The shower pan is the larger surface area that covers the floor of your shower. Many materials make shower pans, such as tiles, rubber, ceramic, etc.
Leaking shower pans are bad news for anyone. It can be an inconvenience for you mainly because the water will not drain well, and your bathing area will be exposed to mold and other debris to collect.
If your shower pan leaks, it can be challenging to determine and address its cause at first glance. Luckily, there are many solutions available to fix them. These solutions range from DIY hacks to re-tiling completely.
If your shower pan leak is minuscule, you can fix them yourself using some methods that we will detail in this guide. If the matter is serious, then take the opinion of a professional to fix it adequately.
One of the most common shower pan complaints is that the shower pan does not direct the water into the drain.
Usually, shower pans start showing signs of wear and tear in poor drainage, plumbing issues, etc. If you do not address these issues on time, you might risk the entire foundation of the house and put yourself in danger.
Let us see the causes of a leaking shower pan, how you can fix them, and how to spot these issues on time.
Causes Of A Leaking Shower Pan
There are several reasons why your shower pan might be leaking, such as
It means how much a structural element moves under pressure. Once a shower pan is installed, it has a specific motion for the water to reach the drain. The pan allows water to flow in that direction through a slight slope.
When you step onto the pan and notice that the pan shifts according to your weight, this means it is not deflecting well enough. It is a severe matter as your bath water will never drain fully. You will need to call a professional and get this matter fixed.
2. Movement Issues
A shower pan should ideally never be moving in any direction. It is a bad sign because the base is faulty if the pan moves or shifts with pressure.
Shower pans attach to the floor with sealants. Any movement in the shower pan means the adhesive is not working well enough. It is often the case if the pan contains lighter, cheaper materials such as plastic instead of heavier options like concrete.
If your shower pan moves, it already has cracks in its foundation and needs to be examined thoroughly. These cracks often allow the water to seep in and weaken the sealant further.
3. Wear and Tear
More often than not, shower pans leak simply because they are old. As with all appliances or items, the older it gets, the less efficient it becomes with all appliances or items.
Like all objects meant to last, a shower is a single piece with no moveable parts. It is sealed around the room with a ‘caulking’ which acts as a sealant. The more it comes into contact with soap, water, and chemicals, the more it will loosen up and develop cracks.
A shower pan is the most used area in the shower. If it’s leaking from the sides, then that is because it has developed cracks around the rim.
This sign means your shower pan is falling apart and needs to be fixed by a professional immediately.
4. Drainage problems
The drain in the shower plays the most critical role. It is in charge of collecting and disposing of the dirty shower water. If you see a lot of water pooling around your drain, it could be that your drain is blocked. Drain blockages are pretty common, and you can address this by putting a drain cleaning acid or agent into it.
Drains often get clogged with hair or other debris, and it might give you the impression that your shower pan is leaking when it’s just the drain not able to dispose of the water quickly.
Ways to Fix a Leaking Shower Pan
You can fix the leak in your shower pan using the following methods:
1. Prefabricated pans
Prefabricated pans are a life-saver if your pan damage has reached a high point. Prefabricated pans are ready-made, brand new pans, and the only thing left to do is remove the old leaky one and replace it with the new one. But, you might need to call in an expert to help you in this process.
2. Epoxy or masonry sealer
Epoxy is a temporary solution to your leakage because it will not hold forever. Epoxy can seal the cracks for the time being, just like the masonry sealer, to keep the pan from leaking water. But eventually, you will have to figure out a more permanent solution, such as pan liners or pre-made pans.
3. Pan liner replacement
Pan liners will act as sealing agents to fix any cracks and fine crevices between the shower pan and the rest of the bathroom. If you spot cracks only along with the pan, get some pan liner replacements.
4. Replacing the grout
The pan wears out with use, so replacing it will solve your issues temporarily. Suppose your shower pan has a faulty grout; that might be because of the sealant.
While using any of these methods, keep in mind not to mess with your house’s foundation or any columns. Take the help of an expert to diagnose and solve a more extensive leak.
How to Check Your Shower Pan for Leaks
Some tell-tale signs will warn you before your shower pan becomes worse and starts to leak. It is advisable to keep checking your pan every three months or so for these warning signs. This way, you will have enough time to address the issue before it becomes worse.
One way to check your shower pan for leaks is to carry out a routine test. To do this, firstly, seal the drain of the shower so that no water can go in. You can use a plug or tape to seal the drain as long as it is tightly wound.
After this, pour water into the pan and let it fill to a certain level. A bucket or two will do the job. You can even use a marker to note the level of water. Once you have marked the spot, you can leave it for 7 to 8 hours and note if there are changes in the water level later. Since the drain is plugged, there shouldn’t be any changes. It is a sign that your shower pan is excellent. If the level changes, then there is a crack somewhere in the pan.
You can also check for any loose tiles in the shower or dampness around the shower room. These are all signs that your pan is leaking.
Leaky pans are tricky as they require careful attention and long-lasting solutions. The causes of a leaking pan are plenty, but if you perform a thorough investigation every once in a while, you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.
Remember to call for professional help if your problem persists rather than fixing it yourself again and again, as the problem might lay in the foundation.
Use the methods mentioned above only if the problem is slight and fixable at a home level.