Shower Pan and a Slab Foundation
LESLIE: Now we’re going down to Florida with Sue who’s got a shower issue.
Sue, how can we help?
SUE: Well, I’m having a new home built and, as you know, in Florida we live on sand and we’re all on cement slabs as opposed to basements or crawlspaces. The builder’s specs call for the step-down shower to be 5.5 inches. And when the cement people put the step-down in, they only went down 4 inches.
SUE: So later on, maybe several weeks later, I went back over to the house and I find that the cement contractor was there digging out 1.5 inches of cement to make it the 5.5-inch step-down.
TOM: (chuckles) OK.
SUE: And my question is, is that going to jeopardize the entire integrity of the foundation of my house?
TOM: Not likely. I don’t quite understand the description that you’re giving me of this step-down. You said it’s a shower. So is it a shower pan that was created out of concrete?
SUE: From the level of the rest of the bathroom floor to the level of the shower floor was supposed to be a drop of 5.5 inches.
TOM: OK, got it. And so they dug out part of your floor? It’s a slab foundation?
TOM: Oh, OK. I got it. Alright. No …
LESLIE: What’s the difference? Why did it have to be?
TOM: Basically because he dug into the floor area. He didn’t dig into the exterior wall where the concrete really counts. So I wouldn’t worry about that affecting the structural integrity of the house.
SUE: I’m certainly relieved to hear that. I’ve never built a home in Florida before and let me tell you, it’s a real learning experience. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, and it’s stressful, too, when you see the ugly side of home improvements. You know, I’ve been in the position of that contractor many times in my home inspection career, in my home construction career, where I’ve made changes to projects that I was doing. It wouldn’t be the pretty change that I might want to show a customer as a carpenter but there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s safe and effective and it gets the job done. It sounds to me like you stepped in during one of those little adjustments that happens every day in the construction industry and it freaked you out a little bit. But Sue, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.
SUE: Well, great. Thanks so much for your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.