7 Main Causes For a Tile Shower To Leak

Since the leaky home crisis in New Zealand, it is no surprise that cladding leaded as the main failure for leaking buildings across Aotearoa. What many people do not know is that leaks in tile showers follow closely in second place. The estimated cost to all shower failures in New Zealand is around 20 million dollars. 

In this article, we will discuss what are the 7 main causes for a tile shower to leak: 

1. Waterproofing Failures

Poor workmanship or sub-par quality waterproofing membranes also make the list of one of the main causes for a tile shower to leak. Try your best to research for reliable waterproofing products and a trustworthy and reputable waterproof shower installer that will do an excellent job installing your membrane and shower.

2. Building Movement

If you thought that you house is unmovable, think again. Earthquakes, temperature, and moisture changes contribute for the movement and foundation shifting of your house. You cannot prevent building movement from happening but choosing the right products and professionals to install your tile shower should ensure a healthy lifespan of your shower. On average, shower tiles should be re-grouted and re-sealed every 8-10 years – earlier if any cracks or flaws exist.

3. Cracked Tile Grout

If there is a crack on missing grout between the tiles, water could be leaking through the exposed gaps. To identify if your shower grout is leaking, spray water on isolated sections and let the surface dampen. This way you will be able to notice any cracks, splits, or holes. Another way of identifying if you tile needs to be replaced is by applying pressure with your fingernail on it – if it crumbles, it needs to be replaced.

It is important to re-grout it quickly because the build-up of water will cause dampness, which can eventually cause damage to the structural integrity of your floor and walls. Moreover, mould and dampness can also become a major health hazard for your and your family.  To avoid this, we recommend swapping it for epoxy grout.

4. Faulty Shower Tapware

Shower tapware are prone to leaking issues overtime after regular use, as the O-ring can become worn out and hard mineral deposits can clog the internal components of your faucet, making it faulty. To fix the issue, you should turn off the main water supply and disconnect your tapware, so that you can inspect each component and identify which one needs to be replaced.

5. Silicone Degradation

Silicone is designed to prevent water from breaching the gap between the wall and floor joints. Just like tile grout, silicone can crack or become mouldy after extensive exposure to water. To replace the silicone, remove the old silicone strip with a craft knife and ensure there is no residue left. Ensure that the area where you will be applying the new silicone is clean and dry, and once applied allow it to dry it as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

6. Tiles need to be re-sealed

Most tile showers should be treated with a sealant to form a protective barrier over the tiled surface.  This is especially true for porous stone tiles like slate, marble, granite as they tend to absorb spills and stains. Ceramic and porcelain tiles may not need to be sealed but you must always check with your manufacturer.

If your shower tiles have been sealed, then overtime the shower sealant will degrade and need to be replaced. Topical sealers usually have a lifespan of 3 years while impregnant sealers will last up to 15 years.

7. Leaking Drains

Overtime, and even with the movement of the building you may encounter failures on your plumbing system or drainage system.  When this is the case, call a professional. 

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