A leaking shower pan can damage the whole floor requiring extensive repairs if not fixed on time. In some cases, you may need to replace the whole bathroom floor. The good news is that there are easy fixes which can keep your bathroom in great shape and prevent any serious issues.
Apply epoxy or masonry sealer, replace the grout, shower pan liner and the shower pan with a prefabricated pan to fix a leaking shower pan. Replacing the grout and pan liner and applying epoxy are quick fixes for leaking shower pans while replacing the pan itself is a permanent solution.
The DreamLine SlimLine Shower Base comes in different sizes, shapes, colors, and the location of the drain and is one of the best prefabricated shower pans on the market. It’s also made of high-quality acrylic material which makes it a great solution for a leaking shower pan.
My Shower is Leaking Through the Floor
Some of the causes of a leaking shower pan include the following:
Shower pan movement
Movement in the shower pan can lead to cracks and spaces through which water can leak into the surrounding floor. This can be caused by the weight of users, heavy machinery vibrations, earthquakes and repairs on surrounding parts of the house.
A properly fixed shower pan isn’t expected to move around when you step into the bathroom. This is because shower pans are affixed to the floor with sealants and bolts to keep them in place and prevent water leakages.
Any movements in the shower pan can loosen the tiles, dislodge the grout and change the slope of the shower pan and the shower floor in general. The result is the shower leaking through the floor.
Poor shower drainage
If there is too much dirt in the shower drain, water can stagnate and seep in between the drain and the shower pan into the floor in the shower. A drainage that has also been constructed poorly and loosely will let water seep into the floor.
Wear and tear
The weight of the users can easily wear out a shower pan with breaking, splintering and lose of sealant a common scenario in old or poorly fixed shower pans. These problems can be noted in showers use by a lot of people or in old houses.
Deflection is defined as the degree to which a structural element is displaced when under a load. For your shower pan, deflection refers to how much its structure is affected by the weight of a user taking a shower.
Ideally, the shower pan isn’t supposed to move or get displaced when in use. Such movement easily allows the shower pan to leak water into the floor below and around it.
These are causes which can be easily observed with keenness on your end. As long as you clean the shower stall frequently enough, it’ll easy to take note of leaks and damage in the shower.
Shower Pan Leak Test
Check the shower pan for leaks in the following steps:
1. Seal the shower drain
Use a rubber plug, duct tape or other method to tightly seal the shower drain to prevent water from going into it. The seal created should be water-tight.
2. Pour colored water on the shower floor
Fill the floor of the bathroom with colored water then mark the level reached on the wall with a marker pen.
3. Check the water level changes
Check the water level in the shower after 8 hours since you poured it in. If it’s still the same, the shower pan isn’t leaking. If it has reduced and you’re sure the shower drain had a water-tight seal, then the shower pan is leaking.
Some signs of a shower pan leak include wet carpets or wet grout around the shower and other areas, loose and wet tiles, and water stains on the ceiling under the shower. If you notice wetness in these areas, the shower pan is leaking and needs to be repaired. Water leaking from the ceiling under the bathroom is a major sign that your shower pan or other part of the shower floor is leaking.
How to Fix a Leaking Shower Pan
If your shower pan has a leak, the fixes are as follows:
1. Replace the shower pan liner
Apply a shower pan liner on the cracks in the pan and its edges to provide a watertight seal. This requires careful examination of the shower pan and the areas it meets with the wall or edges of the shower drain for cracks and spaces.
Replacing the shower pan liner is a temporary fix for leaking shower pans since the liner may wear out again leading to more leaks.
2. Apply epoxy or masonry sealer
Repair the shower grout then clean the shower floor before applying a masonry sealer or epoxy to seal a leaking shower floor. After that, seal the tiles as well to provide a watertight shower floor.
This too is a temporary fix for a leaking shower pan since the issue could be a moving pan rather than the simple cracks and spaces solved with epoxy.
3. Replace the grout on the shower floor
Remove the loose grout from the tiles with a grout saw, blow it out then apply a sufficient amount of grout between the tiles and where the tiles meet the shower wall to replace the grout. Apply a sealer then let it dry overnight before using the shower again.
4. Replace the shower pan with a pre-fabricated pan
A prefabricated shower pan is a single piece which eliminates the need for the installation of different parts in the shower floor. It’s better at keeping the shower floor leak-free since it doesn’t have moving parts which may leave gaps for the water to pass through.
This is a permanent fix for leaking shower pans and will last several years depending on the quality of the shower pan. Most shower pans are made of fiberglass or composite materials. You can replace a shower pan in a few steps with the right tools. Make sure you properly seal the pan to avoid water leaking through the sealing as it might cost a lot to fix.
The advantage with prefabricated shower pans is that they have few or no weak links which may lead to leaks. On the other hand, they have specific shapes and may not fit all bathroom shapes and sizes perfectly.
If any of these leaking shower base repairs are too complex for you or you don’t have the needed tools, simply call for an expert. Besides that, some procedures such as replacing the shower pan simply require a skilled person to carry them out and avoid issues later on. If you’re wondering who to call for water leaks in the ceiling, then it’s any professional plumber since they have the needed skills to repair the issue.
If the damage done to the house is a significant one, you can file for an insurance claim for water damage from a shower pan leak in some areas such as Florida. This will help reduce the cost of the repairs.