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  1. #1
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    Default Testing a shower pan

    Since we were on the topic of shower pans and liability
    I thought it better to start a new thread



    I feel the most effective way to reduce liability is through education, and training in procedures.
    I contacted Bill Myers (not his real name) by phone a couple months ago. I was interested in the procedure he used for testing, and how if any, he has changed his procedures.

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...-disaster.html
    Post #18 & #19 have links to various sites detailing the procedure for testing of the shower pan.


    Below is a form I use to inform the HO and purchaser about testing the shower pan

    Request and Authorization to test Shower Pan


    Notice to purchaser and homeowner.
    A standard test of the shower has been or will be performed.
    The standard test is very much like normal use of the shower.
    Sometimes the normal activity of using the shower may not reveal a defect in a shower pan.
    Therefore a Shower pan test is recommend to be performed.
    Before consenting to the shower pan test you need to understand
    The test does not create a leak;
    However the test may expose an existing defect that will allow water to leak.
    If a defect exists, water can leak causing substantial damage.
    Some defects and leaks may not be readily observable or detectable.


    The shower pan test consist of:
    #1 Removing the shower drain cover plate
    #2 Inserting the appropriate plug into the drain of the shower to stop water from draining
    #3 Filling the shower pan to within of the shower curb height
    #4 Allowing water to remain in the shower pan 4 hours or longer
    #5 After the allotted time, remove the drain plug, and observe water drainage
    #6 Observe for water that has leaked around the shower, and if practical under the shower
    #7 Reinstall shower drain cover
    #8 Report observations and make recommendations.

    I understand and agree to; the limitations, and accept the risk involved.

    Address: __________________________________________________ _____________________


    Property owner or agent: __________________________________________________ ________

    Date: ___________________________________________


    Prospective purchaser or agent: __________________________________________________ ___

    Date: ___________________________________________

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Hi Rick,

    I handle it a bit differently. If the stall shower is on the first floor, I put water in the pan, but not to 1/2" of the top of the dam (many membranes stop short) and let it sit until I go underneath. I let the water out once I am ready to crawl. Since the majority of homes around here are crawl, I will find any leak when I get under the bathroom.

    If the stall shower is on the second floor, I let them know that I did not fill the pan with water due to the possibility of causing damage, that the pest inspector probably will or did the same, and recommend obtaining a waiver from the seller to allow a standing water test of the shower pan.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Hi Rick,

    I handle it a bit differently. If the stall shower is on the first floor, I put water in the pan, but not to 1/2" of the top of the dam (many membranes stop short) and let it sit until I go underneath. I let the water out once I am ready to crawl. Since the majority of homes around here are crawl, I will find any leak when I get under the bathroom.

    If the stall shower is on the second floor, I let them know that I did not fill the pan with water due to the possibility of causing damage, that the pest inspector probably will or did the same, and recommend obtaining a waiver from the seller to allow a standing water test of the shower pan.
    Gunner
    Thank you for replying

    The membrane should go above the dam 6" (?), any less that that is not allowed.
    Good that you do recomnend a shower pan test on the showers you do not test.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    The membrane should go above the dam 6" (?), any less that that is not allowed.
    And, of course no one would install a shower pan incorrectly

    However, I am more concerned as to whether or not the pan is likely to leak during typical use. I fill and drain the pan to check the pan as well as the drain pipe. Unless the drain becomes clogged, the pan is unlikely to fill with water.

    Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I would never test with a method that will cause extensive damage should the component fail during testing.

    Using a drain plug means that if it fails under testing you may have a flooded ceiling and associated mold besides the damage.

    Failed under testing in the report will not stop your liability IMO.

    Test using normal operating controls or are you guys also turning all the shutoff valves (including main) to see if they leak at the valve stem or crack off in your hand also?

    Just because a goofy gadget is sold does not mean you should use it.


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    I would never test with a method that will cause extensive damage should the component fail during testing.

    Just because a goofy gadget is sold does not mean you should use it.

    I agree.

    Dom.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    I would never test with a method that will cause extensive damage should the component fail during testing.

    Using a drain plug means that if it fails under testing you may have a flooded ceiling and associated mold besides the damage.

    Failed under testing in the report will not stop your liability IMO.

    Test using normal operating controls or are you guys also turning all the shutoff valves (including main) to see if they leak at the valve stem or crack off in your hand also?

    Just because a goofy gadget is sold does not mean you should use it.
    I agree...


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Some would not test something if something could be damaged?

    Crimeny! almost EVERYTHING an HI tests COULD cause damage to something!

    I always filled the shower pans up, I carried 2 of the shower testers in my bag and had two more in the van for really deep showers ... IF THE DANG SHOWER LEAKED ... *I* *DID* *MY* *JOB*.

    Quit whining and do your job.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I will add my kind 2 cents worth (a nickle now a days)

    I here all of you about liability but that is something I have never worried about a day in my life. Yeah yeah, some say that is foolish to go thru life like that but the folks I see get in the most trouble are the folks that are trying to disclaim themselves to death.

    In all the years of remodeling and inspecting I never once saw a shower pan fail to the point of flooding a house out. Totally impossible unless the shower falls thru the floor to the first floor and if that was going to happen it would happen with the 300 pond woman standing in there dancing to the music taking a shower, not from filling the shower pan and I don't fill it to the top. Some shower panes, mostly the older ones, don't cover as much as they should in height. When I test a pan I am in the shower area 30 times until I see maybe the water move in the slightest t from my mark and then stop the test.

    The most I have seen and that is practically never even with a slight loss of water in the pan was at the most a small wet spot on a ceiling and that is after multiple thousands of inspections and decades of inspecting

    Also as I have said repeatedly and not trying to irritate. If there is going to be a leak then there was a leak and there has already been water getting under there for some time and damage is already done.

    Changing them out in the past even with the slightest leak found has been an eye opening experience every time. Rotted wood abounds It is amazing that there was not a collapse on some of them I have seen with the extensive rot and mold.

    Anyway this is not a rant but just the other side of why multiple thousands of inspectors do test shower pans. It can cost your client thousands in repair. A simple test that is certainly not purposely or intentionally designed to cause damage but just to find a leak that is already there. Every single one I have pulled apart in the past every single home owner said "I had no idea" I just started seeing a little bit of water so I figured I would catch it before damage was done.Yep, the damage was done long before the test was ever even thought of being done.

    Now for the permission slip.

    I actually like the form that you produced Rick. The problem I see with it is the answer will be no more often than yes because the seller isn't going to buy it. They do not want damage to their home one they are trying to sell it. This also opens up the world of why did I not get one of these before you pulled the panel cover of the electric panel.

    Why did I not get one of these explaining that the micro wave may short out when you test it (that has happened far more than a shower pan leak 100 fold). I also got a call from a seller stating he just had the micro wave installed "by a professional installer" and everything was perfect and I know this guy and would trust him to do anything on my home. He is a true professional." I put a cup of water in there and zip, zap, tsssst and the micro was no more. HGe actually wanted me to pay for it, ah, no.

    I had a garage door fold up even after all the hand testing and inspecting and then hit the button and the door crumpled before my eyes ... and the owners eyes. NO, I di not pay for it.

    I put my foot thru a roof while walking it and I actually went in the attic on this one before the roof and saw no concerns. No, I did not pay for it.

    Not only did I not pay for any of the items listed above but never had a problem with any of the sellers on those and countless other items over the decades with the exception of the micro wave. The reason the micro wave never turned into a concern because the buyer watched me test it and saw what happen. The owner never did fix it and would not call his professional in for a warranty just to be a putz.

    I just do not see where all this liability talk comes from almost every day on this board.

    I read Ken Rowe speaking of his past company he worked for and talked of claims that came in and they or the insurance paid them. That was a wow considering non of that has happened to me in thousands of inspections and decades of inspecting
    I never had a claim even when building and remodeling.

    I do believe it is all about expectations and or constantly telling folks and disclaiming everything is why so many even think of this liability issue. Long drawn out contract. Sign here and initial there and no you will never get anything from me but the cost of the inspection or two.

    I don't do that either. Other than now having to have E+O insurance because it is state mandated I never had that either, just general liability. Maybe I am the luckiest guy on the planet in the world home inspection or maybe, just maybe, I am doing something right.

    Now folks. Even though this looks like a rant I am just asking questions (where does all this come from) giving my opinion (it just varies with yours but also goes right in line with thousands of inspectors that do test shower pans) of the situation and seeking understanding (does everyone of you constantly run into liability issues and if so please explain what and why because I just never see it)

    I apologize for the length and have a good evening.

    One last item. I literally flooded a second floor out a short while ago quite by accident and fault of a sink.(really my fault) Yes it ran down stairs. I cleaned it up. Took a hell of a long time and did a good job. And you know what. I never heard one word about it and was told to not worry about it in the slightest. Yes there was a few wet spots on the ceiling. No one upset. No letters from lawyers. No screaming client, seller listing agent or buyers agent.

    I just do not get this constant liability talk.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Bob, Dom, and James

    Did you read the form?

    Notice to purchaser and homeowner.
    A standard test of the shower has been or will be performed.
    The standard test is very much like normal use of the shower.
    Sometimes the normal activity of using the shower may not reveal a defect in a shower pan.
    Therefore a Shower pan test is recommend to be performed.

    The shower pan test is OPTIONAL
    It informs the HO and the buyer of the risk

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Bob, Dom, and James

    Did you read the form?

    Notice to purchaser and homeowner.
    A standard test of the shower has been or will be performed.
    The standard test is very much like normal use of the shower.
    Sometimes the normal activity of using the shower may not reveal a defect in a shower pan.
    Therefore a Shower pan test is recommend to be performed.

    The shower pan test is OPTIONAL
    It informs the HO and the buyer of the risk
    Rick, one thing I learned is that we can have a ton of disclaimers but they almost mean nothing in court if the Judge rules against us.

    How many times have you heard......turn the main on it is OK to do so and we will not blame you if it leaks...


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Some would not test something if something could be damaged?

    Crimeny! almost EVERYTHING an HI tests COULD cause damage to something!

    I always filled the shower pans up, I carried 2 of the shower testers in my bag and had two more in the van for really deep showers ... IF THE DANG SHOWER LEAKED ... *I* *DID* *MY* *JOB*.

    Quit whining and do your job.
    Impressive use of CAPITOL LETTERS but......did you also turn the main shutoff valves to make sure they operated properly?

    Please answer in small letter typing
    ...or you can just be the "ANGRY GUY"


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    "Rick, one thing I learned is that we can have a ton of disclaimers but they almost mean nothing in court if the Judge rules against us."

    Very true
    I don't look at as a "disclaimer", I see it more as information needed so they can make an informed decision.



    "How many times have you heard......turn the main on it is OK to do so and we will not blame you if it leaks"

    The form is SIGNED

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Jerry, did you eat Cherrios or something this morning?

    I agree that the shower pan should be tested... especially if it is a custom pan.

    I am a bit leery of removing the drain cover, as I have seen screws break off in older installations. Personally, I prefer a flat rubber stopper or top hat style stopper.

    The authorization is a good idea, although I may word mine differently, to include the entire inspection. This could eliminate alot of other headaches that may arise. Remember, we are touching, tinkering, and walking in and on a whole lotta stuff. A homeowner can be pretty vindictive, especially if the sale does not happen. If it is important for an inspection agreement to protect us with the client (in the event he buys the property), this will protect us with the homeowner in the event the client does not buy the property.

    As far as to test or not to test... to each their own and whatever floats your boat. Either way the authorization is a good idea.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    "Now for the permission slip.

    I actually like the form that you produced Rick. The problem I see with it is the answer will be no more often than yes because the seller isn't going to buy it."


    I recommended the test, they declined it. Where is the problem?

    If you recommend the HVAC system be check/serviced/repaired and they do not, what else can you do?

    Same as with a SE, chimney, electrician, etc...

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    When you get to the house for the inspection the pan is either already leaking or not leaking. If it is leaking you will see evidence and if it not leaking then you won't. What is trying to make it leak if at all possible going to accomplish?


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Bob, Dom, and James

    Did you read the form?
    My comments were stand alone, and don't necessarily refer to forms or quotes. When I replied, there were no forms.

    Dom.


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    My comments were stand alone, and don't necessarily refer to forms or quotes. When I replied, there were no forms.

    Dom.
    See post #1

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    See my previous posts on the same subject matter.

    Dom.

    Last edited by Dom D'Agostino; 09-23-2011 at 04:42 PM. Reason: Clarity

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    See post #1
    See post # 18


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I'm trying to be helpful and your being a smart-ass, why?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I'm trying to be helpful and your being a smart-ass, why?
    Sorry, not being a smart ass at all. Quite the contrary. I have a huge interest in this thread. I thought there was a misunderstanding or something.

    My other post (last post) was to clarify what I saw. I'll review all the threads and clear up any BS.

    Dom.


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I here all of you about liability but that is something I have never worried about...
    No screaming client, seller listing agent or buyers agent.

    I just do not get this constant liability talk.
    Bill never worried about it also.

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...-disaster.html

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Sorry, not being a smart ass at all. Quite the contrary. I have a huge interest in this thread. I thought there was a misunderstanding or something.

    My other post (last post) was to clarify what I saw. I'll review all the threads and clear up any BS.

    Dom.
    Sorry I jumped to the wrong conclusion.
    Guess I was expecting someone to say something, and thought it was you.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Impressive use of CAPITOL LETTERS but......did you also turn the main shutoff valves to make sure they operated properly?

    Please answer in small letter typing
    Bob,

    Did you notice what I stated in that quote you posted?
    Crimeny! almost EVERYTHING an HI tests COULD cause damage to something!
    "almost ... an HI tests"

    Which is different than stating that an HI tests everything - just making sure you picked that up.

    Back to your question, though, I did test the main shut off valves, and I learned how to test them without having them fail closed, fail open - yes. First, rotate the valve open, if the valve is all the way open, the handle will not turn, if the handle turn, either the valve was not fully open (the handle will stop turning at fully open) or the stem and gate have separated and the valve needs to be replaced. You can sometimes turn the handle closed and the stem will push the gate in, shutting the water off, but the gate will not retract when the handle is turned open - that leaves the house without water ... and, yes, I did find that out the hard way, but it did not cost me anything as ... you know the story ... it "failed under testing".

    ...or you can just be the "ANGRY GUY"
    Nope, not an angry guy, just a guy who can't figure out why some HIs are so mamby pamby about doing their job.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    As I stated in a previos thread, when I am doing an EIFS inspection, I know I will be penetrating the surface, and always get a signed authorization. Besides that fact that I am going to be doing quite a bit of invasive testing, I also realize that although I will try to be invisible; when I am done, there's a damn good chance that I won't be.

    On the other hand, when I am doing a home inspection, I would be suprised if I leave any trace that I was there. Don't get me wrong, I've had my leaks, overflows, and whatever.

    If something leaks or breaks during normal use, or standard testing I will handle each case on it's own merit, and decide how I will handle it. If if is plainly my responsibility, I will man up. If I think it is "better business," I will eat it.

    As far as getting a signed wavier that mentions possible damage during the inspection, well, I think it's a great idea, but I can also see being turned away from a number of inspections. I think it will scare the crap out of the homeowner. Whatever you write, all they will read is that "this guy is going to damage our house."

    So some of us will test, and some will not. I will test what I feel comfortable with (which is quite a bit). As will all of us. For now, I have had a change of view on a "blanket" authorization.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    OK, and now if you'll sign this document, we will install a dam around the perimeter of your roof and flood your roof with an inch of water to see if it leaks.


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Thompson View Post
    OK, and now if you'll sign this document, we will install a dam around the perimeter of your roof and flood your roof with an inch of water to see if it leaks.
    Not the same thing. If you follow the links I provided they show that it is common industry practice to test the shower pan in this manner. In fact it's not just common, it's recommended. Since it is recommended, I think it is only prudent for the HI to at least recommend the test even if as an additional service.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Jerry,
    Thanks. I can see how you made that interpretation.

    Rick,
    Does that mean if I recommend that you wear a dress to your next inspection, it is prudent for you to do that?


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Jerry,
    Thanks. I can see how you made that interpretation.

    Rick,
    Does that mean if I recommend that you wear a dress to your next inspection, it is prudent for you to do that?
    Darrel
    I don't want to be to critical but, did you even read my posts?

    "If you follow the links I provided they show that it is common industry practice to test the shower pan in this manner. In fact it's not just common, it's recommended. Since it is recommended, I think it is only prudent for the HI to at least recommend the test even if as an additional service."

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I presumed that everyone would understand the steps, even though I did not list them in detail.

    You do your normal everyday inspection
    During your normal everyday inspection
    You inspect around the shower (and adjoining walls) for evidence of damage
    You operate the shower as to simulate normal shower use.
    You inspect for water that may have leaked around the shower

    If you find no damage and no water has leaked you recommend the shower pan be tested. You recommend this because the test can expose defects not detectable or observable by normal use of the shower and doing the test is the next step to determine that there is a defect in the shower pan.

    If you did see damage or water did leak, you report the findings and recommend repairs be made and recommend the test be performed.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Darrel
    I don't want to be to critical but, did you even read my posts?

    "If you follow the links I provided they show that it is common industry practice to test the shower pan in this manner. In fact it's not just common, it's recommended. Since it is recommended, I think it is only prudent for the HI to at least recommend the test even if as an additional service."

    Rick, I did, especially the final sentence in which you state your position.


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Darrel
    I guess that I do not understand what you are saying.


    I'm saying that manufactures and industry standards do recommend this test be performed. They do not say what type of clothing should be worn, so I suppose you could wear a dress.

    Now if you are saying that YOU recommend to wear a dress, I ask, by what standard do you base that recommendation on?

    Will wearing a dress affect the results of the test?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Rick,
    It doesn't matter much. I am only observing that a recommendation does not carry any meaningful weight. You and I have spent more time on this point than it merits.

    Have a great day.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    To me...a flood test is done when the shower pan is installed to try and make it leak if at all possible so repairs can be made before the mud bed and tile is installed. After the job is complete the goal is to not have a leak so trying to create a leak where there is not one is asking for trouble IMHO.


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I think I understand.
    It's a good question, that others may have wanted to ask.
    I'll answer it the best I can

    I, as an HI recommend this test to the HO/ buyer because manufactures and industry standards recognize this procedure as an effective method to identify defective shower pans.
    Using industry standards means that I did not make it up.
    I do not perform the test during a routine inspection because, the HO may object to performing the test since it could cause damage.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    To me...a flood test is done when the shower pan is installed to try and make it leak if at all possible so repairs can be made before the mud bed and tile is installed. After the job is complete the goal is to not have a leak so trying to create a leak where there is not one is asking for trouble IMHO.
    Not trying to create a leak, trying to identify if a leak is present but has not been detected yet.

    After several years even properly installed shower pans deteriorate to the point of leaking. But many shower pans were just not installed properly to begin with.
    Testing the pan is an effective method to determine if the pan has a defect.

    A leaking pan is not an event, it's a process.
    As Ted said, long before a HO will see anything, there has been a leak for a very long time.
    First it's just a small amount of seepage, not even detectable.
    Years may go by before it deteriorates to the point that water is leaking on the floor.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I agree that a shower pan does not last forever but why try to speed up the deterioration process? That small leak may not be a problem for a few more years if it is not aggravated by the HI. I am not saying you are wrong....I just don't agree with extreme measures that may create a problem where there once none visible. When I leave a house I want it to be in the same shape as I found it. And not with a shower that was fine when I got there and leaking when I left.


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    To me...a flood test is done when the shower pan is installed to try and make it leak if at all possible so repairs can be made before the mud bed and tile is installed. After the job is complete the goal is to not have a leak so trying to create a leak where there is not one is asking for trouble IMHO.
    James,

    Your presumptions are off because you (apparently) do not understand what is going on with a flood shower test.

    1) You said " ... a flood test is done when the shower pan is installed to try and make it leak ... ", however, a shower test CANNOT "MAKE it leak". The shower flood test can only EXPOSE a leak.

    2) You then added "After the job is complete the goal is to not have a leak so trying to create a leak where there is not one ... ", if "there is not" a leak, then a shower flood test will simply have water setting in the shower ... for weeks and weeks if you left the water there that long. A shower flood test CANNOT "create a leak". The shower flood test can only EXPOSE a leak.

    Rick said: "You operate the shower as to simulate normal shower use.", but you do not have weeks to find out if there is a leak, you have, at most, a few hours, which means you need to do something which will expose shower pan leaks within a very short time, and a shower pan flood test will do that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    My experience is this:

    If you do not do a flood test, you will miss a leaking shower pan and end up with an irate phone call.

    If you do a flood test, you will find a leaking shower pan and end up with an irate phone call.

    I think I will go to work at McDonalds. No shower pans, no leaks.

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    My experience is this:

    If you do not do a flood test, you will miss a leaking shower pan and end up with an irate phone call.

    If you do a flood test, you will find a leaking shower pan and end up with an irate phone call.

    I think I will go to work at McDonalds. No shower pans, no leaks.
    Gunnar,

    What I did for a while was, if I saw *any* evidence of a shower pan leak around the other side of the shower stall walls 'and' there was no evidence of a shower pan repair, I would point that out to the agent, buyer, seller, etc., and tell them that the shower stall leaks, and that it is likely the shower pan - after they doth protest too much about the shower *not* leaking, I would tell them that doing a shower pan flood test will not cause any water leakage so they will not mind if I do a shower pan flood test, right?

    They now had the chance to admit that there may be, likely is, a shower pan leak and save me from doing the test, or they could stubbornly 'stick to their story' that the shower did not leak.

    Probably 80% would stick to their story and say 'Go ahead, I know it doesn't leak.', and after a few minutes of a shower pan flood test when water starts leaking out, they scream 'Shut the water off!' and 'Let the water out!', of course, though, when I let the water out by removing the shower pan testing devices, the water keeps leaking out even *after* the water has drained down the drain as water had accumulated in the walls and that has to finish leaking out too.

    The other 20% would agree that their may be a shower pan leak and 'What else would cause the evidence I found' and I would simply write the shower pan up as needing replacement due to the evidence found that the shower pan leaks and that there has not been any evidence of a repair. (Why create a mess with that water when the seller was willing to concede that the shower leaked? I mean, after all, I am a nice guy. )

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Gunnar,

    What I did for a while was, if I saw *any* evidence of a shower pan leak around the other side of the shower stall walls 'and' there was no evidence of a shower pan repair, I would point that out to the agent, buyer, seller, etc., and tell them that the shower stall leaks, and that it is likely the shower pan - after they doth protest too much about the shower *not* leaking, I would tell them that doing a shower pan flood test will not cause any water leakage so they will not mind if I do a shower pan flood test, right?

    They now had the chance to admit that there may be, likely is, a shower pan leak and save me from doing the test, or they could stubbornly 'stick to their story' that the shower did not leak.

    Probably 80% would stick to their story and say 'Go ahead, I know it doesn't leak.', and after a few minutes of a shower pan flood test when water starts leaking out, they scream 'Shut the water off!' and 'Let the water out!', of course, though, when I let the water out by removing the shower pan testing devices, the water keeps leaking out even *after* the water has drained down the drain as water had accumulated in the walls and that has to finish leaking out too.

    The other 20% would agree that their may be a shower pan leak and 'What else would cause the evidence I found' and I would simply write the shower pan up as needing replacement due to the evidence found that the shower pan leaks and that there has not been any evidence of a repair. (Why create a mess with that water when the seller was willing to concede that the shower leaked? I mean, after all, I am a nice guy. )
    Exactly

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I installed my shower pan about 10 years ago. The way it is installed I know it will not leak until the water gets over 2" deep at the curb. There have been no signs of leaks since it was installed. If a HI inspected my house and caused a leak where there was not one he would be replacing my shower....no if, ands, or buts.


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I installed my shower pan about 10 years ago. The way it is installed I know it will not leak until the water gets over 2" deep at the curb. There have been no signs of leaks since it was installed. If a HI inspected my house and caused a leak where there was not one he would be replacing my shower....no if, ands, or buts.
    So when you go to buy a house for yourself, and the seller tells you "I installed my shower pan about 10 years ago. The way it is installed I know it will not leak until the water gets over 2" deep at the curb. There have been no signs of leaks since it was installed. If you cause a leak where there was not one you will be replacing my shower....no if, ands, or buts.", will you think, this guy is honest and I think he knows how to install a shower pan, so I believe him?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I installed my shower pan about 10 years ago. The way it is installed I know it will not leak until the water gets over 2" deep at the curb. There have been no signs of leaks since it was installed. If a HI inspected my house and caused a leak where there was not one he would be replacing my shower....no if, ands, or buts.
    Sorry James. I just think that us about they silliest thing i ever heard. First off. If you installed a shower pan wrong so about the first 2 inchest is protected and they tested it as it should be and it leaked, as it should not have unless there was a leak already ...... They would be installing a new shower pan?

    Good luck wirh that to anyone. The reason the liner comes up so far is that the grout work is more likely to crack towards the bottom and water gets behind the tile. I would venture to say if you wanted it replaced you would be doung it yourself.

    If a shower pan leaks when tested . The shower pan already had a leak. Is that really so difficult to understand?

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 09-25-2011 at 03:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I installed my shower pan about 10 years ago. The way it is installed I know it will not leak until the water gets over 2" deep at the curb. There have been no signs of leaks since it was installed. If a HI inspected my house and caused a leak where there was not one he would be replacing my shower....no if, ands, or buts.
    If the curb is HIGHER THAN 2" ... then the shower pan ALREADY HAS A LEAK.

    You would lose again.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    A shower pan liner should not leak.

    The liner should come up 6"-8" at the walls. The curb should rise 3" above the finished shower floor. The curb should pitch towards the shower pan. The liner should cover the curb.

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 09-25-2011 at 09:30 PM. Reason: Typo
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  48. #48
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I wanted to address this one separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    If a HI inspected my house and caused a leak
    James, James, James,

    Do you not "get it"? Home inspectors CANNOT CAUSE a leak in a shower pan.

    About the only things the home inspector can do is to accidentally allow the water to overflow the curb ... but that IS NOT A LEAK.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  49. #49
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    So when you go to buy a house for yourself, and the seller tells you "I installed my shower pan about 10 years ago. The way it is installed I know it will not leak until the water gets over 2" deep at the curb. There have been no signs of leaks since it was installed. If you cause a leak where there was not one you will be replacing my shower....no if, ands, or buts.", will you think, this guy is honest and I think he knows how to install a shower pan, so I believe him?
    I don't ask a seller about his shower pan. Either it is leaking when I get there or it is not leaking when I get there. If I buy a house myself with a shower I would not try to cause it to leak because it is stupid to do so. In my own shower the pan membrame is hole free up to 2" above the floor and then there are holes where the cement board is attached to the curb. Like I said...if you inspect my house and fill up the shower pan to the point it leaks you would put me in a new shower...no if, ands, or buts! There is no SOP in the world that covers you doing that.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I wanted to address this one separately.



    James, James, James,

    Do you not "get it"? Home inspectors CANNOT CAUSE a leak in a shower pan.

    About the only things the home inspector can do is to accidentally allow the water to overflow the curb ... but that IS NOT A LEAK.
    I viewed your post so I could see what dumb thing you said this time and you did not let me down!

    You again show your ignorance. My shower pan liner is overlapped so water from above sheds just fine but water coming up from the bottom can get under the liner...just like a shingle roof sheds water only one way. But of course you have never installed a shower pan so how would you know.


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    In my own shower the pan membrame is hole free up to 2" above the floor and then there are holes where the cement board is attached to the curb.
    Okay, so it we can presume that your curb is ONLY 2" high? Your shower pan liner was installed incorrectly from the get go if that is correct.

    Then, on top of all else which can be presumed from your statement, you go and punch holes through the water proofing liner? Really? That is like having a boat, drilling holes through the sides, and then wondering why the boat is taking on water ... crimeny.

    Like I said...if you inspect my house and fill up the shower pan to the point it leaks you would put me in a new shower...no if, ands, or buts! There is no SOP in the world that covers you doing that.
    No SoP prohibits that either, and if your shower pan leaks YOU will be the one paying to replace the pan and to install it correctly. Here you are, on a well read board, and you are telling us that your shower pan is installed incorrectly - THAT will bury you if you ever tried to take a home inspector to court for showing that your shower pan leaked because you installed it incorrectly.

    James, you really do need to stop telling the world how you do things wrong, and then threaten to have others pay for your known errors when they inspect your house when you sell. My best advice to you would be to never sell your house ... that way you would never have to worry about what a qualified home inspector may find.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  52. #52
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bob,

    Did you notice what I stated in that quote you posted?


    "almost ... an HI tests"

    Which is different than stating that an HI tests everything - just making sure you picked that up.

    Back to your question, though, I did test the main shut off valves, and I learned how to test them without having them fail closed, fail open - yes. First, rotate the valve open, if the valve is all the way open, the handle will not turn, if the handle turn, either the valve was not fully open (the handle will stop turning at fully open) or the stem and gate have separated and the valve needs to be replaced. You can sometimes turn the handle closed and the stem will push the gate in, shutting the water off, but the gate will not retract when the handle is turned open - that leaves the house without water ... and, yes, I did find that out the hard way, but it did not cost me anything as ... you know the story ... it "failed under testing".


    Nope, not an angry guy, just a guy who can't figure out why some HIs are so mamby pamby about doing their job.
    I give up since I know for a fact that the more unreasonable someone is in their beliefs the harder they will fight when confronted with facts.

    My issue with you in this thread is the audacity of you stating we are not doing the job properly unless we are all foolish risk takers willing to turn shutoff valves that any experienced tradesman will tell you are bound to leak or crack off in older homes.

    I am guessing you would tell Inspectors to de-winterize the REO's also.
    The bet here is most association message boards are full of sensible skilled Inspectors that make sure to let the Rookies know turning valves and trying to break components in others property is a big no go.

    I recommend you check your state and association SOP's if you are an active professional still working.

    Next post I fear we will have someone stating we are all sensitive ,dainty types unless we yank the guardrails in both directions while 50 stories up with as much force as we can in order to see if they hold up under 200lbs of horizontal thrust.


  53. #53
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    When you get to the house for the inspection the pan is either already leaking or not leaking. If it is leaking you will see evidence and if it not leaking then you won't. What is trying to make it leak if at all possible going to accomplish?
    Thank you.


  54. #54
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    By flooding the pan you are subjecting it to conditions inconsistent with normal usage and that could land you into trouble. Evidence of a leaking pan/stall can be obtained without such a test. Only when such evidence is apparent should a flood test be performed with the consent of the respective parties. Do you load every 15 amp circuit breaker to 16 amps to make sure it trips properly ?


  55. #55
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    My only concern with the testing is filling to 1/2" from the top of the curb. I have torn out and replaced a few shower pans and many times the liner does not go within 1/2" of the top of the curb just from the fact that between the liner and the top of the curb is usually wire mesh, thinset, and tile, Some of the tiles are close to 1/2" by themselves. So by design of the curb 1/2" is really pushing it. I would be better with 1 inch or more.


  56. #56
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    I recommend you check your state and association SOP's if you are an active professional still working.
    Your SoPs are *minimum* requirements, yes, "minimums" which one should not strive to meet, those should be your *starting point* as to what you do for your client.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Brody View Post
    By flooding the pan you are subjecting it to conditions inconsistent with normal usage and that could land you into trouble. Evidence of a leaking pan/stall can be obtained without such a test.
    A flood test on a shower pan is not inconsistent with what the shower pan is *supposed to be able* to withstand.

    No, I doubt anyone does a load test on a breaker, just like no one takes a fire hose to a roof, etc., but that does not mean that *something so simple* as a shower pan test should not be performed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Bouteller View Post
    My only concern with the testing is filling to 1/2" from the top of the curb. I have torn out and replaced a few shower pans and many times the liner does not go within 1/2" of the top of the curb just from the fact that between the liner and the top of the curb is usually wire mesh, thin set, and tile, Some of the tiles are close to 1/2" by themselves. So by design of the curb 1/2" is really pushing it. I would be better with 1 inch or more.
    The liner is supposed to go *over* the top of the curb, and, yes, that means that the tile and thin set *on top of the curb* is above the shower pan, but for shower pan flood tests we are not talking about flooding the shower pan to overflowing, just to a significant depth - hence my carrying 2 testers and having 2 more in my truck - it all depended on the shower depth.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  57. #57
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    My primary rationale for flood testing a shower pan on the first floor is to determine if the stains that I often find under a house are a result of a current or past leak. I will often find dry stains under an older shower and would rather tell a client that I found an active leak or that no active leaks were present under the home at time of inspection. In my opinion, it is useless to tell them that I saw stains and don't know if they are current or old.

    I think the downshot of this is that we all have to make our own business decisions and stick to them. Each of us will have to defend our decisions if we are pulled into court. Saying "Well, Jerry does it this way" won't hold water

    SOPs are only one measure. Another measure is "Standard of Care". If all home inspectors in your area are doing a flood test, then the bar has been raised and it is probably in your best interest (and your clients') to raise the quality of your inspection to that level.

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  58. #58
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    You are overfilling the finished shower floor excessively.The minimum required is 3" above the floor of the pan at the curb PRIOR to installation of mortar bed and tile or other finish.A mud bed could be as much as 2"! Stones, tiles can be thick.Filling to within 1/2" of FINISHED CURB HEIGHT is EXCESSIVE and can CAUSE a leak which has nothing to do with the FINISHED SHOWER's Pan.There is no reason to be so excessively flooding the shower floor at those depths for your extra ordinary "test".A shower pan test is used on an UNFINISHED shower.If you flood wall panel weeps you will further create a problem and potential damage which has nothing to do with the PAN.Apples and oranges.You would be better served to use actual standard test methods for the finished (type) shower rather than a rough flood test for proving an unfinished shower's pan.24 hours with such an overfilled is furthermore excessive, and could very well CAUSE damage with a finished shower. BTW your 2nd "link" on the earlier topic's post 18 doesn't work, Mr. Cantrell.What do you do when presented with a curbless shower?


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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    I'm not Mr. Cantrell, but I play him on TV.

    I put as much water into the pan as I can. Typically, this isn't much. Then, I disclaim it, explaining my concerns about curbless shower pans.

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  60. #60
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Your SoPs are *minimum* requirements, yes, "minimums" which one should not strive to meet, those should be your *starting point* as to what you do for your client.


    When one goes beyond SOP then one is also Liable and exposed.
    What ever you decide you better make sure you have protection from liability and an explanation for the Judge as to why you should not pay for damages.

    Staying inside SOP will protect you.
    Call your associations Lawyer and tell him you like going outside SOP and listen for the response.

    My client tonight decided to test the Bath sink overflow on his own and flooded out the floor and subfloor down into the basement.

    If he had decided to test the second floor of this 2 Flat the damage is covered by whom?


  61. #61
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    There's really not much reason for the liner to extend above the curb. If you've got water over the level of the curb you have greater problems than a leaking pan.
    I do occasionally do a test as described, with an inch or 2 of water if I suspect a leaking pan (tongue in cheek roof comments aside) and have found leaking pans or drain flanges that way. Also been berated by contractors that isn't a "normal" use of the shower. I had to agree but asked if the pan should leak under any circumstances, of course not.

    So, my feeling is, the pan shouldn't leak period. If you can "get" it to leak without filling it over the curb, it is failing.


  62. #62
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    If someone will fill up a shower with water they will most likely jump out the high limit on a water heater to test the relief valve and plug in thirty five 1500 watt heaters to test the 200 amp main breaker. Why stop with just the shower pan leaking and making a mess. Let's see if we can blow the house up or burn it down during the inspection. That is what good inspector would do....right?


  63. #63
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    If someone will fill up a shower with water they will most likely jump out the high limit on a water heater to test the relief valve and plug in thirty five 1500 watt heaters to test the 200 amp main breaker. Why stop with just the shower pan leaking and making a mess. Let's see if we can blow the house up or burn it down during the inspection. That is what good inspector would do....right?
    James
    The difference is, manufactures and industry standards recognize and even recommend this procedure as a method to test shower pans for leaks. Do you know of anyone that recommends the test you are comparing it to?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  64. #64
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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Hey Rick,

    Good threat. Lots of discussion on this one.

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    Default Re: Testing a shower pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Hey Rick,

    Good threat. Lots of discussion on this one.
    Thanks Gunnar

    But I hope you mean "Thread" not "threat"

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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