I moved into a new house that has a tiled shower with leaks. I have
removed most of the tile and the leaks appeared to be coming from
inside the shower since the lower portion has the rotted wood, upper
is fine. There was no cement backerboard between the tile and plywood
(probably didn't have such a thing when the shower was installed).
Anyway, I would have liked to just buy a premade fiberglass shower but
my drain is offcenter and buried in concrete (basement floor shower).
I have a few questions:
1. Is it okay to remove any of the rotted wood, reinforce with
sandwiched new wood (pressure treated I was thinking)? I'd rather now
remove all the plywood and redo all the framing. It appears to be very
2. Are there any other options to redoing the shower pan with tile as
before since the drain is off center? I know I can jackhammer the
floor but am not really interested in that option. I thought about
building up the floor and getting some kind of pipe to relocate it but
little room to build up.
I know custom pans are available but very pricey. This is a guest
bathroom so I'm really thinking least cost, lowest maintenance.
3. For the walls, I'd prefer not to do tile again just because of the
work and upkeep. Someone recommended cultured marble but I would guess
the answer to #2 would affect this option. That is, how would it look
to have cultured marble walls and a tile basin?
Any other suggestions would be appreciated. I also looked at Tirazzo
solutions but they also seem cost prohibitive.
Remove all rotted and replace. Easier IMO to just pull everything and start
Options are - redo with tile, custom pan, relocate standard pan or relocate
Tile is not hard to upkeep, no more than any other choice. (Unless tile is
porus I guess) Seal the grout.
Dave, A few questions if I may.
What is your current base? Tile on concrete or tile on plywood on concrete?
Sounds like your walls are tile on plywood, is that correct?
I think you probaly have three options. All will require more demolition but
result in a better finished prodct and wont break the bank.
Option 1) Do the whole thing over again in tile. remove all the tile from
floor and walls. Installer concret backer board on walls and make / install
a proper built in shower pan.
Option 2) Gut shower, walls, etc. Purchase a 1 piece, 2 piece, 4 piece,
whatever. Shower enclosue and frame up the walls based upon the manufactures
recomendations for distance from drain. in essence you would be moving your
shower a bit or making it bigger or making it smaller to fit the drain
Option 3) Similar to option 2 except if you cant change the dimensions of
your shower to acomodate the drain as is you will need to break out the
floor and move the drain. This isn't that big of a deal actually.
Kohler has a few nice one piece units taht aren't too expensive.
If you are near SE or central PA check out
http://www.wolgemuth-auction.com/id23.htm They always have shower enclosures
that go for just a couple of dollars if you don't mind a minor scuff or
Thanks for your advice Brian. To answer your questions:
1. I "believe" I have a tile on concrete base but haven't yet chipped
out the existing tile.
2. Yes, the wall tile was mounted directly on the plywood.
Now for Option 1), what do you mean about making a proper shower pan?
I was thinking I would just chip out the existing tile, apply new
thinset, and add the new tile. How would I create an actual pan?
Option 2) I saw one tonight at Home Depot (32x32x72) so will have to
see how it lines up. The problem with the prebuilt (other than the
offset drain) is that there is currently a step in the shower around
an actual concrete step of the foundation. If I go with a prebuilt, I
will basically lose the space above the step it seems.
Option 3) The breaking the drain scares me. I think I'd rather tile
again if it came to that.
One other question that occured to me is about water proofing the area
between the backerboard and plywood with plastic. I've read that tile
grout eventually will break down/crack so I'm concerned I'd have this
problem again potentially years down the road. Do you recommend adding
this extra layer of protection?
I did a google search... for "Custom Shower Pan" and found this
and the best link I found
Its really not too dificult usually.
Not nesecary IMO.
Loose the plywood, its not nesecary. Insulate, tarpaper backer board then
This link I think addresses what you need to do.
Gut to the studs and follow these steps...
One more thing to consider. The shower door or curtain.
I did a custom shower. The design was nice and suited the space perfectly. I
wanted glass doors but the layout was custom custom. To have the frameless
glass would have been about $3200 in '96. Aluminum framed was about $1200
installed. A curtain would have been impossible in my situation do to an
adjacent tub deck.
Okay but that one site talks about using a plastic membrane over the
tarpaper that runs up the walls. Do you recommend doing that?
For that same site, they are starting off with a linoleum floor it
looks like whereas I already have a concrete floor.
Can you confirm my plan?
-My thinking is to strip off the plywood as you recommend, replace the
rotted studs and other wood, rebuild the shelf.
-Next to add tarpaper stapling onto the studs and lay it on the floor
(the wall tarpaper would overlap the floor piece.
-Next add the plastic membrane over the entire floor and up the walls
just say 6 inches, staple to the studs again.
-Now add hardybacker to the walls keeping the space over the floor
-I'm stuck at this point because I would like to tile but can't tile
to the membrane, tarpaper. In the article they say to add concrete at
this stage but it seems silly if I already have a concrete floor.
Keep in mind I'n no pro. I have seen this done but not done it myself. (My
project, I described in earlier post I built the tiled shower acound a
firberglass base) I use the fiberglass base so I could avoid doing what you
have to do.
The mortar on the floor, over the membrane, is so you can slope or pitch the
floor to the drain. If you do not do this you risk having low spots and
pudling in the shower.
Why don't you do this, its what I would do in your situation.
Gut everything as you describe. Frame up the shower walls . Call a tile
setter, tell him you want a "Pan & mud job shower floor with a shower curb,
I'll do the tile". He installs the "mud base" membrane, etc. You can then
just use backer board and tar paper behind on walls and tile everything up.
An old timer may use a lead or copper pan for the liner.
Yes, my floor is already sloped (I believe). The mortar would be to
essentially hold the membrane to the floor. The membrane would sit on
one layer of mortar, then be covered in another layer, then the
thinset. I don't think I could put thinset directly on the membrane.
Ya, I can outsource it. I was just hoping to do the whole thing myself
if I can. I actually read on those sites that lead pans were bad
because they created a voltage in the floor which caused some kinda
corrosion or mildew.
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