Tub and shower: Splash leaks

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We show simple ways to find and stop common water leaks before they cause rot and other expensive damage. You’ll find most of them around bathtubs and showers, drains, sinks and toilets.

Tub and shower: Splash leaks

Splash leaks are simply water escaping past a shower curtain or a shower door. Plumbers tell us it’s the most common type of bathroom leak. Although it may sound minor, this leak causes major damage when water seeps into the subfloor where flooring meets the tub or shower. Before long the vinyl flooring or tiles begin to loosen. Even worse, the plywood subfloor delaminates and rots, requiring a huge, expensive tearout and replacement project.Signs of trouble:

  • Curling vinyl flooring or loose tiles next to the tub.
  • Peeling paint or flaking, chalky-looking wood finish near the shower.
  • Water stains on the ceiling or joists below.
  • Mold spots on the wall or floor near the tub or shower.
  • If you use a curtain, look for standing water on the floor after you shower.

How to find the source:

  • If you have a shower door, splash water all around the door and frame. Leaks around the frame may take five minutes or longer to show up.
  • If the door has rubber gaskets or a rubber door sweep, check them for gaps.
  • Also check for any gaps in the caulk where the shower or tub meets the flooring.

How to fix it:

  • Be sure to overlap sliding doors correctly when you close them. The inner door should be closest to the faucet.
  • If you have a shower curtain rather than a door, make sure you close it completely when you shower, or add a splash guard.
  • Seal a leaking frame by running a small bead of caulk around the inside of the frame. Force the caulk into any gaps between the frame and the shower surround. Quickly wipe away all the excess caulk. When the caulk dries, test for leaks again.
  • Replace any worn gaskets or door sweeps. Bring the old one to a home center or plumbing supply store and look for a matching replacement.
  • If the old caulk along the floor shows gaps, scrape it out and run a new bead.

 

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