How to Fix a Leaky Shower
A leaky shower is usually due to the tray and doesn’t always mean you need a whole new shower or even a plumber as if you have some DIY knowledge you can fix it yourself. The chances are that if you know how to fix leaky kitchen taps and you know your shower valves from the shower waste you have all the ammo you need to save your home from extensive damage.
When a leak is noticed many homeowners assume that the shower enclosure must be at fault but in most cases it is usually the tray which is great as this is much cheaper to repair. Your first step is to locate the leak which can be difficult however here are some pointers of where to look.
Is it the Silicone Sealant?
Cracks or gaps in the silicone sealant should be easy to spot, but water is manipulative. It will follow the easiest path rather than leaking directly under the rotted or broken sealant. This is a common problem as after fitting shower trays settle and need to carry your weight. It’s a good idea when fitting a shower to apply the sealant and then a month later after it’s settled apply it again.The best way to check if it is the settlement causing the leaks is to check yourself, simply step inside and see where the tray gives. It can look completely flush when no weight is applied however if sealant is your problem you’ll see the root cause with your weight.
No matter how the sealant is broken, through age or simply through settlement, the results will be the same. Tiles may become loose and water will seep onto the bathroom floor and through to the ceiling below. If spotted early you can save a lot of time and money so try to keep an eye on it with every shower you have. Just a quick glance down will show if you need to replace the sealant that’s there.
When the water has leaked into the walls you’ll need to wait until they are completely dry before adding sealant or replacing loose tiles. Remove all affected tiles before drying out (a de humidifier in the bathroom will work well – or leave the heated towel rail on) and check that the render is intact.
Is it the Shower Tray?
Occasionally a leak can be due to a crack in the shower waste or even the tray itself. Again you need to locate the crack. For raised shower trays spray with water and keep an eye out for water escaping from the tray or from the waste. For sunken trays move the floorboards closest to the tray and place dry kitchen roll underneath so you can find the source of the leak.
Replacing the waste is quite simple and cheap as you can buy them online. The tray is not too expensive in itself although you’ll need to make sure the measurements are spot on. You can sometimes fix them temporarily with sealant until you pluck up the courage to take on this DIY rite of passage.