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Why are there holes at the bottom of our shower walls?

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skywriter

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Can anyone tell me what the purpose is for these cutout holes at the bottom of the acrylic (I believe) shower surround kit walls? There are three on each of the three walls and one on the inside of the right entry casing. This shower was already installed when we bought our house 14 years ago, so I don't know anything about the kit or how it was installed. There seems to be another layer or acrylic behind the holes.

There is also a lip around the base of the shower where it meets the walls. There was sealant (not sure what kind) over this lip and most of those holes. I have removed all the sealant, which was failing (falling out in some places and turning milky in others) anyway. The design of the shower seems to be for any water that gathers in the lip at the bottom of the shower walls to run around to the little ramps at either side of the entryway and then flow into the pan and down the drain. That is, if the install was done correctly. But, either way, I figure any excess water in that lip should evaporate naturally.
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I am wondering if the 10 holes at the bottom of the exterior walls should not have been sealed. I removed that sealant as well. I'm not 100% on this one, but my theory is that these are either:

  1. vent holes to allow any moisture that might find it's way behind the walls, to evaporate. But of course having the holes open will allow moisture behind the wall, so I am not feeling very confident on this one.
  2. these might have been designed as overflow outlets, like what you have on most bathroom sinks. I tested this, by blocking the drain, and unfortunately the water did not drain out these holes. So, either my theory is wrong, or maybe the installer did something to make this overflow action impossible. Regardless, even though water did not drain out these holes and down the drain, it also didn't drain out these holes and go anywhere else so that is a good sign, I guess.
I'm hoping for advice on whether to seal these holes or leave them open.

Thank you for your time and expertise.
 

skywriter

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Just a little more detail. These holes are 1/4" in diameter. They are spaced about 13.5" (35cm) apart.

Does anyone have any advice as to what their purpose might be, and whether they should be sealed or not?
 

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skywriter

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Thank you for your reply.

I thought this might be the case as well, but as best as I can tell, the walls and floor pan are one piece. There is no "apparent" joint sealant where any of the walls meet, or where the walls meet the floor. There is some dirt, which makes it look like a seem, but you can there is no seelant in images 1,3 and 4. If I push on the wall, there is no movement at any joints. Unless everything was sealed/secured from the outside? Is that often the case? I really don't know.

So, would your opinion be that I should seal up these holes? If so, what is the best sealant for the job?
 

mark3885

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I have a shower like this in our cabin. My shower has stainless steel screws in the holes to hold the shower walls to the base . I used clear silicone in the groove then screwed the panels down.
 

skywriter

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What "groove" are you referring to? Is there a high lip outside the walls, that you screwed into? What size screws did you use, since the hole is 1/4"? Would you happen to have any pictures of your shower setup?

I'm trying to understand what purpose it would server to screw the walls into an outside lip of the base, when my walls are already attached (seems to be one piece) to the base at the bottom.
 

mark3885

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The walls set into a groove in the base and a screw went through the wall into the base , a bead of silicone was put in the groove then the wall panel was screwed into the base . The screws I think are #10 x3/8” .All the screws came in the kit as per the instructions. The walls could be used for several different kits , maybe yours didn’t require screws.
 

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mark3885

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I think someone may have installed the panels upside down. I have never seen holes in any shower stall kit like that.
The panels may have been installed upside down . There is a top support rail on your shower , how do the hole line up as compared to the bottom holes?
I had a shower in a previous house that had the same base .I installed that shower, the base and walls are not one piece, the wall is one piece that fits into the groove on the base. I would clean the base and wall at the seam and runabead of clear silicone and seal off the holes.
 

skywriter

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@mark2885 - Thank you for the images. Can't tell what is being shown in the second picture, but I presume that is the outside of the walls. Unfortunately I don't have any access behind the shower to compare.

After seeing your screw installation and explanation, I'm confused by your last post suggesting maybe the walls were installed upside down? Was yours shower with the screws installed upside down?

I did look at the top "support" of the shower when I was working on it last (it is in our tenants apartment, so I don't have immediate access) and tried to see if there was any way the top support could have utilized these holes, but couldn't see anything obvious. I might have to rip out the shower just to see how it is constructed. I'm afraid I'll do more damage than good. And it's difficult when I have to work with tenant schedule and needs.

It's almost impossible to get to the seem where the walls meet the base. There is a very narrow trough between the base lip and the wall, and that lip is 1/4" high. I can just barely get a eyeglass screwdriver head in between. Anyway, I will take your advice and do my best to clean what I can reach and then seal everything up with clear silicone.

Thanks for your time and expertise.
 

skywriter

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Does anyone know where I might get an installation manual for a shower (similar) to this one? If it's not too daunting of a job, I might try to disassemble it in the future, to check the wall orientation and see what kind of possible water damage might be hidden away.

If this is a job better left to a pro, please let me know. I don't want to do more harm than good.
 
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