A Water Leak in the Shower

Written by steven symes
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A Water Leak in the Shower
Leaks in a shower may be from the drain or drain pipes, as well as the faucet connections. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A leaking shower will cause water damage to the floor joists as well as the ceiling and room below, unless you have a finished basement. Plumbing leaks in your house can also promote mould growth. Once you find that your shower leaks water, you need to remedy the problem as quickly as possible to stop future damage.


Determining the source of a water leak in a shower can be difficult, since the shower's faucet connections in the wall, the shower's drain or the drain pipes may be the cause of the leak. You can eliminate or confirm the faucet connections as the source of the leak. Place a large bucket in the shower and turn the faucet on, filling the bucket. Another person watches the shower's plumbing from below. If the watcher sees a leak, then the faucet connections need to be tightened.

Faucet Connections

If you find that the faucet connections are leaking, you can access those connections from the wall directly behind the faucet, saving you from having to cut through the shower's surround. Some houses already have an access panel for the faucet, but you may need to cut into the wall yourself and install a door over the hole later. With the faucet pipes exposed you can tighten the connections with a pipe wrench, or see if a larger problem with the pipes is causing the leaking.

Drain Repair

A leaking shower drain occurs when the rubber seal in the drain wears out. You only need to replace the rubber seal to eliminate the leak. You have to use a drain key to remove the shower's drain piece, but you first must remove the drain's cover. With the cover removed you can place the drain key into the drain and expand the key so it fits snugly in the drain opening. You then use a wrench to turn the key and drain piece counterclockwise until the drain piece unthreads from the drain pipe. You must move the drain pipe to the side to remove the old rubber seal and install the new one. You also must brush PVC primer and cement onto the drain piece and drain pipe before replacing the drain piece, keeping the two parts from coming apart.

Drain Pipes

You must access the pipes under the shower from the basement, which means you will need to cut an access panel in the ceiling if the basement is finished. You can tighten plastic pipe fitting with your hands but you will need a pipe wrench to tighten metal pipes. If the plastic pipe fittings still leak, though, you must tighten them with a pipe wrench as well.

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