Hex nut on shower drain wil not stay tight

Discussion in 'Showers and Tubs' started by tbakbradley, Jun 12, 2013.

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  1. Jun 12, 2013 #1

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

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    Hi folks. Last year, I was in my basement when water started pouring from the ceiling. Luckily, it's a drop ceiling. The hex nut was completely loose. I tightened it by hand. Started leaking the next time someone stepped into the shower. The nut was loose again. I assumed it was due to not being tight enough. However, I didn't A) know how tight it should be nor B) what to use to tighten it. It's large and I don't have a wrench that big. I then put a screwdriver into the slots on the hex nut and took a hammer to tighten it. Good for a couple days, and then loose again. Like anytime someone steps into the shower, it loosens.

    Someone told me to loosen it, so I could pull the drain up at the shower. Place plumber putty between the drainer piece and the shower. It would help sill it AND extend the drain up a hair, to pull the hex nut tight.

    Ok...that worked or so I thought.

    Fast forward to today and here came the water. The drop ceiling tile was soaked and moldy. So, it had been leaking a while, meaning my old "fix" didn't really work.

    Can anyone help me?

    This is not mine, but found on the net, but my hex nut is like this, where it is leaking.



    image-921861740.jpg
     
  2. Jun 12, 2013 #2

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    You can try loosing it again and use silicone instead of putty. But it sounds like your problem is a soft floor in fiberglass shower.
     
  3. Jun 12, 2013 #3

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

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    Are you talking silicone in a caulking bottle, or something different?

    A friend told me to cut out that piece of PVC and install a flexible piece that will give when the floor moves.
     
  4. Jun 12, 2013 #4

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    The point is the floor shouldn't move.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2013 #5

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

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    Looks like I will need to brace it somehow
     
  6. Jun 14, 2013 #6

    plbgbiz

    plbgbiz

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    Gonna be a tough fix without removing the shower. Someone tried the quick fix already that has apparently failed. (spray foam)
     
  7. Jun 14, 2013 #7

    AQualityPlumber

    AQualityPlumber

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    I have ran into this problem many times and hence why I will not install this type anymore. No matter what you do it will leak sooner or later. To permanently fix this you must actually scrap the current drain configuration all together.

    Now there is 2 options:

    Option one is the cheapest but much harder to do. You will need a drain that is designed in a manner where the compression nut is only compressing the drain to the shower base. The pipe connection needs to glue in. When installing the drain to the base make sure to use a liberal amount of pure 100% silicon. This method will eliminate the compression nut making the seal between the drain and the pipe.

    Option 2 is a more expensive drain piece but easier to install and in my opinion well worth the money. Brass craft and similar product lines make a pure brass compression drain. You will still use a liberal amount of silicon but this brass drain will come with a rubber doughnut and a threaded brass ring with a key. After attaching the drain correctly to the base, you will insert the pipe through the drain, pack the doughnut and tighten the threaded ring from above inside the shower with the key. Special note that it is extremely important your pipes penetration is perfect because the rubber doughnut is not very deep. Also put just a nice even amount of silicon on the doughnut to help it slide in easy and allow it to cure. If this is all done correctly you should not have anymore leaks. However this will not correct the floor flexing problem. That is a structural issue and may require removal of the shower base to fix correctly. Hope this article helps. Find more of our how to plumbing at our blog.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2013
  8. Jun 14, 2013 #8

    AQualityPlumber

    AQualityPlumber

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    Oh yeah and whatever you do do not spray foam. I repeat do not spray expanding foam. Reasons are as follows.

    1 - as soon as it expands it can potentially lift the base and unlevel it if the base is the thick and secured right.

    2 - once the foam expands, hardens, and a 200lb person steps on top of it, it will must likely crush and do no good for support.

    3 - worse come to worse you have to hire a plumber to fix this, he will be pissed that he has to dig out a bunch of crappie foam to fix it. He might even charge you more. I would anyways.
     
  9. Jun 14, 2013 #9

    AQualityPlumber

    AQualityPlumber

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    For cranking this nut, there is a special wrench for torquing the nut. You will only find it at the plumbing supply house. I also have a 24" pair of knipex channel locks that will expand and do a great job at tightening a nut this big. Only down fall is the channel lock is about $100.
     
  10. Jun 14, 2013 #10

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

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    Thank you for all this info. I'm nervous to call a plumber in my area as I'm not so sure many know what they are doing. In fact, I had a licensed plumber to install a Watts Regulator. Once at my house, he told me I didn't purchase the correct regulator with the correct endings. After he told me that, I didn't want him touching my plumbing. A week later, I installed the regulator. This is the same person who suggested I use a flex pipe on the shower drain.

    Prior to this plumber, I called another popular (and very expensive) outfit to install a new water hose bib that burst. The valve of the old one was inside the wall (had opening for access). The one he installed stuck out 4 inches inside my basement and leaked within a year. I fixed it this summer.

    So, with all that said, I don't have high hopes anyone in my area has the know how to understand your fix. Sad thing is, BOTH plumbers I used were recommended by folks I know.

    I don't know much about plumbing, so not sure I could do either of these jobs unless I watched a How To video, or had some links to the parts I need. Could you point me to some info on your options?
     
  11. Jun 14, 2013 #11

    AQualityPlumber

    AQualityPlumber

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    This does take an experienced plumber to correct this issue. Unfortunately, I don't think you'll have any luck finding a how to video. I wish I was in your area and I would be able to help you directly. I will consider in the future on my next run in with this problem to make an instruction video. Sorry for your misfortune and I wish you the best luck.
     
  12. Jun 20, 2013 #12

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

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    Looking at my drain from the basement, it appears the shower bottom is not resting on the subfloor. Its like the perimeter is the only thing resting on floor. A friend told me that when there is a gap, you should install self leveling mortar under shower to prevent flexing.

    I have a 2.5" gap from the top of the subfloor to bottom of shower. Not sure if here is a way to pump mortar back in the gaps or not. My friend said I could slide a 2x4 on top of the subfloor from the basement access, then rip a board and stack on the 2x4 and pound it it down the length of the 2x4. Do this to the left and right side of the drain.

    Would this work? Would love to prevent the flexing from the basement access before tearing out the shower.

    image-1041854343.jpg
     
  13. Jun 20, 2013 #13

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    That second picture doesn't look like the first one. The first one had a plywood sub floor the second one is particle board.
     
  14. Jun 20, 2013 #14

    tbakbradley

    tbakbradley

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    The first picture is just one I found on the internet. I did specify that on the first post. The second picture is of my drain. I thought that was OSB. That's particle board? If so, my entire subfloor is particle board
     

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