Has your balcony or shower started leaking?

If you’re like most people when this happens you want answers. There are so many different reasons for a shower or balcony to start leaking that it would be easier if we split the two up. Let’s discuss a leaking shower first. There are only two reasons why your shower is leaking through to downstairs or adjacent rooms. Reason number one is the pipes or taps are leaking behind the walls. The picture below shows the damage that your leaking shower causes when left to long before being repaired:

When a pipe leaks, the water will be bound by gravity and the path of least resistance causing it to end up behind bathroom walls and the waterproof membrane. When leaking pipes are the cause of your problems, the repair bill can range from very small or quite expensive depending on where the leak is.

When we provide a quote on repairing a leaking shower the very first thing we do is a pressure test. This allows us to determine if leaking pipes is the problem. This is very important because there is no point in resealing a shower properly if the pipes are leaking behind the shower walls. This picture (below right) shows a pressure test being done on the pipes. 

We see leaking showers every single day and the symptoms are always the same – water making its way through the walls or floor to the downstairs or adjacent rooms. After talking to hundreds of people about their leaking showers and listening to all different diagnoses it is evident that on the surface there looks to be a host of potential reasons for water damage but the problem is actually beneath the surface.

The second common reason for a leaking shower is related to the waterproofing. Before tiling, a shower must be waterproofed correctly to ensure any water that happens to get through the grout still finds its way to the waste. Unfortunately, many showers have not been waterproofed correctly if at all.

If waterproofing has been done correctly years of use and shifting of the home over time can cause a waterproof membrane to fail. If this happens you have 2 options. Option 1 is to re-seal the shower. This can be done if the leaking has not been left too long causing damage to the walls and floor. By this stage, it really is quite impossible to reseal a shower properly. Option 2 is to rebuild the shower which is often the best way forward if you want to update your shower or bathroom.

Leaking tiled balconies differ from showers in that there are no taps, shower heads or pipework that can cause leaks. Below is a picture of pipework that has been fixed for a shower.

Balconies also leak due to poor waterproofing or no waterproofing at all. Balconies are exposed to the elements and therefore much harsher conditions than internal bathrooms. This means the floor joints and substructure must be of high quality to withstand this exposure. (Below Right) is a picture of the floor joints being fixed on a balcony. Balconies must also be able to withstand a lot more weight and movement. If not, the chances of the waterproof membrane failing under the balcony increases. Balconies also have sliding doors or windows which add to potential areas for water penetration and therefore leaking. If the balcony is leaking the problem can usually be fixed by re-sealing the entire area without having to remove all the tiles or spending thousands.