Whether you own a home, or you are in the hospitality business as you provide lodging for guests, one of the absolute worst things to deal with is a shower leak. It takes time, work and money to first explore the source of the leak, and then to figure out the best way to fix it while causing minimal damage to the bathroom space. Shower leaks can appear in a range of places: the shower arm, the shower head/faucet valves, grout gaps between tiles, and the base drains. Here are the prevention tips you can use to stop shower leaks and minimize water damage.
Shower Arm Leaks: Limit Pressure Placed on Pipes
A common plumbing problem involves the shower arm that comes out of the wall. While everything else may get a makeover, the shower arm normally remains unchanged as age and corrosion can occur.
To prevent shower arm leaks, don’t place undue pressure on the shower arm that can cause the vertical water pipe to crack. Refrain from grabbing the shower arm to step into or out of the shower. Also, check the water pressure to see if it is too high and install a pressure reducer. If you are replacing the shower head, use a spray lubricant to loosen the connection. Keep the shower arm in place with a pair of pliers as you unscrew the shower head.
Shower Head/Faucet Leaks: Soften the Water
When water leaks from either the shower head or the faucets, the main problem can be the valves. Gaskets, inner seals, and O-rings become worn out or corroded. If you notice a white buildup on hardware, then you may have a hard water problem.
Hard water contains a high level of minerals that can clog pipes and negatively impact hardware fittings. Get your water tested for hard water minerals. If they are present in high quantities, you can have a water softener installed.
Grout Leaks: Seal Up Cracks and Gaps
Another common shower leak is when you have tiled walls that have been grouted. Grout can form cracks and gaps as splashing water can get inside the walls to cause damage.
No matter how much it is sealed, grout eventually cracks and wears away from age, water pressure, cleaning chemicals, and hard water minerals. Switching over to solid surface shower wall panels allows you to have the look of a tiled surface without having exposed grout lines. Trim molding is used to provide waterproof protection along the corners where the panels meet, and along the rim where the panels touch the solid shower base or tub to prevent water leakage.
Shower Base Leaks: Get the Right Drainage
Shower base leaks can be an annoying and ongoing problem. There can be a range of different issues causing the water seepage, from an incorrectly sloped tile floor to worn-out drain gaskets and washers.
If you have a shower with a tiled floor and you notice water pooling in certain areas, you may not have enough of a slope to divert water to the drain. The sitting water can get behind the tiles and grout to create leaks. To prevent this issue, you need to add a sloped base of mud when cementing tile to the floor during the installation. Adding a rubber liner can further prevent water from getting underneath the tile.
When going with a shower base pan, opt for one that is made with sturdy materials and have it professionally installed. A plumber can ensure that all drain gaskets are properly installed and caulk around the drain to prevent water leakage.
Have a Dry Shower Area
The best way to prevent shower leaks is to ensure an optimal installation process for your shower fixtures, tiles and shower base. By having everything installed correctly, tackling water pressure and hardness issues, and sealing all cracks, you will have a watertight shower area in your bathroom space.