Tub/Shower Sliding Door Leak

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by jrmorton, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. jrmorton

    jrmorton New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I am hoping someone here might be able to help me identify a solution for a leak I have related to my tub/shower sliding door. The problem that I see is that when the shower runs, water sprays onto the doors, falls down the doors onto the tracks/rails, and the collects at the intersection of where the bottom track meets the side jamb. At the intersection, my side jamb (which does not have a flat surface against the wall, but has a squared off enclosure which leaves an inner cavity) has a hole at the bottom and a substantial amount of water gets inside that cavity through that hole. Once inside, the water drips between the tub and the tile wall and ends up leaking through to the basement/subfloor.

    I didn't install this sliding door originally, but I've been reading other guides to try to better understand how these are supposed to be installed. My understanding is that you are supposed to caulk the inside and outside of the side and bottom tracks, and also at the visible intersection of the bottom track and the side jamb.

    The end door has a cutout near the rail to allow draining at one end of the tub, but it does not seem 100% effective, as water seems to be also going into the hole in the side jamb. I've attached a picture below, which shows the side jamb removed at the moment to get a clearer view:

    track.jpg

    What is the function of this hole? My best guess is that it's a drain if water somehow gets trapped in the cavity behind the wall jamb. Can I close it off? If so, do I need to worry about still water getting trapped behind the cavity?

    Also, I want to protect that two inch gap underneath behind the side jamb with caulk, but I don't get the impression you're supposed to caulk that area based on the instructions I've read. I am assuming that the side jamb may not lay flush against the corner if there is caulk there. How do I prevent water from getting in there?

    Can anyone give me some advice as to what I should do prevent water from getting in there and leaking?

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,034
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    We replace many of these types of door systems here in Vancouver. I would suspect that your install was never properly done and if you can you should remove it all - clean it up and re-install it. Much of the waterproofing offered by this type of system is in the bead of silicone on the back side of the hardware when it's installed. Over time this can shrink and crack and leave voids in the protection.

    We have found that many of these door systems leak when sprayed with water so we replace with better kits - framed or frameless. Before you spend two much time you might consider replacing the whole thing. Often this can be done for less than $500.00 installed.

    Good Luck.

    [video=youtube_share;s_pUlCJQKqY]http://youtu.be/s_pUlCJQKqY[/video]

    This last leak we found cost the home owners a small fortune in flooring repairs. The result of a poor door, water running behind the system and a nanny that didn't care.

    JW
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Fill that hole with a silicone caulking. It was left by a poor installer. The bottom rail should have drain openings in the back side to eliminate the water coming off the doors.
  4. jrmorton

    jrmorton New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Thank you both for your responses. This is very helpful!

    With either this door system, or a new door system, are you supposed to caulk the two inch span between the tile wall and tub, underneath the side jamb? I've seen conflicting instructions regarding this and was hoping to get your thoughts on that. I wasn't sure if applying caulk there would cause more problems by causing the side jamb to not to lay perfectly flush against that intersection.
  5. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,034
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    MOst of these kits we see are designed to not allow water beneath the track. Like a window the weep holes are exposed and designed to keep water from getting beneath it.

    Many installers I work with set the back side of the track (walls and curb) with silicone and then attach with screws. Then they add silicone to both the front and back edges to ensure no water enters behind the hardware.

    Some assemblies have been allowed to get loose and often this causes pressure and bends the frame. If this happens it is very hard to repair and no amount of silicone will hold up.

    It is my expeirence that once leaking and after the first stab of silicone as a repair method fails - to stop spending money on the fix and just to upgrade the door and framed assembly.

    Like you have mentioned before we have run across tracks that do not want silicone on the inside of the shower where the track meets the base and wall - I do not like this because it does not allow any air flow and is a nasty place for mold to grow. Try and track down the manufacture if you can but it is easier to call in a few glazing companies for quotes.

    They will most likely be able to fix it and if not price out a new door.

    Ask them first.

    Most companies that do frameless door installs also have all the tracks to do framed enclosures as well.

    JW
  6. jrmorton

    jrmorton New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Thank you very much for the information. I had the old tub door removed to make it easier to repair/clean/recaulk and was tempted to just get a new door since I'd have to run through the installation steps either way. The old door was worn, ugly and failing and your suggestion to get a new door pushed me to do just that.

    I got a new door, installed it, and am feeling more confident with its design and having the opportunity to do a clean installation. Just waiting for the caulk to cure before I can test for leaks, but I have confidence that things will work out OK.

    Thanks again for the advice!
  7. sxchan

    sxchan New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    A contractor just installed a new shower door to the old tub, but it starts to leak the very next day. image3.jpg image2.jpeg image.jpeg
    How do you fix this?
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,034
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    You don't.

    Get your contractor to take it out and re-install it properly.

    My guess is that below the bottom track not enough silicone was used.
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