Shower Pan Testing

Do you partially fill shower pans to test them for leaks.

I typically check the SOP to see whats required of me.

From the NACHI SOP,

II. The inspector is not required to:
A. Light or ignite pilot flames.
B. Determine the size, temperature, age, life expectancy or adequacy of the water heater.
C. Inspect interiors of flues or chimneys, water softening or filtering systems, well pumps or tanks, safety or shut-of valves, floor drains, lawn sprinkler systems or fire sprinkler systems.
D. Determine the exact flow rate, volume, pressure, temperature, or adequacy of the water supply.
E. Determine the water quality or potability or the reliability of the water supply or source.
F. Open sealed plumbing access panels.
G. Inspect clothes washing machines or their connections.
H. Operate any main, branch or fixture valve.
**I. Test shower pans, tub and shower surrounds or enclosures for leakage. **
J. Evaluate the compliance with local or state conservation or energy standards, or the proper design or sizing of any water, waste or venting components, fixtures or piping.

I save the shower pan test for last. The only good way to test the pan and enclosure is under actual use, with some amount of weight on the pan. So I strip, take a long hot shower, get out, dry off and dressed in fresh clothes. Then I check for leakage all around it.

It has a side benefit of being nice and clean smelling when the client arrives for the briefing.;-):wink:

I do not test shower pans. I simply disclaim them and I check for waste line leaks in the basement.

I turn on all showers and let them run for about 15 minutes…sometimes longer.
With custom shower I find at least a 50% failure rate…regardless of your SOP, a client will be very unhappy if they find the problem…at least if I find it or make an effort there is very little that can be said.

More and more NC county code officials are requiring a specific shower pan inspection when installing a custom shower pan…I can’t blame them.


What do you mean by a custom shower pan. Got a pic?

Everyone every time would have been sued one hundred times if not. I find at least one a month that leaks. I don’t leave home without my stopper and camera.

So Charley, were you also hired to do a thermography inspection at the time? Because if not I would think that you have went beyond the SOP and therefore opened yourself up to a suit if someone wanted. If you were hired to do the additional evasive inspection then fine. If not, let me ask you this…Did you also visually inspect the plumbing lines with a internal camera? Not that this would be the only senerio I could think of but one that certainly be a factor in a lawsuit if you were to be sued. My opinion is…Once you cross the line of the SOP and not specificaly contracted to perform an invasive inspection (in this case you used your infrared camera to detect an apparent leak) then you are bound to evasively inspect every component. I may be wrong but just my opinion. If anyone else has comment on my opinion let me know…especially if you are an attorney and I will print your comments so I have them on file for defense in court should I need it.


I’m not seeing solid evidence of seepage there. What am I missing?

Hi Dave your not seeing any evidence of leakage because there was no leakage and that was what I was documenting the fact of no leakage. I do that on every shower stall I inspect

Paul, are you saying that it went beyond SOP because of camera usage, or flooding the shower pan procedure?

If it’s because he used a thermal camera, that’s plain silly! That’s the way you worded it.

Do you test shower pans by flooding them?

Paul I go beyond every SOP ever written I do not worry about if and when someone is going to sue me. My job is to protect my client and I use every tool in my bag to do just that. I document every shower stall I inspect with the IR camera. The same with chimney flashing I document with the camera leaking and or no visible stains. Do you really think the SOP is going to keep you out of court if someone believes you missed something if so I have some ocean front property in AZ I would just luv to sell you.
Staying within your SOP is about a $150.00 inspection in this State I did two this last week at $960.00 each so yes I am going to step out of the SOP.

I am not knocking anyone for doing it that was not the point of my comment. I was simply opening discussion to get feed back on thoughts of possible litigation if by using special tools to inspect one component then are you bound to use specialized tools for the rest of the components? In this case an infra red camera was used to identify a leaky shower pan.

Again…Only making this comment to open for discussion and get feedback…Not to get anyones thong in a knot.

Paul I don’t get in a knot very easy the pic I showed was not a leaking shower pan just documentaion that it was not leaking at the time of inspection. And yes I use specialized tools on any component that has the possibility of being a hidden problem and I do it consistently. I am a confirmed beleiver if one is so worried about litigation that this is probally not the profession to be in. I just provide the highest level of inspection that I am capable of producing and let the chips fall where they may.

I don’t know who’s making this crap up, but you’re not “bound” to do anything.

If you have probable cause to suspect that there is a leak and you pull out a thermal camera to verify it, there is absolutely no reason in the world you have to check the rest of the house for leaks just because you took the camera out of the truck!

And just because you do it in one house does not mean you have to do it for the rest of the houses you inspect for the rest of your life!

Quit worrying about the possibilities! Anything is possible! If you spend so much time worrying about what’s possible, you will never get any work done.

That’s what I thought. I had thought you were pointing out leakage with the IR image.

You want signs of seepage? Here ya go…

If Charley is using specialised equipment and going beyond the SOP and getting ABOVE AVERAGE prices for his work, than I think he has it figured out. Good for you Charley. :smiley:

That’s what it’s all about!

I fill and check every custom shower that I encounter, - last summer I did a pair of side-by-side 1.5 million $ townhomes were three out of four showers were leaking. I’m a whole lot more worried about getting sued over $15,000 worth of shower rebuilding that I am about going above SOP.


You do some very invasive testing ,judging from the second picture…