The Master Shower: Two of a Series.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

So I should really continue on with the master bathroom here, er, rather, the master shower I mean. Heh, the rest of the bathroom?……insert several eye rolls.  Well, sans the vanity, that thing is awesome.  Insert wink and nod here.

As you’ll recaaaallll…..the damn shower was leaking.  Wasn’t sure where, wasn’t sure how.

My first suspicion was the drain, where it meets the tile, ya know, logical conclusion.  Or heh, rather again, just under where it meets the tile because they really, I mean, half-a**ed it is preeeetttyyy generous.

They probably used the same piss-poor Master Tile Whiz who did the hall bath flooring to install this tile too.

The shower floor was slate mosaic, one inch squares.  Poorly installed but surprisingly, I didn’t hate the tile.  Weird, I know.

They didn’t slope the floor properly and the drain, well, the drain installation was a total disaster.  It sat well below the level of the floor and they just sorta kinda tossed a metal screen over it and jammed a sh*tload of grout around it to fill the massive gaps and lack of abilities.  Brilliant!

See how it's sunken?  And overly grouted?  Sigh.  SMH
Oy.  Palm to forehead.

The inspector, at the time of purchase, made note of the incorrect tile installation in his report.  The stoopid flipper said he’d redo it, redo everything on the list.  Did he?  No.  He did like one thing.

“That list of fixes was too long, there was no way,” he snorted at closing.  “And no, we’re not crediting for any of it.  Walk away if you want, we have buyers lined up.”  They were a**holes at that table, it was unbelievable.  Red flags a-flyin', anyone?


So right, you can see how I might think it'd be the drain, yeah?  I grabbed a hammer and went at it to peel it apart.

shower leak floor tile drain
Oy dear me.  Here we go....
After I got in there enough, I ran some water.  It was fine.  Poorly installed but water went down, not around.

Then I panicked that it was plumbing buried further in but after a few days of not showering in there and noting there was water still in the drain, things were not leaking, I determined that couldn’t be the cause.

Sleuthing, sleuthing.

That’s when, big sigh, the exploratory hammer went into the wall as I mentioned previously.  And discovered the busted grout around the jet tub was the current leaky culprit but I still couldn’t pin the stand-up shower leak as the copper water lines were fine.

There was a small drip at one of the wacky shower tower connections but that, I think, was only because I was wiggling the cheeseball thing around.

Plumbing connections in the wall for the shower tower panel whoo-ha.  Different than a normal fixture, note.

Either way, now everything had to come out.  The floor.  The walls.  All of it.  It's exhausting just to think about.  But.  I did it.  I destroyed it, I had to fix it.  There were many times where I wanted a nap, wishing ugh, won’t someone just come in and do this for me?!  Obviously, procrastination set in.

broken tile shower wall leak insulation
Here I was worried that this entire wall was filled with the ceiling insulation.  Thankfully it was not.
Kindly, the flipper’s people did such a crap job (is that good or bad…head pain), removal of the wall tile was super easy, just as it was in the hall bath tub surround.

The floor on the other hand….

The way they did the shower base, I had never seen before.  Internet sleuthing revealed it’s a thing:

Lay down some rubber sheeting, pour concrete over it, make a lil’ concrete curb too, tile over, wrap up.

Ok so but the thing is, it sure seemed they poured the concrete and set the tiles into it.  Like an all in one, let’s do this, wipe hands, done.  It was more than a bitch and a half to get that damn freakin’ slate mosaic out.

I mean, they probably didn’t but who knows.  This house can be like the Twilight Zone of Flipperville, you just really never know.

Hammer and pry bar.  Days.  Days.  Days of chipping and smashing.

removed floor tile shower concrete
Here's what was left after getting the tile out.
But ok!  With everything out, where was the damn leak?!  Right?!  That’s the whole freakin’ point of this!

Ultimately it seemed to me that it was the lack of waterproofing.  The concrete base was a sponge, add slate mosaic which is a sponge, then grout which is practically a sieve along with water-loving drywall, compounded with years of showering in there…

Every material installed was sucking up water.

pocket door shower demo renovation remodel
Oh hey look, it's the pocket door!  Yes, I wrote on the wall.  It'll be on Instagram someday.
That was my determination.  Or that's the best I could determine though I'm still scratching my head over it.  Really?  That much water could...floorboards cupping and ceiling stains?  Shrug, I guess so.

So it wasn’t a hole or an obvious thing, it was the lack of knowledge, skill, and ability plus the insistence on being cheap in order to turn a profit.  Which is terrible.  Idiocy is expensive.

But right?  I know.  Kind of a letdown in a sense.  I was expecting some major obvious screw through a water line or oh look at what these bozos did wow, but in fact, it was poor workmanship and poor choices.

concrete shower base pocket door remodel renovation redo rebuild
Ready to redo.  The hard part.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s obviously hugely bad too.  Obviously, because our shower was now entirely dismantled.  Something we never anticipated having to redo since it was brand new.

My new determination then was to waterproof and waterproof and waterproof.  Oh and waterproof the hell out of that damn rectangle.  It was like a tic I had….water?  There’s water somewhere?  Where?  Twitch twitch, waterproof!

tile wall removal remodel reno leak
Ok, nearly all out here but I had to work around that shower panel thingie-ma-who-ha until a plumber came by.
So now, hahahahaaa…..time to figure out how to rebuild a leak-free shower with a stylish, bigger-budget look but in a very budget-friendly manner.  Hahaha!  Affordable shower renovation, hahaha who was I kidding?

No really.

Mike and I conversed several times, what to do, how did we want, what, should we redo the whole room?, should we move things around?, take out the tub?, should we….we got out of unrealistic control.  Fast.  Dreams are easy!

Ultimately we decided to remove the shower tower panel* weirdo thing which required different plumbing (see photo above) then redo everything in place.  Install a showerhead and handle only, leave the floor plan as-is.  Just put it back together, babe.

That’s fine.  Anything else would have been, whooie, a lot.  The cash register in my head was already tallying far too fast.

So ok, what to do?  What to do?  Becky goes tile shopping (danger, danger Will Robinson!).

Stay tuned, my friends.

Oh but before I go, hoo hoo, I’m an expert you guys!  Heh, a huge special thanks to NewHomeSource for inviting me to participate in their fall trends for 2019!

They so kindly asked my opinion for their HomeLuv summer round-up and wow, I guess I did all right, I’m back for fall!  Be sure to click on over there to see what I had to say along with a horrible photo of myself.  Ugh, cameras….

Anyway, ok, see you soon, lots in the hopper!

Jump to part three in a series here!

*The shower tower panel thingie is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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