Shower leak? Step by step guide
A shower can be quite perplexing, since there are a few possible causes. Over the years, we have found that shower leaks are easy to diagnose, when you know what to look for.
Over the years we have learned that some problems are more common than others. This is a list which ranges from the least likely to most common suspects for a shower leak.
Water leaking from shower tiles
This is the most unlikely suspect, but we have seen a few cases in which the water has passed through tiles which have not been installed correctly, or in cases where the grouting between the tiles is missing. It is unlikely that the water damage will be evident between the tiles since the water will always follow the path of least resistance, and therefore the chances are that the water will exit on the other side of the wall. ( Passageway or adjoining room)
Water leaking through the silicone sealant
Failed silicone seal around the base is our second most unlikely suspect, although most clients would assume that it is the most likely. Some showers have a sealant between the tiles and the fibreglass base which could leak. If the waterproofing beneath the base is not completed correctly, the water from the shower would then penetrate the substrate beneath and cause a leak which can be seen in the room beneath the shower or the adjoining passageway / room.
Water leaking through compromised waterproofing
Before the waste water trap is fitted to the shower, the builder who installed the shower floor would have installed waterproofing. This is to ensure that even if water does penetrate the tiles or fibreglass base, the water would not escape into the substrate and cause the concrete reinforcing to rust inside the concrete. When the waterproofing has not been completed successfully, or has become compromised, the water will leak through to the concrete beneath and eventually affect the surrounding walls and the ceiling directly below the shower if you live in an apartment. Statistically this occurs in conjunction with another problem.
Water leaking through a broken shower waste fitting
This is the second most common problem. The waste water flows through a P trap which is located in the base of the shower. The P trap keeps a small amount of water in it at all times to stop air from the drain entering the shower. This air can smell like the inside of a drain and is therefore not so pleasant.
This P trap can separate from the drain fitting, or get damaged by a number of possible causes. Whilst the leaking water should pass directly out of the shower base onto the surrounding tiles, sometimes the waterproofing is compromised, and the water is not visible until it appears on the walls surrounding the shower. The water is more likely to show up on the opposite walls as opposed to showing up between the tiles of the shower wall.
Water leaking from the water heater, mixer faucet, taps or fittings
This is the most common cause of a shower leak. The fittings inside the wall that connect the shower mixer (tap – faucet) can start leaking, or an elbow in the pipe installation can become compromised for a number of reasons.
At night, the pressure range within a plumbing system can fluctuate quite dramatically, and this could put excessive pressure on the pipe system. This vacillation of pressure has a way of affecting fitting and pipes. The problem with this kind of leak is that the water which enters the brickwork often bypasses the waterproofing and affects the substrate under the waterproofing. This may cause the waterproofing to delaminate and in most cases will cause the steel reinforcing in the substrate to rust inside the concrete. This rust then expands and cracks the concrete, making it weak. This process is called spaulding and has the capacity to make a building unfit for human inhabitants.
Conclusion – what to do when you have a shower leak
I know this might sound like I am pushing for a sale, but in this instance, it would be cheaper and faster, to just call us and let us assist you in solving the problem.
We have a range of sensors and many years experience that will take the guesswork out of the process of repairing a leaking shower. We have done this for 12 years, and probably seen around 5000 leaking showers.
You are welcome to give us a call to discuss the problem, and perhaps we could assist you telephonically with advise on how to eliminate possible suspects until you are left with the most likely cause of the problem
We service the following suburbs
Bakoven, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, Clifton Fresnaye, Green Point, Hout Bay, Llandudno, Mouille Point, Sea Point, Three Anchor Bay, Bo-Kaap (Malay Quarter), Devil’s Peak Estate, De Waterkant, Foreshore, Gardens, Higgovale, Oranjezicht, Schotsche Kloof, Tamboerskloof, University Estate, Vredehoek, Woodstock, Capri Village, Fish Hoek, Glencairn, Kalk Bay, Kommetjie, Lakeside, Marina da Gama, Muizenberg, Noordhoek, Ocean View, Scarborough, Simon’s Town, Bishopscourt, Claremont, Constantia, Harfield Village, Kirstenhof, Kreupelbosch , Newlands, Observatory, Pinelands, Plumstead, Rondebosch, Rondebosch East, Rosebank, Steenberg, Tokai, Bloubergstrand, Melkbosstrand, Milnerton, Montague Gardens, Parklands, Table View, West Beach