Evidence supporting caulk between shower body and tile

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Old 01-27-13, 12:03 PM
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Evidence supporting caulk between shower body and tile

Over 10 years ago I finally got the super up to the apartment at the right moment for him to see the dripping from the wall above the shower. Previously he thought the crumbling plaster was due to condensation and he said all I need is primer over the repaired wall. This time he called the plumber, they broke into the wall of my bathroom and the wall in the hallway of the family above me. The only leak they found was when they splashed water on the handles of the shower above me. Apparently, the plumbers didn't think it was their job to fix that and they told me to tell the super. I did and he apparently did nothing. Recently I saw a post on the internet from another super who said shower fixtures don't need to be caulked. As far as I could tell, that's wrong.

Shortly after the above incident, I bought some waterproof elastomeric spackle type stuff so at least the wall would tolerate the leak better, but I ran out before finishing and the building plasterer finished the job (I bet he even tore out my work but I wasn't watching) with regular plaster. I primed it, but the leak redamaged it.

Yesterday (two or three supers later), I explained the problem. I said he should take off the plates around the handles of the shower above mine and caulk between the pipe and the tile, and he should fix the wall that has the water damage with cement board instead of sheetrock or plaster. He didn't want to do either, but he will at least look for the leak by removing the medicine cabinet. Hopefully he'll eventually find the true source, which is probably through the tile. Unfortunately, I may end up buying cement board and repairing the wall myself because I don't want my wall to be at the mercy of the caulking or grouting job in the apartment above me, assuming that job gets done at all.

Is there a building code or book or anything authoritative that I could show to the super to convince him to caulk the shower body? I remember seeing a post on an internet forum several years ago that recommended it, but that's not good enough.

And how about the plaster on mesh the the plasterer used above the tile in the shower? Is that a violation or just a bad idea?
 
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Old 01-27-13, 06:16 PM
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I was about to tell you to go to the local building dept but then I saw that you lived in NY. If you are in NYC, it might take 3 more supers before it's done. Offer him a few dollars. See if he bites.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 04:42 AM
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Depending on how neat the tile layer was when the tile job was done. I would opt to silicone around the top 300 degree arc of the handles, leaving about a 1/4" gap at the bottom. That should stop splashing water from ever entering the space where the tile is, eliminating your problem. You must stop it at the source. No amount of damming up the ceiling will keep water at bay.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 11:40 AM
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I know but if I'm not satisfied that the super fixed the problem then I have to do something on my end to at least delay the problem. I'm tempted to put a big funnel in the wall that exits through a hole in my bathroom wall, but I'll probably just anchor cement board to the mesh in the wall.

Here's a photo of the damage. Below that is the space between my tub spout and the tile, which I bet is similar to the apartment above mine.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 12:48 PM
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How close are you with the upstairs neighbor?
 
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Old 01-28-13, 01:18 PM
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Not close enough that I'd feel comfortable trying to get them to let me caulk their bathroom. They're elderly and I don't want to ask them to do it themselves. I think if I make a hole in the ceiling, put a pail under it, and photograph the water, the super will take care of it. I could show the photo to building management if he doesn't. I should have made sure it was done last time. This time it will get done.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 01:30 PM
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Put a Free Caulking promotion flyer under their door.
 
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