Why do showers leak?

Your home should function properly. Doors should open and close. Appliances should work. The roof and walls should be stable and the shower should not leak. Unfortunately, things do not always work as they should. The result can be that you are inconvenienced. However, if not taken care of quickly, a minor problem can progress into serious property damage.

There can be many reasons why your shower leaks. It is important to identify the root of the problem so that it can be fixed. If the source of the problem is not identified, it can go on to cause damage and weaken your home. Once you identify the problem, fix it. Fixing the problem will prevent it from going on to become a bigger problem. Here are some of the possible reasons why your shower is leaking.

How Can I Tell If My Shower is Leaking?

  • Smell of Rot – Moisture causes materials to weaken and degrade. If you smell mildew or rotting wood, there is a good chance that you have a leak somewhere.
  • Bubbling Paint – Not only does moisture degrade materials, it can cause bubbles and gaps to form beneath paint. One sure sign of water damage is if your paint is showing signs of no longer adhering to the wall.
  • Damaged Walls – A water leak can cause a wall to warp or for water stains to appear where the damage is occurring.
  • Missing Grout – As the moisture causes the grout to degrade or the wall to warp, grout can come loose and fall out of place.
  • Loose Tiles – Another sign of water damage is when tiles become loose, whether due to weakening adhesive or a warped surface where the tiles have been placed.
  • Bathroom Door Jams – Wood, like many materials, expands when it is exposed to moisture. If your bathroom door gets stuck, this may be a sign that it is being exposed to excessive moisture.

What is the Source of My Shower Leak?

There can be any number of reasons that your shower is leaking. If you want to prevent the excess moisture from ruining the structure of your home, you need to find the source. There is a good chance that whatever is giving you problems around the shower, may begin to give you problems in another part of the house. The sooner the leak can be located and dealt with, the better.

  1. Building Movement – The ground moves over time. It is very slow and subtle, but it happens. And, when it happens, it can cause buildings to shift, as well. When buildings shift, joints may come loose, cracks appear, floors may no longer be level and doors may no longer be square. Even tiny, nearly imperceptible shifts can cause damage. The joints that come apart may be in or around your shower, causing the seal to come apart and water to get through.
  2. Gaps – Materials, too, can change over time. Use and age can cause wood to warp or bow. Walls, too, may bow. When bowing, warping, twisting, thinning or any other degradation of materials, gaps may appear. Gaps allow in moisture which in turn can cause more damage.
  3. Waterproofing Failure – Believe it or not, tile is not waterproof. Neither is grout or the backing board that the tile is mounted on. Each has its own degree of water permeability, but none is entirely waterproof. The real waterproofing takes place with a membrane beneath these layers. If the membrane was not properly installed or gets a hole, it can spell disaster for your home.
  4. Harsh Cleaning Products – There is a liquid waterproofing agent that can be used to coat some of your shower materials. If you use harsh chemicals when cleaning your shower, it can wear away at the waterproofer. It can also cause the shower materials to degrade.
  5. Low Quality Materials – Just as harsh chemicals can cause problems in you shower, so can using poor materials to begin. If quality materials were not used in the initial construction of your shower, you will pay for it later.
  6. Bad Plumbing – Some of the plumbing for your shower runs behind the wall. If a plumbing joint comes loose or springs a leak, it can cause water damage.
  7. Bad tiling – Tile, as mentioned above, is not entirely waterproof. Coating it with a sealer can help. But if the tiling is not set properly, it can permit water to get through and cause a leak.

How to Fix a Leaky Shower

When you have a problem in your home, you could certainly go the do-it-yourself route. But, consider the investment you have already put into your home. If you are going to make repairs to your home, it is worth the investment to make sure they are done right. Hiring a professional company to do the work for you may mean a bit of an upfront cost, but what it will save you in time and aggravation is immeasurable. Not to mention the fact that many people who attempt home improvement tasks often end up calling in a professional anyway. Save yourself the extra steps and call a professional at the first signs of a problem.

Finding the Right Contractor

Just as there is more than one place that a shower leak can originate from, there is more than one way to repair a shower leak. When looking for a contractor to fix your leaking shower, look for one who is an expert at a variety of methods for sealing and waterproofing. The contractor should also be familiar with tile work and regrouting. The contractor should also be able to assess your needs and offer you a solution tailored to your situation. Most importantly, the contractor you choose should be able to tidy up after themselves when they are done.

A leaking shower isn’t just a nussance. If left untreated, a leaky shower can lead to serious damage to your home. It is best to seek a solution as soon as the problem is detected. And while there are some home repairs a dedicated do-it-yourselfer can manage on his own, water damage is best handled by professionals.