Flooring and Carpeting/Shower / closet Leak


Michael, I have a bathroom that buts up to a hall closet; the closet has an access panel that allows me to access the shower pipes in the shower. My home was built in 1987 and had copper pipes until 5 years ago and were replaced when a leak was discovered in the kitchen (nowhere near the bathroom, but helpful to know why the access panel is there and why my pipes run from the attic down instead of up from the floor). Anyway, at some point, water has leaked down into the shower pan liner (my shower is 4x4 tile; no tub, and is the original tile, grout, etc. and in good shape.). Long story short the hall closet developed an overpowering mold odor and when the drywall in the closet was removed there was mold inside.  The drywall in the closet is what the tile is attached to in the shower so it can't be replaced without tearing out the tile and I would like to avoid that. In my effort to eliminate the mold the black paper on the back of the dry wall has been scrapped off, chlorine sprayed in, and parts sanded down. However, the smell kept coming back. Upon further inspection, I noticed the bottom where the rubber pan is was soaked with water and I can't seem to get it to dry (I've ran a fan in the closet for 2 weeks, had a candle in there, and used a hairdryer (thinking the heat would help to dry it).
I'm at a loss and tried everything I can think of... what do you suggest, are there any other things I can try to get rid of the mold smell (i don't see mold anymore but suspect it's coming from the rubber shower pan between the tile and the concrete). I'd hate to replace the whole shower but will if needed.
Any help/guidance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
ps - the picture is of the closet, the dark area around the bottom is what i mentioned above.

Hello and thank you for contacting The Grout Dye Company.

Dear, Jesse;

Sorry for the delay. I was away for a while and forgot to turn the system off.

Thank you for the pictures.

If there is water trapped between the pan liner and the mud base this is because either there was never a sand pre slope applied between the liner and wood substrate, this pre slope allows moisture and water buildup to mitigate the the shower drain weep holes, it is also possible that the weep holes are clogged with mud, and were never kept open during installation.

Using a fan and allowing the water to dissipate is probably the only thing you can do, if that doesn't work then you will need a Shower pan and tile replacement job done. Not an easy task.

The smell and mildew will keep coming back until the water either dissipates of the liner is replaced with a proper pre slope. I would recommend trying to find a reputable tile contractor in your area to advice you on the best way to approach this job and provide you with an estimate.  

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Michael C. Malizia


I can answer questions about, Grout and ceramic tile restoration and installation. This topic generally focuses on new or old installations that have an existing problem. I can offer advice on how to correct common made installation mistakes. Such as, cementitious grout problems, efflorescence, ghosting, shading, and flashing. And tile installation problems such as, floor deflection, slip resistance, loose tiles, vapor transmission and many others. These are just a few of the problems associated with new tile and grout installations. I can also offer advice with restoring old tile and grout problems such as, sealer removal, re-sealing, grout re-coloring, grout repair, and caulking.


Have worked in many different phaces of construction since 1983, I am owner / operator of a Tile & Grout installation and restoration business. I am also a technical advisor for The Grout Dye Company. since 1995.

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Connecticut Stamford Hilton,Southampton hospital, Mcdonalds, Wading river hotel, Eastwind caterers, La pizzola, Setauket bagels, Sortsman kennels, Savinos resteraunt, Custom Building Products, Super-tec, Cancos, Southampton brick and tile, Tech, Dap, Poland spring water etc.

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