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Bathroom Fitting Question
Shower tray and consistent leaks
We refitted our bathroom in March 2012. We have used a stone shower tray with a 2 sided enclosure. We have tiled the bathroom with natural stone- cappucino marble tiles (60x40). We live in a Victorian conversion in London and our flat is on the first floor.
In Nov 2013, our downstairs neighbour reported a leak from our bathroom into his kitchen. We called back the builder who fitted the bathroom and a few others who advised that replacing the silicon would stop this. this was immediately done.
Again in Feb 2014 our neighbour called to say the leak had started. this time we got the shower tray lifted, the ply underneath the tray was wet and had mould, this was cleaned and a new shower tray was installed.
Come July 2014 our neighbour again reported a leak. The builder/plumber advised that the tiles on the walls and grout around it had holes which caused the water to seep in and regrouting the tiles was the solution. However when he started doing that, he advised that some tiles had silicon rather than grout and therefore he would need to retile that part of the wall again along with re doing the silicon around the shower tray. It's been 3 weeks and we have had a complaint again. The tiles and the shower tray are against a timber wall.
We want to sort this out for once and for all. Our neighbour insists that shower trays don't work well in Victorian conversions due to the movement factor in the walls/ floors. What is the best way to rectify this? Should we get a bath tub in or retile the floor with backer board and put the tray on top?
Our neighbour insists on getting a shower cubicle which is four sided, which I'm not sure will work. Are Victorian conversions really not good with shower trays and power showers?
Any advice is welcome as we are now wanting to end the nightmare for our neighbour and more importantly ourselves as we do not want to cause any trouble to anyone.
The could be a number reasons why you have had such a nightmare of a time with the work that has been carried out.
First the floor that the shower tray is sitting on would need to be checked for movement even the smallest amount of movement with body weight in the shower tray might just be to much for the silicone and that will break it down and cause leaks.
Silicone only has a few mm tolerance and the less you can use the better!
If water gets behind the tiles you will usually see hairline cracks in the grout and sometimes in severe case you can push the tiles and check to see if they are actually coming off the wall and move back and forth.
If I was to look at the job and hearing all your previous problems I would probably take the shower tray out and (maybe) remove wall tiles and start again Making sure that floor underneath the tray is fully strengthened with thick marine ply and has absolutely no movement (even check the existing joists). If the walls have plasterboard under the tiles I would replace that with hardibacker board and if you wanted to go that extra step further you could even tank the walls before you tile them.
You can over come any problem even in victorian conversions with the proper preparation.
I hope you over come this problem.
Regards, Scott Smc Plumbing and Maintenance
Answered 26th Jul 2014
This is probably the most common leak... went to fix a leaking shower only last
week, that had been working fine for years.... same old problem of movement
and trying to keep the tray and tiles and wall all working together with the
help of porous grout and poorly applied or cheap silicone!
In cases like this, I turn to my wetroom tanking system from Aquatecnic... and
a rubber gasket called a 'Classi-Seal', which is easily found on the shelf in decent
plumber's merchants such as City Plumbing or PTS...
The rubber gasket is applied to the tray, giving you a watertight upstand of about
40mm. The wetroom tanking (flexible tape and waterproof paint) is used to
cover the walls and connect up to the gasket. This has been 100% effective in the
10+ years I have been using it (why did I say that??).
Obviously, you need to rip everything apart to do this remedial work, but sometimes
it's worth it for peace of mind... sorry to say that it sounds like you need it!
All the best.
Answered 25th Sep 2014