One day you notice mold or mildew on base trim and maybe on your drywall in your bedroom. On the other side of this wall is your tiled shower. Uh oh, you may have a shower pan leak.
A shower pan leak is probably the most costly fix in the bathroom. Keeping this in mind, you may want to make sure it actually is a shower pan leak before going through the expense of having yours removed and replaced. You can call a plumber or you can perform the below.
Testing your shower pan for leaks:
1. Make sure you are not planning to go anywhere for a while. This test will take you all day long. The last thing you want to do is test your shower pan, leave in the middle of the test and create a huge water damage problem.
2. Gather your supplies! A large bucket, towel, measuring tape and duct tape.
3. Dry your shower floor around the drain with your handy, dandy towel.
4. Cover the drain with duct tape about the size of a paper plate. Make sure it is securely pressed down.
5. This test will require water from another source. The last thing you want to do is use water from the shower and have an actual problem with your shower faucet or cracks in your shower walls. We want to be able isolate the shower pan. Take your bucket and fill it up about 2/3rds full.
6. Gently pour the water into the shower floor until the floor has about a 1 inch depth of water. No more than that! This will ensure you do not have water above the curb of your shower pan under the tile. Measure to ensure you are at this depth.
7. Let’s look for water:
a. For a slab foundation: Look in all of the areas surrounding your shower, including adjacent rooms. You may have to pull your carpet back to see these areas. If you find water, stop the test. Remove the duct tape. You have a shower pan leak. If not, move to step 8.
b. For a crawl space: Add a flashlight to your supply list. Now the worst part. Crawl under your house below your shower and look for water leaking in this area. If you find water, stop the test. Remove the duct tape. You have a shower pan leak. If not, move to step 8.
8. This test will take at least 8 hours. Some leaks take a long time to show themselves. You now have the luxury of checking your water level about every hour. If it lowers, add water to get it back to 1 inch.
9. About every hour, check for leaks again as in step 7. If you see water, stop the test. Remove the duct tape. You have a water leak. If you don’t see a leak from this test, CONGRATULATIONS the problem is NOT your shower pan.
At the end of this test, you may be happy it’s not your shower pan, but wondering what else it could be. Well, it could be your could be your shower seat if you have one (a lot cheaper to replace). Or it could be where the curb meets the walls. Your shower could have been constructed without pan corners at each end (again, a lot cheaper). How about that not-so-water-proof shower door? Your shower faucet could be leaking behind your wall or behind the faucet handles. Once you have eliminated these as possible causes, you are left with one of the most common leaks, cracks in the corners of your walls. Recaulk these and all shower corners, allow to dry and you will probably not see anymore leaks.
If you suspect a shower leak, we suggest not waiting to run these tests. Water damage leads to mold, wood rot and termites. The sooner you fix the problem, the cheaper it will cost you to fix.
We hope you find your issue and get it fixed soon! If you suspect you have mold already, contact us today or call (904) 567-3885 to get a free quote!