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Old 12-08-2014, 01:43 PM   #1
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Don't caulk your shower surround.

It's been discussed around the forum a couple times, but I just wanted to share my experience with the hope of keeping another owner from making the same mistake I did.

When we purchased our trailer last year, I took one look at the shower surround and the huge gap at the bottom between it and the shower pan and thought "now, that's just sloppy, why is that not sealed?"

So in my final delivery requests, I asked the tech to go ahead and run a bead of silicone around there and get it all sealed up nice. I asked him to validate my request, and he responded with "that's what I'd do if it were mine". Well, later I was reading this forum, and I learned that was a bad idea. You see the space between the shower liner and the wall is subject to moisture issues, and the gap at the bottom of the shower surround is designed to allow air to flow through so it can dry up nice.

So I put removing that silicone on my list of things to fix a couple months ago and thought "well, I'll get to it sooner or later". Well, last weekend when we were out, I noticed a spot where the caulk had come loose a little bit, and there was a reddish stain there. You know, like the kind of stain that happens when that Luann wall board gets wet? I grabbed my pocket knife and began pulling some of the silicone away, and brownish red water started coming out. So I had a somewhat major freak out and envisioned myself pulling the shower liner away and finding all kinds of horrific things like mold and rot.

Well luckily when I got home and got everything apart enough to take a look, it turned out that some wood shavings had dropped down into that part of the shower pan, and water did in fact get back there, but it was just that little bit of construction debris that had gotten wet, and the brownish red stained droplets leaked out into the shower pan.

I really lucked out on that one, and I pulled all the caulk from around the threshold between the shower pan and the liner. Now I'm left with the job of removing all the silicone residue. I'm glad I got to it sooner rather than later, because that could have been a huge problem.

Don't make my mistake, that shower liner is designed to overlap the lip of the shower pan so any moisture runs into the shower, and the air gap is designed so anything left back there can dry out.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:00 PM   #2
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Looks like I'm adding one more thing on my ( to do list). Thanks for a post on that issue, looks like I owe you at least one.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reminder. Some one may look and find out the same way you did.
I asked my dealer about it when mine was in warranty and Jayco told them not to seal it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:04 PM   #4
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Thanks much. Sealing that gap up was on my list of things to do for next year - now I have one less thing!!

Good to know!
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:20 PM   #5
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I didn't notice the gap at the bottom but I did notice the one along the top. I asked the dealer to caulk it so water wouldn't get behind the surround.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:23 PM   #6
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What a great observation and piece of advise. Makes me wonder if a small round vent installed in the linen closet next to the surround wouldn't be a good idea.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:31 PM   #7
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Funny! I told my dealer the same thing and he said the same thing that the showers are now floating so they crack less and no moisture can stay back there so the walls and base are like two separate parts that move independent of each other so everything flexes as the trailer is moving.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:35 PM   #8
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So what about the top of the surround? Should the top of the surround also be left in caulked?

-Java
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:43 AM   #9
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I was wondering about the gap at the bottom. I'll leave mine alone. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idahoboy View Post
Funny! I told my dealer the same thing and he said the same thing that the showers are now floating so they crack less and no moisture can stay back there so the walls and base are like two separate parts that move independent of each other so everything flexes as the trailer is moving.
Yes, the surround and the shower pan are two completely separate pieces. They are not attached to each other in any way. I never thought about the fact that this configuration allows them to move without cracking, but it makes sense to me. The pan is set on whatever support structure you have on the floor, the edges are screwed into the wall. Then the wall liner is wrapped in with the bottom edge overlapping into the pan, and secured to the wall with plastic pop rivets (drilling these holes is where the debris I mentioned must have come from). My trailer has a glass sliding shower door that is screwed through the edges of the shower surround and into the wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by javankrona View Post
So what about the top of the surround? Should the top of the surround also be left in caulked?

-Java
I would most definitely leave the top unsealed. This will create a complete air gap, allowing air to move freely behind the shower surround. Any condensation that doesn't run down the shower surround and into the shower pan will dry up relatively quickly as long as the air can move back there, and a gap at the top AND bottom is key to effective air movement.

Someone mentioned creating a vent in an adjacent wall; I would not go that far. Part of my diagnosis involved removing access panels in the bunk so I could get to the back of the faucet handles for removal (there are two panels on that wall in my trailer), and there was already PLENTY of air moving between the walls. In my case, there is a storage compartment below the bunk that shares a wall with the shower, so the bottom 1/3 of the wall is open to that compartment.
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