Plastic shower stall floor/caulking

Old 09-30-02, 05:46 PM
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Plastic shower stall floor/caulking

I have been plagued with a failed caulking joint where the one peice shower floor base meets the marble tile. Over the 7 years I've owned the house, I have had to recaulk it every 6 months. Otherwise it leaks on the other side of the wall under the carpet, soaking the carpet. So, I had someone recaulk the whole thing again, but this time we didn't use silicone. We used a non-silicone product called Permaseal or Permatex, something like that. We cleaned all of the surfaces very well & packed in the caulk, let it set for 3 days. I got a month out of it before it began leaking again. The joint failed. It looks like there is too much movement on the floor, like the idiot who installed it didn't use mortor under it. I'm 200+ pounds, and my weight caused the floor to pull the caulking away from the marble, or the other way around.. I can open up the wall on the opposite side (the bad joint is on the wall with the spout & valve). Should I go through this mess, tear out the one peice floor & replace it right, or is their a caulking or something else I can stuff in there. This is a one peice plastic floor with 1' X 1' marble tiles on all three shower walls.
Old 09-30-02, 07:02 PM
Doug Aleshire's Avatar
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I am hearing a couple of things here that don't quite make sense.

First, you are right, improper base support for the shower is one problem but I doubt that this is the cause of the leaking unless;

1. The plastic base is just floating and the lip, that I would assume it would have, is not anchored properly to the wall studs.

2. or the marble tile is not flush with the shower base and thus it is wicking back up to substrate and leaking out.

My first question is do you have a shower door or a shower curtain? Is this on a main floor? Do you have a basement, slab or crawl? If this is a basement or crawl, is there significant water damage that is evident to the floor structure? Is the wall tile in good condition as well as the grout and has it been sealed routinely?

Let's start with this;

I would first look at the shower valve assembly and shower arm if you can. Take the cover plate off the shower faucet assembly (assuming you have a single handle unit) and run your shower, use a flashlight and see if any water is dripping from any fittings and if any drops are coming down from the shower arm. When you mention that the leaking is occurring on the other side of the wall where the shower faucet and shower arm is located, I am wondering if this is the problem.

If this is the problem we can forget the next item. But just in case, if you can remove any wall covering from the wall that the leak is apparently coming from, at least down low at the bottom plate, it might help determine where the water is coming from.
Again if you run the shower and inspect the areas in question, you may get more answers.

The last thing that might be questionable is the actual floor drain leaking or the plastic shower base itself might have a crack in it. Have you thoroughly inspected this? Not properly supported may also mean it flexed too much and a crack may had been created.

If you can check all this out, it will determine your next move and that might mean a total redo of the shower area, the right way as you described.

Let us know!
Old 09-30-02, 07:14 PM
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Thanks Doug. This is on my second floor above my living room. I sure about where the leak is coming from because I can get rid of it by removing and replacing the caulk in this joint, but only for months at a time. The latest caulk job was smooth and neat, looked tight & solid when it was done. But now the caulk joint has opened up, and if you look at it while applying pressure to the shower floor, you can see the deflection. The marble tile joint abutts the top of the floor wall. There is not a lot of movement, but enough to break the caulk joint. The water leaks out the other side of the wall, under the carpet, to a low spot about 18 inches away. I think I need to either pull open the wall/mop board on the opposite side and get something under the shower floor to minimize deflection, or find a more elastic caulk. I hate silicone, but I could get almost year out of it in the past before it started leaking again.

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