Shower Pan Failures the How and Why…

Shower Pan Failures the How and Why…

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Lets face it…shower pan failures can and do happen…even after a successful water test.

DKShowerPans, being a stand behind our work kind of company, we get calls about leaking shower pans that are from 1 week to 7 and more years old, private homes and track work alike we have a process that we as a company take to find out what caused the shower pan failure.

Let me start with the statement that we at DKShowerPans try our very best to make sure that your pan is done correctly from the beginning!!! On a daily basis we will have shower pans that cannot be hot mopped and need to be re-scheduled. The most common problems will be in the wood framing or plumbing conditions when we arrive on site. Though on more than one occasion, an electrical box had been left in a shower enlargement project!!!

We understand that some work that was to be done did not get done, due to a variety of reasons, and if a “fix” (which a majority are) can be done with-in a reasonable amount of time we will wait, the most common “fixes” include, backing that is missing, curb height is incorrect or the curb itself is not installed, holes in the plywood subfloor were the drain needed to be moved, or the area around the drain in a concrete floor was not filled or filled with incorrect back fill.

Note: We run into the “not filled with concrete around the drain area” quite a bit and now offer to fill this for a fee, and limited to the use of 2 bags of rapid set concrete mix other conditions apply call office for details!

When the job is ready, our crews will install your hot mopped shower pan to the guidelines that they were taught and apprenticed for. We are an hourly shop and we schedule our men well with-in there capabilities to do every job with out pressure “to get to the next job”.

Nobody likes delays as time is money…but we have established a work ethic in our company that “make sure the job is done right”. If crews run into a unique problem or a delay for a fix, or in many cases a added shower pan…we have enough man power to be able to still get that job list completed,either by stretching the days working hours out or getting another crew to cover the remainder of that crews job stops.

I digress, the importance of the water test and a record of it should always be performed, and due diligence needs to adhered to by all the persons and trades that will be working on top of your hot mopped shower pan. Hot mopped pans are tuff, no doubt about it, but not impervious to construction damage.

Here is a few things that can cause your pan to be compromised after a successful water test and after the water has been drained…Ladders placed directly onto the hot mop, buckets used for seats or steps…the weight placed on these items is centralized an indents into the hot mop and can penetrate like a knife cutting all the way through the protection offered by the built up layers…cut off sections of copper pipe have got stepped on and have caused failures, nails and screws dropped and walked on have been known to cause a pan failure, lumber used for planking or building, being dropped or used carelessly on or over the hot mop.

A cardboard and/or drywall placed over building paper will normally provide adequate protection from most of the common causes of construction debris damage…

Trade damage is the hardest to determined the how and when. Some of the most prevalent kinds are; framers straight edging the studs surrounding the shower, they have been known to smack the bottom and/top plate with a hefty sledge hammer to help strighten out the walls, this can cause cracking at the corners and/or tears in the vertical field, putting in let-ins and blocking can also be compromising with out practicing due diligence…

Plumbers doing change-outs or fixing leaks at shower connections have dropped heated copper and melted through the protective layers of asphalt…

Lathers bumping staples and/or nails too low…

Tile men stapling or nailing there lath on seats, benches, inside or top of curb, or just too low on the bottom strip of metal lath. Pounding in there screed sticks to gain a 1/4 ” at the bottom has happen more than once and has torn the mop as the backing block was pounded in.

Setting marble or granite slabs directly on the hot mop and pounding shim in has cause many a leak, the shower pan floor needed to be floated prior to the slab install and again due diligence needs to be practiced by the installers.

staples in mop

Shower doors can be a problem either in design or installation. Screws not sealed when used on walls, and when used on curb anchors drilled and screws ran through hot mop.

anchor in curb

These are a few of the most common problems that can cause your shower pan to be compromised after the water test…if you think you see or suspect that damage has occured, re-test your hot mopped shower pan! A few hours before your tile installation and double checking can save you a whole lot of head ache in the future.


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