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pga2be

05:23AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 12/15/04
4 lifetime posts
Bvflooring
My wife and I are currently building a house, and came across the decision of having a fiberglass pan or tile floor for the shower. We decided on the matching tile floor, but have heard from a couple of people that it is not "if" the tile shower floor will leak, but "when." Does anyone out there have any horror stories of tile shower floors, or have heard that this is true?

Thanks!!!

k2

06:06AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
I have a friend whose shower has a small leak in a built-up shower pan (it's a fairly new house).

So it's a can of worms, as to how to diagnose it (WHERE is the leak), as well as to fix.

He didn't have an option--as it's an "open" shower--possibly redoing the entire floor--which "hopefully" will work.

We'd looked at having a built-up base built in a previous home, and it's very labor intensive and has to be done just right by a seasoned pro--and it costs plenty. It also can be very heavy so there might be structural implications.

At first we thought it might be worth the extra money to go the "mud" base route--but in retrospect we were glad we just went "cheap". Once it's down there, you hardly notice it--not exactly a big-payback item when you go to resell.

OK, so now we (in our current home) have a fiberglass base; it creaks when someone stands in there--it's not perfect--but I'd still rather have it--at least it doesn't leak--knock on wood.

Regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum

http://www.bobvila.com/BBS/Miscellaneous

pga2be

06:25AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 12/15/04
4 lifetime posts
What you are saying is exactly what i have heard, unless there is a definite large crack, the leak is hard to find. Another good point that you mentioned and I didn't think about, it is not a huge factor when re-selling.

Thanks for the info!!!

k2

07:01AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Yes, monetary consideration!....why spend the extra $$$$ on THAT! Maybe your wife can do some decorating with the price difference (she will love it!)

(Or, enjoy one of the few opportunities you'll have to actually save money on your new home!)

Definitely, there are more "visible" places that will pay off better down the road.

The fiberglass pan has just one single rubber gasket that can leak (and really, it's unlikely, for many years at least).

Hmmmm, now, if I can only get rid of all the creaking that my shower base does. It should've had something put down under it when it was put in (like sand, or cement mix, or ???) But I don't plan on ripping it out and re-doing....at least anytime soon.

Good luck in your new home!

Regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum

http://www.bobvila.com/BBS/Miscellaneous

pga2be

11:21AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 12/15/04
4 lifetime posts
Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you another question. On the subject of the "squeaking" sounds, my current master shower does that so I know exactly what you mean. But it has never leaked. You talked about sand or a cement mix, have you heard about this techniques helping? Sand sounds like it would. We are also having the shower made where you step-down into it, meaning the pan will be flush with the bathroom floor. Will this be an impossible task, or too costly to do? I need to save all the money I can for the wife to decorate (and win brownie points b/c you are right, she will love it!).

Thanks!

k2

11:43AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hello again,

It's just something I've heard...about sprinkling some sand or cement mix (dry) down before laying the fiberglass pan. I actually don't know how much it will help.

It may be possible to have your shower base custom made to specs. I know that most of the off-the-shelf models (such as mine) are the standard type where you use a shower door.

OK, time to put on my 'creative hat'--always a dangerous thought. I think you'd want a 2nd opinion, at least, on its workability...but here goes...

From the sound of what you want to do (if I'm envisioning it correctly), I would think you COULD put a standard shower base down, then use hardibacker and tile to step down to it. I'm thinking the tile can overlap the base such that any errant water could drain back into the base.

It might also be possible to build it in another way. But I would think you wouldn't want water pooling on nearby flooring; it might take a bit of forethought...

Anyone else out there with an opinion on this? Gotta help this gentleman win some brownie points here! :)

Regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum

http://www.bobvila.com/BBS/Miscellaneous

theeagle

02:20PM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 11/27/04
174 lifetime posts
sorry don't know the name of it (try your plumbing supply house)but there is a product out there that is like a pink fibreglass fabric. it is put onto a styrofoam base (4 inches thick and tapered)and up the walls. it is mastiked into place and a small mortar bed for strength,then the tile over top of it. the center of the pan has a gasket drain that sandwhiches this membrane inbetween so no leaks ever. check the instalation instructions with the kit.

another method is the built up mortar bed that a rubber membrane goes under and then the same gasket drain. and then the tile. no leaks.the rubber pan goes up the wall a little higher than the mortar bed.

tile will always leak through grout as grout is not water proof.


bravey

09:33PM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 06/23/04
164 lifetime posts
Flexing floors has always been a problem with the cheaper one-piece showers. It often doesn't cause a problem but can be really annoying. I once showered in one that flexed so suddenly and dramatically that I nearly slipped.

If you are replacing the shower, there are three options to solve this problem. First is to buy a higher-end (and guess what - more expensive) shower liner. The floors in these are so thick and well supported that they will never oilcan on you. You may not be able to find these at a home builders store. Try www.florestone.com or www.swanstone.com.

These same manufacturers also make solution number two which is a soild prefabricated shower receptor. This is trade lingo for a solid shower floor. For the walls you can add ceramic tile or a prefabricated plastic liner. The receptors are made of plastic resins or terrazzo (marble or stone chips in cement that is ground smooth on the surface). They are about 1.5" to 2" thick and are very heavy. Many of them are really good looking.

Solution number three is the traditional tiled shower floor. If this is installed by a knowlegeable professional it will not leak. The system starts out with a sheet of lead or special plastic liner that is turned up the walls about 6" or 8" without any seams or joints. The corners are folded like a chinese dinner takeout box and the drain has a clamp ring that seals to the liner. The shower floor is waterproof at this point even before the tile is installed. The cement mortar bed is placed over this pan and then the floor tile. Don't skrimp on the pan liner. As you already know, this is an item that is too hard to replace if it fails. I replaced a 50 year old pan in my house when the shower was moved to another location. From the appearance of the wood boards below it had never leaked. The tile itself was also in good shape. The biggest problem was the tile joints as they had begun to erode and discolor - but what do you expect after 50 years. Hope this gives you some options.

Regards

pga2be

07:36AM | 12/20/04
Member Since: 12/15/04
4 lifetime posts
Wow, thanks everyone for your help, advice, and suggestions. This helps a lot, and will hopefully end up being a solution to my shower floor selection problems.

Thanks again!

Nick
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