We have the opportunity to work for a historic hotel in Boonville, Missouri. In 2008 or so the hotel had custom showers installed in their building. The custom shower installer they used, unfortunately was not aware of proper waterproofing techniques. Today, the showers are starting to fail and cause liability concerns to the owners. I’m writing this post to help you avoid making the same mistake. There are many failed tile showers in the area, I don’t want to see your home added to that list
Overview of the Bathroom Construction
Before we get into what went wrong, let’s look at what went right. The entire bathroom floor of this room is treated as a wet area. There is no evidence of water leaving the bathroom and leaking onto the ceiling below. Under this room is the dining room of the hotel, I’m sure we would know if the floor was leaking. I’m still not sure how the floor isn’t leaking and the walls are falling apart. I haven’t seen that before.
What Method Was Used?
The custom tile shower installer of this bathroom used green drywall as a substrate. He tiled directly over that with no further waterproofing. Given the small tiles used, water was easily able to penetrate into the drywall. Once the drywall was wet, it wasn’t able to dry out again. You can see the mold on the green drywall. Obviously, green drywall can mold (so can any other drywall, no matter the color).
Finding A Good Custom Shower Installer
If you’re looking for a good custom shower installer, start by looking at trade organizations. The N.T.C.A. and C.T.E.F. Websites are good starting points. I would also recommend asking the potential custom shower installer what method they use to build showers. At this point you should also ask about their warranty. Again, the shower we are working on here is about 10 years old. I would stay away from any contractor that only offers a 1 year warranty. For more information, read my article on properly installing tile assemblies.