plumbers out there - shower leaks only when taking a shower

doghouseman

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in your head man....
My shower is leaking. I checked all the fixtures and they are all dry. The shower only leaks when I am taking a shower. In other words, when I just run the water in the shower, no leaks. I can see the leak after I take a shower is on the edge of the tub - part of the metal reinforcement. So I suspect the tiles, and perhaps the water is running around the tub?

On closer inspection of the tiles there appears to be some rectangular shaped holes in the grout between the tiles. So I got some grout and covered the holes.

Grout seems to be pretty hard to work with though. The directions recommend a mask and gloves. They recommended dry time is 4 days. Really??? I was hoping I could check for leaks sooner than that.

Also, any other ideas for a shower that only leaks when showering?
 

Milspec

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Often it is a cracked stub pipe that connects the shower drain to the sewer line....especially true if installed on a slab. Normally, it is caused by a bad installation and can be hidden for years until it becomes bad enough.

The other possibility is the drain itself isn't sealed any longer. You might have to run some sealant around the drain to seal it up against the shower basin.

Just a lot of possibilities here to guess at....need more description. What material is the shower basin made out of? Is it installed onto a slab or above ground? If above ground, walking around on the shower basin and see if there are any spots that flex? Any pictures?
 

uriah1

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So it is a tub with a shower head installed and curtain ? Where is leak downstairs. Trying to visualize.
 

doghouseman

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in your head man....
Often it is a cracked stub pipe that connects the shower drain to the sewer line....especially true if installed on a slab. Normally, it is caused by a bad installation and can be hidden for years until it becomes bad enough.

The other possibility is the drain itself isn't sealed any longer. You might have to run some sealant around the drain to seal it up against the shower basin.

Just a lot of possibilities here to guess at....need more description. What material is the shower basin made out of? Is it installed onto a slab or above ground? If above ground, walking around on the shower basin and see if there are any spots that flex? Any pictures?
Replaced the shower drain already, and it is sealed. The shower tub is acrylic - I think? There is no slab, only Styrofoam underneath for support. The support is my second thought - if the tub is flexing when I stand in it, it might leak, so I need to make the tub more stable underneath. I will probably buy some spray foam sealer and spray it underneath for more support - if the new grout around the tile doesnt work.
 

bgmacaw

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Often it is a cracked stub pipe that connects the shower drain to the sewer line....especially true if installed on a slab. Normally, it is caused by a bad installation and can be hidden for years until it becomes bad enough.

We had this happen to our upstairs master bath shower. The weight of someone being the the shower caused it to flex enough to leak. It's kind of patched up now until we get around to redoing the bathroom.

Unrelated but this thread made me think of this song....

 

johmica

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Sometimes the rubber gasket that seals the overflow dry rots, and it can leak there, even when it's just water splashing against it from a shower:

1656718264979.png


Grout would be my first guess, though. Also, make sure that there's not water on the floor outside the shower. It could be water leaking in under the baseboard, if your shower curtain isn't sealing completely.

Those tubs can crack over time, too. Do you see any hairline fractures at the base?

Lastly, and most horrifically, it could be a crack in the line that leads up the wall and to the shower head, but it would leak even when you're not in there, if that were the case.
 

Boreas

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Often it is a cracked stub pipe that connects the shower drain to the sewer line....especially true if installed on a slab. Normally, it is caused by a bad installation and can be hidden for years until it becomes bad enough.

The other possibility is the drain itself isn't sealed any longer. You might have to run some sealant around the drain to seal it up against the shower basin.

Just a lot of possibilities here to guess at....need more description. What material is the shower basin made out of? Is it installed onto a slab or above ground? If above ground, walking around on the shower basin and see if there are any spots that flex? Any pictures?
Agree with the stub. Pretty crappy metal and tend to disintegrate with any pressure to remove them. Usually requires wall surgery to get it sorted.

I fixed my shower leak - but it was a leak in the seal around my faucet outlet to the tub. It was poorly supported in the steel tub and was only held in place by the old silicone. I removed the ratty silicone and replaced it with super-hard white epoxy. Now the water running down the tub from the shower doesn't get behind the faucet.

Probably won't fix your problem, but I am very proud of myself and it doesn't come up in normal conversation much! Something to store in your memory vault.
 

uriah1

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Well if it as it appears it can only be a few places

Overflow listed above
Tub surround
Fixtures showing
Inbound pipe and connections to fixtures not showing
Also when shower engaged cut off fixture. Internal
 

Ted Keane

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If you can see spaces in your tile.It's your tile.Try knocking on the tiles,see if they make a click sound.That means loose tile.And you will get mildew and mold.If the tiles are still attached well,you need to scrape the old grout out with a knife or tool.And then regrout.It's a crummy job.You might want to consider new fiberglass walls.
 

itstooloudMike

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Do you have one of those grab bars that goes into the fiberglass tub? Those have seals on the ends to keep water from passing through. But as they age, the seal dries out and cracks. When you shower, water runs through and causes problems. I had this issue once, and it took awhile to find. Once I found the problem, I sealed around each end of the grab bar with silicone, and the problem was gone. The key here is that there were never leaks when someone took a bath, because the grab bar was above the tub area. It only leaked when someone showered, because the spray from the shower would hit the grab bar.
 

57joonya

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My shower is leaking. I checked all the fixtures and they are all dry. The shower only leaks when I am taking a shower. In other words, when I just run the water in the shower, no leaks. I can see the leak after I take a shower is on the edge of the tub - part of the metal reinforcement. So I suspect the tiles, and perhaps the water is running around the tub?

On closer inspection of the tiles there appears to be some rectangular shaped holes in the grout between the tiles. So I got some grout and covered the holes.

Grout seems to be pretty hard to work with though. The directions recommend a mask and gloves. They recommended dry time is 4 days. Really??? I was hoping I could check for leaks sooner than that.

Also, any other ideas for a shower that only leaks when showering?
Do u have an interior wall behind the shower u can open up the sheet rock?? Or is it an exterior wall.
 

jrblue

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Plumbers and carpenters have an agreement that keeps both professions busy into eternity. Having lived in many, many homes, and visited hundreds as a prospective and actual buyer, nothing is more common than (1) really serious water damage that owners have allowed to develop over time, and (2) genuinely insane, guaranteed-to-fail tiling, grouting, plumbing, and fixtures that feed water into the frame of the house. What is stupider than brittle grout used in showers that are framed in wood? Duh...think it might crack? If you even think you have leakage, you surely do, and all I can say is stop using the shower, open it up to dry (No point working on anything damp. It will leak right away.) and then fix it right or rip it out and install something new. I live in the northeast, and between trees and bushes growing up against houses, leaky showers, and wet roofs, a lot of people are allowing their wood homes to be sopping wet, rotting away. I think other posters have identified the most likely sources of water, but I've seen leaks dribble along a pipe from a more distant source; water condensing outside a cold pipe and running along it to some other location... one nightmare after another.
 

57joonya

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Agree with the stub. Pretty crappy metal and tend to disintegrate with any pressure to remove them. Usually requires wall surgery to get it sorted.

I fixed my shower leak - but it was a leak in the seal around my faucet outlet to the tub. It was poorly supported in the steel tub and was only held in place by the old silicone. I removed the ratty silicone and replaced it with super-hard white epoxy. Now the water running down the tub from the shower doesn't get behind the faucet.

Probably won't fix your problem, but I am very proud of myself and it doesn't come up in normal conversation much! Something to store in your memory vault.
My shower is leaking. I checked all the fixtures and they are all dry. The shower only leaks when I am taking a shower. In other words, when I just run the water in the shower, no leaks. I can see the leak after I take a shower is on the edge of the tub - part of the metal reinforcement. So I suspect the tiles, and perhaps the water is running around the tub?

On closer inspection of the tiles there appears to be some rectangular shaped holes in the grout between the tiles. So I got some grout and covered the holes.

Grout seems to be pretty hard to work with though. The directions recommend a mask and gloves. They recommended dry time is 4 days. Really??? I was hoping I could check for leaks sooner than that.

Also, any other ideas for a shower that only leaks when showering?
Wow after re reading your post ,I’ve never heard of that, only leaking when your in there . Your going no have to silicone all around the tub and the floor next to tub if any water leaks out there until u can properly demo the tile and have it redone by a professional tile guy . Some guys just use Sheetrock around the tub and glue the tiles on, no bueno. It always ends up leaking . There are some more waterproofing steps to take to do it properly
 

doghouseman

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in your head man....
Do u have an interior wall behind the shower u can open up the sheet rock?? Or is it an exterior wall.
yes, that is what I did. there is a wall behind the shower and I opened it up and checked all the connections. All of them are good. I did not check the shower fixture itself, but I can if needed. The water leaks from the side of the tub.
 

doghouseman

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Bit of an update. Wanted to post this to help other people.

I checked all the fixtures in the bathroom and nothing was leaking, and it was driving me crazy - because I only got a leak when I was in the shower.

So, I ran a hose in from the outside and ran the water only on the wall. So, no water from any of the fixtures, nothing running in the bathroom, only from the outside hose. Bingo!! It leaked.

So, then I checked the wall a little more carefully, pulled the soap dispenser a little bit, and it litterally fell off the wall into my hand. It was leaking from behind the soap dispenser! In the picture the soap dispenser was near the bottom of the hole, near the top of the tub, you can see where it turned things black. This has probably been leaking for about 20 years.


IMG_1477.jpg
 




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