing to learn .

    #642875
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    What a mess. I’d have to demo a bit further before making a decision on how to proceed. If they didn’t do the top right. I’d have to wonder if they finished the shower pan correctly? If not could make for a bigger project.

    What Rob says makes a lot of sense. I highly doubt this was the only mistake made on the shower.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC
    (and also the World's Fastest Poster)

    #642889
    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    Yes, leave the existing. It looks to me like you have enough frame to butt a typical 3/4″ threshold with room to spare, height-wise. Then caulk the gap.

    Once you silicone every change of plane around a continuous piece of marble, especially sloped inward, i wouldnt be concerned about it. By the book? No. Good enough for your objective now? Yeah. Put it this way. Id no longer be concerned about that area being the weak link of the shower system as a whole.

    this sounds like a good trade-off to buy you some time. It’s not permanent, for sure, but will let you breathe easier while you plan for a major rebuild.

    BE the change you want to see.
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    #642920
    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    Awesome thanks folks. I appreciate all the advice and suggestions. It probably is a band-aid solution for now, but I may go with RyanF’s suggestion.

    As for other concerns brought up, here are my observations:

    1. The pan was redone about 3 years ago with a rubber pan, which looks from my eye to be done correctly. I can see it from behind the tub, where there is an access panel for the plumbing/electrical for the tub.

    2. The subfloor looks to be in okay shape throughout. We haven’t used the shower for approx three weeks now, and it all seems good. Some water discoloration and staining, but nothing that I’m too concerned about for now. Like many have said, someday the whole left half of the bathroom will be redone (shower/tub) when I have more time/money.

    3. The tile that remains on the front of the knee wall in the shower is still tight to the wonderboard behind it. From behind, you can see that the wonderboard was layered properly with the pan, so I have less of a concern about this area. I plan to caulk all the corners and edges of the shower anyway, since it looks like they just used grout throughout.

    So my questions:

    How much pitch is required for draining water off the marble threshold? Say I plan to get a 4 inch wide piece. Should the back be 1/4″ higher than the lip? More? Less?

    What would be the appropriate setting material for the marble into place (once the waterproofing membrane was painted on)? I’d tend to use 100% silicone, but I figured I’d ask since I’m no expert.

    Is 100% silicone or silicone caulk the right choice for sealing all the joints on the marble piece? Or something else?

    #642921
    RyanF
    Pro

    1/4″ is plenty. All youre looking to do is eliminate a reservoir that would collect if it sloped BACKWARDS and had nowhere to go against the metal frame, caulk joint, and ledge intersection.

    Unless you have some extra redguard (or similar liquid membrane) lying around, i wouldnt be too concerned with it. In that area, the water youre getting is directly from it collecting on a horizontal surface and going straight down the grout joints. What youre now doing is creating a completely impervious, sloped layer that directs it all straight to the shower floor.

    And yes, use 100% silicone.

    As an aside, while that area was clearly done incorrectly, it isnt out of the realm of possibility that the installer did everything else correctly, but just made a bad error in judgment that water could ever get to that area to begin with. I wouldnt bet on it, but it’s possible.

    #642952
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Remove all deteriorating material and replace it instead of painting a membrane use the Schluter Kerdi fabric, much better and much more goof proof.

    #642966

    @MrFid yikes, not looking to good,
    Sorry don’t want to scare you,
    That being said, after reading a few opinions, and reading your second post,
    I’m with Ron @RonW and @RyanF plus what Kurt suggested about the kerdi fabric to
    Not perfect, but definitely as you mentioned, it’s a good temporary fix for a few years till the budget falls into place,

    Good luck, and please keep us posted.

    #643006
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    Kind of looks to me like the caulk job they did failed. Looking at the tub I see all that caulk needs redone. I would seal what you have and glue the tile back on and use a good caulk and keep up with the maintenance . I see a lot of times when a bit of grout or caulk needs touched up and it gets ignored. It only takes a pinhole for water to get in. Then you have a problem like this.

    #643021
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    What a mess. I’d have to demo a bit further before making a decision on how to proceed. If they didn’t do the top right. I’d have to wonder if they finished the shower pan correctly? If not could make for a bigger project.

    I agree with Ron. My first inclination would be to investigate, while warning the customer that a full replacement is likely on the horizon.

    Also, I second the Kerdi recommendation. It’s great stuff and works as intended. I’m planning to Kerdi and entire shower on Tuesday myself.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #643238
    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    I agree with Ron. My first inclination would be to investigate, while warning the customer that a full replacement is likely on the horizon.

    Haha! Thanks. In this case the customer is me, so I’m pretty aware of what’s coming eventually. I’m gonna get started this week on the sealing, and I’ll order a stone. I like the idea of keeping the original glass. For this, should I be using tile specific grout caulk (found in the tiling aisle) or the more general bathroom caulk (often found in the paint aisle)? Or does it not matter? What’s the difference?

    Also, I looked into the Kerdi, and it seems great but I have some RedGard already so I think I’ll try to use that. Thanks for the rec, though. It’s definitely what I’ll use when it’s time to rip out and redo the whole thing.

    Thanks all for the help.

    #643240
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I agree with Ron. My first inclination would be to investigate, while warning the customer that a full replacement is likely on the horizon.

    Haha! Thanks. In this case the customer is me, so I’m pretty aware of what’s coming eventually. I’m gonna get started this week on the sealing, and I’ll order a stone. I like the idea of keeping the original glass. For this, should I be using tile specific grout caulk (found in the tiling aisle) or the more general bathroom caulk (often found in the paint aisle)? Or does it not matter? What’s the difference?

    Also, I looked into the Kerdi, and it seems great but I have some RedGard already so I think I’ll try to use that. Thanks for the rec, though. It’s definitely what I’ll use when it’s time to rip out and redo the whole thing.

    Thanks all for the help.

    I know you are the customer in this case! I was just trying to express how I would approach the job.

    As for the caulking, you’ll get a decent color match with the stuff in the tile aisle, but the it isn’t top quality stuff. Its a bit of a trade off really. I can’t say that the sanded/unwanted in the tile aisle is bad, but its a bit harder to work with than the stuff I use elsewhere.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #643246

    If it is just a temporary fix, wouldn’t a piece of Corian be less expensive than marble? You could probably get a pretty close match to the existing tile. Even though it is a “for now” fix, I would want some sort of membrane under it. Perhaps a bit of that Ice/Water shield membrane that they put around window and door openings. I am just throwing out an idea or 2 here, keeping in mind that this is a TEMPORARY fix.

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    #643272
    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    Great! Thanks all. I think I have a solid plan in place now.

    Jim, the marble guy I use said that the marble for that size would be approx $30, which is within my budget.

    Is the only difference between tiling caulk and regular caulk color choice? Or is the tiling caulk harder to work with? I think that’s what you’re saying above Jon.

    Thanks again for all the help!

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