Shower door leaking? Fix it before it’s too late with these easy tips.
Cleaning up water on the bathroom floor after a shower is probably the last thing you want to do—in the morning while getting ready for work, at night before going to bed, or anytime. To say that shower door water leaks are annoying is an understatement. So how do you fix a shower door water leak? It’s probably easier than you may think. Tracking down the leak can be the hard part. We’ll walk you through the steps to find the leak and break down the possible solutions.
Shower door water leaks don’t always result in big pools of water on the floor of the bathroom after a shower has run. Sometimes small amounts of moisture do damage over the span of several years. The severity can range from discoloration to scum build-up and black mold, even to rotten drywall and subflooring.
The key is to locate and stop the water leak as soon as possible. It’s best to check for water leaks from the shower door after a new shower door has been installed, and periodically throughout its lifetime. Shower door parts can wear out over time and this can cause water leaks that weren’t present before to form at later dates.
The way that a shower keeps water in will be determined by the structure of the shower itself. Therefore, the type of shower you have will often determine where the water is leaking from and how to fix the leak. Do you have:
- Framed shower door leaks?
- Semi-frameless shower door leaks?
- Frameless shower door leaks?
What Causes Shower Door Water Leaks?
Shower doors and shower enclosures can leak water for many reasons. It can happen to new showers and old showers as well. Typically, shower door water leaks are caused by:
- Ineffective caulking
Both framed and frameless shower doors are sealed in around the edges with caulk to prevent water from exiting the shower. Worn out or missing caulk can let moisture escape.
- Broken or improperly installed shower door sweeps
Frameless shower doors generally have sweeps attached to the bottom of the door which keeps water from exiting the shower underneath of the door.
- Broken or improperly installed shower door seals
Frameless shower doors usually have seals installed on the vertical edge that meets the stationary pane in order to keep water from exiting through the crack, while still allowing the door to swing.
- Clogged drain holes
Framed shower doors usually have drain holes located along the bottom inside edge of the frame. This allows any water that enters the frame to drain out, into the shower. If these holes become clogged, water may drain out or overflow into the bathroom.
- Unslanted shower curbs
A shower curb is a threshold that you step over to enter and exit the shower. It is usually only a couple of inches in height but plays a vital role in keeping water inside the shower. Not only does it act as a barrier, but the top should also have a 5-degree slant so that water that lands on top of the curb runs back into the shower.
How to Locate a Shower Door Leak
Shower door leaks can be difficult to track down. Keep in mind that the leak may be coming from multiple locations. Start by turning on the water in the shower and watching from the outside to see where water begins to appear. Water always flows downward so it may be originating from higher up than you think.
Typical shower door leak locations include:
- Along the wall
- Where the shower door meets the jamb
- Along the bottom of the shower door or shower door track
How to Fix a Shower Door Leak
How the leak is fixed will depend on where the leak is originating from and what type of shower enclosure you have. Any work done to your bathroom and especially your shower is always best left to a professional. Professionals have the proper tools and materials to fix issues properly the first time around and eliminate the guess work. The following is for informational purposes only as general guidelines for how a professional might correct the situation.
Shower Leak Along the Wall
Old caulk should be removed and fresh caulk should be applied to the inside edges of the frame where it meets the walls and tub. Be careful that the drain holes do not become clogged by the caulk.
Caulk typically comes in three forms- a squeeze tube, a caulk cartridge, and strips.
Pro Tips: Be sure to match the caulk color to either the current caulk, or the finishes in your bathroom. Caulk typically comes in clear, white, and almond.
Be sure to use the proper tool for the job. Special caulk removal and finishing tools will made the job much easier.
Caulk strips will be easy to install and create little to no mess. However, the seal may not be as good as, or last as long as traditional caulk.
Using a caulk gun will give the most professional looking results. However, it takes some practice.
Squeeze tube caulk is the best of both worlds. It requires little setup and doesn’t require the purchase of a caulk gun.
Shower Door Leaks Under the Door
In a framed shower door, if the leak is originating near the bottom of the door, it is likely caused by clogged drain holes. Locate the drain holes along the bottom inside edge of the frame and use a small drain brush to clean the holes.
If the shower door is frameless, you’ll want to inspect the sweep that runs across the bottom of the door. Some sweeps are adjustable and need adjustment over time. Other times, sweeps wear out from years of use. If the sweep is missing, damaged, or improperly adjusted, you’ll want to replace it.
If the sweep appears to be in working order, take a look at the shower’s curb. If there is not enough of a slope back in towards the shower, then the issue is likely being caused by the curb. Unfortunately, the only way to fix this is to do the tile work over again.
Shower Door Leaks Between Glass
If water is leaking through a shower door where two panes of glass meet, a seal should be installed. This seal simply acts as a barrier that fills the gap between the two panes and allows the water to drain back into the shower instead of escaping. These seals are usually installed with an adhesive that keeps them in place.
How Glass.com® Can Help
If your glass shower enclosure needs to be repaired, use Glass.com to locate a reputable shower door dealer or glass shop in your area that can assess the needed repairs and provide a quote. Ready for a full upgrade? Our affiliates can help with that too!