Frustrated by the leak in your shower?
Are you experiencing a leak in your walk-in shower or bathtub ? This website was created for you. As home improvement contractor for 35 years, I understand the frustration you are feeling. You’re afraid to use your shower or haven’t used it in a long time. Maybe, you have had plumbers, tillers and handymen come by to give recommendations, but none are giving you options that make sense or hold water. You want to make a sound decision that will fix the issue and you certainly don’t want to fix the problem with the same outdated installation method that is causing the current problem or may cause future problems. We can fix your shower and it will be 100% waterproof ! We will also design it so you never have to worry about re-caulking. That’s right! Never have to worry about molding and peeling caulk!! NO MOLD ISSUES! EVER!
What we don't see happening behind our walls.
What we want our showers to look like.
Tiled showers, bathtub surrounds and steam showers are luxurious and elegant features that add to the value of your home. However, tiles are not inherently waterproof and must be installed in conjunction with a waterproofing system that effectively manages moisture to protect moisture-sensitive building materials and control mold growth. Many components come into play when building a watertight and waterproofed tiled shower. Waterproofing is a meticulous process, that requires a skilled and trained contractor.
The materials used for building your home like wood studs, plywood sub-floors and drywall can be severely damaged and will support mold when repeatedly exposed to water.
You probably haven't wondered what happens to a shower on a daily basis until you have water leaking from your ceiling. Or the drywall/paint by your shower is bubbling and peeling. To prevent these scenarios from occurring we need to understand the way shower stalls have been constructed in the past and what we can do to prevent water damage using modern waterproofing methods.
This video explains the traditional/old method of constructing a shower stall with a pan liner and improper waterproofing. You can see the reason why water leaks pass the tile and to the substrate material and why this method starts to fail almost immediately after construction. It also explains why the caulk and grout on your lower shower walls are always showing signs of mold and mildew no matter how much you clean. The water that is trapped in the pan liner could also cause foul odors as the water is stagnant and becomes contaminated with soaps and oils from showering.
As you can see in the video, the wall backing material is installed after the floor/wall rubber pan installation. This means another waterproofing system must now be installed. Often times it is skipped as there is a myth that the tile and grout are waterproof. We use Schluter Waterproofing System in all of our shower rebuilds and new construction. Schluter waterproofing products provide excellent waterproofing protection and peace-of-mind behind your shower walls and other tiled elements subject to moisture and movement.
Traditional Built Shower.
How showers have been built since the 1950's and most still are.
Why is proper installation of a shower pan liner important?
And why it often isn't done properly.
Every shower I have demolished has been done with no pre-slope or installed incorrectly!
This is a great article on The Right Way to Install Shower Pan Liners.
In my experience 80% of all shower leaks are due to the shower pan liner failing to hold and direct water to the secondary drain. In a traditional/old shower floor installation, the liner is installed and clamped to a second stage drain. Contrary to popular belief, tile coverings are not waterproof and not all of the water goes down the drain. Some of the water filters through the tile and grout joints to the pan liner, where it is directed to the secondary drain with weep holes. If there are any tears or holes in the liner or the weep holes are blocked water will leak to the sub-floor creating a possible leak to the ceiling below.
Based on a 2002 study,"Rainfall Inside My House", it was calculated that the average shower processes the equivalent of 3" of rainfall every day. Which equals 1100" of rainfall every year. The rainy city of Seattle receives 30" of rainfall per year. Your shower processes 36x more water per year than Seattle gets.
The results of the study show that the average shower processes much more water than most of a home's exterior. Yet we pay more attention to how we build roofs than how we waterproof showers.
How much water does your shower process yearly?
Believe it or not, your shower gets 30 times more water per year than the rainy city of Seattle, WA.
Where there is moisture the potential for mold exist!
4 Factors of Mold Growth.
And how to elimnate it.
1) Mold spores. These exist indoor & outdoors and are airborne. They are impossible to eliminate.
2) Food source. Such as building materials, soap or body oils.
3) Warm temperatures. In the range of 50-107F, which is typical of our living environment.
4) Moisture. Which around us all the time, but exceptionally high in showers and in liquid form.
The #1 factor for eliminating mold is controlling moisture!
The #2 factor is to eliminate as much of the food source as possible. By using building materials that don't act as a food source, such as building panels made of extruded polystyrene foam and using thinset (a mixture of sand, cement & water) as a bonding agent.
This is why I exclusively use the Schluter Waterproofing System. It employs an extruded polystyrene foam building panel and prefabricated tray covered with a bonded waterproofing membrane. This allows the direct installation of tile in conjunction with the drain, therefore 100% of water is directed down the drain and not allowed to infiltrate the tile assembly and stagnate in the mortar bed. There is no need for a drain with a secondary drain, which eliminates the need for a liner.
Schluter® Sealed System vs. Traditional System
Eliminating potential for leaks & mold.
What is the solution?
How do we eliminate potential for leaks and the conditions for mold if we are using the traditional/old way of building a shower?
The traditional/old method will always allow water to pass through the tile and mortar assembly and sit in the liner. We have to switch to another method of shower construction and waterproofing. By not allowing water to sit and stagnate. We must get the water drained from the shower assembly as quickly as possible and use inorganic materials that won't promote mold growth.
Facts you should know about your Leaking Shower and its repair.
Cracked grout or tiles could be the result of a leak that has gotten past the waterproof membrane and caused the wood subfloor to swell and expand, which causes the tile and substrate to crack. The crack could be the result of a leak not the cause of the leak.
Replacing cracked grout with new grout and applying a water proof sealer will not solve the problem. The water will find it's way through and past the liner. This is only a temporary solution at best.
Brush on water proof surface coatings will NOT stop leaks from the most common areas where leaks occur. This is where the wall and floor tiles have separated in the corner of your shower or the shower pan membrane has been compromised. DO NOT waste your money.
Water detector apparatus are unnecessary to find a leak. Water always settles at the lowest point.
Even the best silicone and polyurethane sealants/caulking are only a temporary fix and will go green and moldy causing your leak to re-occur. This will not result in a permanent bathroom seal. Your caulk will always go moldy or start to peel off in a few weeks.
The biggest clue that you have moisture behind your tile is soft or damp drywall, bubbling paint on the outside of your shower and stained baseboards. This may appear to be from a leaky shower door, it’s not! The water is finding it's way through the door jambs, where little attention is given to waterproofing.
We exclusively use Schluter Systems!
Check out their warranty.
Showers-New and Remodels.
Barrier Free Showers.
Tiled Tub Surrounds.
In-floor warming systems.
Niches-Tiled & Inserts.
Seats-Fold-up & built-in.
Plumbing-Faucets/drains & toilets.
Glass Shower Doors-Design & installations.
Design & Build.
For a free consultation call Steve 416 801-6661
"Came out to fix the plumbing on New Years Eve - life savers!" John Richmond