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My Shower Leaks: Solutions for a Common Household Issue

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Shower Tub Leaking
Shower Tub Leaking

Yellow stains on the ceiling, cracks on the walls paint, foul odors, mold in the shower, excessive water consumption, or the caulking starts getting loose; can be symptoms of a water leak problem that you have. Whatever the situation is, do not try to solve a water leak by yourself. (You can make the problem worse), look for a professional who can identify the origin and can propose a plan of action.

There are three origins for water leaks in a house: Those originating outside of the house, those creating inside the walls, and those arising in wet areas.

  • The leaks originating outside of the house correspond to water leaks from the ceiling, siding (it could be another material), doors, and windows. Again, we could say everything exposed to the weather. These water leaks should be caused by poor installation, materials fatigue, or factory defects, the first one being the most common.

  • The water leaks created inside the walls are directly correlated with failures in the connection of the pipes or valves. Usually, PEX's factories guarantee their products for up to 25 years, which means the manufacturer guarantees that the quality of their products and durability are the highest in the market. So then, why does the water leak inside of the walls? Frequently, pipe connections are poorly installed, and there is a high probability that it was not subject to a pressure inspection by the city. Therefore, we can say the constructor did not follow the rules and standards of the construction industry in Utah.

  • Those arising in wet areas leak inside the walls from exposed zones to the water like shower, bathtub, or backsplash. To recognize these kinds of water leaks requires experience; nevertheless, there are common denominators in many cases, which can be: cracks on the grout, a separation between the tile in the curb or where the walls get connected with the shower pan, circles of de-coloration on the tile or segments of grout, presence of mold on the caulking lines or even on the tile installation.

Independently of the waterproof system that the installer uses, this system should work correctly, and the installation process has to follow the manufacturer's indications. This waterproof installation stage is the only one responsible for isolating the shower water; it is essential to do it correctly. Morter is not responsible for protecting the zone from the water, neither the tile, grout or caulking, or even the sealer on the shower.

The proper installation in the waterproof system is vital to keep the walls dry and free of water leaks from the exterior. Most of the cities in Utah have shower pans inspections before the tile installation. Through a flood test, the Inspector can determine if the waterproof system works correctly in the shower or not. If it does not work, the installer must repair the leak and schedule a new inspection.

Schluter Shower Pan
Schluter Shower Pan

If you have a water leak in the shower, likely, the tile installer did not install the waterproof system correctly, and the installer did not submit the job to an inspection by the city. If this is your case, the solution can vary according to the severity of the leak. Still, a contractor can solve the water leak by demolishing the old shower pan and starting the process accurately from the frame.

Depending on the shower pan size, demolishing and redoing can last between 2 to 3 days (the inspection from the city will be in around 24 hours), and according to the company that does the work, the cost with materials included can vary between $1.500 and $2.500. So this is not considered a big project, but it requires experience to connect the old waterproof system with the new one.

What is not going to be a solution is to regrout or change the caulking. These kinds of plans are just a temporary fix to the problem, and even when they can give a short-term solution at a lower cost, it is not going to be a permanent solution. But why does the water leak need to be fixed? The damage that water causes to the house's structure is long-term damage, and for sure, it will grow the structural fail risk and severity over time.

If the water leak did not cause significant damage yet, the reparation cost would be lower, and the benefit in the long-term will be your peace of mind. We are not talking about something aesthetic; this is a functional issue with consequences considered severe. If you want a diagnostic and an estimate to solve a problem with a water leak, contact us and schedule a visit. We have experience solving this kind of problem, and I am sure we can fix it together.

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