It’s a common occurrence for stand-up showers to leak and several factors can be responsible for this. Irrespective of the cause of the leak, one thing is certain.
And that is, every leaking stand-up shower requires an immediate fix. Otherwise, you risk losing your expensive properties to water damage.
Most leaks occur at the shower bases. However, it can be very difficult to identify them, making the leaks go unaddressed for long period in most cases.
To help you out, here are a few tips on how to fix a stand-up shower leaking at the base. Read on.
Why Shower Base Leaks?
Before diving into how to fix a leaking shower base, it’s important to know why a shower base leaks.
Normally, a shower base collects and channels water from the shower to the drain. However, certain factors can cause the shower base to leak. These factors include:
A shower base can be made of tile, rubber, plastic, ceramic, or any other material. Irrespective of the material a shower base is made of, it will eventually wear out naturally after long-time use.
This can lead to leaking at the base. Also, the sealant between the drain and the base may become weak, deteriorate, and cause water to break away.
The tile grout can crack and fall out over time due to natural expansion and contraction, leading to leakages. The shower base may also crack normally as a result of the frequent bearing of weights.
As stated above, a shower base collects water from the shower and channels this to the drain.
However, the accumulation of debris or dirt in the drainpipe can lead to poor drainage. This can eventually build up pressure that can cause either the pipe to crack or water to leak.
A Flaw in Structural Design
This is usually a plumbing issue. Normally, the stand-up shower should be able to bear the users’ weights without moving or deflecting.
However, if the shower base moves to accommodate weights or deflects once you step into the stall, your shower base is likely to crack and leak or is already leaking.
Lastly, a shower base shouldn’t move if properly fixed with the caulking and bolts. However, if the sealants and bolts don’t provide sufficient support (usually a plumbing issue), the shower base tends to move.
This movement can cause the shower base to crack and leak. Unfavorable movement of the shower base can also be caused by structural movement in the building or vibrations from heavy-duty machines.
These are a few but major causes of leaks in a stand-up shower base. However, as mentioned above, leaks may occur in a shower other than at the base.
Until you detect the main source of the leak, you won’t know where to start to get it fixed.
It is therefore important to find out if the leak is at the base or not to be able to administer the right shower repair.
How to Know if Stand Up Shower is Leaking at Base?
Do you want to know if your stand-up shower is leaking at the base? This can be a tricky task but the following procedures will help you to test if the base is leaking.
Test 1: Water Level Test
- Clean the shower pan and allow it to completely dry. If possible, don’t use the shower for about 12-24 hours to allow it to dry properly.
- Using a rubber plug, waterproof duct tape, or any water-tight sealant, seal up the drain. You may need to remove the metal drain guard to fix the rubber plug.
- Once you’re certain that the drain is properly sealed, pour some water into the shower pan. Mark the level of the water in the pan and leave it for several hours.
- Come back to the pan and check if there is any change in the water level. If you notice that the water level has gone below the mark, your stand-up shower is leaking at the base.
Test 2: Leaking Drain Test
The area around the shower drain may be leaking. This will cause water to escape through the base instead of going down the drain.
- Clean the shower pan and allow it to dry completely for about 12-24 hours.
- Remove the metal drain guard to gain access to the area around the drain.
- Fill a bottle with water from another source (not from the shower as it must remain dry).
- Carefully pour the water from the bottle into the area around the drain. Make sure that the water doesn’t pour into the drain.
- Take note, if the water escapes from the area without going down the drain, your shower base is leaking.
You can watch this YouTube video for a better understanding-
How to Fix a Stand-Up Shower Leaking at Base?
Now that you know why shower bases leak and when a stand-up shower is leaking at the base, let’s dive into how to fix the leaking shower base.
If after carrying out the tests above, you realize that your shower base is leaking, here are quick fixes for you:
Replace Your Shower Pan
The best and permanent fix to a leaking shower base is to replace the shower pan with a new one. You may not be able to determine the amount of damage done to the shower base.
So, it makes more sense to get a new one if you have the budget – a prefabricated base is advisable.
Replace the Shower Drain Piping
If water is escaping around the shower drain area, replacing the entire drain piping may be the best solution. You may not know if the drain piping is already weak or has multiple cracks.
So, replacing it is a more permanent fix to prevent future leaks.
However, if you’re budget-constraint, here are some temporary fixes:
Use Silicone Caulking
If you detect cracks or loose areas in your shower pan, apply silicone caulking to the cracks or loose areas.
The caulking will keep water within the pan and prevent water from leaking from the base. You can also use epoxy or masonry sealant to fix the cracks.
Use A Base Liner
Another temporary fix for cracks and leaks in the shower base is a baseliner. A baseliner can be used to seal cracks and contact areas within the shower base to prevent leaking.
Replace the Grout
If the reason for the leaking is a worn-out grout, you can do grout replacement in your shower base.
To ensure that the fix is done rightly, use the right sealant for your shower base material when applying the new grout.
Reseal the Shower Drain Area
If the problem is with the shower drain area, simply reseal the area with silicone sealant. You can also apply epoxy or masonry sealant to prevent leaks around the drain area.
Don’t forget that all these are temporary fixes and don’t prevent future leaks.
We have discussed some reasons why shower bases leak and how to know if your stand-up shower base is leaking. We also recommended a few fixes for a leaking stand-up shower base in this instructional guide.
Your stand-up shower base can leak due to several different factors. The best move is to identify the leaks and apply a fix immediately to save your investment.
This post only gives you the knowledge on fixing a leaking shower base, it doesn’t eliminate the need for a professional plumber.
If you are not much confident in troubleshooting this or just don’t want to mess with things that you know much about, you should hire a professional plumber to get it fixed for you now and start gathering more knowledge on plumbing from now and fix any other issue that may pop up in the coming days.