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neela

02:11PM | 05/11/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
3 lifetime posts
Bvplumbing
I have a shower drain that I diagnosed as leaking. I was told (at the local home depot) that the best way to prevent the leak is to caulk it. Silicone preferably. So I bought a GE Silicone II tube. Before I got that far, the instructions on the tube asked me to remove the existing caulk. Now here is the rub -- I don't whether the existing sealant is caulk. It looked gray with possibly knife dent like criss crosses, just like what someone would on cement. I put a decaulker on it for 4 hours, and used a knife to try and scrape it off. I realized I am digging into a soft metal like material. Now I don't know what that seal is made of. The seal is a ring about 1/4" to 1/2" wide between what looks like a black PVC pipe about 2" in diameter and an outer metal (thin plate) ring that is about 1" wide which appears to be attached to the molded fiberglass(?) shower basis.

I have several questions on this..
1) Is silicone caulk the best way to seal this off?
2) Do I need to get the existing distinctly metal like sealant off before I use another sealant?
3) If I have to get off the existing sealant off, how do I do this.

The shower basin is not accessible from the the lower floor. I cut out a small portion of the drywall in the lower floor, and all the relevant connections to the shower basin are above the sub floor.

Many thanks in advance

neela

plumber Tom

07:26PM | 05/11/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
810 lifetime posts
Try to answer your questions 1) NO 2) NO 3) NO Silicone or any other caulking material is not required on a shower strainer. Yes it is a quick fix to your problem, but not a permanent solution. It sounds like you need a new shower strainer. If you have basic skills in plumbing repair, I'll try to walk you through it. The fiberglass pans are infamous for leaking, especially with ABS (black plastic pipe and PVC white plastic pipe)These pans actually "flex" over time, and cause strain on the drain line. There are many plastic strainers available to buy. You will need: 2" strainer, 2" slip coupling, or 2" Fernco band, ABS pipe cement (glue) Hopefully there is a straight section of piping underneath the strainer, if not u might have to buy some additional fittings. Cut out a section of pipe underneath and remove the old strainer. Make the new strainer onto the shower pan. Make sure to put plumber's putty underneath the flange of the strainer. Measure from the cut piece of straight pipe to the make-up of the strainer. This is your new section of pipe, that you will glue the other end to the coupling, and the inside of the strainer body. Please take note that if your shower trap is directly beneath, you might have to do this on a horizontal run of pipe, and re-install the trap. Another more costly solution, is to completely remove the fiberglass pan and install a wet bed for ceramic tile. Hope this helps some, Good luck!

neela

03:43PM | 05/12/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
3 lifetime posts
From what I understand from your reply, it looks like I have to be able to reach below the shower pan. Unfortunately, I cannot reach the pan from the lower floor by cutting open the drywall because all the pipe connections are above the wooden subfloor. Is there anyway to fix from above?

Thanks
Neela

neela

04:49PM | 05/12/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
3 lifetime posts
The guy in Homedepot just told me that I have molten lead poured between the pvc pipe and the metal sleeve on the side of the fiberglass shower stall as the sealant. The bathroom could be as old as 19 years. He said the only way to take it out is to drill it out, and probably put a rubber seal after the lead comes out cleanly.
Does this make sense?

plumber Tom

07:25AM | 05/13/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
810 lifetime posts
If it's a lead joint I recommend you remove the old lead and oakum, and pack and pour another joint. If this fails to resolve the leak, then you may have to think about ripping up the floor and getting the strainer replaced. It's tough, when there is no access to the drainage piping. Most plumber's will guarantee their work against leaks from anywhere to 90 days to a year. If you can't find a licensed registered master plumber, ask friends or family for a reference. After the job is complete, ask the plumber to physically write the guarantee on your receipt. I don't recommend a handyman for this type of job, simply because his or her strength may not be in the plumbing trade. Handypeople are good, don't mistake me, but they are skilled in many trades like Carpentry, Electrical, Etc;etc. A plumber has done 100's of these type jobs before.
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