Waking up one day to a leaking shower can be quite frustrating. That is especially so if the leak is inside the tiled wall. Well, this is usually evidenced by a stream of water running along a particular path when someone takes a bath.
Fixing the leaking shower inside the tiles can be quite hectic. It can prove expensive to remove the tiles and fix the leak. Plus, it is also not a walk in the park. There are also other major concerns associated with a leaking shower. As the owner of the property, you are going to worry about the total cost of fixing the leak. Are there any other damages?
So, what do you do? Must you remove the tile to fix the leak?
There are various reasons for a leaking shower, and among the most popular is building movement. If you are a DIY enthusiast, then it is possible to fix that leaking shower without removing tiles.
Main Reasons for a Leaking Shower
Building movement Is the main culprit for a leaking shower. The point of intersection between the wall and the floor is the typical cause as the grout cracks. Mainly, this causes water to leak to the subfloor, and that is never a good thing.
The membrane below the tiles is a layer of protection against water leaks. However, the membrane fails if the leak is not fixed soon enough. Of course, there are several reasons why a membrane would fail. The sealant or grout can wear off over time, and you need to replace it before the problem becomes uncontrollable.
If the leak is left unchecked, it can cause structural damage that can make the building unsafe or cost an arm and leg to fix.
Leaking showers should be sealed completely to prevent a repeat of the problem.
How to Fix Leaking Shower Without Removing Tiles
If you can successfully avoid interfering with the membrane, well, the better. Usually, the trick is to seal the porous tile and make it completely waterproof. There are commercial products that allow you to waterproof the leaking tile surface without a problem.
Using a Spray-on Grout Sealer
The first method that you can use to repair the leak is using epoxy grout. However, it would be best if you scraped off the current grout sealer completely. Remove the grout from the vertical and horizontal joints, and use a piece of cloth dipped in soapy water to clean it off.
It is always better to use an acid type cleaner for the best results.
Of course, you’re going to find it to be a bit more work, but chances of success are quite high. Well, most of the companies that claim to fix the leak without interfering with the tiles also use this method.
For example, the spray-on grout sealer is naturally perfect for hard surfaces. You can use it on sanded or unsanded grout. Essentially, the product will penetrate the grout, and seal it to stop the leak. The beauty of it is that you can do it yourself without requiring the services of a handyman. The product is water-resistant, and it can hold on for quite some time.
After the treatment, your bathroom will be ready to use within a few hours. The appearance and texture of the surface will not change at all. Also, you don’t have to worry about the trapped water as it will eventually evaporate and make the membrane redundant.
Using a Silicone Sealant
A shrink-proof and crack-proof silicone sealant is another great method of fixing a leaking shower without removing tiles.
Apart from the sealant, you’re going to need a caulk gun, mineral spirits, soap and water, painter’s knife, caulk smoothing knife and gloves.
Before you can apply a sealant, make sure that the gap between the tiles is clean. Use the painter’s knife to scrape away the former sealant or other material. Clean any mold that you find on the grout and tiles. Rub this area with soap and water and wait for about 15 minutes to dry.
Also, cut the nozzle of the sealant at an angle using the caulk gun. Pierce through the inner seal using the caulk gun. Furthermore, place the sealant inside the caulk gun and apply the sealant on the space between the tiles. You can test the sealant for any discoloration by applying it to a small area.
Remember to hold the gun at an angle and apply a consistent pressure to get the right amount on the surface. Start from the top of the wall and finish at the bottom of the shower for the best results. You can wait 15 minutes for the first application to set before applying the second coat. Certainly, you have to be sure of completely stopping the leak.
Wait for about 5 minutes and use the smoothing knife to remove the excess sealant and ensure the surface is even. Dip a piece of cloth in the mineral spirits and wipe away the excess sealant on the surface of the tiles and shower.
The silicone sealant is mostly ideal, where the surface is exposed to water. It can protect against mold and mildew and prevent the water leak that can cause structural damage. The benefit of the recommended silicone sealant is that it is a flexible adhesive and, therefore, most appropriate where they may be building movements.
The product can withstand the expansion and contraction associated with different temperatures that the bathroom experiences. Please note that you cannot paint over the sealant.
After the silicone sealant treatment, the bathroom surface is usually ready within 30 minutes. You don’t have to wait for too long to have that refreshing bath. Even so, you should give it sufficient time to dry, such as 24 hours.
The right product will safeguard the masonry surfaces from all forms of water damage such as algae, mold, efflorescence, erosion, discoloration and concrete cancer.
Don’t ignore a shower leak, however small it may be as it can cause structural damage.