Tile Shower is Leaking, floor is damp and smells musky


Tile Shower is Leaking - Outside of our shower the floor stays damp and it smells very musky. What can we do to fix these problems?


ANSWER - It appears that your shower must have a leak that has allowed the water to leak outside of the shower.  The musky odor is likely due to microbial growth (mold) that has developed.  Ceramic tile and natural stone are very resistant to mold, but if the tile's underlayment materials are organic food for mold and it gets wet and stays wet an excessive amount of time, then it will develop mold.

Chances are when the shower was installed it was constructed incorrectly.  Generally speaking when there is a problem it is not due to one single factor, but due to compounding defects.  Keep in mind that most installers do not learn their trade from a college or trade school, but rather learn on the job, so quite often they are not familiar with industry standards or the complexity of waterproofing a shower.  We commonly find the installers do not provide a presloped surface under the waterproof membrane which will cause the water to not flow to the drain and sometimes it is negatively sloped away from the drain.  We find the installers don't always properly weld the shower pan waterproof membrane seams or they penetrate the membrane with nails and screws.  We often find the installer doesn't put a weep hole protector around the drain that results in the weep holes being plugged.  This then causes water to stay trapped on the shower pan liner and if there is a flaw in the membrane seams the water can leak out of the shower.  There are other factors too.  Often the collateral damages from the water leaking outside of the shower and damaging other materials is much more expensive than the damages to the shower itself.

To repair your leak will require intrusively (destructively) inspecting the shower pan at the critical points to see if the defect can be found and to determine if it can be repaired without removing the whole shower.

To avoid these problems  a quality control plan should be in place to make sure the shower is properly installed.   All high risk applications such as showers, steamrooms and other wet areas should have a much higher standard-of-care for the installation and for quality control to ensure there isn't a failure that could result in thousands of dollars of damages.  Ceramic Tile and Stone installations are ideal for wet areas to prevent leaks and mold, but they need to be installed correctly.  For more details on CTaSC forensic investigations and quality control services visit our website at www.CTaSC.com.

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