If your shower is leaking, you want to get to the root of the problem as soon as possible. If you don’t fix a leaking shower, bigger issues like permanent damage to your home can happen. Keep reading to learn the three reasons your shower might be leaking and how to fix it.
1. The Tile is Causing Your Shower To Leak
The tile in your shower could be what’s causing your shower to leak. This could be the tile on your shower’s floor or walls. Here’s how to tell if this is the cause of your shower’s leak.
To test if the leak is coming from your shower floor, the first thing you’ll want to do is clean the floor of your shower and let it completely dry. Then, use a high-quality duct-tape and cover up the drain. You’ll want to drain to be covered by at least six inches on all sides.
Now you’ll want to use a different water source like a hose or water from another bathroom. Fill up a bucket of water and use this water to fill the shower. You’ll want to fill it to the point that the water reaches the level of the threshold.
By taking water from another source you should be able to make sure the leak isn’t from the plumbing in the shower. Once your shower is filled with water, you’ll want it to sit. Depending on where your shower floor is, you could see water on a ceiling or in basement crawl space.
If you see a leak here, then it’s possible that the problem is with the base of your shower and you need to hire a professional. If after 15 minutes you don’t see signs of a leak, then your problem is not on the shower floor. This means you may be able to DIY this issue if you’re up to it.
The Leak Is In the Grout In The Tiled Shower Walls
If your shower can drain without leaking, then you might need to see if the leak is coming from the grout between the shower walls and tiles. To see if this is the problem, check out one wall at a time. You’ll want to start low on the wall and spray or splash water onto an isolated area.
Keep checking for leaks as you work your way up the shower walls, going a couple of feet at a time. You’ll want to visually inspect the grout before and after you get each section damp. Keep an eye out for missing grout as even a small hole in the grout can be the cause of a leak.
Once you’ve soaked one wall, go to the next one, all the while checking for leaks. Once you think you’ve found the source of your leak, repeat the test in that area to be certain you’ve isolated the leak.
If you find grout missing, regrout that area. Grout is simple to mix and apply once you’ve scraped out any loose material.
2. A Leaky Drain Or Faucet
Another cause of your leaking shower could be a leaky drain or faucet. Here’s how to tell which one is causing the problem.
If you have a drip that’s keeping you up at night or staining the side of your shower stall or tub, you can fix this by replacing the O-ring, washer, or rubber gasket.
If your faucet has a single handle, then the springs and gaskets around the inlet holes are probably the issue as they get worn after use. If your faucet has two hanfles then the leak could be caused by a washer and the ends of the valve stems. Sometimes but rarely, the ball valve or cartridge on your single-handled faucet gets nicked or cracked which causes a leak.
To see if it’s the drain that’s giving you problems, you’ll want to tape off the drain and let the water flow out. You’ll also want to check for leaks, and if you see one at this point then the problem is probably with the drain. If you are comfortable with plumbing, you can easily repair the drain especially if the pipe is PVC.
A good plumbing tip is to take a picture of the area you need to repair and bring this picture with you when you’re buying parts. This way the salesperson can direct you to the right parts.
Also, keep in mind the shower and tub drains are connected to P-traps like sink drains and these traps can leak. Water can also get into strainers that aren’t properly connected to the drain and this could be from small breaks or cracks in the bottom of the fixture.
When water leaks from these places, it’s usually obvious in the room below or on the bathroom floor as it buckles in the ceiling drywall. Water doesn’t always come from the drain, it can also come from rusted water or loose supply connections.
3. Water Supply Leaks
Your leaky shower could also be because of solder connections of the shower or tub valves that aren’t properly installed or are getting old. Usually, valves have a screw-on connection that isn’t tightened enough.
Even if the connection is tight, they can leak as the shower ages. This is because rust develops causing pinhole leaks at the joints.
You can replace a shower arm or spout, but other repairs will need access to your plumbing. Which is why in most cases this job is best left to a professional.
Fix Your Leaky Shower Today
Now that you know three reasons why you have a leaking shower, do these tests we suggested to get to the root of the problem. It’s either coming from the drain, faucet, shower floor, walls or a water supply leak. Don’t wait, get a plumber in today to fix this problem before it gets worse.
For more shower tips and tricks, be sure to check out our blog.