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How to fix shower leaking behind wall

How to fix shower leaking behind wall

Owning a home comes with maintenance responsibilities. If you've purchased an older home, you may have maintenance issues. In fact, when you bought it, you probably didn't even realize how much work it actually took. If your problems include a leaking shower behind the wall, you could end up with lasting damage to the wall and sky-high water bills. Usually, the leaky showers you see are relatively easy to fix. The leaks you can't see are the real threats. Often, you don't even know there's a problem until you notice the damage.

bathroom shower

If you want to fix a shower leak yourself, here are some helpful tips for getting started:

Before you start, make sure you have all the tools and materials you need to get the job done:

  • plumber's tape
  • Wrench for pipe installation
  • screwdriver
  • basin wrench
  • pliers (optional)
  • Screws (depending on your fixture or valve brand)
  • Caulking gun (depending on your fixture or valve brand)
  • Replacement parts (gaskets, gaskets, valves, etc.)

Signs of a Leaking Shower Behind the Wall

When we're talking about leaking showers behind the wall, spotting the problem can be tricky. However, you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes or Bob the Builder to figure out what's going on. You may not be able to see it with the naked eye, but whether you can spot it or not, the signs of a hidden leak are always there. So if you think you have a leak in your shower walls, don't panic. Here are some signs that may indicate a leaking shower:

  • Water dripped from the ceiling onto the basement floor.
  • There were water spots on the ceiling below the shower, especially in the upstairs bathroom.
  • When someone takes a shower, water drips from the ceiling.
  • There is sponge drywall/tile in front of the shower valve.
  • Slow leaks, usually pinhole leaks due to faulty valves or poor welding of water connection points to valves.
  • Due to long-term exposure to moisture, the grout and adhesives weaken, causing the tiles to fall off.
  • Mold and mildew grow in corners with high humidity and humidity.
  • Visible stains on walls and floors due to residue or rust from water leaks.
  • If there is a hidden leak, it will smell musty.

Any of these signs indicate that something is seriously wrong and immediate remedial action is required to prevent further water damage.

The Danger of Leaking Concealed Showers

A leak in the hidden wall behind the shower can cause many problems. One of the biggest health concerns associated with hiding leaks is the buildup of mold. Drywall affected by water leaks can begin to develop mold within 24 hours of exposure. Drywall absorbs moisture and provides it with cellulose from its paper backing. Even if there are no signs of mold on the exterior of the walls, a leaky shower will almost certainly build up. As you discover and fix the leak, you may find it necessary to remove and replace any drywall that has come into contact with mold and treat the area with a fungicide to slow and eliminate mold spores and growth.

As if the thought of breathing in potentially toxic mold wasn't enough, moisture leaking from a wall can cause the wood behind the wall to rot in studs, posts, and other support fixtures. Wood rot attracts pests such as termites and cockroaches, further damaging the strength of the structure. If you're able to spot and fix hidden wall leaks early on, you could potentially avoid extensive and costly structural damage to your home.

Determine Where the Shower Room is Leaking

If your shower is leaking from behind the wall, it can be difficult to figure out what's causing the problem. One way to start troubleshooting this problem is to remove the shower panel and check the valve connection.

If there is not enough room to inspect this way, you may need to remove part of the wall so that you can see it better.

Some builders or homeowners even add access panels to the wall for easier inspection and repairs, but if yours doesn't have one then you'll have to cut a small window in the drywall.

This may seem like a hassle, but it's important to do it as quickly as possible so that any leaks are quickly sealed before more damage is done.

Cut an Inspection Window

A stud finder can be a great tool when you want to cut through drywall. It can help you find the studs behind the wall so you know where it's safe to start cutting.

If you don't have one of these electronic tools, don't worry! You can still find the studs by measuring 16 inches from the inside of the wall and tapping or tapping them until you hear a different sound. This is because most houses have studs every 16 inches from center to center. When checking for leaks in the shower behind the wall, use a reciprocating saw to cut a 10-by-8-inch window. This should give you enough room for a flashlight and small mirror so you can check for any signs of water damage or other problems.

Keep in mind that in many shower fixtures there may only be two studs in the middle near the valve location - enough to properly support and secure.

Look for Signs of Leaks

If your shower is leaking, you may start to notice water spots on the drywall ceiling below the tub drain. To determine if these marks are from a leak, try pouring some water into the tub and see if it drains properly. You can also feel for moisture around the copper tubing. If the leak is recent, you may see a greenish-white discoloration on the outside of the copper tubing due to oxidation over time. However, if your home has PEX piping instead of copper piping, it may be more difficult to tell if there is a leak.

Turn on the Shower

If you don't have access to the back of the shower valve, your best bet is to check it from the front. To do this, first turn on the water and watch for drips or leaks around the valve or surrounding pipes. Check for signs of water dripping from the sides of the pipes, and use a flashlight and mirror to look for tiny water droplets that form around the joints. If you can determine where the leak is coming from (shower arm or valve), you can take steps to fix it yourself.

shower system

Fix a Leaky Shower Arm

If the shower arm is causing the shower to leak behind the wall, it's relatively easy to fix.

Start by removing the circular metal plate (called the escutcheon) that surrounds the shower arm. Depending on the type of cover, you may need to unscrew the shower head before sliding it off.

After that, look at the shower arm itself - it may just be a matter of making sure it fits and seals properly. If that doesn't work, you may need to replace it with a new one.

If you need to repair a leaky shower arm behind a wall, start by removing any old joint compound with a wire brush.

Make sure the threads are dry and clean before wrapping them with teflon duct tape. This can be found at your local hardware store. You should then be able to screw the arm back into the water fitting.

If you don't want to use teflon tape, you can also buy teflon pipe paint with an integrated brush, just make sure to cover all the threads evenly before screwing it into place. Doing this should help prevent future leaks from old duct coatings that crack or yellow over time.

Fix a Leaky Shower Valve

Fixing a leaky shower valve behind a wall can be a little tricky.

Open the bath tub or shower valve first, as hot and cold water usually enter here, mix to the desired temperature and send to the shower head or tub.

If the valve stem leaks, you need to shut off the water, replace the filter element and start again. If the leak is from the valve body itself, it will usually be necessary to cut out the old fitting so that a new fitting can be installed with a repair fitting.

PEX piping will make this easier since it doesn't require precise measurements to install properly.

shower valve

Who Makes the Best Shower Valves?

Part of the way to prevent leaking shower valves is to buy higher quality valves. They wear out and break much less frequently than some cheaply made shower valves. That said, there are a few brands that definitely stand out.

Delta, Kohler, Grohe and Moen stand out among customers for the quality of their shower valves. Reviews are not only pleased with the cost of these valves, but also with their performance and durability. But their prices are generally very high. If your economic strength does not allow, maybe we can also choose some bathroom brands with relatively high cost performance, such as: STARBATH, VANFOXLE, Bostingner, AYIVG, Homekice, EMBATHER, etc. These brands' shower valves are not only cheap but also have a good reputation.

FAQ About Repairing a Shower Leak Behind the Wall

Q: When should you not use plumber's tape?
A: When joining PVC fittings or valves with female threads (FPT), plumbers tape should not be used as it may stress the joint during assembly. PTFE tape does not guarantee a watertight seal and is not suitable for all types of plumbing connections.

Q: What are the most common causes of shower leaks?
A: The most common causes of shower leaks are shower pan movement and sealant issues, such as bad adhesive or mold in the sealant.

Q: How much does it cost to fix a leaky shower?
A: According to a recent survey of more than 1,700 homeowners, a typical shower should last about four years before breaking down. However, with proper maintenance and care, the lifespan of your shower can be extended and you can enjoy longer periods of use.

Q: How to stop a water leak immediately?
A: You can temporarily stop a leak by wrapping a thin piece of rubber around the leak and wrapping it tightly with electrical tape. A C-clip should then be used on the patch to put pressure on the seal and stop any leaks. The type of rubber material needed to patch a leak depends on the size, location, and severity of the leak. For smaller leaks, an adhesive-backed rubber gasket or gasket can be used to create a watertight seal. For larger leaks, such as those found in pipes, a thicker material such as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber can be used to take advantage of its waterproof properties.

Q: Is plumber's tape better than plumber's putty?
A: Both thread sealing tape and pipe dope are effective pipe sealants. However, many people prefer to use thread sealing tape because it is cleaner than traditional grease or paste sealants. Plumber's putty is used to create a watertight seal between the sink and the faucet, and between the sink and the drain.


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