Leaking shower stall... or shall I say shower sink?

By
Home Inspector with Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants

In addition to doing full Home Inspections and Certified EIFS inspections, I also find myself doing quite a bit of trouble shooting for folks that are having problems in their homes and can't seem to pinpoint the cause.

Today's mission was an intrusive inspection of a leaking shower base. The unit is located on the 16th floor of a high rise building on the upper Eastside of Manhattan.





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As you can see, there are no curb walls and there is minimal pitch.
Let's look a bit deeper.




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So here we have the heart of the problem.
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It's hard to tell from the picture, but besides the fact that the drain is about 2" higher than the sides, the wrong type of drain was used. There are no weep holes to allow the pan to drain and the cone in the middle to compensate for the extreme height simply created a "sink". The pan is always filled with water and is overflowing the sides, running beneath it and into the apartments below.

 

 

Comments (10)

Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX
Steven - You did get some very good pictures. This type thing happens more frequently then we care to talk about. Boy what a mess; I wonder what the rest of them look like in the high rise?
Jan 29, 2008 11:22 AM
Steven Turetsky
Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants - Staten Island, NY
Building Moisture Analyst

Improperly installed shower bases are a common problem. The last one I looked at was leaking for 18 months... It's fixed now!!!

Hey Carl, How have you been?

Jan 29, 2008 11:25 AM
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Hey - I'm doing good - just another year older and slower I get - ha, ha.

Had to replace a leaking shower pan in our downstairs shower a few years back. Had to retile the whole stall and of course with a 50 year old house could not match up the tile so just used white.

Jan 29, 2008 12:06 PM
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector
Steven, that thing is totally messed up.  There is just no way that anyone that even had a rudimentary knowledge of gravity would build something like that:)  Looks like "terrorism" by contractor! 
Jan 29, 2008 02:52 PM
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California
That's a great example of how dangerous a little knowledge can be.  The installer had the knowledge to lay the tile and make it look nice, but no knowledge about gravity and plumbing.  Great job Steven, thanks for sharing.
Jan 29, 2008 03:29 PM
Steven Turetsky
Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants - Staten Island, NY
Building Moisture Analyst

The funny thing is, my client informed me that they bought this condo from an architect.

Go figure.

Jan 29, 2008 03:34 PM
Jim Ellis
Ellis Home Inspection Services - Pensacola, FL
Aren't you glad you didn't do the inspection a year or two ago! You never know what lurks around the corner, it's things like that which help keep you sharp.
Jan 29, 2008 09:43 PM
Steven Turetsky
Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants - Staten Island, NY
Building Moisture Analyst
Taking things apart improves my x-ray vision.
Jan 30, 2008 12:57 AM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Steven

How are you doing ?

I don't get to do inspections on high rise's realy anymore. Theres only one you could call a high rise in my area. They have their own people to look at and take care of things in it. How in the world could they put in the wrong type of drain in there to start with.

Have a good one

Dale

Jan 30, 2008 10:11 AM
Steven Turetsky
Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants - Staten Island, NY
Building Moisture Analyst

Beats me how they put in the wrong drain, but they did.

When I removed the lead pan to see why they built the "cone", and to make way for a new pan... the drain just fell off the waste line.

The "PLUMBER" just placed this drain on top of a copper "j" bend (like you see on a "p" trap for a bathroom sink. About 1/8" was inside the botton on the drain.

Sorry, no pictures.

Jan 30, 2008 10:37 AM