Leaking Tile Shower

I have seen a lot of posts on this subject, but I still have a lot of confusion as to what my exact problem may be. Here's the situation: We have a walk-in tile shower, in a house that was built in 1980. The shower is on the second floor, and about a year after we moved in we discovered a horrific site in our basement. It was in a storage area in the basement directly under our Master Bedroom shower. The area under our this shower was leeaking water everywhere. It had lime/calcium deposits built up around where the pipe for the drain was, so it looked like it had been leaking for a while. (I have included a link to pictures at the bottom) We were told by several in the construction field, not necissarily experts in this field, that it is typical of older 2nd floor tile showers. As the house settles, the tile begins to crack and the water leaks. We also have had friends that had a similar situation, which had the shower re-tiled 3 times by different professionals and still never fixed their leakage problem. So we first went with the advice of re-grouting the shower, and I made a trip to lowes, got the materials I needed and gave it a go. This fixed the problem for about 6 months. We noticed a significant drying in the basement after the re-grouting, but during the first month or two, we noticed some of the new grout "flaking" up. After about 6 months it was back to leaking in the basement again. So this time I sent my wife back to lowes to get some more grout, where she learned from a guy in the tile dept. that grout needs to be sealed. (I will admit I know nothing about this subject, so stop laughing.) ;-)
This time I thought I knew it all, we got advice from the lowes guys on what type of grout to get and how to seal it. I re-grouted the shower a second time and the grout called for 28 days curing time. So we didn't use the shower for a month. Then I used a spray grout sealant, 3 coats. This time the leaking stopped for about 2-3 months. I thought I had it whipped, but this time the grout started flaking up again, and it was pulling up the old grout when it was coming loose. So now, we still have a leaking shower and the tile around the edges is starting to come loose because the grout around the edges is "flaking" out. (When I say flaking, each time we take a shower little chunks of the grout is coming loose and as the water hits it it pops out of place so we have little chunks of grout in the bottom of the shower). So with no grout in areas around the edges, the tiles on the edges are beginning to come loose. I know this is bad news because that can only mean more water escaping and leaking into my basement. The shower drain is directly over a wall in the basement, one side a storage room, the other side a bedroom. The bedroom carpet is beginning to get wet, and we really need to figure out what to do with this shower.
Anyone have any ideas as to what our problem or how much it could cost us? The main thing I want to avoid is having our shower re-tiled 2 or 3 times and still not stopping the problem. I have taken some pictures because they say more than I have put into this entire post. http://www.bentonville.k12.ar.us/maverick/shower/shower.htm
Thanks in advance for all your help, Matt
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Tile is not watertight. Grouting is not the problem or the solution. It needs a watertight pan that, in your case, appears to be missing altogether, or at least incompetently installed. These can be made from metal, PVC, or asphalt tar. The store and contractor advice you're getting is foolish if it doesn't even recognize this.
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Now that is a good bed time story! for a 2 year old :p
On 30 Jul 2005 18:39:00 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Good pics. There appears to be no watertight membrane commonly called a shower pan, installed. A licensed 'reputable' tile contractor can install one for about 1K by removing the shower floor tile and wall tile up 3 rows or so, like this http://www.thetiledoctor.com/repair/leakypan.cfm Then installing a membrane like this: http://www.johnbridge.com/mortar_bed_shower_floor.htm pics 4 and on.
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wrote:

I'd be as inclined to suspect leakage around the floor drain, since it was traveling down the outside of the drain stack, and he didn't mention wet drywall on first floor ceiling. After all these years of leaking, quite likely the subfloor under shower is rotted, and maybe the top of the joists. Adding a pan over all that is a temporary fix- proper fix is to gut the shower, replace rot as needed, and build it right this time. Seaming in the tile field, while possible, takes a real talented tile guy to not look like a patch. Probably not much more labor to rip it all out. If they cheaped out on the floor pan, they probably also used greenboard rather than concrete board for the wall backer anyway. OP can save money by doing the demo and installing the new backer board himself- that doesn't take an expert.
aem sends...
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you have. All that water leaking at the base of the wall could have also made its way up the walls. I recently had a tiled shower completely redone. Replaced it with a neo-angle acrylic shower. In the teardown and removal of the original shower we found that there were a number of wall studs that were soft and rotten as a result of water leakage through the grout joints (repaired many times over the years). If you're going to go through a major rework, I suggest thinking about going all the way and tear it out and put in one of the one or two piece acrylic type showers. Take a look at Sterling--a part of Kohl's. MLD
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