master shower leak at one corner

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by xchen, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. xchen

    xchen New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Hi, All:

    I'm new to the forum and to the city too. Just moved in to a house built in 1998 several months ago. The carpet next to master shower right corner has water damage. After lift the carpet up I found out that the wood under the carpet is black. So the leak has been there for a while and too bad the inspector didn't catch it before we bought the house. The damage area is not big just around the corner between shower and tub.

    The inspector did find moisture behind the shower title wall because there was a cracked title on the wall. It was repaired before we moved in. After we moved in my husband did caulk serveral times. But time to time we still find it's leaking. Tonight after I took a shower it's leaking again. I am really frustrated.

    What shall I do? How to find exactly where it's leaking? Or shall I just call Mr handyman to do the job?

    Any suggestion or advice will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    "Mr Handyman" is probably why it leaked in the first place, and why it is still leaking.

    You need someone who understands the whole picture to do some detective work and find out if the leak is a 'plumbing' problem or a tile/shower door problem.
  3. xchen

    xchen New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Jimbo, thanks for replying! One more question.

    I've tested the drain by filling up the shower pan using bucket and let the water drain. No leak found at the corner. Good news! :)

    I also found that there is one place towards the bottom of the shower tile wall where the grout has cracked. But water should flow back to shower pan through the weeping hole even it got to behind the tile, right? It should not leak through the corner of the shower door frame. Maybe the caulking aroung the corner of the door frame.

    How to repair the grout? There are so many types of caulk, the kitchen and bath silicone type, sanded acrylic caulk, unsanded acrylic caulk.

    Which one shall I use to repair the cracked grout between tile? Which one shall I use to seal shower door frame on the side and bottom?

    Thanks a lot!

    xchen
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    spelling

    Weep holes have to do with a tile floor, not with the walls.

    Tile grout joints are not considered to be waterproof. Even if cracked, the water which gets behind should be stopped by a waterproof backing (mortar bed or cement board) with a vapor barrier behind that. Any water going throught the grout joint should run down the wall into the pan. Maybe you were referring to weep holes here. Interesting comment, although I have not actually seen weep holes left on the vertical surface.

    Anyway, even if the shower was not constructed properly, your immediate solution is to scrape out and regrout the bad areas. Sealing the grout will help. The unknown here is whether any water damage has been done to the interior of that wall.


    And back to the point, yes, shower door frames are chronic offenders. I prefer 100% silicone clear caulk for these. Remember to caulk on the inside of the vertical channel where it joins the bottom rail. This is a spot frequently overlooked.
  5. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    leak at shower corner from 10 years back

    Dear fellow plumbing novice, I had the exact same problem when I bought my house more than 10 years ago. Evidence of leak at corner of shower. I thought this was no big deal, first thing I did was replace the linoleum in the bathroom. I have been chasing this leak for more than 10 years! In the process, I had the entire tiling redone, and also had all new plumbing put in. I finally got my problem diagnosed by a lot of brain power on this forum a couple of months ago. (See "Problem diagnosed still need advice thread)

    I am hoping to save you some heartache and $$$ and trouble by reinforcing the advice you got above, you need someone to come and really track down your problem. I had plumbers come and fix things, then tilers, then more plumbers, then more tilers. Nothing they did fixed the leak, until the guys here figured out what it really was. In my case, one way to fix the problem might be to rip out the new tiling and fix the tub support, which would be a large waste of the money spent on the tiling. So good luck to you and I really hope you can figure out what is the root cause of your leak. RC
  6. xchen

    xchen New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Ruth, thank you very much for sharing your exprience! I'm so glad to know that this forum is so helpful and hope I can fix my problem soon. :)

    How can I find out the root of the problem? Any suggestions or referrals?

    Another question: how will I know if the wall behind tile is wet or not without taking the tile out?

    Thanks!

    xiao
  7. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    In my case, there is a panel that one can take out from behind the shower (it is in the linen closet next to the shower). When I opened up that panel I could see water coming back.

    In my case, tiles eventually started coming off. But they were coming off because of the problem, they were not the source of the problem.

    The reason it was so very hard to diagnose my problem was that it only leaked when someone was taking a shower. This turned out to be because the weight of the person in there was opening a small crack in the grout.

    So I would be pouring and pouring water all over, to try to find the source of the water but, no leaking or at least not very much. Finally, a couple of the plumbers and tilers here helped me figure it out. THen, I put water in the tub to add weight (or I could have gone into the tub to pour the water). THen I took my pitcher and was pouring around and it was very easy to find the leak.

    Yours may be a different root cause. I think you need a really good plumber to help you try to get a better idea of what might be going on. R
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