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  1. #1
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    Default Leaking shower pan.

    Lots of posts about how and when to flood a shower pan to check for leaks, but not much said about what should be explained and what should be recommended. I have found leaking shower pans before and plenty of moisture damage in the crawlspace to warrant recommending replacement of the shower pan liner. Today I found a leaking pan with only a small amount of staining and slight drip that I caused by flooding the bottom of the shower floor. Cracks in the grout were at far end of shower and normally do not get flooded.

    Should we recommend replacement of the pan liner regardless?

    If one shower has a leaking liner found by flooding the floor, should we assume the rest of the showers in the house are bad as well?

    Her is what I put in the report, give me your views (all are welcome):

    Grout is cracked or missing at the shower wall to pan interface. Moisture and stains observed in the crawlspace beneath the shower indicates the shower pan liner is bad or missing. The shower pan liner is the last defense against moisture damage to wood framing beneath the shower. Repair of the liner is often an expensive undertaking as demolition of the tile is necessary. Sealing of the shower pan and walls can prevent moisture damage but this course of action requires vigilance in maintaining perfect seals. Recommend inquiring with a qualified tile contractor regarding repair of the liner.

    Thanks

    Inspection Referral SOC
    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Should we recommend replacement of the pan liner regardless?
    That is the only repair.

    Keep in mind that the way the shower stall (not shower pan) test is performed could show a leak caused not by the shower pan but by the riser from the valve to the shower head, at the back of the shower head, the shower valve.

    On two story houses the shower stall test is also testing the drain line from the shower stall.

    The testing is a lot more involved if you want to isolate down to which is leaking (and, yes, it is almost always the shower pan which is leaking).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is the only repair.

    Keep in mind that the way the shower stall (not shower pan) test is performed could show a leak caused not by the shower pan but by the riser from the valve to the shower head, at the back of the shower head, the shower valve.

    On two story houses the shower stall test is also testing the drain line from the shower stall.

    The testing is a lot more involved if you want to isolate down to which is leaking (and, yes, it is almost always the shower pan which is leaking).
    I agree that normal testing of the shower stall will not pinpoint the problem (if any).

    If you want to determine if the pan is leaking, you would have to open the drain and stop it with a balloon. Then fill the pan with water from other than the shower itself. If the pan does not hold the level then you know it is leaking. 24 hours is usually the desired test time.

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 04-25-2014 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Splelling
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Vern,
    for what its worth, i hope you dont mind me saying that my take on your reported item is that its too long and too detailed.

    For me, the less detail, especially prescription, then the less possibility of liability - i'm not detailing a remedial schedule, i'm simply reporting in the simplest possible way.

    A smart lawyer told me to: "Eliminate, eliminate, less is best in any written inspection report, verbosity is like chattering on a court stand - dont do it, answer briefly. Stay with yes and no, brevity is your friend."

    Perhaps:

    "Tile grout and caulk are missing from the shower pan surround.
    The shower pan failed my water test.
    Moisture & moisture stains were observed below the shower pan.
    We recommend an inspection by a licensed tile contractor."

    I wouldn't assume one bad liner makes all liners bad. I would test them all.
    I notice that you dont mention the tiled walls or any glass enclosure and door(s). Or the plumbing, but maybe i'm getting ahead of myself.
    We dont flood "the floor" we water test the shower pan.
    If a licensed contractor is referred to then he's "qualified" - end of story.

    I'm sure that others have plenty to say about prescribing and recommending, and i stand to be corrected & educated.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Lots of posts about how and when to flood a shower pan to check for leaks, but not much said about what should be explained and what should be recommended. I have found leaking shower pans before and plenty of moisture damage in the crawlspace to warrant recommending replacement of the shower pan liner. Today I found a leaking pan with only a small amount of staining and slight drip that I caused by flooding the bottom of the shower floor. Cracks in the grout were at far end of shower and normally do not get flooded.

    Should we recommend replacement of the pan liner regardless?

    If one shower has a leaking liner found by flooding the floor, should we assume the rest of the showers in the house are bad as well?

    Her is what I put in the report, give me your views (all are welcome):

    Grout is cracked or missing at the shower wall to pan interface. Moisture and stains observed in the crawlspace beneath the shower indicates the shower pan liner is bad or missing. The shower pan liner is the last defense against moisture damage to wood framing beneath the shower. Repair of the liner is often an expensive undertaking as demolition of the tile is necessary. Sealing of the shower pan and walls can prevent moisture damage but this course of action requires vigilance in maintaining perfect seals. Recommend inquiring with a qualified tile contractor regarding repair of the liner.

    Thanks
    I agree with Jerry, replacement is the only true repair.
    Grout, caulk, and other forms of sealing are only bandaids not repair.

    Each pan liner stands or fails on its own merit and is the reason we test.

    "I noted water leaking at the xyz from the shower. Have a competent plumber isolate and repair the source of the leak."

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom daley View Post
    Perhaps:

    "Tile grout and caulk are missing from the shower pan surround.
    The shower pan failed my water test.
    Moisture & moisture stains were observed below the shower pan.
    We recommend an inspection by a licensed tile contractor."
    "Tile grout and caulk are missing from the shower pan surround." That almost implies that grout and caulking will solve the problem.

    "The shower pan failed my water test." Don't know that it is the shower pan which is leaking.

    "Moisture & moisture stains were observed below the shower pan." That is good, that is what you saw.

    "We recommend an inspection by a licensed tile contractor." Tile contractor? Tile contractor is not going to fix anything - that needs a plumbing contractor.

    Maybe something like this:
    - Moisture & moisture stains were observed below the shower stall area. This most likely indicates that the shower stall is leaking. Have a licensed and qualified plumbing contractor determine what is leaking, making appropriate corrections.

    It very well could be - likely is - the shower pan, but that is not known at this time. The tile contractor cannot address this issue other than to replace the cosmetic grout and caulk ... which will have no affect on whatever is leaking.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    I quote your: "the shower stall is leaking" - shower stall implies the tiled walls, the enclosure and door(s), if any, the pan, the shower drain and the in-the-wall plumbing.

    If, by "shower stall" you mean only the tiled walls then its eminently appropriate to refer to a Tile Contractor.

    "grout and caulk" imply nothing more than that they are in need of attention. There's no transition to the next sentence.

    "Shower pan failed my water test" implies nothing beyond the test failing, there's no mention of leaking. It doesn't suggest why it failed.

    The Tile/Plumbing contractor who comes first business is perhaps a regional thing. Non-union Tilers round here often fix shower drains and liners. But i do take your point and your wording.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom daley View Post
    "Shower pan failed my water test" implies nothing beyond the test failing, there's no mention of leaking. It doesn't suggest why it failed.
    Except that you are stating ... specifically stating ... that the "shower pan" "failed" and you really do not know, nor have you actually identified, that the shower pan failed your test.

    All you know is that "something" failed the test ... "something" or "some component of" the shower stall failed the test.

    The test does not test the tile or grout. The test does not test the shower enclosure door if present.

    The Tile/Plumbing contractor who comes first business is perhaps a regional thing. Non-union Tilers round here often fix shower drains and liners. But i do take your point and your wording.
    The shower pan is a plumbing fixture ... do tile contractors replace tubs in your area?

    If so, then I guess the tile contractor would also replace the shower pan. If not, then they should not be replacing the shower pan either.

    That could be a regional thing, but unless the tile contractor is also a plumbing contractor the tile contractor should not be replacing the shower pan.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    How about this..."I stopped up the pan, ran the water for 3 hours and now the pan is leaking, you may want to fix it if you plan on using it". BTW, here's proof...

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    How about this..."I stopped up the pan, ran the water for 3 hours and now the pan is leaking, you may want to fix it if you plan on using it". BTW, here's proof...
    Marc,

    You still do not know that it is the "pan" which is leaking - you only know that something is leaking during the test.

    was it the drain

    was it the riser to the shower head from the valve

    was it the pan (probably, yes, but you don't know it was the pan without further individualized testing of the components)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Marc,

    You still do not know that it is the "pan" which is leaking - you only know that something is leaking during the test.

    was it the drain

    was it the riser to the shower head from the valve

    was it the pan (probably, yes, but you don't know it was the pan without further individualized testing of the components)
    I suppose you are correct. That said, in my experience, however, the damage signature either under a house or viewed IR, is usually somewhat wide-spread "suggesting" a pan as opposed to narrow usually in the vicinity of a trap/drain. But as you stated, no way to say for sure.
    Also keep this In mind..if the pan is completely stopped,then water shouldn't enter the drain. Not how I do it, but just sayin..

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    I suppose you are correct. That said, in my experience, however, the damage signature either under a house or viewed IR, is usually somewhat wide-spread "suggesting" a pan as opposed to narrow usually in the vicinity of a trap/drain. But as you stated, no way to say for sure.
    Marc,

    When the pan leaks, the water runs across the floor to the hole cut for the drain and drips down to the ceiling where it spreads out.

    When the riser to the shower head or the valve leaks ... the same thing happens.

    When the drain leaks ... the same thing happens.

    When the drain pipe leaks at a fitting .. the same thing may happen, or it may make the long skinny evidence.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is the only repair.

    Keep in mind that the way the shower stall (not shower pan) test is performed could show a leak caused not by the shower pan but by the riser from the valve to the shower head, at the back of the shower head, the shower valve.

    On two story houses the shower stall test is also testing the drain line from the shower stall.

    The testing is a lot more involved if you want to isolate down to which is leaking (and, yes, it is almost always the shower pan which is leaking).
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    How about this..."I stopped up the pan, ran the water for 3 hours and now the pan is leaking, you may want to fix it if you plan on using it". BTW, here's proof...
    Who assumes the liability for this test? It is surly outside the realm of normal use and borders on exhaustive testing, as I know of no one who wades in there shower for 3 hours. Do you get something signed by the homeowner?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Who assumes the liability for this test? It is surly outside the realm of normal use and borders on exhaustive testing, as I know of no one who wades in there shower for 3 hours. Do you get something signed by the homeowner?
    Obviously, there are at least two sides to this debate.

    My personal method is to put in my stopper which I purchased from PE on-line store. Run the shower long enough to get water over the entire shower floor if possible. I think my stopper is 2 inches tall which almost never approaches topping the curb due to the slope of the floor. I maintain water for about 15-30 minutes then check for leaks. There is almost never any damage to the structure unless it was there before I started. Then I am just confirming the water was from the shower rather than the roof, etc.
    Keep in mind it is much simpler here since 90% of the homes are slabs and most don't have tiled showers upstairs. I personally don't test prefabricated shower pans since I can see the surface and intended drain path.
    I really don't think my method is outside the realm of normal use since I have used many showers that had slow drains and had similar amounts of water collect during normal use. Kids putting a rag over the drain, etc. bring on similar depths. Now if you overflow the curb due to inattentiveness it is the same as overflowing a tub, you messed up.

    Bottom line is this, this is not exhaustive nor invasive testing that will damage anything unless there is a defect in the design or installation. I did not cause the defect, just found it for my client. That is my job and I am comfortable with using this simple test. It adds about 5 minutes to my routine.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Obviously, there are at least two sides to this debate.

    My personal method is to put in my stopper which I purchased from PE on-line store. Run the shower long enough to get water over the entire shower floor if possible. I think my stopper is 2 inches tall which almost never approaches topping the curb due to the slope of the floor. I maintain water for about 15-30 minutes then check for leaks. There is almost never any damage to the structure unless it was there before I started. Then I am just confirming the water was from the shower rather than the roof, etc.
    Keep in mind it is much simpler here since 90% of the homes are slabs and most don't have tiled showers upstairs. I personally don't test prefabricated shower pans since I can see the surface and intended drain path.
    I really don't think my method is outside the realm of normal use since I have used many showers that had slow drains and had similar amounts of water collect during normal use. Kids putting a rag over the drain, etc. bring on similar depths. Now if you overflow the curb due to inattentiveness it is the same as overflowing a tub, you messed up.

    Bottom line is this, this is not exhaustive nor invasive testing that will damage anything unless there is a defect in the design or installation. I did not cause the defect, just found it for my client. That is my job and I am comfortable with using this simple test. It adds about 5 minutes to my routine.

    Your mileage may vary.
    My test is very similar, Marcs test is not. I do question the reliability of my test, as I know that a well grouted/caulked shower stall can hold enough water that a leaking pan liner will never show up visually and most likely will not saturate the mortar enough to wet the sub floor.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    The liability question is easily addressed by asking if everything works properly - with a yes answer the owner or owners' representative has accepted the liability of anything not working properly (which includes leaks); with a 'I don't know' answer the inspector's job is to inspect/test to find out; with a seller disclosure disclosing nothing the seller accepts the liability.

    All the inspector need do is ask 'I need to inspect and test things, is there anything not working that I should know about and not inspect or test?' If nothing is said then inspect and test away.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jerry - I hope nobody listens to that advise.

    A home inspection is by definition a visual inspection. Any testing beyond that required in the standards of practice and approved by manufacturers for their products requires written permission to avoid liability.
    And not a single home inspector does a purely "visual inspection" ... or is that what caused the complaints against you? I hope nobody listens to your advise.

    Not a single home inspector follows their SoP and does not exceed it in any way.

    Your posts and advise are off-base, indicate a lack of knowledge while thinking that you know it all, and you bad mouth people while complaining that they are bad mouthing you ... and we should listen to what you say ... ? You have got to be out of your friggin' mind if you think that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    A word of caution to all ...

    We need to remain vigilant about feeding the Troll and not*allow ourselves be lulled in feeding the Troll without realizing what we are doing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    A word of caution to all ...

    We need to remain vigilant about feeding the Troll and not*allow ourselves be lulled in feeding the Troll without realizing what we are doing.
    What's feeding the troll mean? I've seen this a few times in here.

    Vern our tests are a lot shorter in time then the city's inspection of 24 hours. We do a lot of tests that you may not considered normal for HI and are paid for by buyers, sellers, investors, insurance companies, lawyers, contractors that are not typical. Spray rack testing, shower pan testing, flood testing, sewer video inspections, chimney scans...

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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Marc asked what 'feeding the troll means.'

    For information purposes only -

    Troll (Internet) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]

    This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment. For example, mass media has used troll to describe "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families."[5][6]


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    I just simply report leaks with a shower like this:

    I found water seeping from what appears to be the shower pan. You should have a qualified person determine the source of the leak and then make the appropriate repairs which if it is the shower pan will include its replacement.

    Most of the time I include an IR or normal photo.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    What's feeding the troll mean? I've seen this a few times in here.

    Vern our tests are a lot shorter in time then the city's inspection of 24 hours. We do a lot of tests that you may not considered normal for HI and are paid for by buyers, sellers, investors, insurance companies, lawyers, contractors that are not typical. Spray rack testing, shower pan testing, flood testing, sewer video inspections, chimney scans...
    Marc, your post (with IR pic) did not indicate the pan test was done for anything other than HI.
    What was the condition of the grout/caulk in the shower stall? Was it ceramic tile or other? Were the grout lines wide or narrow? Just trying to get a better feel for the shower pan test.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I just simply report leaks with a shower like this:

    I found water seeping from what appears to be the shower pan. You should have a qualified person determine the source of the leak and then make the appropriate repairs which if it is the shower pan will include its replacement.

    Most of the time I include an IR or normal photo.
    Scott, NC incorporated "DDID" into law in 2010, so short answers are no longer acceptable.

    The direction I gave is what has everyone's shorts in a wad. In my observations the plumber never tiles the bathroom. Depending on the design and age of a shower, replacing the pan liner can evolve into a complete remodel of the entire bathroom; which is why I recommend talking to a tile contractor rather than a plumber. This house is 20 years old with no settling issues. I suspect the pan liner has been bad from the start and delaying replacement of the liner is an option with risk, as stated in the report. My question now is, how reliable is the pan test we do as HI's in finding leaking pan liners, and if we make it leak with known grout/caulk problems, how urgent is replacing the liner which may lead to the very large expense of a remodel?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Marc, your post (with IR pic) did not indicate the pan test was done for anything other than HI.
    What was the condition of the grout/caulk in the shower stall? Was it ceramic tile or other? Were the grout lines wide or narrow? Just trying to get a better feel for the shower pan test.

    Scott, NC incorporated "DDID" into law in 2010, so short answers are no longer acceptable.

    The direction I gave is what has everyone's shorts in a wad. In my observations the plumber never tiles the bathroom. Depending on the design and age of a shower, replacing the pan liner can evolve into a complete remodel of the entire bathroom; which is why I recommend talking to a tile contractor rather than a plumber. This house is 20 years old with no settling issues. I suspect the pan liner has been bad from the start and delaying replacement of the liner is an option with risk, as stated in the report. My question now is, how reliable is the pan test we do as HI's in finding leaking pan liners, and if we make it leak with known grout/caulk problems, how urgent is replacing the liner which may lead to the very large expense of a remodel?
    Vern, what is "DDID"?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Vern, what is "DDID"?
    Acronym for the four components of an accurate observation and report. (as stated by the licensure board)

    D escribe the system or component
    D etermine what is wrong
    I mplication what can happen
    D irect what should the client do

    (descriptions are mine, I was trying to find the boards wording but broke fitting in the main water line while soldering 3" fitting in crawlspace, so now I'm back in the crawlspace)

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    My question now is, how reliable is the pan test we do as HI's in finding leaking pan liners, and if we make it leak with known grout/caulk problems, how urgent is replacing the liner which may lead to the very large expense of a remodel?
    Vern,

    First ... "if we make it leak" ... you are not making it leak, you are looking for, and sometimes finding, an existing leak.

    Second ... "leak with known grout/caulk problems" ... leaking has nothing to do with grout/caulk problems. Leaking has to do with the pan liner (the material and installation of that material as the pan liner), drain connection and piping, and the riser to the shower head.

    If a shower pan liner leaks, it needs to be replaced as there is no other way to correct the issue. How urgent it correcting a leaking shower pan liner? It should not have been leaking at all, not at any time, and the leak could cause structural damage and other damage. Whether or not the entire bathroom is typically remodeled at the same time that a leaking shower pan liner is replaced should not affect your recommendation to have the shower pan liner replaced by a plumbing contractor - remodeling is a completely separate issue and does not affect the shower pan liner repair. If someone wants to save money and combine remodeling with the shower pan repair ... that is not something you need to be, or even should be, addressing (unless you want to verbally explain the benefits of combining the work to the same time, but it really should not have any bearing on how you report a shower pan leak).

    When you report a flat roof leaking, do you base your contractor recommendation on the fact that if they were to install new sloped trusses over the existing flat roof that it would make sense to do that work at the same time? I doubt it. But that would be the time to do that work, would save a bunch of money to do it then,

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Acronym for the four components of an accurate observation and report. (as stated by the licensure board)

    D escribe the system or component
    D etermine what is wrong
    I mplication what can happen
    D irect what should the client do

    (descriptions are mine, I was trying to find the boards wording but broke fitting in the main water line while soldering 3" fitting in crawlspace, so now I'm back in the crawlspace)
    Got it, not a fun repair....

    Okay, so this is what I had in my post "I found water seeping from what appears to be the shower pan. You should have a qualified person determine the source of the leak and then make the appropriate repairs which if it is the shower pan will include its replacement."

    So if I wrote it this way, it would be OK?
    I found water seeping from what appears to be the shower pan or plumbing hidden by the shower walls. You should have a qualified plumber or shower expert determine the source of the leak and then make the appropriate repairs which if it is the shower pan will include its replacement. If this is not done additional water damage to the home will occur.
    I added plumbing hidden by the shower walls, plumber or shower expert and the last sentance.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    L
    If one shower has a leaking liner found by flooding the floor, should we assume the rest of the showers in the house are bad as well?

    Sealing of the shower pan and walls can prevent moisture damage but this course of action requires vigilance in maintaining perfect seals.
    I see no reason to assume that other shower pans would be leaking.

    I would not use the sentence above about sealing the shower pan. First, I assume you mean sealing the floor of the shower, not the pan. Second, grout is porous and sealing is not a correct repair, no matter how well it is performed or maintained.


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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    I see no reason to assume that other shower pans would be leaking.
    If the showers are 40-50 years old, then all are subject to leaking soon.
    But even then, if it is not leaking, it is not leaking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    I would not use the sentence above about sealing the shower pan. First, I assume you mean sealing the floor of the shower, not the pan. Second, grout is porous and sealing is not a correct repair, no matter how well it is performed or maintained.
    I agree. Sealing the grout is in no way a repair.
    When I find caulk in the shower at the floor, I'm very concerned that it has been leaking and the HO made an attempt to stop the leak with caulk.

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

  29. #29

    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Vern,

    I come across tile surrounds that I know leak. If it has damage that would leak into the ceiling below I do not test it I just write it up it needs repair. In most cases you can see the water stains on the ceiling below. I also have a thermal camera and a moisture meter.

    Bottom line I don't have to prove it leaks. If you cause a leak be ready for a claim that you caused a problem in the owners house. Years back I tested a fiberglass shower stall that had a leak I ran it under normal conditions, no leaks present when I left. However, when I came back 48 hours later to pick up my radon monitor the ceiling had fallen down. As you can expect the owner tried to get me to fix it. I did not. Sine then I picked up a thermal camera.

    FYI, "all" tile surrounds eventually leak due to the grout being porous. In most cases it will break down and leak within 10 years.

    Keep it simple.

    Steve


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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Gaudet View Post
    Vern,

    I come across tile surrounds that I know leak. If it has damage that would leak into the ceiling below I do not test it I just write it up it needs repair. In most cases you can see the water stains on the ceiling below. I also have a thermal camera and a moisture meter.

    Bottom line I don't have to prove it leaks. If you cause a leak be ready for a claim that you caused a problem in the owners house. Years back I tested a fiberglass shower stall that had a leak I ran it under normal conditions, no leaks present when I left. However, when I came back 48 hours later to pick up my radon monitor the ceiling had fallen down. As you can expect the owner tried to get me to fix it. I did not. Sine then I picked up a thermal camera.

    FYI, "all" tile surrounds eventually leak due to the grout being porous. In most cases it will break down and leak within 10 years.

    Keep it simple.

    Steve
    Steve,

    The tile surround is the non-permeable wall finish which is required on shower wall, in that each tile is non-permeable the tile itself does not leak, however, the tile covering system leaks (from day one) into the wall substrate behind the tile.

    One of the problems with tile walls is that, in older days (5 years ago and older basically) green board was used behind tile (it is allowed to be used behind tile) in the shower areas (but not allowed to be used behind tile in the shower areas) and it is the wall substrate which fails, not the tile and grout (it failed to prevent water from going through as soon as it was installed and water turn on). Tile should be on cementitious tile backer board - not a gypsum core board.

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

  31. #31

    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Jerry,

    I agree with your post. However, if the grout has open gaps in it, it most likely leaks. Experience has shown me with a moisture meter and IR it's there. This includes multi million dollar homes that the stall itself possibly cost more than 15k to build. I ran across such a stall late last year that 6 people could fit in it and it also had steam. In the garage below the ceiling had a hugh area were the leak was.

    In this case the sellers realtor said it was fixed. I asked if I could run it and I did, for over 30 minutes. At first my camera saw little change. However, when I returned for my radon pickup 48 hours later and there was a leak 6'x6' at least.

    Point being we as inspectors do not know how these units were built. The weakest link "I've" seen is the grout. If it's not perfect I write it up. When in doubt I write it up, cya.

    Steve


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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Steve,

    The tile surround is the non-permeable wall finish which is required on shower wall, in that each tile is non-permeable the tile itself does not leak, however, the tile covering system leaks (from day one) into the wall substrate behind the tile.

    One of the problems with tile walls is that, in older days (5 years ago and older basically) green board was used behind tile (it is allowed to be used behind tile) in the shower areas (but not allowed to be used behind tile in the shower areas) and it is the wall substrate which fails, not the tile and grout (it failed to prevent water from going through as soon as it was installed and water turn on). Tile should be on cementitious tile backer board - not a gypsum core board.
    If green board is "older days" what do you call the one inch mortar on steel lath that I just removed from mine?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Gaudet View Post
    However, if the grout has open gaps in it, it most likely leaks.
    Even with perfectly good grout in a brand new installation, spray water on the grout once and the substrate will starting getting moisture in it. Grout or not grout.

    I wouldn't really call that a leak anymore than I would call an open atrium a roof leak ... sure, rain is coming in through the opening into the atrium, but it isn't "leaking".

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

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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Back up on topic of comments. Why is having a descriptive comment bad if it can bring some understanding to the buyer.

    Short and sweet works well for the home inspector but rarely helps the client understand the situation.

    Here I was taught to use "FIR" for report writing.

    Finding
    Implication
    Recommendation


    Here is one from an actual report that I saw- "Rim joist exposed but painted."

    So if you have little construction knowledge what would that tell you. It was accurate.

    When the client brought me in I saw the exposed rim joist and nicely painted, with the deck installed on, there was no ledger, building wrap or flashings. The good thing was there was a roof over it protecting it from most of the weather.

    I am not implying that short and sweet is not always bad, but often there is more to the story and a little information can help with the understanding and the picture.

    I am writing for my client not a lawyer who may be out to get me. If I end up getting sued I lost no matter how much I was right or wrong.

    Bedside manner is the best recipe for not getting in trouble.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    What's feeding the troll mean? I've seen this a few times in here.

    Vern our tests are a lot shorter in time then the city's inspection of 24 hours. We do a lot of tests that you may not considered normal for HI and are paid for by buyers, sellers, investors, insurance companies, lawyers, contractors that are not typical. Spray rack testing, shower pan testing, flood testing, sewer video inspections, chimney scans...
    Excellent answer Marc. Of course we have discussed this before in testing shower pans. Fact is the shower pans and tubs are filled for the city inspector and at the very least has the water sit in the pans for the minimum of 24 hours and I have seen days.


  36. #36

    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    If green board is "older days" what do you call the one inch mortar on steel lath that I just removed from mine?
    I guess I'm getting lost on this topic. We have a shower stall, it's "appears" to be leaking.

    1). how many people would fill it to see if they can make it leak? ans, not me any signs of damage is enough to write it up.

    2). unless you were there to see how this was constructed why would you go beyond writing it up it needs repair? keep in mind we're not contractors and if we go beyond how it should be, could be repaired we can be sued.

    ASHI SOP

    13. GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
    13.1 General limitations
    A. The inspector is NOT required to perform actions, or to make determinations, or to make
    recommendations not specifically stated in this Standard.
    B. Inspections performed using this Standard:
    1. are not technically exhaustive.
    2. are not required to identify and to report:
    a. concealed conditions, latent defects, consequential damages, and
    b. cosmetic imperfections that do not significantly affect a componentís performance of its
    intended function.

    I see a tile surround loose tiles or cracks in the grout, simple, write it up. If I come across a situation like Donald described where I can see how it's constructed and the flaws I explain it. If I can't see it it's a general description, nothing fancy.

    Observed cracked and missing grout in shower stall, appears to be leaking in ceiling below. Have qualified contractor review and estimate cost of repairs prior to close.

    FYI:I use this on all my repair statements, "Have qualified(plumber, electrician) contractor review and estimate cost of repairs prior to close." By doing this I have flipped the responsibility of getting it looked at to the buyer...and it's now urgent.

    Steve


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Even with perfectly good grout in a brand new installation, spray water on the grout once and the substrate will starting getting moisture in it. Grout or not grout.

    I wouldn't really call that a leak anymore than I would call an open atrium a roof leak ... sure, rain is coming in through the opening into the atrium, but it isn't "leaking".
    What do gout sealers and additives such as "Grout Boost" do for resisting moisture?

    The caulk I have mentioned in previous posts is in regard to the corners. The forums that tile setters frequent have there own debate regarding grout or caulk at plane changes.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Vern our tests are a lot shorter in time then the city's inspection of 24 hours. We do a lot of tests that you may not considered normal for HI and are paid for by buyers, sellers, investors, insurance companies, lawyers, contractors that are not typical. Spray rack testing, shower pan testing, flood testing, sewer video inspections, chimney scans...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Excellent answer Marc. Of course we have discussed this before in testing shower pans. Fact is the shower pans and tubs are filled for the city inspector and at the very least has the water sit in the pans for the minimum of 24 hours and I have seen days.
    24 hours?

    Granted, as Ted said, the water is likely in the shower pan for a few days, even longer, but ... most likely the water was ever deep enough anyway.

    From the 2012 IRC (bold is mine)
    - P2503.6 Shower liner test.
    - - Where shower floors and receptors are made water tight by the application of materials required by Section P2709.2, the completed liner installation shall be tested. The pipe from the shower drain shall be plugged water tight for the test. The floor and receptor area shall be filled with potable water to a depth of not less than 2 inches (51 mm) measured at the threshold. Where a threshold of at least 2 inches high does not exist, a temporary threshold shall be constructed to retain the test water in the lined floor or receptor area to a level not less than 2 inches deep measured at the threshold. The water shall be retained for a test period of not less than 15 minutes and there shall be no evidence of leakage.

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

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Gaudet View Post
    I guess I'm getting lost on this topic. We have a shower stall, it's "appears" to be leaking.

    1). how many people would fill it to see if they can make it leak? ans, not me any signs of damage is enough to write it up.

    2). unless you were there to see how this was constructed why would you go beyond writing it up it needs repair? keep in mind we're not contractors and if we go beyond how it should be, could be repaired we can be sued.

    ASHI SOP

    13. GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
    13.1 General limitations
    A. The inspector is NOT required to perform actions, or to make determinations, or to make
    recommendations not specifically stated in this Standard.
    B. Inspections performed using this Standard:
    1. are not technically exhaustive.
    2. are not required to identify and to report:
    a. concealed conditions, latent defects, consequential damages, and
    b. cosmetic imperfections that do not significantly affect a componentís performance of its
    intended function.

    I see a tile surround loose tiles or cracks in the grout, simple, write it up. If I come across a situation like Donald described where I can see how it's constructed and the flaws I explain it. If I can't see it it's a general description, nothing fancy.

    Observed cracked and missing grout in shower stall, appears to be leaking in ceiling below. Have qualified contractor review and estimate cost of repairs prior to close.

    FYI:I use this on all my repair statements, "Have qualified(plumber, electrician) contractor review and estimate cost of repairs prior to close." By doing this I have flipped the responsibility of getting it looked at to the buyer...and it's now urgent.

    Steve
    As any inspector does/should. It is not your responsibility. It is the buyers to have repaired before closing or what ever arrangements they wish to do. I tell everyone of my clients that the after math of what I find has absolutely nothing to do with me. I do not care if they fix it, have it fixed, the seller fix it or allowances given. My job absolutely without doubt stops when I finish my home inspection. There is no continuing anything. I have made an absolute decision that I do not go back after I left unless it is for money. I went there originally to make a living and maybe a bit more. I am not going back unless it is a continuation of my living making. NO matter what the repair the answer is "It does appear that repairs were made". Was it done right "it appears to have been done correctly but I cannot see behind it, under it and I am not going to guess the process they went into for the repairs".


    I am not covering my backside. I am doing what I need to do to do my job correctly. I do not go to work thinking about lawyers before, during or after the inspection. Every single person I have seen get in trouble over something had a cover thine ass report. If it "appears" to the client you are there to cover your ass first and foremost they will do everything they can to spank that backside for you.

    I highlight all concerns in blue followed by pictures. I do not hide the concern in the middle of 2 paragraphs of ridiculous crap.

    I do fill the shower pans with water. If they leak then they leaked before I got there as well. I created no problem. The problem was already there. The amount of water that does come through is generally minimal at best because I do not have it sitting there to the next day. If there appears to be any concerns with the shower pan when I get there, grout, cracks etc etc etc I do not test the pan in any way. I write it up as in need of follow up behind me to evaluate just the extent of repairs needed. That covers the vast amount of tiled shower pans by the way. They are far and few between that have no concerns even in very new homes.

    I have stopped using the "qualified" contractor etc. It is not up to me to determine if the contractor is qualified. It is not up to me if they use a qualified contractor. They can do it all by themselves if they wish to.

    Actually I have always thought adding Qualified/licensed/master was all a bit foolish. No offense to anyone on that. If they do not know that they should hire or ask the seller to hire a qualified individual then I cannot help them in the slightest.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I have stopped using the "qualified" contractor etc. It is not up to me to determine if the contractor is qualified. It is not up to me if they use a qualified contractor. They can do it all by themselves if they wish to.

    Actually I have always thought adding Qualified/licensed/master was all a bit foolish. No offense to anyone on that. If they do not know that they should hire or ask the seller to hire a qualified individual then I cannot help them in the slightest.
    The reason to keep using that a qualified and licensed contractor do the work is that when Billy Joe Bob Bubba does the work and it fails, falls apart, or injures someone, when the client's attorney sends the letter demanding money for the repairs because the client agreed to repairs by Billy Joe Bob Bubba because you, the inspector, did not recommend a proper contractor ... your return letter through your attorney includes the report where it does recommend that a qualified and licensed contractor do the work, and, that Billy Joe Bob Bubba is neither qualified nor licensed and therefore the amount of money you are sending their direction is the what the postage on the letter cost - but that you doubt they will be able to retrieve that monetary value from the U.S. Post Office as the letter was delivered and the value of the postage used up.

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

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Marc asked what 'feeding the troll means.'

    For information purposes only -

    Troll (Internet) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]

    This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment. For example, mass media has used troll to describe "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families."[5][6]
    Thanks Raymond. You'd think I would have known that having a computer for so many years.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The reason to keep using that a qualified and licensed contractor do the work is that when Billy Joe Bob Bubba does the work and it fails, falls apart, or injures someone, when the client's attorney sends the letter demanding money for the repairs because the client agreed to repairs by Billy Joe Bob Bubba because you, the inspector, did not recommend a proper contractor ... your return letter through your attorney includes the report where it does recommend that a qualified and licensed contractor do the work, and, that Billy Joe Bob Bubba is neither qualified nor licensed and therefore the amount of money you are sending their direction is the what the postage on the letter cost - but that you doubt they will be able to retrieve that monetary value from the U.S. Post Office as the letter was delivered and the value of the postage used up.
    Why is it our obligation to recommend a contractor qualified or not?
    We don't use any "recommended" or recommend anyone unless its to conduct a specialized evaluation that we weren't hired to do or is beyond our scope. We don't use suspected or the term appears. It is or either it isn't.
    And pan tests in my jurisdiction of LA County is 24 hours.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    24 hours?

    Granted, as Ted said, the water is likely in the shower pan for a few days, even longer, but ... most likely the water was ever deep enough anyway.

    From the 2012 IRC (bold is mine)
    - P2503.6 Shower liner test.
    - - Where shower floors and receptors are made water tight by the application of materials required by Section P2709.2, the completed liner installation shall be tested. The pipe from the shower drain shall be plugged water tight for the test. The floor and receptor area shall be filled with potable water to a depth of not less than 2 inches (51 mm) measured at the threshold. Where a threshold of at least 2 inches high does not exist, a temporary threshold shall be constructed to retain the test water in the lined floor or receptor area to a level not less than 2 inches deep measured at the threshold. The water shall be retained for a test period of not less than 15 minutes and there shall be no evidence of leakage.
    P2503.6 refers to a shower liner test and such test done during new construction or remodel AND prior to the application of finish product. It doesn't seem to me to be appropriate to apply new construction testing procedures to the home inspection level especially when other surfaces have been applied potentially changing the dynamic of a previously unfinished product or a work in progress.
    As Home Inspectors, we typically do not have the ability to test shower pan liners, nor are we required to. They may be tested by default when inspecting the pan for leakage but using the section quoted to affirm that need is largely erroneous at the HI level.
    While some, perhaps many or even most Inspectors seal the drain and fill the pan with water to test for leaks, the pan is nothing more than a large basin to facilitate drainage. If it was meant to be filled with water as part of its design feature it should be equipped with a plugging mechanism and considered a tub as opposed to a drainage pan. Yes accidents can occur. Kids could put something over the drain, run the shower and fill the pan to the point of flooding but that's beyond the design function of the pan.

    Using the same rationalization for shower leakage, how many inspectors turn on the shower and use the hand held shower head, if one is installed, to spend 10 minutes forcing water into every nook and cranny inside the shower to detect possible leaks. Or even bring their own hand held shower head for the purpose of conducting such a test? Rhetorically - If not, why not?


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    P2503.6 refers to a shower liner test and such test done during new construction or remodel AND prior to the application of finish product. It doesn't seem to me to be appropriate to apply new construction testing procedures to the home inspection level especially when other surfaces have been applied potentially changing the dynamic of a previously unfinished product or a work in progress.
    It is and it isn't - the reason I posted that is previous posters stated the code inspection test had water in it for 24 hours and I pointed out that the time is 15 minutes (albeit the water is typically in there for much longer, but the required code test time is only 15 minutes).

    As Home Inspectors, we typically do not have the ability to test shower pan liners, nor are we required to. They may be tested by default when inspecting the pan for leakage but using the section quoted to affirm that need is largely erroneous at the HI level.
    See above.

    While some, perhaps many or even most Inspectors seal the drain and fill the pan with water to test for leaks, the pan is nothing more than a large basin to facilitate drainage. If it was meant to be filled with water as part of its design feature it should be equipped with a plugging mechanism and considered a tub as opposed to a drainage pan.
    It is equipped with a plugging mechanism - the hair strainer. There are also plugging devices on the market known as 5" flat tub stoppers.

    Regardless of whether there is a built-in stopper like a tub, ANY drain is susceptible to stopping up or becoming clogged, the basin which is connected to that drain is expected hold water and not leak until the basin is overflowed.

    Using the same rationalization for shower leakage, how many inspectors turn on the shower and use the hand held shower head, if one is installed, to spend 10 minutes forcing water into every nook and cranny inside the shower to detect possible leaks.
    More than you think, but not for 10 minutes ... ANY good inspector SHOULD use the hand shower and spray it around the seam of an enclosure and check for leaks ... you do not do that?

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

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    More than you think, but not for 10 minutes ... ANY good inspector SHOULD use the hand shower and spray it around the seam of an enclosure and check for leaks ... you do not do that?
    Jerry if you did or do this it is simply dog and pony show, if there are no visible cracks in the grout or caulk; there is no way you will get water to seep through and be visible outside the stall with a 5-10 second spray.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Jerry if you did or do this it is simply dog and pony show, if there are no visible cracks in the grout or caulk; there is no way you will get water to seep through and be visible outside the stall with a 5-10 second spray.
    Vern, cracked grout has nothing to do with a defective pan/liner.
    Having cracked grout simply means the grout is cracked.
    Even if there was no grout at all, the pan/liner would not leak unless it had a defect.

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

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Jerry if you did or do this it is simply dog and pony show, if there are no visible cracks in the grout or caulk; there is no way you will get water to seep through and be visible outside the stall with a 5-10 second spray.
    Try to explain that to the builders and others who have seen water going through with the first spray of water.

    Guess we were all the same figment of our imagination at the same time.

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

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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.

    Grout, tile, caulk, substrate - these are not part of the waterproofing system.

    The pan liner, pan, waterproofing behind the membrane, or topical membrane are what makes the shower waterproof.

    If you are building a pan, you can either do a mud pre-slope, liner, mud bed, then tile. In this case the liner is what provides the waterproofing. Or you can do a preslope / mud bed all in one and then use a paint on topical membrane (such as Redgard) or a membrane sheet (such as Schulter Kerdi). Wall either get a waterproofing layer behind the substrate (in which case the substrate needs to be water stable - cement board), such as tar paper or plastic, which then overlaps the pan membrane, providing a path to the drain, or a membrane can be applied over the substrate. Paint on membranes need to be over cement board, however the preferred substrate for Kerdi is drywall. Local codes may not permit it, but if they do, it is in fact the manufactures preferred substrate.

    Changes of plane in the tile (corners, floor to wall, etc) should be caulked from the onset. Not for waterproofing reasons, because because grout will crack in these location due to expansion and contraction. A properly waterproofed shower should not leak, from anywhere (walls, floor, joints) even before any tile is placed.

    -dave


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.

    Grout, tile, caulk, substrate - these are not part of the waterproofing system.

    The pan liner, pan, waterproofing behind the membrane, or topical membrane are what makes the shower waterproof.

    If you are building a pan, you can either do a mud pre-slope, liner, mud bed, then tile. In this case the liner is what provides the waterproofing. Or you can do a preslope / mud bed all in one and then use a paint on topical membrane (such as Redgard) or a membrane sheet (such as Schulter Kerdi). Wall either get a waterproofing layer behind the substrate (in which case the substrate needs to be water stable - cement board), such as tar paper or plastic, which then overlaps the pan membrane, providing a path to the drain, or a membrane can be applied over the substrate. Paint on membranes need to be over cement board, however the preferred substrate for Kerdi is drywall. Local codes may not permit it, but if they do, it is in fact the manufactures preferred substrate.

    Changes of plane in the tile (corners, floor to wall, etc) should be caulked from the onset. Not for waterproofing reasons, because because grout will crack in these location due to expansion and contraction. A properly waterproofed shower should not leak, from anywhere (walls, floor, joints) even before any tile is placed.

    -dave
    Agreed on all points, however Grout, tile and caulk, are often waterproof; making our spray or flood test of questionable value. The tub surround I just removed in my home had nothing but tile, grout and one inch of mortar on steel lath. Fourty years and raised two children that used the shower, no leaks.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.

    Grout, tile, caulk, substrate - these are not part of the waterproofing system.

    The pan liner, pan, waterproofing behind the membrane, or topical membrane are what makes the shower waterproof.

    If you are building a pan, you can either do a mud pre-slope, liner, mud bed, then tile. In this case the liner is what provides the waterproofing. Or you can do a preslope / mud bed all in one and then use a paint on topical membrane (such as Redgard) or a membrane sheet (such as Schulter Kerdi). Wall either get a waterproofing layer behind the substrate (in which case the substrate needs to be water stable - cement board), such as tar paper or plastic, which then overlaps the pan membrane, providing a path to the drain, or a membrane can be applied over the substrate. Paint on membranes need to be over cement board, however the preferred substrate for Kerdi is drywall. Local codes may not permit it, but if they do, it is in fact the manufactures preferred substrate.

    Changes of plane in the tile (corners, floor to wall, etc) should be caulked from the onset. Not for waterproofing reasons, because because grout will crack in these location due to expansion and contraction. A properly waterproofed shower should not leak, from anywhere (walls, floor, joints) even before any tile is placed.

    -dave
    Excellent post Dave

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  51. #51
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Its not the pan liner that leaks for the most part. Unless the moron contractor didn't run the liner up the side walls or burn the corners then its pretty much always the liner to drain connection.
    We see it all the time. If you see a round while Oatey drain in the floor just write it up as either leaking now or very soon.
    Unless I see a Schluter or Noble drain assembly at a tile shower floor it gets written up as defective. A good check is to ask what membrane the guy used, when he answers with Ummm. Write it up as defective.
    I hate tile floor showers in rehabs. The cost to do it right is substantially more so the idiots don't do it right. Its such a disgrace.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
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  52. #52
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Its not the pan liner that leaks for the most part. Unless the moron contractor didn't run the liner up the side walls or burn the corners then its pretty much always the liner to drain connection.
    Guess it is the areas because what I see the cause of the leaks (probably 99.94% of the time) is that: a) the sides are too short; b) the liner does not go up and over the threshold/curb; c) the plumber did not fold the corners properly; d) the tile contractor cut the sticking-out-corners out of the way.

    90% of the time it is c) or d) or c) and d), the rest of the times it is b) with some a) mixed in.

    And I'm talking about new construction!

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

  53. #53
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It is and it isn't - the reason I posted that is previous posters stated the code inspection test had water in it for 24 hours and I pointed out that the time is 15 minutes (albeit the water is typically in there for much longer, but the required code test time is only 15 minutes).



    See above.



    It is equipped with a plugging mechanism - the hair strainer. There are also plugging devices on the market known as 5" flat tub stoppers.

    Regardless of whether there is a built-in stopper like a tub, ANY drain is susceptible to stopping up or becoming clogged, the basin which is connected to that drain is expected hold water and not leak until the basin is overflowed.



    More than you think, but not for 10 minutes ... ANY good inspector SHOULD use the hand shower and spray it around the seam of an enclosure and check for leaks ... you do not do that?
    Jerry,
    Shower pain strainers are not plugging devices, by any stretch of the imagination. Typical pan floor drains with strainers can not be effectively stopped with a 5" flat tub stopper, assuming you are referring to the neoprene, rubber or silicon variety. The strainer would have to be recessed below the finished pan surface in order to create a pressure seal between the stopper flange and pan. If the pan is tiled, grout-lines may prevent such a seal. As far as I have researched on line, no one makes a stopper specifically for a shower pan, which begs the question, "why?". Simply because typical shower pans are not supposed to be filled with water. If one does fill, there is a drainage issue which must be attended to. I have seen many slow running shower drains but never have I seen one remain filled with water from drain waste blockage or defect - unless the shower pan drain stopper is used during an inspection.

    The underlying issue is are we, as Inspectors, not performing a dis-service by filling the pan and expecting it to perform in a manner for which it was not intended? If that is the case then, IMO, Inspectors could be held liable for any resulting damage. Especially if there was no indication of leakage during normal use, as intended. Furthermore, many modern showers are equipped with drain 36" drain troughs which simply can not be plugged to test the efficacy of the pan.

    I used a 10 minute time frame for spraying down the walls, doors, seams, protrusions, joints and connections because that's a reasonable and typical time for showering. If only a cursory spray down is performed we are being somewhat hypocritical - fill / flood the pan for which it was not intended but only spend a few moments spraying the walls etc, for which they were (intended). And yes, I do use the hand held spray head, if equipped to spray down walls etc. I do not use a drain stopper and disclaim the possibility of pan leakage but without any evidence of such (if none exists). If it does exist then flooding the pan serves no purpose whatsoever other than replication.


  54. #54
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    The underlying issue is are we, as Inspectors, not performing a dis-service by filling the pan and expecting it to perform in a manner for which it was not intended?
    Ian,

    Yes, home inspectors are preforming a disservice by not filling the pan. (I know, that is the opposite of what you implied.)

    The shower pan IS intended to NOT leak - how do you presume to determine that it IS working as intended (not leaking) unless you fill the shower pan with water?

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

  55. #55
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ian,

    Yes, home inspectors are preforming a disservice by not filling the pan. (I know, that is the opposite of what you implied.)

    The shower pan IS intended to NOT leak - how do you presume to determine that it IS working as intended (not leaking) unless you fill the shower pan with water?
    Should we be blocking the primary condensate line in the attic and shorting receptacles to check for working as intended?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  56. #56
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Should we be blocking the primary condensate line in the attic and shorting receptacles to check for working as intended?
    What??? You mean you have not been testing that the main breaker trips ... that the plumbing supply piping does not leak at 85 psi ... that the a/c does not properly cool at design summer temperature ... that the heat does not keep the interior at code minimum at design winter temperature ...

    ... what kind of inspector are you???

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

  57. #57
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What??? You mean you have not been testing that the main breaker trips ... that the plumbing supply piping does not leak at 85 psi ... that the a/c does not properly cool at design summer temperature ... that the heat does not keep the interior at code minimum at design winter temperature ...

    ... what kind of inspector are you???
    I did forget to turn the water pressure up.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  58. #58
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Agreed on all points, however Grout, tile and caulk, are often waterproof; making our spray or flood test of questionable value. The tub surround I just removed in my home had nothing but tile, grout and one inch of mortar on steel lath. Fourty years and raised two children that used the shower, no leaks.
    It is a matter of semantics. Tile, grout and mortar are not waterproof. In fact, one of the standards on tile is how much water a tile will absorb. You take a dry tile, weight it, put it in a bucket of water, and weigh it after a certan amount of time. Tiles that absorb too much water are not suitable for outdoor use in climates with freeze thaw cycles. Water will migrate through grout and mortar (caulk - good caulk - is a different story). Actualy, epoxy grout was waterproof as well.

    Regular tile, grout, and mortar is higly water resistant. With your old bathroom, the walls would dry out before they became saturated enough to cause problems. Is that waterproof? Technicaly no, in all practicality, yes.

    The bathroom I just redid was built with a pre-fab pan, durock, tile, mastic, tile and grout. It worked fine for the first year we lived here. After a year I noticed leaks on the ceiling below (a drop ceiling I had installed in the laundry room). The shower had no waterproofing behind the cement board. While there were only minor drips on the below ceiling, there was extensive mold in the wall cavity. Water had been migrating through the walls for a while, but not in the extent nexessary to cause a drip. Turns out the shower was a hack job. I was able to demo the tile with a screwdriver, just pop them off the wall. It's a full Kerdi shower now (and the floor is Ditra, technicaly you could flood test the entire bathroom - but it would leak around the toilet was line opening.


    -dave


  59. #59
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    It is a matter of semantics. Tile, grout and mortar are not waterproof. In fact, one of the standards on tile is how much water a tile will absorb. You take a dry tile, weight it, put it in a bucket of water, and weigh it after a certan amount of time. Tiles that absorb too much water are not suitable for outdoor use in climates with freeze thaw cycles. Water will migrate through grout and mortar (caulk - good caulk - is a different story). Actualy, epoxy grout was waterproof as well.

    Regular tile, grout, and mortar is higly water resistant. With your old bathroom, the walls would dry out before they became saturated enough to cause problems. Is that waterproof? Technicaly no, in all practicality, yes.

    The bathroom I just redid was built with a pre-fab pan, durock, tile, mastic, tile and grout. It worked fine for the first year we lived here. After a year I noticed leaks on the ceiling below (a drop ceiling I had installed in the laundry room). The shower had no waterproofing behind the cement board. While there were only minor drips on the below ceiling, there was extensive mold in the wall cavity. Water had been migrating through the walls for a while, but not in the extent nexessary to cause a drip. Turns out the shower was a hack job. I was able to demo the tile with a screwdriver, just pop them off the wall. It's a full Kerdi shower now (and the floor is Ditra, technicaly you could flood test the entire bathroom - but it would leak around the toilet was line opening.


    -dave
    I agree with exception; the glazed surface of ceramic tile is water proof, dunking it in a bucket of water exposes the bisque surface which is not water proof.

    The point of contention here is; how long would you have to flood a shower stall with glazed tile and sealed grout, all in good condition, before you could prove or disprove the condition of the shower pan liner?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  60. #60
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I agree with exception; the glazed surface of ceramic tile is water proof, dunking it in a bucket of water exposes the bisque surface which is not water proof.

    The point of contention here is; how long would you have to flood a shower stall with glazed tile and sealed grout, all in good condition, before you could prove or disprove the condition of the shower pan liner?
    I'll give you that.

    While tile, grout, mortar, and cement board is not warterproof, it is water resistant enough that if they are at least fairly intact, a leak (pan or otherwise - such as in my case, non-existant wall waterproofing) is going to take quite a while to manifest.

    Sure, if you have cracked grout in a corner, and nobody siliconed the corner of the cement board behind it, a good spray with a spray head may start to show a leak downstairs. But solid grout in a mostly correct corner - it is going to take more than a 10 second spritz.



    -dave


  61. #61
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.
    This is a good description for a shower pan install and will, if properly applied make the pan water leak proof. Years ago when installing the shower drain the plumber would test the cast iron or ABS to a plug in the drain to check for leaks from the waste system. But a shower pan contractor would come in and dismantle the 2 part shower drain so he could lay tar paper and build a slopped pan with sand and/or paper and tar. He would plug the drain so no sand or tar could enter the drain trap. After applying these layers, he would install the top portion of the drain which he would continue with tar and paper to build the layer that would be used to tile over. This layer is cut around the drain but covers the bolts that secure the top to the bottom portion of the shower drain. There are many layers and a lot of tar used to make sure that the pan doesn't leak and water is allowed to stand in the pan until the inspector approves the installation. Only after this is complete should the tile contractor begin his work. One point that has not been mentioned is that there are weep holes around the top portion of the shower drain and the shower pan contractor makes sure that he keeps these open while he is applying his tar, so any water that penetrates the tile will be allowed to drain into the drain via the weep holes. If the shower pan is not protected prior to the tile contractor doing his work, it is possible that damage to the pan could be done by construction workers. So after the shower pan contractor finishes his work the shower should be protected from entry to prevent damage.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.
    This is a good description for a shower pan install and will, if properly applied make the pan water leak proof. Years ago when installing the shower drain the plumber would test the cast iron or ABS to a plug in the drain to check for leaks from the waste system. But a shower pan contractor would come in and dismantle the 2 part shower drain so he could lay tar paper and build a slopped pan with sand and/or paper and tar. He would plug the drain so no sand or tar could enter the drain trap. After applying these layers, he would install the top portion of the drain which he would continue with tar and paper to build the layer that would be used to tile over. This layer is cut around the drain but covers the bolts that secure the top to the bottom portion of the shower drain. There are many layers and a lot of tar used to make sure that the pan doesn't leak and water is allowed to stand in the pan until the inspector approves the installation. Only after this is complete should the tile contractor begin his work. One point that has not been mentioned is that there are weep holes around the top portion of the shower drain and the shower pan contractor makes sure that he keeps these open while he is applying his tar, so any water that penetrates the tile will be allowed to drain into the drain via the weep holes. If the shower pan is not protected prior to the tile contractor doing his work, it is possible that damage to the pan could be done by construction workers. So after the shower pan contractor finishes his work the shower should be protected from entry to prevent damage.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.
    This is a good description for a shower pan install and will, if properly applied make the pan water leak proof. Years ago when installing the shower drain the plumber would test the cast iron or ABS to a plug in the drain to check for leaks from the waste system. But a shower pan contractor would come in and dismantle the 2 part shower drain so he could lay tar paper and build a slopped pan with sand and/or paper and tar. He would plug the drain so no sand or tar could enter the drain trap. After applying these layers, he would install the top portion of the drain which he would continue with tar and paper to build the layer that would be used to tile over. This layer is cut around the drain but covers the bolts that secure the top to the bottom portion of the shower drain. There are many layers and a lot of tar used to make sure that the pan doesn't leak and water is allowed to stand in the pan until the inspector approves the installation. Only after this is complete should the tile contractor begin his work. One point that has not been mentioned is that there are weep holes around the top portion of the shower drain and the shower pan contractor makes sure that he keeps these open while he is applying his tar, so any water that penetrates the tile will be allowed to drain into the drain via the weep holes. If the shower pan is not protected prior to the tile contractor doing his work, it is possible that damage to the pan could be done by construction workers. So after the shower pan contractor finishes his work the shower should be protected from entry to prevent damage.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.
    This is a good description for a shower pan install and will, if properly applied make the pan water leak proof. Years ago when installing the shower drain the plumber would test the cast iron or ABS to a plug in the drain to check for leaks from the waste system. But a shower pan contractor would come in and dismantle the 2 part shower drain so he could lay tar paper and build a slopped pan with sand and/or paper and tar. He would plug the drain so no sand or tar could enter the drain trap. After applying these layers, he would install the top portion of the drain which he would continue with tar and paper to build the layer that would be used to tile over. This layer is cut around the drain but covers the bolts that secure the top to the bottom portion of the shower drain. There are many layers and a lot of tar used to make sure that the pan doesn't leak and water is allowed to stand in the pan until the inspector approves the installation. Only after this is complete should the tile contractor begin his work. One point that has not been mentioned is that there are weep holes around the top portion of the shower drain and the shower pan contractor makes sure that he keeps these open while he is applying his tar, so any water that penetrates the tile will be allowed to drain into the drain via the weep holes. If the shower pan is not protected prior to the tile contractor doing his work, it is possible that damage to the pan could be done by construction workers. So after the shower pan contractor finishes his work the shower should be protected from entry to prevent damage.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by David Dolch View Post
    I am not a inspector, nor am I a professional tile installer. However, I have re-built a number of bathrooms / showers - especialy the two in this house that previously leaked. I also did extensive research, and asked numerous people about water proofing showers.
    This is a good description for a shower pan install and will, if properly applied make the pan water leak proof. Years ago when installing the shower drain the plumber would test the cast iron or ABS to a plug in the drain to check for leaks from the waste system. But a shower pan contractor would come in and dismantle the 2 part shower drain so he could lay tar paper and build a slopped pan with sand and/or paper and tar. He would plug the drain so no sand or tar could enter the drain trap. After applying these layers, he would install the top portion of the drain which he would continue with tar and paper to build the layer that would be used to tile over. This layer is cut around the drain but covers the bolts that secure the top to the bottom portion of the shower drain. There are many layers and a lot of tar used to make sure that the pan doesn't leak and water is allowed to stand in the pan until the inspector approves the installation. Only after this is complete should the tile contractor begin his work. One point that has not been mentioned is that there are weep holes around the top portion of the shower drain and the shower pan contractor makes sure that he keeps these open while he is applying his tar, so any water that penetrates the tile will be allowed to drain into the drain via the weep holes. If the shower pan is not protected prior to the tile contractor doing his work, it is possible that damage to the pan could be done by construction workers. So after the shower pan contractor finishes his work the shower should be protected from entry to prevent damage.


  62. #62
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ian,

    Yes, home inspectors are preforming a disservice by not filling the pan. (I know, that is the opposite of what you implied.)

    The shower pan IS intended to NOT leak - how do you presume to determine that it IS working as intended (not leaking) unless you fill the shower pan with water?
    The point being, Jerry, is that flooding the pan may or may not expose a leak. A small pinhole, on the sidewall, not even close to being problematic during normal use may require many hours or even days to expose itself while the pan remains flooded. Allowing the pan to flood for 15 minutes or an even longer timeframe during an inspection does not confirm the pan is watertight or that it does not leak. The same can be said without flooding the pan, if that is indeed the case. Flooding, which does result in new damage, though may confirm a leak, puts a huge liability question on the Inspectors actions - especially if some defect, no matter how small were observed inside the shower where flooding would penetrate. How many showers are there that couldn't use re-grouting or a little caulking, especially around the pan and sidewalls? I doubt there is any professional organization which requires flooding the pan to test it's integrity and code only requires flooding the liner during construction.


  63. #63
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    The point being, Jerry, is that flooding the pan may or may not expose a leak.
    The point being that flood testing the shower pan MAY expose a leak, while ...

    ... NOT flood testing the shower pan CAN NOT expose a leak.

    You either work for the benefit of your clients or you don't ... your choice ... it's your call.

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

  64. #64
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The point being that flood testing the shower pan MAY expose a leak, while ...

    ... NOT flood testing the shower pan CAN NOT expose a leak.

    You either work for the benefit of your clients or you don't ... your choice ... it's your call.
    Just as a matter of interest...when was the last time you climbed on a roof with a running hose during a typical inspection, just to see if the roof leaked?

    I work for the benefit of the client with the utmost consideration given to the property owner / occupant - my call, loud and clear.


  65. #65
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    Default Re: Leaking shower pan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Just as a matter of interest...when was the last time you climbed on a roof with a running hose during a typical inspection, just to see if the roof leaked?
    If there were a practical way to flood the roof with a fire hose (would take the fire department's permission which makes it impractical, along with other reasons) ... why not?

    I work for the benefit of the client with the utmost consideration given to the property owner / occupant - my call, loud and clear.
    I became concerned because anytime someone spends so much time and effort to come up with ways and reasons NOT to test a shower pan ... and then thinks it is for the benefit of their client - that is typically an indication of an inspector who is more interested in their benefits (time versus money) than in their client's benefit of finding a leaking shower pan.

    As many of us have said over the years about other testing procedures - Try it, you'll like it ... Mikey did (Special K I believe). Suddenly you will realize just how many leaking shower pans you have been missing and wonder why it took you so long to switch.

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

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