Is This a Design Flaw in the Schluter Drain?

Discussion in 'Ceramic and Stone Q&A' started by H Scott, Jan 26, 2012.

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  1. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    I have a documented record of what I percieve to be a design flaw in the Schluter Drain body.
    You all know we sell Schluter and other styles, this is not to blackball Schluter as our sales are great, it is to offer documentation and pictures showing an issue I have long feared.

    I will not proceed without a Mod or Jims permission.
    Please advise.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  2. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Hugh, you can phrase it as asking for information, or as your opinion. It is usually best to not declare it as fact, unless you can PROVE it by independent sorces.

    Also know others may disagree with ya! :rolleyes:

    And Schluter or others would have the right to refute anything you say.:ohno:

    Carry on, we are interested.
  3. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    The issue: Schluter drain

    I installed this job in Feb of 2008, it was for a neighbor and he is a big guy, about 450 lbs.
    I was concerned when I installed it that the Schluter drain could not support his wieght. I even dreamed about him setting his heel in the drain center and that plastic connecting "o ring" collapsing, that is how concerned I was.
    My dreams and fears were confirmed today, his ex-wife called and said the tiles around the drain had come loose. I went and inspected it and found the tiles loose on one side of the drain, the side he would set his heel while standing in the shower.

    Detail:They have been divorced for about 1 year, she said it felt funny a few months after install but they were both having personal issues and did not have time to deal with the floor and the house was in dispute.

    Issue:When I pressed on the right handlower corner of the drain cover there was downward movement, enough to break the slate 2x2s, not only did the movement break the slate free from the mesh, it broke a tile. The mesh is still applied to the floor and the tile, so that indicates the the movement was enough to break the bond the thinset had on the tile.
    I used unmodified thinset as Schluter suggest. I was still a kool-aid drinker in those days.....

    I will post the pictures in a few hours, they are on my iphone, I need to download them and label the areas.
    I gotta run right now.
  4. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Your few hours is up, Hugh. ;) Let's see the pictures and any other documentation. Have you contacted Schluter about this? I'm not sure why the alarming and awfully broad subject title. Have you looked at many others to compare? It could be only that one failed because of some manufacturing goof. Or, for all we know, the home owner damaged it in some way that isn't due to normal use. Have you had it inspected or done any tests?

    We just need a lot more info than you've supplied.

  5. stullis

    stullis Charter Member Senior Member

    Installer error.
  6. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    Had a problem loading pics from my Mac
    I will get them up today when I get back to my mainframe.

    To go along with Tullis I am sure Schluter will say the same, they always do,according to them it is always installer error if there is a failure.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  7. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    Holland Shower 005.jpg

    Holland Shower 001.jpg

    Opinions are welcome.
    I will draw up a diagram showing how the shower door placement would show his foot placement in these areas.
  8. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    Contacting Schluter:

    I will be filing a claim with Schluter.

    If he was still in the house I would rip the whole drain out, Since he is no longer there and I am sure Schluter will find a way to wiggle out of their warranty,(it seems they always do) I have an idea on how I may fix it.

    I would calculate these issues came into play: His large frame, the use of unmodified thinset, the ring that snaps to the bottom of the drain cover cannot support the wieght, the unmodified thinset could not sustain the flex.

    The .bmp will not load perhaps one of your mods can help me out.
    It is 554.6 kb 425x455r it should load, I tried twice.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2012
  9. stullis

    stullis Charter Member Senior Member

    You didn't get thinset under there to support that corner. Common mistake or installer error. ;)
  10. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    I would like to see other input rather than yours since you disagree with all I do and I disagree with all you say,imply and think.
  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator


    Why do we have to go 'round and 'round all the time. Please, just once, read the rules. I mean actually read them.

    This website is here for anyone who wants flooring information and to talk floors. That includes every segment of our industry. Because of some of the tactics you and a small handful of others have used on various flooring forums over the years, ALL flooring forums leave a bad taste in many industry member's mouths.

    If you don't like someone, don't bait them into a fight. If you have had a bad experience with a person, a company or a product, share the experience, but do not try to malign them in general terms to inflame the situation and make them look bad.

    No person, company or product deserves to be labeled as inherently defective or flawed without some actual research, investigation and findings that truly are documented. Your promises of of pictures, documentation and an original subject title that is designed more to hurt the company than to help your customer is not it.

    Your plans to file a claim apparently mean the answer to my question, have you contacted Schluter about this, is a big NO. Instead, you came here to report to all who could see it that they have a design flaw. I know you are an installer and a retailer, but I didn't know you were an engineer or designer of these types of products, which would add some credibility to your claims.

    If you aren't a designer or engineer, how would you know this is an actual design flaw? If you haven't hired an independent and qualified inspector to look at this, how can you claim it as a design flaw? If you haven't asked Schluter to help you resolve this problem, how can you expect us to believe you are trying to help your customer, rather than just trash a respected company? And, if you haven't actually watched your customer take a shower, then how could you possibly know the positioning of feet, or how much pressure was used on the heel as opposed to the balls of the feet? How do you know a stool or small bench wasn't used that put far more pressure per square inch on a part that wasn't designed for that much pressure? Where is the documentation and testing results that show design flaw and not mis-use or installer error? How do we know this wasn't a simple manufacturing defect?

    The Floor Pro Community is here to support the floorcovering industry, not tear them down. If there is a problem, let's help fix it, not destroy those who may have contributed to it. And if they did contribute to a problem, then let's make a better effort to determine that through the use of professional means. Personal calculation, a single issue and biased opinion are just that and do NOT constitute documented fact.

    I've been trying to convince many hesitant members of this industry all week at Surfaces 2012 that professionalism is so important to us that it is part of our name, The Floor PRO. Be the PRO I know you can be, Hugh, and let's help solve this issue like we have tried to do so many other times here on TFP - without making a company who WANTS to make a quality product look like they don't care.

    I believe I brought up several good questions in my previous post. You haven't answered all of them. Please do. Maybe our other pros here can help, as they have so many other times, to discover what actually happened and why. If you don't like any particular member, then use a feature in your User Control Panel and add them to your ignore list.


  12. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Hugh, I tried to be pleasant about giving you permission to post the problem, at the same time letting you know that there would be those who disagreed with you.

    Please be civil, it makes me look like a jerk if you can't.

    As to the highlighted phrase above....if you were so concerned, why did you go ahead and install it? :eek:
    Could you have found another product that you would have more confidence in?:confused:
  13. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    I'm usual. Are you saying there is a flaw in the drain or the installation system, i.e. the specified grout?
  14. twomly

    twomly Pro Member

    Was any of the drain made from plastic or was the top and trap plus waste all made from metal.
    We use Wade drains here or Howe Green both companies make complete metal ones for industrial applications where they are likely to come into contact with heavy use.
  15. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    Good question RG, I installed it after discussing the issue with another pro.
    We both agreed the Schluter was the way to go and at that time there were no wieght limitations for this type of issue..
    I was not aware that Loxcreen (ProVa sys)used the same drain body style yet thier drain cover unit screwed into the body. So....really at that time it was our best option as opposed to mudsetting the pan. I researched it online and found no negative feedback so I over-rode my instincts and went ahead with the job.

    Barry: What I perceive as the flaw is the floating snap on plastic ring pictured here:...

    ...was forced down into the drain body cavity when the weight of the client was presented on the corner/edge of the drain:

    Jim, I apologize for biting the hook.

    We all agree that Schluter is innovative and has brought to bear a new way to install showers, it saves us time and since time is money , it saves us money.

    I think however that we must never stop thinking about ways to better our situations and direct this applied knowledge in such manners that we see a better aspect of the whole picture.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  16. stullis

    stullis Charter Member Senior Member

    I still say you didn't get thinset where you were supposed to Hugh, if you did you wouldn't be having the problem. It really is that simple. :)
  17. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    I have you on ignore Scott but I know anything you say will be an attempt to discredit me so I will respond.

    The thinset was applied properly. All proper manufacture directions and procedures were followed by the book, this was done in certain because of my primary concern.
    This is why this is a textbook failure, either they need to put a weight limit spec on their drains or consider a redesign. If a person of my limited knowledge can see it is a problem, why can't they.

    How many other installers in the world have encountered this same issue and been told it was their fault after they knew everything was done according to specs.
  18. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Hugh, I am still trying to grasp what is going on here! I have highlighted some areas and have some questions. First it the height adjustment ring that you feel is defective? Is it broken, bent, or cracked?

    In the highlighted areas you say two different the tile broken free from the mesh or is it still attached?

    How is his size any concern of Schluter? Did the ring that snaps in break, bend, or collapse? Did Schluter make, sell, supply, or apply the mortar? If not are they responsible for its performance?

    Again, did that plastic adjustment ring break, bend, or collapse in any way? If it is distorted in any way could you describe it.

    It is the obligation of any installer if he has concerns about the suitability of a product to call technical or his supplier/retailer to get clarification. Otherwise it is accepted practice that once he approves it he is saying it is OK to use.

    I am not trying to be harsh or a jerk, just asking questions as I try to understand this unique situation.

  19. H Scott

    H Scott Pro Member

    Look at the picture, you will see the mesh and thinset is on both surfaces, that indicates there was bond to the floor and the tile.
    One piece of slate had broke in half meaning the top layer and the bottom layer of the slate has separated as slate will do when put under pressure and the natural fault gives way.

    Why would I suggest his size is a concern to Schluter? I don't understand that question. "His size" would not be the concern, a general weight limit spec would be proper or the drain redesigned if this is a design flaw.

    The snap ring is still secure to the cover, it is however moving vertically in the drain body.
    You said:
    "Did Schluter make, sell, supply, or apply the mortar? If not are they responsible for its performance?" You say you want to have serious discussion then ask a question like that?
    Let me humor you since I see where you are going; Ditra-Set was not available in our market in 2008, it may not have even been in the states yet.
    We used Mapei unmodified thinset.
    Yes...they would be responsible for the performance of the components when this install was done by the book.....would they not.. if not why warranty?

    I perceive the ring to be moving; as we would look down at the drain... ...down and to the left with enough force to break the tile free from the thinset yet leave the mesh attached to both surfaces. this is not much movement but it does not take much.When I push it with my thumb with a degree of pressure of my upper body weight it moves.

    We all know the obligation of the installer,I am not going get into that with you.

    What we should be looking for is cause and effect,put down the kool-aid and approach it objectively as we should be looking at this trade.
    We are the installers, do we crash like lemmings to the sea at the say so of Schluter or any manufacture....
    How many times have manufacture specs been wrong.... in my 28 years of experience, back with the knowledge base of my dad and my brothers I would say 30-40% of the time specs from manufactures can be enhanced or adjusted by install procedures.
    I have made suggestions to manufactures that I have seen them eventually turn to, not saying my suggestion changed them but saying all suggestions prompted change, mine only being one.

    In this case.... should have I went against the manufacture and packed mud in around the snap ring..... should have I used modified thinset to set the tile...
    If I went against the specs and it failed they would not warranty....(that is before I knew Schluter does not support their warranties, not that we have seen anyway.)
    I wanted to pack mud around the ring on this job but decide not to so I would retain warranty. I also wanted to use modified thinset, as my first instinct since it was slate and the absorption rate of the moisture out the thinset is greater than normal, but again, I chose to use what Schluter said I must.

    We all still have to ability to think for ourselves, lets not forget that.

    Had I done what I thought, instead of what Schluter says, would we be having this conversation..... I don't think so.
  20. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I am sorry, as I have never used a Kerdi drain, so am trying to picture this in my mind. You say, "What we should be looking for is cause and effect." and I agree.

    Explain this "floating snap ring" to me. Is it attached to anything (snap into)? Does it float (move up and down)?

    If the tile broke, that indicates movement. Where does the movement come from? Is the drain pipe solidly anchored? I have seen them move and break the connection. Did you use the Kerdi pan or is it a mud bed?

    By the way I am glad you can see where I am I have no final destination as I do not have ALL the facts, that's why I ask questions!

    More questions to come.:yesss:
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