Archive

Posts Tagged ‘mold growth’

Question about the shower glass

Hello Chris,

We been renovating for a while now and read your blog pretty often. Lots of helpful suggestions and thank you very much for that.

My question is about the shower glass height. What is the space between tiled shower ceiling and the glass? The shower fan is about 1 m away from the shower glass. We been told by some of the companies that the opening should be between 7 to 10 inches. Could that be smaller?

Thank you kindly for your help!

Julia

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Hi Julia,

Thanks for writing – I’m glad to be able to help.

I think the main issue in the minds of the people who are advising you about the height of your shower glass is moisture on the ceiling. You want to allow enough space for air to circulate and dry out properly.  I think the advice you are getting (7 to 10 inches) is sound. You don’t want to have the persistent dampness of the shower leading to a battle with mildew.

That being said, the construction of your shower enclosure is one thing: how you use it on a daily basis is another. My wife makes me leave the shower doors open a bit after showering (we have the sliding type) so the shower can dry out completely. (Even though there is plenty of space above the enclosure for moisture to escape, and we have a fan fairly close to the shower). Our climate here in Santa Cruz County is pretty damp, and there is a lot of mold in the area. It’s a case-by-case type of situation based on where you live.

Steam showers are completely enclosed, and restrict air circulation completely. Having a shower stall that is completely tiled floor-to-ceiling helps to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. If you have drywall in or above the intimidate area of your shower, it’s something to think about. Again, not just the way your shower is built, but how you will use it on a daily basis. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

No Weep Holes?

Hi, Chris.

We had one of our baths redone a few years ago but the apartment has been empty ever since as we were away from the country. A the time,  a frameless door was installed and we never thought about looking for weep holes on the track until now that we found your blog. The shower has never been used so we don’t know if water would collect on the track.

Our question: Is there such a thing as a shower door track without weep holes? The photos show –instead of a conventional channel– a sloped, low lip on the side of the pan with no room for holes even if we wanted to drill some. Our guess was that, with this type of slanted lip, weep holes are not needed as water will just slide down onto the pan. We also checked if the track has been installed with the wrong side facing the pan but we failed to find weep holes on the other side as well.

Your clarification will be greatly appreciated. All the best to you.

Diana

 

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Hi Diana,

Great question! Actually, this type of shower enclosure doesn’t require holes in the frame in order for the water to weep. The “L” shape of the bottom sill allows the water to run off back into the shower. As a rule, the sill is caulked on the outside only, or the inside is only partially caulked. This allows water the finds its way under the sill to escape, or at least dry out over time.

Thanks for reading the blog!

-Chris

Help.

Hi Chris:

I was so happy to see your website and was wondering if u can give me any advice.  I have a fixed shower panel where it is secured at the bottom with U Track type of metal. My contractor guys forgot to seal it in the beginning so water got in and leaked outside.  After I informed them of the problem they came back and put clear silicon seal around the bottom.  Everything was good for about 6 months.  And now I’m noticing black stuff (I’m assuming it’s some kind of mold) inside the silicon seal and INSIDE the track!  Is there any way I can clean it out?  and after cleaning it out (hopefully) how do i seal again?  Is silicon caulking enough? or is there any kind of seal strip i should add?

thank you very much for your help!

Charlotte

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Hi Charlotte,

Thanks for reading my blog. It looks like the caulking was applied after the water was already in the channel. Once the mold began to grow, it was trapped inside. Since the glass is clear, the mold is highly visible… In order to fix the problem, the glass is going to need to be removed from the channel. I would clean it thoroughly, and use bleach to make sure that the mold is completely eliminated. Only then should the glass be replaced, and the silicone seal reapplied. Make sure that the glass and channel are nice and dry before you do so. There is also a type of silicone that is “mildew resistant.” This is the type you are going to want to use. It has a fungicide in the formula, and will help to prevent the mold growth. Apply the silicone where the metal and glass meet to prevent water from entering the channel.

Best wishes,

-Chris

To Silicone, or not to Silicone?

Good afternoon!

I’m hoping you can shed some light for me. We are in the final days of finishing our new home with our semi-custom builder in Oklahoma.
We paid quite a bit in the beginning to upgrade our standard shower door to a 3/8 inch frameless shower door to avoid the build up of mildew and mold through the years on the silicone. The frameless shower doors I’ve always seen have just the brackets and hinges on the sides of the door as well as the side and base of the panel. They initially installed a semi-frameless door with a partial frame on the panel. They immediately ordered a new panel when I pointed out that it wasn’t frameless. I also addressed the silicone concern with the superintendent of our build and he said the silicone would all be cleaned up. Well they installed the new panel yesterday with brackets and then siliconed around the exterior surfaces of the panel. The glass company told our superintendent they had to leave it that way.

Is this true? And what purpose does the silicone serve in this situation?

Thanks for your help!

Amanda Sackett

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Hi Amanda,

I’m sorry to hear about the mix-up with your shower enclosure. Silicone sealant is added to the joints between the glass and tile (the perimeter) to prevent leaking. There is no other reason for adding it. I ALWAYS try to talk people out of using silicone on frameless enclosures of this type. Frameless shower enclosures are not designed to be completely water-tight… They are meant to be used in bathrooms that are tiled in such a way that, if a small amount of water escapes, it’s no big deal. If people feel that waterproofing is a huge factor, I direct them towards using a channel around the perimeter rather than the brackets. It makes re-caulking the enclosure much more easy to do (when the silicone starts to mold) and looks much “cleaner” than a thick bead of clear silicone between the glass and the substrate.

I think you were absolutely correct to direct the contractor NOT to use silicone, providing you understood the fact that it would allow more water to escape from your shower. For me, the rule of thumb is that, it is easier to add silicone later (if needed) than it is to remove it when it is not!

I hope you find this helpful,

-Chris

Getting it Done Right the First Time

I have to redo my shower enclosure because the installer did not waterproof the wall and it started leaking into the basement. My question is how do I remove the glass? Use a knife and cut the seams, or is it a special too that I need? I looked on you blog and didn’t see this answered. …I have to take to doors out completely to repair the shower because the installer didn’t waterproof and after 15 years the wood under the tile was all rotted.

Any help would be appreciated.

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This is a serious issue, and needs to be addressed. I am always hesitant to talk about how badly a shower enclosure installation can turn out if done incorrectly. I never want people to think that I am using scare tactics to make a sale. Any time a customer tells me that another company has given them a much lower bid for a project, I have to wonder what corners they plan to cut in order to do it for so little.

I had 20 years of experience in the commercial glazing (glass) industry before I started Showcase. I have seen all types of glass systems, and a wide variety of problems. A water leak is one of the most common, and potentially serious issues in the glass business. Water has an amazing ability to penetrate even the smallest opening. Once water finds its way in, it will increase over time. The result is rot, mold, rust, etc.

Bathroom renovations can be very expensive. You don’t want to have to do it twice. There are a lot of areas where you can save money when doing your bathroom remodel. If you buy inexpensive fixtures, they will be easy to replace when they wear-out in a few years. A shower enclosure is not. Don’t compromise on your shower glass. A frameless enclosure can last 20 years, easily! Budget enough to buy a good shower door from an expert installer. It may save you a BUNDLE in the long run.

-Chris

DIY – Why Not Give it a Try?

Hi,

We have a 5 yr old sterling shower door that has some mold growing under the clear seal that holds the glass in the aluminum frame.  I was thinking of taking this apart (it has screws in each corner holding it together) and cleaning it.  The gasket looks ok.  My question is, is the gasket reusable, and if not, where could I buy one?  Would I be ruining the integrity of the door by taking it apart?  When I bought it, the panel came sealed and assembled. Thanks!

Pete

         

Hi Pete,

If your door is only five years old it is probably in good enough shape to survive being disassembled and reassembled again. Generally, the gaskets hold up well, and can usually be reused. If for some reason you are unable to make the old gasket work, I’m sure you can contact the manufacturer of the shower door and order a replacement part. Sterling is a Kohler company, so you should have no problem getting help from them, if you need it.

Best of luck!

-Chris

Weep Holes Allow Water to Drain Out of the Shower Frame and Into the Shower.

Hello!

I saw you through Google and hoped you may be able to answer my question.  I am re-caulking my shower enclosure and I noticed that there are some slots along the bottom of the inside of my shower enclosure.  Before removing the caulk, these slots were harboring mildew and mold and spewing it out in gobs.  the caulk ran right under these slots and it too became black and ruined.  My question is whether these should be caulked over or not.  Since water seems to be getting in there and it never dries out, I assume that it is getting in there primarily from the front.  But, if there is some other reason why these need to be open, such as draining water that gets in there from elsewhere, then obviously I wouldn’t want to caulk over them.  What do you think?  Thanks!

Daniel Wells

Hi Daniel,

Yes, those are what we call “weep holes.” They are necessary, as you guessed, to allow the water to drain out of the frame and into the shower. I would suggest spraying a bleach solution into the holes from time-to-time to try to inhibit the mold growth in the framework. If the base of the shower itself (shower pan or tile curb) doesn’t slope into the shower properly, the water will never completely drain out of the aluminum channel at the bottom. There will always be some standing water in there, and that is going to create mold.

There are a few ways to get the water out manually. One is to use a shop-vac or some other vacuum that is approved for wet situations. You could also use a blow drier to force the water out of one hole by directing the flow of hot air into another hole. One other low-tech method of drawing water out is by using a cotton wick. This is simply a piece of string (yarn?) that draws the water out of the channel… you simply work one end of the string into the weep hole, and let the other end hang down into the shower pan. The capillary action of the water being absorbed will actually siphon the water out of the channel and down the drain.  

Best wishes,

-Chris