|Under the right circumstances, no spot in the home is more appreciated than the shower. We hop in every morning for that wake-up jolt that gets us feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day, or we linger in the shower in the evening to unwind, soothe our senses, and get rid of the stresses of hard work. If you have a shower leak in the shower's structure or suspect that you do, your shower sanctuary is less than enjoyable and could even be causing damage in your home. Oftentimes, resealing your shower is all that is required.
Do You Have A Leak?
Sometimes a crack in the sealant around your shower will allow water to escape while the shower is in use. This water has to go somewhere, and unfortunately, its destination is often your floors and walls. While some shower leaks in the shower structure are obvious, here are some tell-tale signs that your shower might be in for some R&R (repair and reseal):
- mildew build-up on the shower walls
- damp walls
- damp feeling carpet
- excess moisture in the bathroom when using the shower
- termites in the bathroom
- bathroom tiles show signs of fracture
- grout in or around the shower and tiles falling out
- sealant or caulking peeling away
Shower resealing can easily remedy the problem of a shower leak in the shower's structure and prevent your home from becoming damaged with water logged walls, floors, and tile.
It is a good idea to reseal the entire shower, especially is you cannot find the source of the leak - it is possible that a hairline fracture that is not visible is allowing water to seep out of the shower. There are two basic types of caulk that you can use to reseal your shower. Water clean-up caulk and mineral spirits clean-up caulk are optimal for the purpose of resealing, with the former sticking to most types of shower stalls. Before resealing, you will need to completely remove the existing caulk from around the entire shower. Many homeowners will simply scrape away the loose caulk and caulk over the rest - but this is a big mistake, as you can miss the leak if you don't get rid of all of the old caulk first.
To best remove the old caulk and grout from your shower, you can use a sharp razor knife, sharp chisel, or box cutter (or combination of all of these). Be careful not to cut your shower and be especially careful if you have a fiberglass shower. Run the blade of your knife parallel to the wall in order to break the seal between the old, existing caulk and the shower's wall. Follow this by moving your knife ninety degrees to run the blade against the other surface. Repeat this until all of the old caulk has been removed, being careful not to press deeply in order to avoid damaging the shower. Once this caulking has been removed, you will still have a coat of caulking against the shower that plumber's refer to as the skin coat. You can use the flat side of your sharp chisel to scrape away this remaining caulk. At this point, you might also use denatured alcohol to help remove any remaining residue.
When applying the new caulk, it is essential to have a caulk gun or to purchase a type of caulk that is packaged in a squeezable tube. Start with a thin line of caulk in one corner and caulk around the entire shower. Using a wet fingertip, smooth the caulk and press it tightly so that it sticks to both surfaces. Once finished, clean up any excess caulking with a damp rag. Allow caulking to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions on the caulking tube before the shower is used again.