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Shower pan liner dilema

Paul N Frey

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Bear with me on this one: 1 year old residence with an ADA shower on the main floor. Crawl space under the residence.

1) Shower pan and walls are tile and I am assuming the floor base is mortar / tile set.

2) No threshold since it is ADA compliant.

Shower enclosure is wall to wall (of the bathroom) and approximately 3 1/2' wide and the toilet "adjoins" the shower area approximately 5' off the main wall.

3) Original inspection for 1 year warranty noticed leakage in the crawl and builder applied silicone sealant to wall / pan joint and called it good.

4) At the request of the inspector I went out to check and proceeded to "flood" the pan area until slightly more than 1/4" of water was on the wall. Floor is poorly sloped so I didn't want to flood the entire bathroom.

5) Climb back into the crawl space and the floor was dripping water at literally every area where the wall and pan intersect on the 3 sides of the shower. Not a little - a lot and I only held the water for about 3 minutes.

6) My feeling is that the builder either did not install a pan liner or it was compromised during construction. I e mailed Mr Katen and he feels the same as I do in that a liner should have been installed and it should extend 3-4" up the wall.

7) Talked to a county inspector and he got quite a chuckle out of it - his response was something like "yeah, this is a real quandry in the code regs because of the ADA and ""exceptions"" therein". He really couldn't offer much in the way of help other than point me to the code references (which Jim had already given me). Oregon Specialty code 411.7 and beyond.

Any feelings on pan liner requirements for ADA showers with no thresholds (pretty hard to get a chair over a threshold)?? This floor will rot out in a matter of years as installed.

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There are hundreds of prefab pans out there specifically for barrier free showers. This is from the installation instructions for a Tile Redi unit:

Install the shower backer board and water proofing in accordance with the standards established by the Tile Council of North America, Inc.

See the actual instructions and installation video here: http://www.tileredi.com/installation.php

The complete design rules can be found at the DOJ website: http://www.ada.gov/

Barrier free is a new enough concept that I can see there not being provisions in the residential code, but there is an entire industry devoted to accessablity and there are very well defined standards and established best practices. Neither the builder or the inspector (AHJ) cared to look.


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The muni guy is a goofball. There are plenty of ways (well, actually only one way but it's easy) to get the shower pan liner working like it's supposed to in an ADA compliant shower.

This shocks most contractors, but the liner should be extended out in front of the shower, around the walls, and anywhere else the water might get to.

Hem the perimeter on the floor as a simple dam. install mud, tile, grout, done.

No leaks.

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