A leaking shower is a very common problem even though it’s not much talked about, so if you have this problem you are not alone. There are many different reasons why water penetrates behind the tiles in mortar and bricks, most showers have at least one issue but if there is a combination of a few then your shower definitely needs professional help – it won’t get better by itself.
Leakage can come from a plumbing fault if pipes or fittings are cracked or damaged. If this is the case most likely you will see water constantly flowing out, somewhere out of your wall. In this case you call a plumber.
If you have moisture and dampness in your walls and floor coverings that just lingers there, then your shower is leaking by one (or a combination) of the following reasons:
- There is a thin “hair line” crack in the joint of the floor and wall – this is often caused by structural movement in your house (especially new properties).
- If you have silicone in the perimeter joints of your shower, it most likely has separated from your tiles causing water to seep in behind the tiles – in shower conditions, the life of silicone is rarely longer than 12 months and then separation starts.
- Your floor waste has over time moved and the seal in between it as well as the tiles becomes weakened or non-existent – This occurs with plastic floor waste especially, or when tiles are very close to floor waste so there is no room for the sealant to catch on and do its job.
- Grout in between tiles, especially floor and first row, is soft, damaged or missing – Often various cleaning agents and chemicals can erode and deteriorate grout to a point where it has little or no waterproofing efficiency
- Cracked tiles in the first row of your tiles and floor tiles are letting some of the water through – Again this is usually structural movements.
- The method of tiling in the perimeter joints of your shower can be a cause for leaking, more precise overlapping. The proper way is that wall tiles are placed on top of floor tiles so when water runs down it hits floor tile and runs off towards floor waste. If it is the case that floor tiles are laid next to wall tiles, when water runs down it hits grout which will with time give in, get washed, thinned, become soft and start leaking water behind tiles.
- Mitred (jollied) tiles are usually laid very tight (or if any other tiles are laid tightly together), between them there is not enough space for grout to stick to tiles and very quickly will come out, creating wholes for water to go in.
- Glazing seals and rubbers to screen panels often shrink or fail letting in water to bottom frame channels and penetration through the hob – wall/floor junction.
The process of shower leaking happens over a number of days, even months. Through any of the above faults, every time you have a shower, small quantities of water get behind the tiles and sits there. Any building material (concrete, bricks, mortar or screed) is highly absorbing, especially if immerged in water. After you have had your shower, bricks and mortar start to absorb – drinking up all the water behind tiles and space where water was sitting, gets empty ready to be filled up during your next shower, and the process starts again.
If you have installed waterproofing membrane you have a great advantage in the leaking shower process, however there is many reasons why they fail as well. Most commonly, it has not been installed properly and therefore very quickly starts to leak water through. We have repaired showers used for just a few months. If membrane works properly it really holds water, creating a pool under your tiles. No membrane can hold this forever so they all eventually dissolve and crack and start leaking water into your walls.
We at Waterproofing Works have developed a procedure that addresses and covers all of the above problems. Each shower is its own individual and each will require a combination of repairing and protective measures. In some cases if tiles are drummy or loose they will have to be removed and refitted and sometimes screed will need to be repaired in order to properly seal the shower. Our professional consultants will come to your request and using electronic measuring, establish what condition your shower is in and recommend available options on the best way of helping your shower and you, rid this problem for years to come.