Most of us shower early in the morning before heading to work or during the night before going to bed. During both these periods, we are often in a hurry or fatigued and it can be frustrating to create extra mess to clean up during these times, especially when we need to be at work at a certain time or ready to relax or go to bed. Having to clean up water from the bathroom floor every time we shower is annoying, and it’s usually caused by shower door leaks. Shower door water leaks can be quite a nuisance, and the problem should be dealt with.
What happens when water leaks outside the glass shower enclosure?
Contrary to the popular belief, shower enclosure leaks don’t always lead to a big pool of water on the floor. Sometimes, the effects can be so subtle that you wouldn’t even notice them immediately. The damage inflicted due to water leak outside the glass shower enclosure can vary, from stains to mould formation and it’s then you realise you have an issue. Here are some of the issues caused by an ongoing leak from a shower:
Drops of water that get beyond the shower enclosure and land on the bathroom floor can lead to hard water stains on the tiles, or your bathroom floor surface. As a result, your bathroom will start to appear dirty as these water stains do not always come off easily. Depending on the type of bathroom floor you have, the hidden leak can give the floor a spongy feel when you walk on it and affect the surface. Loose tiles can also result due to a water leak as water gets through cracks in grout and causes damage to the adhesive, making it ineffective.
If the leak continues without intervention, then it might even penetrate to the room below! Stains can form on the ceiling of the room beneath the bathroom, which would spoil the aesthetics of your house, causing more mess and damage to fix and pay for.
Your bathroom might start smelling of a musty, earthy smell akin to an old basement. This is a sign that water has accumulated in the bathroom somewhere and needs sorting. It’s a sign that water is somewhere and unable to dry as the leak continues.
Mould might develop inside your shower as it remains wet for longer periods. The mould might become visible in various parts of the bathroom, including the ceilings and floors. The damp floor and tiles become a hub of dirt and bacteria that you bring from outside via your shoes. All this leads to quite unhygienic conditions.
Leaks can result in the deformation of drywall, resulting in deterioration. It would be quite costly to fix this one since the drywall would have to be torn out and replaced.
Such leaks can be quite dangerous as well. Since the floor remains moist due to the leak, there is a high risk of slipping on the bathroom flooring, resulting in potentially severe injuries.
The best way to fix this problem
The cause of the problem must be identified as soon as possible, otherwise it will just get bigger and cause more damage, costing more money to fix. What you need to do to fix the issue depends on the root of the water leak. Here are some of the common causes of water leakages from glass shower enclosures.
Improper installation of glass shower enclosure
The glass shower enclosure or door must be installed correctly for leaks to be prevented. Make sure that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed to the last letter. If you are not competent at this job yourself, then ensure a professional tradesperson fits your shower. Then, if you have issues, contact them to rectify.
Improper sealing of shower tray to the tiles
The shower tray needs to be level and properly sealed to the tiles before installing the enclosure. At the same time, the side of the shower enclosure should also be fixed to the tiled walls securely. Keep in mind that a lot of modern shower enclosures have a minimal framework. These might have to be sealed to the shower tray on the inside.
Corroding silicone sealant joints
Silicone sealant tends to deteriorate over time and has to be renewed at regular intervals. How often the sealant has to be reapplied depends on the quality of material and maintenance. The deterioration of the sealant causes it to harden and lose its elasticity and adhesion, causing it to detach from the shower enclosures. Thus, water leaks out of the shower onto the floor and walls.
Cracked or corrosion of tile grout just below the glass shower enclosure
Tile grout tends to deteriorate over a period as well. The tile grout might crack, allowing water to find its way to the walls and tiles.
Leak through the bottom of the shower or between the area of the shower door and the glass walls
Another common reason for the leakage can be that the area between the frameless shower door and glass walls is not properly joined. Water leakage frequently occurs in this region. It could be because the silicone sealant gets pulled away from the surface due to the movement of the shower tray or perhaps cracks develop in the tile grouts.
A leak from the backside of the shower enclosure wall
Perhaps the problem lies in the pipes supplying the shower. If they are not installed properly, the backside can start leaking over time.
Way to fix this issue
A lot of these issues can be resolved via a suitable sealant. However, keep in mind that excessive caulk will always not work in your favour. You have to ensure that the outside of the metal shower trim is caulked correctly, but the weep holes are not touched.
The type of sealant you select will determine how long the seal will last. Silicone caulk is quite reliable for long term results. However, remember that if the issue lies in the installation or water pipes, silicone sealant will not be able to provide you with permanent results.
It is advisable to use clear silicone for metal trim and plumbing fixtures while the white or coloured ones can be beneficial for matching your bathroom walls and interior. Ensure that the rubber seals are in place around the shower enclosure. Replace them if you think they seem worn out.
Ensure that the enclosure is properly installed before applying sealant around it such that it is sealed with no chances of leakage.
If you can’t find the issue or it’s too much to fix it by yourself, then it’s time to call a professional to assist you.
Tips for maintaining a shower enclosure to avoid future leakage
Once you have fixed your shower enclosure leak, you want to ensure that you do not have to face such a situation again. Here are a few tips that can save you from a lot of trouble.
- Ensure that the shower tray is adequately sealed to the tiles.
- Avoid applying silicone sealant to the base of the shower enclosure inside the tray, so that there is no hindrance in water drainage.
- Make sure that the weep holes inside the shower are not caulked.
- The position of the showerhead should be directed towards the tiled walls instead of the door.
- The rubber seals should be in perfect condition at all times.
- Make sure that the hinges of the door or enclosure do not have any build-up or rust, which can impede the closing of the door, leading to leakage.
- Seek the assistance of a professional if you are unable to figure out the problem or fix it yourself.