A shower pan is an essential part of your bathroom, but chances are that you probably don’t do a lot of thinking about it even though you use it every day. The porcelain, ceramic, or plastic basin that collects all the water from your shower and guides it towards the drain is designed to be as durable as possible, but is subject to wear and tear like anything else. Things like excessive movement or basic wear and tear can lead to cracks and leaks.
Left unchecked, a crack or a leak in your shower pan could lead to a number of issues, including water damage in your foundation and wasted water. Before getting into the different ways to fix it, let’s go over an effective way to test if you really do have a leaky shower pan. Simply duct tape your drain over, fill it to roughly an inch high of water, then wait for around 8 hours. If you see that your shower is dry, you likely have a pan leak. If that’s the case, here are 7 ways to fix the problem:
- Put in a pre-constructed pan
These pre-fabricated pans can be purchased at any home improvement center, and are generally made of a solid fiberglass or composite material. The one caveat when it comes to these is that you don’t have a lot of options in terms of shape. Generally, you’re going to find something that’s designed for standard shower angles, so if you have a unique shower, this may not necessarily be the ideal match.
- Use epoxy
While this won’t necessarily work for every situation, for those who aren’t able or interested in getting under the shower pan for a full replacement, this may be an option, especially for many minor leaks. Some products promise to penetrate into the grout near a shower pan, displacing the water. This could be an effective temporary solution if you need to bide time to save for a full replacement.
- Replace the pan liner
This is most applicable for ceramic showers, which have a proper waterproof barrier that’s designed to catch water going through the tile floor and down the drain pipe. However, these have a limited lifespan just like any other component of the shower. The catch here is that this is more of a half measure, and your new tile probably won’t match the older one.
- Apply masonry sealer
Similar to the epoxy, this is a relatively inexpensive way to cut down on water damage from a leaky shower pan, but it’s only going to be a temporary fix until you replace the shower pan itself.
- Grout repair
If you have a small shower pan leak and aren’t interested in tearing up floors and walls, tackling the issues of grout may be a bit easier. Grout wears out over time, so you may be able to get away with applying some sealer or replacing the grout completely. However, if you see that the subfloor is also starting to wear out, you’re better off just replacing the entire pan.
- Use a DIY fix
This is the most extreme and also probably the least-recommended option on this list. Changing a shower pan is among the most drastic replacements you can make in a bathroom, including not only disassembling the shower but potentially having to take out and replace portions of the wall. In addition, if you don’t get a good fit for the new shower pan and the wall, you may encounter some of the same issues before you replaced it.
- Call a professional plumber
All the techniques and tactics we mentioned are a good way to help take care of a leaking shower pan, but they may not necessarily be a permanent fix. In addition, some of these may require tools that you don’t have, or your shower pan might not be easily accessible. In times like these, you want to make sure that you have skilled Miami plumbing professionals to call on. Hernandez Plumbing is a 3rd generation family-owned business that’s been around since 1972. Among our many other services in the Miami area, we can target the exact location of your shower pan leak and take care of it before it raises your utility bill or causes water damage.