Fixing shower wall hole - can it be patched?
December 20, 2019 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I accidentally put a kind of large hole in my shower, that runs along the wall and is both tub and shower walls as one solid piece. It's like plywood with plastic coating on top of it looks like. Can I repair/patch this or will the whole thing have to be replaced?

I forgot to take a picture, but I can add one later. It's roughly hand sized since I slipped and boom my hand did in fact go through it. Still connected on one of four sides. Have anyone done this sort of repair before or will I have to get an entirely new piece with tub/walls and install it? I'm in an apartment so I'd have to involve maintenance at that point.
posted by OnTheLastCastle to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are kits with epoxy and netting intended to fix fiberglass boats. Won't be pretty but will be waterproof.
posted by tmdonahue at 9:38 AM on December 20, 2019

1. you should replace it
2. if you don’t want to, try ‘bond-o’. But really you should replace it.
posted by From Bklyn at 9:52 AM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

If it’s the stuff I’m thinking of (particle board with tile pattern on it), I wouldn’t risk patching it. Water getting into the wall would cause much worse damage, and any repair wouldn’t last long. For the short term you could tape a piece of plastic over it until it is properly fixed.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:52 AM on December 20, 2019

Yeah, kind of thought that would be the answer. I'm not nearly experienced enough to be sure water wouldn't leak through and I see how that would cause much worse damage. I'll contact maintenance and hope they have some mercy on me.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:02 AM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

100% this is a maintenance issue. This wasn't your fault. This is wear and tear on an apartment caused by them using weak and low quality materials.

If you moved out and left it or patched it on your own, they would probably charge you.

Hope this helps
posted by bbqturtle at 10:44 AM on December 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'll contact maintenance

Oh you're renting? Yes, then this should definitely be on them to fix. The "hand through the wall" risk is talked about on shower installation forums. There are known reasons why this happens (weak backer board, inadequate framing).
posted by slidell at 11:09 AM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Hand through wall means that they didn't construct properly and they should be willing to fix this without charge as it also reduces their liability. I can imagine that some terrible injuries could result from a slip in the shower if the wall you try to catch yourself with busts open.
posted by quince at 11:33 AM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not your fault and definitely sub-standard construction and/or rot. Hands should not be able to go though shower walls. That stuff should have something backing it. I’m not even sure it is rated for showers.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:59 AM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's space between the "shell" for lack of a better term and where a real wall is. It's fairly thick like an inch? but I must have hit it just right. Due to my falling down, it was kind of like punching it? I was holding soap and my stupid body didn't think to just open my hand (other open hand tried). So I don't know if the space implies bad construction? I'm going to go in and talk to the office people after work, but knowing if that's standard or not might make me feel more empowered.

I'm not mad or anything, I just have gone from thinking I surely will have to pay the money to fix this to not so much hopefully. I never could've just gone through if it was backed up against the actual wall. The gap was a few inches at least. I realize now that I had from time to time pushed on it lightly (mostly when cleaning with a scrubber) so I knew it was hollow. It flexed a bit.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:03 PM on December 20, 2019

The wall should have been solid and stout. The fact that it moved, and was brittle, means that it was not built to last. The apartment management must know about this issue with other apartments. Ask what they plan to do about the shower wall failure, and how they will ensure that no water gets into the wall, causing further trouble. Tell them that you are willing to wait a little extra time for the repair if they get a quality job done.

Finally, if they have to rip that wall out it would be a perfect time to install a grab bar. They can include stout anchors in the wall to screw that bar to, so the next time you slip in the shower you can save yourself.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:41 PM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

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