0
Your shopping cart is empty.

Shower curb leaking

HU-766231998
December 5, 2018

Hi - recently had shower stall redone. Had brand new shower pan put in - custom made tile ready shower pan. It was tiled over and a two piece marble saddle put in. We just started using the shower and noticed on the outside of the shower, underneath the marble saddle there is water leaking. We had the inside touched up with more caulk. It’s still leaking. Any ideas or suggestions what the issue could be?

Comments (35)
  • Jake The Wonderdog

    may we see photos?


  • Jake The Wonderdog

    BTW: don't pay the contractor... you are probably going to be ripping it out

  • HU-766231998

    Sure. Am away right now for work, but will take when I am back. Any guesses in the meantime? so the water is going on top of the curb and out a small pinhole in the outside caulking where the two marble saddle/curb pieces meet. Could there be a pinhole inside the shower caulking where the tile and curb meet that we are not seeing?? Where else could it be coming from?

  • Bri Bosh
    The caulking itself shouldn’t be the sole waterproofing. It should be waterproof even without ANY caulk. Do you have pics of the in progress construction?
  • HU-766231998

    I don’t. So behind the wall tiles there is backer Board. The pan is one solid piece custom made for my Shower. It was installed over the subfloor/plywood, backer board. I believe the tiles are right on the pan as per tile redi installation instructions - though I could be wrong on that.

    The leak is above the pan or on the upper sill of the curb it seems - outside the shower.

  • millworkman

    So it sounds as if this is the tie in between the pan and the walls. How were the walls waterproofed? How was the tie in made with the wall waterproofing meeting the pan? What type of backer board was used? Was this cement board and if so what was put over the cement board for waterproofing (cement board alone is NOT waterproof), or was poly used behind the cement board? Without progress pics it very well may be impossible to tell anything. As jake states you very well may be heading back to the studs with the whole magilla...................

  • HU-766231998

    unfortunately I don’t have answers to a lot of these questions. I know a tie in was made - I believe it was some sort of thin white material.

    I sprayed water in two Corners and that is when the leaking seems to happen. However, we have caulked and recaulked - which I understand isn’t waterproof but what’s my other option?

  • Jake The Wonderdog

    Can we see photos. We're really guessing until we can see what we're dealing with.

  • millworkman

    Caulk is more cosmetic and last line of defense than waterproofing. In theory your shower needs to basically be waterproof without caulking. Caulk cleans up the transitions and stops water from pouring thru. Without pics, without knowing EXACTLY what was done and EXACTLY how it was done you have two choices. Live with it not knowing what rot and mold may be occuring behind the tile, or stick to your guns and hold the conractors feet to the fire and make him start all over correctly. The decision is yours. But basically you can never assume soemone knows what they say they know. Trust but verify, and maybe you need to rethink your hiring/vetting process. At the end of the day leaking showers do not generally do not get sucessfully repaired they get gutted and redone.

  • HU-766231998

    Probably dumb question - but if there is no caulking then wouldnt water go through gaps between tiles? in theory the one piece pan is waterproofed. If water is going on top of the curb then what is my line of defense? I’ll try to ask someone to send me photos.

  • HU-766231998

    Those pictures show the shower. The spot leaking through two holes on the OUTSIDE of the curb and a spot on the corner against a wall that I think may be letting water in and trickling down to the leak. I will try to post 2 more

  • HU-766231998

    Picture isn’t posting for some reason. Will try more later but let me know what everyone thinks based on that.

  • Jake The Wonderdog

    " At the end of the day leaking showers do not generally get successfully repaired they get gutted and redone."


    This is very true and what I was saying earlier. And it's why you need to pay a lot of attention to who you have do the work, and how it's done. It's good to even document the work with photos as it's being done.


    As everyone has said, the walls and the floor pan / drain should be water tight without tile. In fact, a standard practice is to do a standing water test before any tile work is done. Tile, grout and caulk are cosmetic and the wear surfaces, not the waterproofing. Caulk and grout will always deteriorate / dry out / crack over time. They are not a water seal by themselves.


    If your contractor attempts a repair, IT MUST involve more than applying caulk and or grout. Caulking things may hold off leaking for some months, which will only make it harder to hold him responsible. Other than removing a door and redoing it, for example, nothing else can generally be repaired successfully without a full gut (you can't replace the curb, for example). Everything is tied together.


  • HU-766231998

    We replaced the entire pan and the Entire first row of tiles. The leak is not coming from the interior pan. The water leaking is getting under the outside curb/saddle. I don’t know where that water is sourcing from or how to fix it. I have to assume it’s through a gap in the upper corner or wall. Another gut is not an option at this time.

  • Jake The Wonderdog

    So, just to be clear: This is the shower where we ALL told you to rip it out and redo it -- and get a different contractor and you ignored all of that advice and warnings and attempted a patch job instead with a contractor who didn't know what they were doing.

    You are completely on your own here. You got exactly what we said you would get. Why are you back here asking for advice?

  • HU-766231998

    I did not ignore. I did what was financially feasible for us as a temporary resolution. And, I met with several contractors and selected a recommended one after checking references.

  • Jake The Wonderdog

    I understand " financially feasible". We took showers using water heated on the stove for over a year because we couldn't afford a water heater when I was growing up. I'm not insensitive to that... but we all did give you clear advice that this couldn't be patched - and I'm pretty sure we told you anyone who would patch it isn't a qualified contractor. You already saw what happens when someone half-asses a shower job with wood curbs and drywall behind tile.

    Again, I don't know why you are back here asking for advice. We told you all of this information previously and you went your own way. We have nothing to add to what we already told you.

    I'm sure your contractor is providing you with no warranty because it was a patch job in the first place. My advice now is what it was then: Use another bathroom until you can afford to fix this one right. It really sucks that you threw good money after bad, but there it is.

  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.

    Did your contractor tell you that this "fix" was going to solve your problem? Did they say they would warranty their work? This is why most professionals will not do "patchwork", or in rare situations when they know the actual source of the problem, and by request of the homeowner, they may attempt it with a written disclaimer that there is no warranty on such work (in other words, it's on the homeowner if they want to "try" a short cut approach). No PRO would do a patch job like that and warranty it. Your concerns at this point should be directed to your trusted contractor. Most likely you have a breach somewhere in your waterproofing system, which is UNDER your tile as others have stated (and would wrap up and over your curb). Impossible to know exactly where the problems originate without a complete tear out.

  • geoffrey_b

    I have a Tile Redi shower pan. It's all one piece - the pan / curb / sides. So the pan shouldn't leak. You need to determine what is leaking. I would dry the shower, and use duct tape on the inside - over the marble curve, and an inch or so down the inside of the curb. Take a shower and see if it still leaks. If it does you know it's not the curb.

    I have a hunch that the juncture between the side of the pan and the wall is leaking - I noted it with the red rectangle.

    Not to be critical but the tile job doesn't look that great - see the red circle.

    HU-766231998 thanked geoffrey_b
  • millworkman

    "I did not ignore. I did what was financially feasible for us as a temporary resolution."


    Good catch jake, financially feasible only works if a repair is possiible with a reasonable expectation of beign effective. Unfortunately you have found out first hand why everyone told you not to Rube Goldberg it then. How financially feasible is it to have to now do the entire shower with half of it twice? Good luck I am thru.

  • HU-766231998

    Geoffrey_b - thank you for your useful

    and helpful reply in this situation. I agree - tiling job not great. I will do as you said and hope for the best. I just can’t wrap my head around how water is getting on top

    of the curb and under the marble, but clearly it is.

  • ssdarb

    To OP,

    I'm a homeowner, not a pro. If you haven't paid the contractor yet, maybe hold off on that. If you have, ask them to come back, show them the leaking, ask them if they can fix it. If not (which I don't think they can/will), see if you can get your money back because you hired them to fix the leaking and they did not do that. Use a different bathroom while you save up the money to do a complete rebuild of the shower. That's my best recommendation.

  • HU-766231998

    Thanks ssdarb - I have not paid Yet. I am really hoping the leak can be remedied for now - even if it’s temporary. I undrstand this was a “patch job” but just still can’t figure out where the water is entering. Thanks again.

  • ssdarb

    I'm glad to hear you have not paid. I think by law you have to give them a chance to fix it. So ask them to fix it, probably they won't be able to, document the leaking after the attempted fix. Then part ways with the contractor. Do all this asking and documenting by email so you can keep a record. After the failed fix, write another email that you are so sorry they weren't able to fix it, and that you are going to have to move on to finding another contractor and say good bye. Then dry out the shower, don't use it, and save up money to completely rebuild the shower. I read through your other thread and this one, and from what I understand about waterproofing, I think your only reasonable option is to rebuild the shower completely. Sorry this is happening, but if you try another patch-fix I think you will get the same result.

    HU-766231998 thanked ssdarb
  • HU-766231998

    Thank you for your kind advice ssdarb. I appreciate iT. Really unfortunate situation.

  • Bri Bosh
    Well, we know the original waterproofing wasn’t done correctly. We don’t know how either contractor tied the waterproofing of the pan into the wall waterproofing (you’re describing what sounds like plaster or thin set—not waterproof). Caulk and grout and thin set are NOT waterproofing materials. It’s highly likely that water is getting in at multiple points, including behind the wall tile, running down the wall, and out at the bottom. This isn’t a matter of a pinhole leak somewhere. Water is intrusive and WILL get behind anything not properly waterproofed, which is why people told you in your first post to start over. Stop using the shower AT ALL. You could be doing lots of damage (rot, mold, water damage) behind the walls that will be even more costly to fix.
  • Bri Bosh
    Ah. Never mind. I see that the wall tile was installed over drywall with no waterproofing. Therefore, no worries about how the new pan was tied in—there was nothing to tie INto!!! Yup, exactly what was predicted happened. Half assed fix resulted in the same exact problem and $$ down the proverbial drain. Can’t say you weren’t warned, that’s for sure.
  • Jeff Meeks

    Whatever is underneath this shower it looks like it's a poor glass enclosure and curb job. I bet the curb is either flat or even tilted away from the shower so water runs against the glass and silicone and then finds it's way through either grout or holes in the silicone and onto the floor outside the shower. Given the visible lippage I'll also bet that no levelling system was used on the large format tile.

  • PRO
    Creative Tile Eastern CT

    If you think hiring a professional is expensive wait until you see the cost of hiring a amateur.

  • geoffrey_b

    I just want to ask: Why are you guy's so hateful? Seems like you are PO'ed?

    HU-766231998 thanked geoffrey_b
  • Jake The Wonderdog

    If that was directed to me, I wasn't hateful.

    I want to help people. I spent a lot of time responding to him on his first thread. And it wasn't as if I was an outlier telling him what he had needed to be completely removed and hire a competent contractor. For whatever reason he didn't heed that advice.

    Now It's leaking again, and of course nobody can tell him where that's leaking. We only know that the job was poorly done. We know that because it's leaking. We know that because it was patched. We know that from looking at the tile work and the curb.

    We all know pretty clearly that you can't "repair" these things (unless it's the shower door, for example).

    I'm serious when I say that I don't understand why he is posting here now - it's not hateful... we can't help him. Anything that anyone would say is a guess. We have no idea what's going on under the tile (other than it's not right). The most helpful thing we CAN do is reiterate for anyone else in this position is that you don't want to do what was done.

    I was a little miffed that he didn't identify himself upfront as having posted before about this project - could have saved some of the "Caulk isn't waterproofing" stuff that he's already heard.

    On a broader scale, I'm not happy with the situation in general - and that's not the OP's fault... but he's not really hearing what's being said either. The bigger situation is something that Sophie and Creative Tile have talked around the edges about: A custom tiled shower is expensive and requires a lot of skill and workmanship to do properly. Period. Full Stop. No wiggle room. No, "It's not in my budget".

    Homeowners are watching HGTV and have come to believe that things like curbless showers, custom tile showers, steam showers, multi-head showers, garden tubs, etc. are "normal" and baseline, rather than a luxury that requires a premium cost to do properly. I think the influence of HGTV has driven the cost of housing up tremendously. A lot of what is being "sold" is really trendy crap that will be dated by the next season - but the mortgage will go on for 30 years.

    There's a TON of really bad showers out there. House flippers in particular have done shoddy work installing these kinds of amenities that doesn't show up until the drywall behind the tile disintegrates several months later.

    I am really sorry the OP bought one of these houses that had shoddy as hell construction in the bathroom -- but the whole HGTV / flipped house thing is a scam and young home buyers, in particular, need to wise up. They are spending a lot of money on homes with a lot of flash and really poor construction. They will be defaulting on those loans if they aren't careful.


    But more to the point, the OP in this case was able to see why the original construction was crap, had good people telling him it couldn't be done on a low budget, we went into detail on the proper way to do things... and then the OP reverted to the doing things the wrong way and it didn't go well. I can't help him.

  • HU-766231998

    I think they are offended I didn’t take the original advice to do a complete gut. However, as I have explained, it wasn’t financially feasible for us. I did what we could afford and hoped for the best. Sadly, I am in a not great situation now, but the majority of people replying to me only seem to care about telling me “we told you so.”

  • boundsgreener

    No one is ever happy to say “I told you so”. Particularly the pros who dedicate their free time to give you valuable advice that was ignored. The advice was actually to not do anything until you could afford to completely redo the shower. Instead you spent more money on a non-fix. You are in no better a position than you were when you had the original problem, except you might be a few dollars down. I, and the pros who gave you specific tips from experience, hope that you don’t spend any more money on this bathroom until you have the funds to pull it down to the studs and start from scratch.

  • Jeff Meeks

    I'd describe many of the posts as frustrated. It's frustrating when good advice is given and it is ignored. It's also sad to see money being spent on such poor workmanship. The OP is the one that should be POed to have ended up with a leaky shower. So here are the options.

    live with it and mop up the water and deal with the mould and rot later on

    get happy with a caulk gun....probably a temporary fix....and deal with the mould and rot later on

    remove the glass and re do the curb and reinstall which might not fix all the leaks and deal with the mould and rot later on

    gut the shower and have it done properly.

Need help with a Houzz order? Call us at 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun)