A leaky corner shower can lead to mold and mildew problems in your bathroom. With some basic do-it-yourself work, the problem can likely be solved. More difficult leaks could require replacing the entire shower.
Pinpointing the Problem
Spend some time and figure out just where the water is coming from on your bathroom floor. When you see water on the floor near the shower or drips falling from a first-floor ceiling under a second-floor bathroom, that signals a leaky shower or bathtub.
Figure out if the water is coming from one corner or a couple. Run the shower and monitor where the water flows and how the water gets onto the floor.
In most cases, corner leaking from the shower can be solved by caulking the corners, running the caulk from the tile up the shower pan, or base, and, if so equipped, up to the shower doors. Use a caulking gun to put a bead of caulk along the corner but also along the shower pan where it sits on the tile. Once the caulk dries and there is a tight seal, test the shower again by running water.
The leak could also be coming from a crack in the shower base. Check the shower base and caulk all along the base if a crack is discovered. Again, you want to have a tight seal when you are finished.
If caulking does not stop the leak, you may have a more serious problem on your hands. If the shower pan is leaking from the base, you will likely have to rip the entire shower out and rebuild, making things waterproof six inches up the shower walls. This can be beyond the comfort level of many do-it-yourselfers, so survey the scene and give it some thought before diving into such a project.
In homes that are 35 or 40 years old, showers were typically built with lead pans at the base. These lead pans under the shower typically last a little more than 20 years, and they can deteriorate. If this is the case, it is better to tear the shower out and have it redone. Once again, you may want to consider getting a professional remodeler to tackle the job as it could be beyond a do-it-yourselfer's range of ability.
If you still don't feel you have pinpointed the leak, remove the shower head, cap the shower arm and turn on the faucet. If there are any defects, know that the leak should be noticeable, but keep in mind water will follow the path of least resistance. Examine outside the shower while the spray is hitting the doors inside. If you are seeing leakage, the bottom of the doors need to be removed, cleaned and reset in silicone.
- Ernest Beese, handyman, Dunedin, FL
- Terry Love Plumbing