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Shower Pan Repair


Mike Lamb
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Yeah, they don't work. Maybe a few weeks, or even a month or two, but I'd bet against it if anyone was taking bets.

I'd grudgingly concede that I did a liner that worked ok, but the patch kits I've used and seen don't work.

A quick and dirty shower pan isn't about material cost; it's about surgical logistics. You can get a new pan for $50, 4x4 tile for 50 cents psf, etc. Going cheap, it'd be hard to spend >$100.

It's just a pile of work.

Maybe some of that black spray on stuff that's been on TV lately......you know, the one where the screen door is in the bottom of the john boat....(?)...

Yeah, that'd do it. Get that black spray on stuff. The guy said it fixed everything.

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My nephew has an acrylic shower floor with three 1" smiles in it that are leaking to the room below. He can't afford a tear-out replacement at this time. I have googled acrylic repair kits for this problem. Does anyone have any experience with this repair? Thanks.

I'm not aware of any retail-level repair kits that you can buy that will work.

However, there are companies that specialize in fiberglass repairs. They can repair it just fine. I've seen holes the size of a 2x4 (framer dropped a piece of blocking) through the tub that were repaired so that you couldn't see the repair.

I once inspected a house where a guy was there replacing the very bottom of a bathtub during the inspection. When I started, he was using a jigsaw to cut out the bottom of the tub. He was done before I was. The repair looked great and the the whole tub seemed much sturdier than it had before he started.

The smiles are a failure of the substrate. It has to be repaired before the surface can be fixed. Any repair that only addresses the surface won't work.

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Would anyone have a photo of a 'smile' as used in this thread?

Marc

None that I could locate. They're very difficult to photograph. Imagine a hairline crack in a semicircle or arc shape, like a smile. They almost always deflect when you step on them. They're a failure of the fiberglass substrate. There are similar failures that looks like spiderwebs and stars.

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Would anyone have a photo of a 'smile' as used in this thread?

Marc

None that I could locate. They're very difficult to photograph. Imagine a hairline crack in a semicircle or arc shape, like a smile. They almost always deflect when you step on them. They're a failure of the fiberglass substrate. There are similar failures that looks like spiderwebs and stars.

I get it. Thanks.

Marc

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Hi,

I bet they'd installed that pan without anything extra to support the weight.

I helped a fellow replace one of those inexpensive shower stalls a few years ago that had a couple "smiles" in the pan. They'd occurred in places where there weren't any support ribs molded into the underside of the pan. You could feel the pan move if you pushed on it with your heel between the support ribs. The instructions on the identical new pan didn't say anything about supporting the pan with anything extra (There were about a dozen ribs fanning out from the center, so it looked pretty rigid.), but I didn't want to take a chance on it failing again. I smeared some paint on the ribs, pressed the pan to the floor to reveal the pattern and then I mixed up some stiff bedding mortar, rolled out a bunch of thick breadsticks of the stuff that were deeper than the height of the cavity beneath the pan, laid them out between the rib impressions and then we carefully pressed that pan into position on top to compress the mortar bed and spread those breadsticks out beneath the pan between the ribs.

Once it had set, we ended up with a nicely bedded pan with a nice solid feel to the bottom and absolutely no more flex in that pan between ribs when someone stood on it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi,

I bet they'd installed that pan without anything extra to support the weight.

I helped a fellow replace one of those inexpensive shower stalls a few years ago that had a couple "smiles" in the pan. They'd occurred in places where there weren't any support ribs molded into the underside of the pan. You could feel the pan move if you pushed on it with your heel between the support ribs. The instructions on the identical new pan didn't say anything about supporting the pan with anything extra (There were about a dozen ribs fanning out from the center, so it looked pretty rigid.), but I didn't want to take a chance on it failing again. I smeared some paint on the ribs, pressed the pan to the floor to reveal the pattern and then I mixed up some stiff bedding mortar, rolled out a bunch of thick breadsticks of the stuff that were deeper than the height of the cavity beneath the pan, laid them out between the rib impressions and then we carefully pressed that pan into position on top to compress the mortar bed and spread those breadsticks out beneath the pan between the ribs.

Once it had set, we ended up with a nicely bedded pan with a nice solid feel to the bottom and absolutely no more flex in that pan between ribs when someone stood on it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Spray foam works well for the same purpose. It's one of the few valid uses for that stuff.

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Yeah, they don't work. Maybe a few weeks, or even a month or two, but I'd bet against it if anyone was taking bets.

I'd grudgingly concede that I did a liner that worked ok, but the patch kits I've used and seen don't work.

A quick and dirty shower pan isn't about material cost; it's about surgical logistics. You can get a new pan for $50, 4x4 tile for 50 cents psf, etc. Going cheap, it'd be hard to spend >$100.

It's just a pile of work.

Maybe some of that black spray on stuff that's been on TV lately......you know, the one where the screen door is in the bottom of the john boat....(?)...

Yeah, that'd do it. Get that black spray on stuff. The guy said it fixed everything.

Undercoating in a can! [:P]

Id like to watch him float that miracle boat down the missouri river! [:-eyebrow

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Hi,

I bet they'd installed that pan without anything extra to support the weight.

I helped a fellow replace one of those inexpensive shower stalls a few years ago that had a couple "smiles" in the pan. They'd occurred in places where there weren't any support ribs molded into the underside of the pan. You could feel the pan move if you pushed on it with your heel between the support ribs. The instructions on the identical new pan didn't say anything about supporting the pan with anything extra (There were about a dozen ribs fanning out from the center, so it looked pretty rigid.), but I didn't want to take a chance on it failing again. I smeared some paint on the ribs, pressed the pan to the floor to reveal the pattern and then I mixed up some stiff bedding mortar, rolled out a bunch of thick breadsticks of the stuff that were deeper than the height of the cavity beneath the pan, laid them out between the rib impressions and then we carefully pressed that pan into position on top to compress the mortar bed and spread those breadsticks out beneath the pan between the ribs.

Once it had set, we ended up with a nicely bedded pan with a nice solid feel to the bottom and absolutely no more flex in that pan between ribs when someone stood on it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Ive seen more than 1 carpenter lay out a layer of thick grout before installing pan
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Hi,

I bet they'd installed that pan without anything extra to support the weight.

I helped a fellow replace one of those inexpensive shower stalls a few years ago that had a couple "smiles" in the pan. They'd occurred in places where there weren't any support ribs molded into the underside of the pan. You could feel the pan move if you pushed on it with your heel between the support ribs. The instructions on the identical new pan didn't say anything about supporting the pan with anything extra (There were about a dozen ribs fanning out from the center, so it looked pretty rigid.), but I didn't want to take a chance on it failing again. I smeared some paint on the ribs, pressed the pan to the floor to reveal the pattern and then I mixed up some stiff bedding mortar, rolled out a bunch of thick breadsticks of the stuff that were deeper than the height of the cavity beneath the pan, laid them out between the rib impressions and then we carefully pressed that pan into position on top to compress the mortar bed and spread those breadsticks out beneath the pan between the ribs.

Once it had set, we ended up with a nicely bedded pan with a nice solid feel to the bottom and absolutely no more flex in that pan between ribs when someone stood on it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Spray foam works well for the same purpose. It's one of the few valid uses for that stuff.

Unless it expands moving the pan with it
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Unless it expands moving the pan with it

Presumably, you'll have the unit secured in place along its flange.

As long as the foam has at least one side where it can expand to, it doesn't tend to do much lifting. On the other hand, if there were nowhere for the excess foam to escape, it could blow the pan apart.

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  • 1 month later...

It turns out the problem was more than cracks in the pan. My nephew repaired the shower floor with some sort of patch and felt he fixed the problem but it was still soaking wet after 2 weeks. I cut open the ceiling beneath and it turns out the drain was also leaking and the PVC trap was cracked.

It has since been repaired and is not leaking after 2 weeks of use. The plumber says it is common to have leaky drains if these pans are not supported beneath. He fixed everything and sprayed Great Stuff foam.

Epilogue. Last weekend's inspection had a fiberglass shower stall in a basement. I stepped into the stall and could feel the base flex. It was also leaking beneath.

Live and learn. I am now reporting unsupported fiberglass shower floors if they flex, whether they are leaking or not. I didn't used to.

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