Shower floor leak in custom bathroom

Discussion in 'Flooring' started by Fox, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. Jul 12, 2014 #1

    Fox

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    Water leaked from the upstairs shower through a light fixture in the kitchen below.

    The shower floor is 2” x 2” tile and drains into a foot bath. The leak was between the tile and a marble border between the foot bath and the shower floor tiles. I was going to reseal, but decided to remove the marble to get a better look at the floor beneath. The floor appears to be 2” x 2” tiles about 3/16” thick, then cement board (or mud job since it is 1” thick?) then ¾” plywood, then ½” (rubber or foam or insulation?). The plywood is rotted.

    I have left it open and the rotted drywood appears dry, but I can only see the edge. I had a local flooring company visit to give an estimate, and he suggested that I just replace the marble since the flooring is solid and replacing the plywood could turn into a big job. He thinks that allowing the plywood to dry out and sealing correctly would be safe. The house is 12 years old.

    Does this sound like a valid solution? Thanks!

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  2. Jul 12, 2014 #2

    nealtw

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    If the idea is to keep it going for another ten or twelve years, maybe. I would think about inpecting from below, drywall is much easier to repair. You would find that the water has been in ths area for a long time and the bacteria and or rot needs to be stopped if not replaced. If you can stop the rot from below and dry it out and beef up framing if required you can save a bathroom from total distruction..
    The problem you have where the marble met the tile is the plywood bends a little and the wait of water in the tub and everthing moves breaking that joint.
    When they replace the mortor that should be sealed with red gaard or sim. product And then I would consider after the repair add another strip of marble on top of the tile and marble joint.
    And welcome to the site.

    Without opening the ceiling below it could take months to dry out if ever and the framing will continue to decayl.
     
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  3. Jul 12, 2014 #3

    zannej

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    Well, looks like that probably wouldn't have passed the leak test... Aren't they supposed to have some sort of moisture barrier all along the floor and then going to the lip of the tub so that the water would go in to the tub instead of behind it?

    I'm no expert on this, but I would think they would want to route some kerdi or schluter or whatever the hell those membranes are and have it go under the floor and then wrap down to the shower, making the tile or whatever overhang it a tad-- but it would also need a moisture barrier underneath the shower pan as well. I think...

    It just looks to me like it was never sealed properly to begin with.

    It still is a very cool looking shower and tub area though.

    Also, I think that area might be classified as a wet room so I think it probably should have a floor drain in there somewhere-- just in case...

    I don't know if Redgard would be able to fix that mess unless something more substantial goes down to the lip of the shower pan.

    Where the tile meets that gray stuff (is it marble?) is where the water is probably getting in. Water can seep through grout and it looks like there is a grout line there. With no backup moisture barrier going to the lip of the shower pan the water is just going all around next to the shower pan and rotting stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  4. Jul 13, 2014 #4

    slownsteady

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    It's possible that the tub settled and increased the gap that was there.

    One part of me says a twelve-year bandaid is a good enough fix, and the other part of me is saying the water may have spread once it got under there. if there was enough to actually leak downstairs, there was a significant amount of water. Is there other water damage to the ceiling below (peeling paint, slight sag, etc.)?
     
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  5. Jul 13, 2014 #5

    Fox

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    Thanks for the responses and for the welcome to the forum! I’m thinking of taking this one small step at a time since I’m not sure what to do yet, I’m not familiar with this type of project, and I don’t need it fixed in a hurry.

    I figured the next step would be to remove the last of the 3 pieces of marble to see what it looks like behind there too.

    Would it make any sense to pull out pieces of the rotted plywood to see if I can see underneath? I did push a screwdriver into the rotted plywood so the plywood is rotted at least 6 – 12 inches in from where the marble was.

    The ceiling below is the kitchen ceiling and there is no evidence of water damage, and there is no evidence of the tub or anything else settling. It all appears very solid other than where the marble was, as far as I can tell so far. How difficult would it be to fix by removing a section of the kitchen ceiling, repair from underneath, and return the ceiling to near original condition?

    It did seem to me that there should have been something like flashing for roofing between the shower floor and the foot bath. Hopefully that can be worked in when I get to the point of reconstruction.

    Thanks again!
     
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  6. Jul 14, 2014 #6

    nealtw

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    If you can stick a screw driver in that far, the deck should be replaced but that will require the glass be removed and much care on the rebuild to make sure the same glass fits back in.
     
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  7. Jul 14, 2014 #7

    zannej

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    I'm with neal on this one. I'd be worried that there could be some significant support damage and that it could collapse and ruin your kitchen ceiling.

    What type of ceiling do you have in the kitchen? Drywall? Plaster? It doesn't sound like its a drop ceiling..
     
  8. Jul 14, 2014 #8

    nealtw

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    My biggest concern is this is a walk on surface without support.
     
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  9. Jul 14, 2014 #9

    bud16415

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    You may be able to pull down the lighting fixture where the water was coming out and see something thru that hole from below. You may be able to stick a camera up there and get a better look. If not cut an access hole below 16x24 and cut it carefully on the centerline of 2 joists. No matter what you need to know what damage is above? Follow Neal’s advice on the inspection.

    If the water was finding a path down I wouldn’t think it went all over under that deck area. The damage might be contained in just the few inches behind the marble. You said it feels solid still.

    If it were mine I would inspect from below first and then I would start at the edge removing all three sides of the marble. I would then take a drill and drill into the edge of the plywood trying to determine how far back the wood is bad. You should be able to tell by the chips coming out, stopping every quarter inch of so. If it’s not too far back you could carefully remove the bad material and fill the void back in “somehow” without removing tiles if its more than an inch or two I would then start taking the tiles back and removing the cement board trying to find where good material starts.

    That’s the conservative plan the more aggressive plan would be to take it all back fix the deck and replace it all.

    You will learn much from looking from below but you might just see the sub floor for the bathroom and have to poke a hole in that to see up into the closed in deck area.

    On a side note the design looks a little dangerous with all the levels drop-offs and hard sharp edges. I don’t quite understand the concept.
     
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  10. Jul 14, 2014 #10

    zannej

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    I wonder if all of those level changes are to code. I know in some states they don't allow a step down for showers or tubs.
     
  11. Jul 14, 2014 #11

    inspectorD

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    Having seen this many times, I would cut back the area around the tub and see what condition you have about a foot away from the lip area. Then if it is ok from there, redo that entire connection area with another color tile, and create a border. It will just add to the look.
    You will also have a better idea of what they built this platform on. If it is just going to leak again further over, then replace the entire floor now.
    I think you have way more damage than you think under there because this is a steam shower. That tub is the drain, and that connection needs to be bulletproof to water and steam.
    Neil is right on with the redguard waterproofing, it will solve most issues.

    Leave the ceiling alone, if the top of the plywood is gone, you still are going to have to fix it. And this will be less expensive than having to also replace the ceiling and paint texture to match.
    Good luck!!
     
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  12. Jul 14, 2014 #12

    nealtw

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    Yes I agree, this should be opened above and save the ceiling below. I suggested that to see how bad it was to try to save the tile but now we know the tile has to go so there is no need to pull the ceiling.
     
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  13. Jul 15, 2014 #13

    bud16415

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    There are two closed in areas that have seen water, opening the tile deck you will see down into a empty box the floor being the sub floor of the bathroom. The second area that's been wet is between the ceiling and the bottom of the sub floor. That drywall could be all mold also.


    Sent from my iPhone using Home Repair
     
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  14. Jul 15, 2014 #14

    nealtw

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    Bud: from above a hole can be cut in that subflloor for that inspection and or allow to dry.
     
  15. Jul 15, 2014 #15

    bud16415

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    That's only true if the plan is to remove the whole deck I guess. If he removes the whole deck and finds he's only bad back 1 inch he's seeing a lot of cost he won't need just to check the downstairs ceiling. That's why I suggested probing with a drill first and then cutting in from below if the deck isn't shot. It's a horse apiece I guess.


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  16. Jul 15, 2014 #16

    nealtw

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    He said he poked the egde of the top plywood deck and it was soft for up to 12 inches so now The mortor is the only support while walking on it, not sure what else we need to know.
     
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  17. Jul 15, 2014 #17

    bud16415

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    I totally missed that information for some reason. If he can push a screwdriver 12 inches into the edge of the plywood, then by all means take the whole deck off and start over correctly. It’s shot.
     
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  18. Jul 16, 2014 #18

    Fox

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    Thanks for all the input. I haven’t taken any further actions yet..

    I am wondering if there is still a conservative approach to take. Would it be possible to remove a foot or two along the edge of the foot bath all the way down to the joists then build it back from there? - Assuming the damage stops there. I would imagine having to remove the glass would turn out to be very expensive.

    I did not mention that I can also see underneath by removing the seat (you can see the black triangular seat in the first picture) and from behind the far wall (as seen from the first picture) from access panels on the other side of that wall.

    The joists etc under the seat are dry. From the access panels I can see the wall along the entire length of the Jacuzzi. The wall that meets this deck is completely dry, and the edge of the ¾” plywood is visible and completely dry.

    I am hoping the damage is contained within a foot or so from the edge of the foot bath. The floor is pitched towards the foot bath all around by about 1 inch over 2 feet (maybe a bit less of a pitch). Hopefully this pitch helped limit the water damage..
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
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  19. Jul 16, 2014 #19

    inspectorD

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    It sure did, however just make sure the fix is going to work with a new approach.

    Good luck!!:beer:
     
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  20. Jul 16, 2014 #20

    nealtw

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    good way to start.
     

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