Occasional leak from drain of fiberglass shower unit.

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Jimmy leakbegone, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Jimmy leakbegone

    Jimmy leakbegone New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I have a fiberglass shower unit on 2nd floor of my home. Shower only, not a tub. Whenever I am away from home for about 4 days or more, when I take the first few showers after arriving home, it leaks profusely into kitchen below. My retired plumber friend takes drain apart and re- puttys it and it is fine, until the next trip away from home. This has occurred about six times so the putty fix is not the answer. What can we do for permanent fix? I have a drop ceiling below the shower so we can get to the underneath if necessary.
  2. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    California
    How old is this shower?

    You may have a problem with the drain hole, something that fresh putty or a new drain set can't fix. Have your plumber look at the round hole next time he comes to put new putty.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,258
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Most "drain holes" are NOT installed so you can take them apart and install "new putty", so I am not sure how yours is installed. Use a silicone caulk instead of putty.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,770
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I'm also using Silicone on shower drains. I've removed way too many that were installed with putty.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,810
    Location:
    New England
    If the shower pan flexes when you step on it, that's the first issue. On fiberglass (and actually most plastic materials), flex will eventually cause spiderweb type cracks, and it might not be the drain entirely at all. But, movement of the pan to a drain pipe that may be supported will also affect the longevity of any seal. Silicon is more like a glue and is flexible, so it can handle some of that movement. The better, long term answer when first installed, would be to provide support underneath the pan so it is solid and can't move. It could move because the floor isn't flat or just because of design, should have had something installed to fill in the gaps to make it more rigid.

    It's really difficult to add support underneath a shower pan after it's already installed.
  6. Jimmy leakbegone

    Jimmy leakbegone New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The unit is about 16 years old. When not in use for a few days, it must dry out and contract, causing cracks. Will try a silicone based sealant and see if that helps. I do notice some flex when taking shower. May need to remove and re-install?
  7. Jimmy leakbegone

    Jimmy leakbegone New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Should I think about removing unit and reinstalling with more support? If I do that, would it be wise to buy new unit or use same one?
  8. Jimmy leakbegone

    Jimmy leakbegone New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks to all those who replied.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,810
    Location:
    New England
    Inspect it carefully. If you cannot see any cracks, it might be safe to reuse, but at 16-years, I think you'd be better off with a new one.
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