Shower Pans and Real Estate Transactions

This happened last year.... I woke up abruptly at 2 am worried about the shower pan at a Montclair property my client was purchasing.  In the disclosure reports the seller noted that a licensed contractor replaced the shower pan prior to listing the home.  Yes, that’s a good thing but, since no one lived in the house since the replacement, the new shower pan had never been tested. Inspection reports often call for the replacement of leaky shower pans.  To test one, the inspector stops the drain, runs water a few inches high, and then inspects the crawl space, garage, or room below it, (if there is not a nice finished room below). After tossing and turning from 2 am on, I left my home early the next day with towels in hand to test the shower pan.  I put several towels in the shower drain and ran the shower until the water rose several inches high.  I then went downstairs to the garage below the bathroom and waited.  No water, great!  The next day, I stopped by the house and the ceiling below the shower was soaking wet, we had a problem.  I immediately called the listing agent, who in turn called the licensed contractor who had replaced the shower.  We negotiated with the seller, and the shower pan was completely replaced for my buyer.

What happened? It turned out that when the contractor initially replaced the pan, he was trying to preserve the marble walls and did not bring the waterproofing membrane up high enough on the wall.  When he replaced the shower pan for the second time, the original marble walls could not be saved and also had to be replaced.  This situation could have been messy, but the agent representing the sellers was helpful and cooperative.  He even sent me photos of the shower reconstruction progress.  Below is a picture of the shower pan replacement in progress and the black paper is the water proofing membrane that was needed.

 Shower replacement in progress

Shower replacement in progress