Fixing a Leaky Shower
LESLIE: Lois in New Jersey is dealing with a leaky shower. Tell us about the problem.LOIS: Well, we recently had our bathrooms updated, not fully gutted. We had a new floor, a toilet and a sink put in. The shower stall was fine so we did nothing to it. But since they did the renovations, we now have a leak in the shower where the door frame of the shower meets the pan of the shower. It leaks out both sides and into a garage area below.TOM: OK, is this – what kind of shower pan is it? Is it a tile shower pan?LOIS: No, no. It’s, I guess, a fiberglass.TOM: Fiberglass. Alright, let me tell you how to test your shower pan because sometimes you can get a crack in them and you can’t see them.LOIS: OK.TOM: I want you take a towel or maybe like one of those rubber jar opener things and put it across the drain. Block that drain so no water can get through the drain in the bottom of the shower pan.LOIS: OK.TOM: Then fill the pan all the way up with water but don’t let it go over the top. Don’t get it to the door, OK? But fill it all the way up and let it sit there for 10 or 15 minutes and see if you can create a leak. If you can create a leak, you’ve got a cracked shower pan which is not good; you’re going to have to tear the pan out.LOIS: Can you do that without pulling the tile off the walls?TOM: No.LOIS: No.TOM: But if you have a cracked fiberglass pan, you can repair it with material that you could buy at an auto parts shop; like a Pep Boys or something like that.If that doesn’t show any leaks, then we’ve got to start working it up the wall here and what I’d like you to do is to see if you can figure out a way of getting a hose or some sort of a spray arm into that shower space. I mean even if you have to run the hose like through an outside window and into the bathroom with some water on it; where you can start to kind of wet down, strategically, different parts of the door. Now don’t overdo it. I mean try to estimate how much water comes out of the normal shower. But remember, when you’re taking a shower, water hits your body and bounces off in all directions.LOIS: Correct.TOM: And sometimes that can cause a leak where, you just run the shower straight you never get a leak; you step in there and, because water is going off all different places, you get a leak. So you want to kind of strategically work that spray around the shower until you see if you can get it to leak. And you’ve got to really narrow it down and once you do that, you’ll have a better idea as to where the problem is.And one more thing to check – and it’s kind of silly but make sure that this didn’t happen – if somebody reversed the shower doors, they’re going to leak like crazy.LESLIE: Really?LOIS: No, they never took it off.TOM: They never took it off? Because …LOIS: No.TOM: Right. If you think about it, the inside door has to overlap. The door closest to the shower, water itself, has to overlap the outside door. If it’s the other way around – and you can do it – the water is going to shoot right through the seam of the door.LOIS: OK. Thank you very much.TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.