How to Fix a Leaking Shower Drain

leaking shower drain

If your shower is leaking, the first step should be identifying its source – this may involve inspecting the ceiling below it for potential clues.

Oftentimes the source is worn-out caulk or grout; other times plumbing pipes may leak due to improper installation. Luckily, however, fixing a leaking shower drain should be relatively easy.

Must do’s to a fix leaking shower drain

Check the Compression Gasket

Nothing can ruin a relaxing shower session like seeing water staining and bubbling along the ceiling or wall just under your bathroom, damaging framing and insulation, leading to costly repairs. Most leaks can be traced back to your shower drain itself – these repairs typically can be completed without opening up ceiling panels and accessing crawl spaces underneath your home.

Leaks in shower drains typically originate in worn gaskets between the drain assembly and flange or broken flange itself, or from damaged parts within them. To correct it, first identify and then disassemble and replace any defective parts; using wrenchless drains like WingTite or Davke’s Dream Drain can make this task simpler by replacing your current one without wrenches – just remove outer locknut and internal wrench to install!

If the leakage is due to a worn gasket, it’s essential that this rubber seal be in good condition in order to expand when compressed and form an effective seal. You can do this by taking steps such as unplugging your shower drain cover and nudging it off-center until the gasket is visible; additionally it would be prudent to wipe down its rim with damp cloth in order to eliminate any grime build-up over time.

fixing leaking shower drain

After inspecting your gasket, it’s a smart idea to have some plumber’s putty handy in case it needs replacing. You can purchase this material at any hardware store and should choose one compatible with the type of drain you have (check product instructions for more info). Be sure to add enough material to completely fill any grooves near flange to create an airtight seal; when the putty has set it’s time for assembly and sealing again!

Remove the Drain Cover

Shower drain covers can help prevent small items like hair clips, razor blades and shampoo caps from accidentally falling down the drain, but they may not do the same to stop hair accumulation in the drain itself. Over time this causes a clog that prevents you from draining quickly or at all; there are DIY and over-the-counter fixes such as hair-clogging tools, baking soda and vinegar solutions as well as plunging that could help; if none work then sending in a plumber’s snake may also work to break up the clog and unblock pipes!

To begin, remove the cover from the shower drain by unscrewing its screws with a screwdriver. For added ease when unscrewing them, spray some lubricant onto each one before loosening. Once this step has been accomplished, take steps to reassemble and replace your drain cover.

Before installing a new drain cover, inspect it for signs of damage or rust. If it has any scratches or is rusty, sand the area and apply some waterproof silicone sealant; alternatively you could also use plumber’s putty or waterproof tape to create an airtight seal around the drain flange.

If your shower is leaking, it could be down to its compression gasket. This circular part fits between the drain hole and drain fitting and must remain in good condition in order to stop water leaking into the shower. To check its condition from above, look down into the drain from above and look at whether its condition – cracked, brittle or broken. If so, replace immediately!

If the drain itself is leaking, you will need to take steps to inspect it and take appropriate action. If it’s screwed into place, try turning its nut counterclockwise until loose. A special removal tool or simple ones provided with new drain kits may come in handy here.

Inspect the Drain Flange

Flange drains protrude through tub walls, and any loose or cracked parts could allow water to seep past their seal and seep in.

If the leak is coming from the flange, replacing it is likely necessary. First, wipe down its rim and surrounding area with soapy water to remove any old putty that has accumulated there. Alternatively, if you have access to an access panel or can open up walls/ceilings to check from outside — plug drain then run length of hose (or bucket) directly into shower for leaks; if there’s water pooling up at any point that indicates where your leak lies.

a shower head

Locating leaks can be challenging when water travels along piping inside walls and ceilings before reaching its source – this may cause drywall damage, mold growth and even floor collapse! If you cannot pinpoint its source you may need to tear open portions of either walls or ceilings to inspect piping and valves more closely.

Repairing a leaky drain flange is relatively straightforward for the DIYer, though you should seek expert assistance if this is your first experience in plumbing or drywall work. A reputable plumber should cost about $75 an hour to help cut through drywall, replace faulty pipes and P-traps and provide other required services.

To replace an old drain flange, first roll some plumber’s putty between your fingers to form a long roll resembling snake made of Play-Doh. Place this roll around the existing flange, making sure it encases it entirely. Screw in your new drain clockwise while making sure it aligns with its drain hole before sliding in fiber and rubber washers. For an optimal seal use Teflon tape to cover threads of new drain and overflow pipe as well as five turns of plumbing tape; once everything else is in place you can test for leaks!

Clean the Drain

If there’s a foul odor coming from your shower drain, it could be indicative of a clog requiring more work to fix than it needs to. But this problem can easily be remedied using some elbow grease and household products. Simply remove the strainer (don a pair of rubber gloves if necessary) and pull out whatever debris can be reached; most commonly it will consist of hair and soap scum accumulations. If this doesn’t do it either try pouring boiling water down it to break through any potential obstructions further down.

If the clog is particularly stubborn, use a bent wire or plumber’s snake to dislodge it from the pipe. Be wary not to damage any part of it and keep an eye out for any rusty parts or joints; if that does not work, call in professional assistance from your plumber.

leaking shower drain

Once your drain is clear, it’s time to clean it thoroughly. With standard shower drain covers, removal should usually be easily accomplished using fingers or a flathead screwdriver; with invisible types you may require taking off screws on their flange that hold it. After taking it off, wash with hot water and scrub away any grime build-up to complete this step.

Pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of white vinegar down your drain to disinfect it, and allow this solution to sit for an hour before flushing it with hot water again – this should also help eliminate any unpleasant odors that remain.

Prevent future clogs by regularly cleaning your shower drain, either monthly or more frequently if multiple users have long hair. This will eliminate soap scum buildup and hair accumulation in your drain and pipes, and install a removable hair catcher or drain screen above your shower, which will catch most of the hair that would otherwise enter and cause nasty clogs. It’s important to remember that if your shower has an unpleasant odor or won’t drain completely, this may indicate plumbing lines issues affecting your home or septic tank that require professional help – professional help should be consulted for best results.

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