Leaking shower doors are one of the most common bathroom problems for many homes. Whether caused by missing or damaged door sweeps, insufficient sealing or improper installation, leakages can cause a lot of problems if left ignored. They can lead to mold and mildew growth in your bathroom, drywall, and damage flooring, sub-flooring and baseboards.
For framed or frameless shower doors, you’ll just a need simple repair that you can manage by yourself in most cases. Here’s a quick guide on how to manage a shower door that leaks.
The biggest challenge is to figure out the exact location of the leakage. Often, leaks are too small and remain unnoticed, that is until signs of damage start appearing. Thoroughly inspect the following areas as they’re most prone to leaks.
- The door sweep at the bottom of the shower door.
- The metal framework attached to the wall of the enclosure.
- The tracks in which the shower door slides in if you have a sliding door.
- The drainage channels or weep holes in the framework of the shower door.
Improper installation can cause water to seep out while taking shower or due to condensation. Blockage of drainage holes can also result in leaking.
If it’s an installation problem, like a badly positioned doorsill or malfunctioning door, contact an installation professional instead of doing it yourself. This is because if it goes wrong, you may end up with a shattered glass shower door, a torn down floor around the shower or an exposed sheetrock.
For other problems, like blockage of drainage holes and damaged caulking, you can easily solve them by following some simple steps outlined below.
- If the problem lies in blocked drainage holes or channels, first find what’s causing the blockage. It could be soap scum, silicone caulk or lime scale. To remove soap scum and limescale, use a ready-made scum/limescale cleaner and scrub off with a toothbrush, finishing nail or a thin skewer.
- To remove damaged or worn out caulk, use a razor blade or similar scraper. Removing the old caulk is important because if you use new caulking over the old, it can create sealing problems by blocking the weep holes. These small holes at the bottom of the track of the shower door are meant to drain water and condensation back into the shower. Take clear 100% silicone caulking and place a small amount where you removed the old caulking. Don’t use the shower for 24 hours after applying the new caulking to let it dry. However, when buying a caulk do make sure to buy one that’s meant for bathrooms and other wet areas. They should be mold resistant too.
- Inspect the inside trim of the shower door frame and for signs of scum, rust, dirt or grime and remove them in the same way. If the inside sweep is worn out, remove and replace it with a new one following the directions of the manufacturer. Choose one that has a drip rail. A properly functioning sweep nicely adheres to the surface of the glass door. So, when you replace it, make sure that it adheres properly.
- Often during installation of the shower door, some tiles may get cracked when pilot holes are drilled into them to hold the screws. If the source of the leak is a cracked tile around the shower door, remove and replace the tile. Also make sure that there isn’t any missing grout.
Shower door leaks aren’t as complicated as you think. However, if you’re unsure about the problem or find your DIY job not working out, immediately get in touch with an installation expert.