Shower leaks, caulk, and grout
I’m in the process of troubleshooting a water leak from my shower: tile walls, plastic pan, and sliding glass doors (two) on aluminum frame. Noticed water along the base board and drywall below the bottom right aluminum frame.
This is what I’ve done so far:
- pulled up the carpet
- removed the saturated base board
- removed the saturated dry wall (up about 6 inches) (see picture)
- drilled inspection hole through 2×4 to peek inside wall
- Looking through peek hole, no water evident inside wall
- removed the aluminum door frame
- removed all the silicone caulk from the aluminum frame and the tile
- removed the Escutcheon plate for the shower head and control
- No water evident behind either plate
- removed old caulk from the tile/pan seam that I’d previously placed on top of grout that appeared to have hairline cracks. (see picture)
- Removed the drain hole cover plate (round plate with holes that just pops right off
I plan to let things dry out for a week or so. (Hot and very dry here in California central valley).
MY QUESTIONS TO YA’LL:
Where I removed the caulk I placed over the grout seam of the tile/pan seam, should I replace with more caulk, or should I put new grout over the old grout?
It appears that the original installer silicone caulked the aluminum frame to the tile from the inside of the shower, and also from the outside of the shower. I’ve read conflicting opinions on this site whether to caulk both sides. Opinions?
Should I put any caulk on the rubber seal I see in the drain hole below round plate with holes?
Anything else I should be thinking about or doing?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
I am not a tile expert, but I have seen my share of tile gone to the dark side.
It's probably worse than you think.
Where I removed the caulk I placed over the grout seam of the tile/pan seam, should I replace with more caulk, or should I put new grout over the old grout? If the old grout is bad then dig it out and regrout.
It appears that the original installer silicone caulked the aluminum frame to the tile from the inside of the shower, and also from the outside of the shower. I've read conflicting opinions on this site whether to caulk both sides. Opinions? I usually silicone the inside only
Should I put any caulk on the rubber seal I see in the drain hole below round plate with holes? No
Anything else I should be thinking about or doing? Tap the lower tiles listening for loose tiles. Tap the tiles up high to hear sound tiles. Also look for mold in the grout lines.
The pan should have a lip like in the pic below.
The picture with the loose caulk would indicate to me that you have water getting to that lip and then finding it's way to the door jamb area as in pic #2542.
And/ or it is also wicking up the drywall behind the bottom 6-12" of tiles.
One of the pictures looks like there is a bench opposite the shower head. That is an obvious source of leaking. I see you have an inspection hole, but I would be surprised if the seat is totally dry.
My 2 cents.
Rich: Thanks for the thoughtful reply and advice.
Edited 9/2/2008 1:24 am ET by Tom Hoffman
What's behind the tile? Greenboard? CBU? Membrane of any kind?
Davidmeiland: I have no idea what is behind the tile.
The most likely problem is failure of the pan flange that is adjacent to the wall. Many units have a flange that is cast with the pan, others have a fiberglass tape flange. I have repaired several of the fiberglass tape ones that were broken the day the shower was installed. There is no simple answer. Basically you need to remove several courses of tile and seal that joint from behind the tile. Caulking on the front will not mitigate your problems.
Best of luck
I agree with HIKER. And to add to that....I always leave some weep holes for any moisture to drain out of back into the pan when I caulk the space between the pan and the bottom course of tile. Also behind the backerboard there should be a vapor barrier such as felt paper that ends in front of the flange of the pan. somehow I doubt there is any there not that that's adding to the problem.
And as a side note...I've had stranger coincidences happen, but is there a roof above the shower or is that a basement bathroom? I've ripped my hair out on occasion looking for a pipe leak only to find the roof was leaking through a vent stack or whatever...