Courtesy photo Vinyl liners are the best option for ensuring a lasting shower pan installation, according to Robert Lamoureaux, a contractor with nearly four decades of experience.

Robert Lamoureux: Hot mop vs. vinyl shower pan liner, bathtub shell

Question No. 1

Hi Robert,

I own a home in Canyon Country and am in the process of remodeling on two of my bathrooms. I’m doing some of the work but contracting out certain aspects. I’m currently at the point where I need the shower floors hot mopped and have also been told that there is a better product, a vinyl product.

Ultimately, the information I’ve received on both leaves me in a quandary on which is the best route, so that is why I’m reaching out to you, for your expert opinion. Whatever you tell me is the best option is what I’m going to go with.

Would you please give me your thoughts on which is best and why? I really want to do this the right way and not have to worry about any seepage or leaking, forever if possible.

Answer No. 1

In the early days, all I would use is the hot mop.

However, over time, due to age and the thickness that the hot mopping is put on, it cracks and causes leaking. It is essentially like roofing tar, so is susceptible to aging and cracking/drying.

Once the vinyl system came out, I began using that, and it is the only way I’ll go anymore. It can best be described like a swimming pool liner. However, it is thicker than that. The liner is put in, molded to the floor and then the concrete is placed on top of this, followed by the standard tile project.

In over 35 years, I’ve never had one of these fail. However, previously, the hot mopping did occasionally fail.

For me, the vinyl is the only option. I would absolutely recommend this route to you.
— Robert

Question No. 2

Hello Robert,

In one of my bathrooms, I have a bathtub/shower combination that is covered with a plastic (?) shell/liner. When I bought the house 10 years ago, one area in the tub was glued. Well, now it cracked and I need to fix it. I want to keep the same setup. I heard about putting a new shell/liner over the old one; however, I also read that many who did this had issues.

What is better, replace the shell/liner or install a second layer or even replace the whole setup, which would be more costly?

I would welcome any suggestions to have the job done correctly.

Also, would you know a local company with a good reputation who would do a good job? I believe in supporting a local business with good reference, in exchange for a job well done.

I am looking forward to hearing from you,
— Daniela

Answer No. 2

Daniela,

Everything depends on one’s budget. In a perfect world, I’d tell you to take it out and start from scratch. If the budget is the issue, I would remove the old liner and replace it with a new one if the style is still available. I don’t know of a contractor who works on the liners you are describing. I’d try a local tile and tub store and see if you can get a lead from them. There are companies that can do a repair and then top-coat the tub. There is a company called Cerma-Coat that you may want to reach out to. They are based out of Van Nuys. I’d call them and get their input, 800-789-2284. Good luck,
— Robert

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

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