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Shower leak through wall tiles, sub floor is rot

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Sep 06, 2013, 07:43 PM
Shower leak through wall tiles, sub floor is rot
Shower leak through wall tiles

I found that a leak was coming through my sub-floor into my basement. After inspecting the shower, I realized that the tiles, the first 4 rows from the bottom felt loose. I then removed these tiles throughout the perimeter of the shower to realize that they all kind of just came off with ease and then noticed that the wall behind was wet and had some mold. I treated the mold, now need a tile guy I guess. The behind the tiles was just sheet-rock with glue that held the tiles on. After looking at the sub-floor, beneath the shower, from the basement, the sub-floor is wood-rot, it feels like I can peel layers or push my hand through. I was suspecting that water got behind the tiles in the shower, and leaked to pool underneath the shower which lead to the floor rot.

Any suggestions or recommendations would be most appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Sep 06, 2013, 09:28 PM
Sheetrock behind shower tile was a common thing for new home builders to do. It's cheaper and quick, which is cheaper. But it is no longer allowed by building codes.

You need to redo the entire shower. Tear out everything, fix any rotted wood (or replace it), and use appropriate materials to install a shower again. If you're doing it yourself, or hiring someone, using a premade shower pan or bathtub is easier and cheaper than building your own.

And if you're doing it yourself, go to a local tile shop in your area. They will have the best help and products. And they will be able to guide you.

If you're not doing it yourself, then call in general contractors or someone qualified to take a look at it. Their eyes on it is better than mine sitting here imagining how bad it is. But it sounds like a complete tear out and redo is needed. Yes, you can take a cheaper route, just like the person did that put the sheetrock behind the tile, and you see how well that worked.

Also, check your plumbing of the shower to make sure you have no leaks that have been hidden inside the wall. And, actually, when you're doing the tile job, it's a good time to replace the shower valve assembly. Yes, it adds cost, but should remain trouble free for many years (unless you buy Price Pfister). It would be a 'drag' to have to replace the valve assembly shortly after doing all the work of replacement of the shower walls and floor.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
Sep 06, 2013, 10:20 PM
Thank you. So, what professionals do I contact to get an estimate and for what work? A general contractor to rip out and replace? A plumber to install? Just didn't know who I'd ask to get an estimate. Thanks.
Sep 06, 2013, 11:15 PM
Since the tile part is the critical part, I recommend you talk to a couple of tile setters. Not people that can do tile work, but real licensed tile setter that use a surface waterproofing product on all showers. I recommend the Kerdi system, but there are others.

Be sure to interview only qualified tile people, so you'll have to do some research first so you'll know what to expect. When they come over take notes and run their method on us for our opinion.

Remember that tile and grout is NOT what makes a shower waterproof. It needs to be waterproofed BEFORE any tiles are installed. There's a big difference on the labor side, so expect variations on their prices.

Don't buy cheap though. Cheap costs too much in the end.


Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
Sep 07, 2013, 10:01 AM
Keep in mind, most areas require a building permit to do what you need, but it's up to you if you want to go to that effort and expense. But look up in the yellow pages for bathroom remodeling companies. They can organize what you need. And requirements vary from area to area. Where I live, I can do the plumbing, electrical, tile, etc needed to get the job done. Other areas you would be required to hire a plumber for that part of the job, an electrician for that part of the job, etc. etc. Rules and regulations vary by area.
The hardest part of that job is building a shower pan so it's waterproof, then tile it so it looks nice. To get someone not qualified could lead to problems down the road. But if you buy a pre made shower pan, that will save time and money. You might also call local people in your area for a cultured marble shower or a Corian shower. They have no grout lines and look nice. You can call and get free estimates from them. But someone will have to repair any floor rot, and they may not get involved in that. It's only a phone call.
Sep 07, 2013, 10:08 AM
Great advice, thank you for pointing me in the right direction.