Shower Screen Leaking? Try This
If you’ve ever had a floor-to-ceiling shower screen, you know how slick they look. Not only do they look great in the room, but they work so much better than those cloth covers. That’s not to bash on the cloth shower screens (everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right?), but they are clearly the superior solution. That is, until they stop working. A shower screen that’s leaking is a pain – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to see what to do to get it sorted.
The most common causes of a shower screen leaking are old or bad caulking, faulty or damaged door sweeps, an old or busted shower seal, bad tracks, or clogged drains.
Let’s break that down a bit more, yeah?
How to Spot & Fix a Shower Screen Leaking
There are a few things that could go wrong and cause a shower screen leak. Luckily, none of them is a hard fix – they just take a little bit of time and the proper supplies. Buckle in, because we’ve got a (small) project up ahead.
There are four likely causes, so let’s get right into how to spot them and what to do once you have located them.
Just like all things in life, caulking has a lifespan. When that time has reached its end, it’ll start to fail – warping, cracking, and discolouration are the clearest signs. And if you notice an actual gap, that’s likely your best bet for the source of the leak. While it’s likely that your leak is coming from the caulked bottom section, it’s worth it to just redo the caulking across the whole shower screen.
It won’t take very long, and it’ll prevent the same issue from popping up in the near future.
This is a (thankfully) very easy fix. Not only is it pretty clear when caulking is failing, but it just takes a caulking gun, some caulk, and a few minutes. Here’s what to do:
- Find a utility or putty knife, caulking gun, a sacrificial rag or two, tape, caulk remover, and silicone caulking.
- Silicone caulking is important. It’s a great adhesive that is extremely resilient to water, making it your best bet to prevent future issues. Be sure it’s marked as designed for bathroom use – this will have inhibitors to prevent mould and mildew.
- Run your knife along the base of the caulking. Separate it from the shower in strips (to make removal easier) and pull it all out. Be sure to scrape off as much as possible.
- Treat the area with caulk remover, wiping the area with your rag. Make sure it’s dry, otherwise the caulking won’t stick.
- Tape off a guideline for where the caulking is going.
- Apply caulk along the guide.
- Wipe caulk with a wet finger or rag to set and smooth it.
- Remove tape and enjoy your success (once the caulking has set).
The next most likely source of your leak (especially if it’s along the bottom of the shower, rather than the side) is the seal. Otherwise known as the door sweep, these little rubber guides/seals keep the bottom of the screen flush and sealed against the floor. This (in theory) stops water from making its way through.
Unfortunately (again) these have a lifespan and are prone to failure. The constant back-and-forth of hot and cold water can cause the rubber or plastic sweep to warp, crack, and disconnect. Luckily, it’s a pretty quick fix. Here’s what to do:
- If you’re a visual learner, click here for a video guide.
- Grab a rag, some scissors or plastic shears, and a ruler, along with the replacement sweep.
- Remove your old sweep first and measure it against the new one. Cut it down to size if needed.
- If you haven’t already, remove the bottom sweep. Clean along the bottom of the shower screen to remove any gross buildup, dirt, and moisture.
- Gently snap your sweep back onto the bottom, keeping it flush to the bottom of the door.
This is the hardest solution, though it’s still not difficult. It’s just harder than removing and attaching a small piece of rubber or plastic. This shouldn’t take too long, so let’s just hop right in – it’ll be clear if your shower tracks are the problem, as they’ll be wobbly and not that well attached.
Here’s what to do to fix bad tracks:
- Grab a screwdriver, a sacrificial rag, and a new shower track that fits your shower (AKA measure it).
- Loosen the screws and remove the old shower track.
- Clean along where the track sat.
- Install the new shower track in reverse order from how you removed the old one. Be sure to pay attention and keep it straight and flush to prevent damaging your shower door.
Now onto what is arguably the most likely issue – a clogged drain. While you likely would have noticed that it’s clogged pretty fast, the best way to tell is to run the shower. If it takes a while to drain or the water near the drain looks dirty, this is the reason. To fix this, you’ll need boiled water, baking soda, and some white vinegar. A shower plunger will help with truly difficult clogs, but it’s unlikely you have one that bad.
Here’s what to do:
- Put the kettle on and prepare a cup for tea.
- Once boiled, pour water into your cup, keeping the remaining boiled water and bringing it to your bathroom.
- Slowly pour boiled water down the drain.
- If necessary, plunge.
- Follow the boiled water with vinegar and baking soda (10:1 vinegar to baking soda).
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the clog is resolved.
- Enjoy your perfectly steeped cup of tea.
Resolving a leaking shower screen is a simple task. Whether it’s a faulty seal, caulking, sliding track, or a clogged drain, all of the fixes are pretty simple. If caulking, be sure to replace all of the caulking in the shower, rather than just a small spot. You don’t want to have to come back and do this again in a few months somewhere else. Beyond that, each of these fixes is incredibly straightforward and surprisingly cheap (thankfully).
Now go enjoy your shower without having to worry about a leak or water damage!