Commonly, showers and bathtubs are the cause of leaks and make them hard to spot unless the damage is widespread. So, what damage can a leaking shower do? Well, a leaking shower is capable of warping subfloors, ruining drywall, and even lifting tiles. If you are noticing damage to the bathtub itself, you may need to look into refinishing it instead of replacing the tub. A bathtub refinish can last a significant amount of time versus replacement.
Keep in mind that there could be an issue with water if your bathroom doesn’t smell or look right. If so, make sure to hire a professional that looks out for key things in plumbing maintenance. Continue reading to see the possible consequences of water damage behind shower tiles.
Cementitious Materials Aren’t Waterproof
Commonly, people believe that cementitious materials are waterproof; however, blocking water out and being unharmed by it are totally different. The main component of traditional tile grout and thin-set mortar is Portland cement, which doesn’t block water.
Behind the tiles and over the subfloor, there’s a plastic sheeting or tar paper barrier in safe showers. It connects to the tub or shower drain, which lets water go down the drain and not soak in. It’s possible that water seeps through with every shower if the installer didn’t use a waterproof barrier.
Plastic Waterproof Barrier Degradation
Despite plastic lasts for a long time, it’s not immune to damage. What damage can a leaking shower do to the plastic barrier? It’s possible that this barrier fails in a bathroom on an exterior wall without proper insulation, breaking down, and experiencing cracks that let water through. Moreover, this barrier can be damaged during the installation as well. For instance, if screws have been inserted through the shower wall to mount a shower curtain rod, there might be holes in the barrier that allow leaks.
Cracks in Shower Floor that Let Water Seep Through
Whether a tile shower leaking is built on a fabricated on-site concrete shower pan or a prefabricated shower pan, this pan can crack when the subfloor isn’t solid enough to hold it. Therefore, if the plastic barrier doesn’t hold, the cracks will let water pour through the floor with every shower.
This isn’t one of the plumbing problems in old houses. Unlike newer homes, old houses have a shower pan with a thick, heavy layer of tar paper coated with hot tar, and with a concrete form that was built up over it, making these pans considerably durable.
Bathroom and Far Beyond Damage
Sometimes a leaky shower drain could seem just fine, and mold might only suggest poor cleaning habits. However, leaks have a place to hide and spread underneath the tile or shower wallboard, even for years. What damage can a leaking shower do to its surroundings? Chronic leaks are dangerous and might need major repairs. For instance, moisture can softer a ceiling in a room below, degrade the drywall on the opposite side of the wall, or even warp and rot the framing members.
In a minor case of a shower leak, the homeowner may need to replace a few tiles or fresh caulk, but consider that a leaky shower might represent an expensive repair or replacement job if the condition is worse. A leaky shower is just one thing that causes water damage to a bathroom. There are plenty of other sources of water leaks that will cause damage. Therefore, make sure you know how often plumbing should be inspected to prevent leaks and bursts that could damage your bathroom, and eventually, the rest of your home.