The base of our shower has been poorly installed and is now cracking everywhere. The new contractor says to redo it properly everything needs to come down including the walls. Is that true?enter image description here

  • I am not sure why the walls would need to be removed. Marble (this looks like marble to me) is prone to cracking if it doesn't have a really sturdy base.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 22 '17 at 14:04
  • It really depends on what is in the floor. He is probably concerned that the wall resting on the underlayment will inhibit the ability to properly re-enforce the floor. Unless you have access to this floor from the basement, he may be right.
    – mreff555
    Feb 22 '17 at 16:18

Unfortunately, yes. The problem is the liner or waterproofing membrane.

enter image description here

The subfloor that needs to be reinforced is below the membrane. The membrane must be continuous up the wall, so wall tiles need to come down. It's possible only the bottom row or two of tiles would have to come down, but that depends on the method of waterproofing used, and if you're okay with the aesthetic (eg: tiles at the bottom looking different).

If there's no waterproofing layer (possible, since this was installed incorrectly to begin with), then the new contractor will want to install that as well, or their install will eventually have problems (mold, leaks, and/or rotting wood and thus more cracked tiles).

  • This does assume the existing installation uses a membrane rather than, say, a copper catchbasin whose edges overlap but aren't cemented into the walls. One hopes :-) that the contractor who's making the bid knows what the construction is. Feb 22 '17 at 19:21
  • @CarlWitthoft Yes, I was trying to get at that. If there's no membrane/waterproofing, or they cut just it and don't care, they could just replace the subfloor and floor tiles without touching the wall. In a couple months or maybe years -- or maybe longer, who knows -- other problems will develop: leaks, mold, rotting wood.. and cracked tiles.
    – gregmac
    Feb 22 '17 at 21:21
  • Thank you very much for taking the time to get back to me, I appreciate your feedbacks on this. One more question: when my mother redid her bathroom, the builders simply put the new tiles over the old ones. That made the work cleaner and cheaper and the result is great. What is your take on that?
    – Noegk
    Feb 24 '17 at 16:25

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