5 Reasons for Shower Drain Leak (And How To Fix It!)

Shower drain leaks are challenging to handle and can cause tremendous water damage when left unchecked.

It’s important to spot the water leak, find out where it’s coming from, and then put together a reasonable solution. This is the only way to ensure additional water doesn’t start spreading everywhere.

To get started, it’s important to know what causes a shower drain leak.

A shower drain leak can be caused by a loose pipe, failed shower pan, leaking pipe, improper seal around the cover plate, or a damaged rubber gasket. It’s best to look at where the water is leaking from to determine the root cause.

This information will go a long way in replacing the right part or tightening a component that has loosened. Sometimes, the solution is quite simple and it is more about finding out what the root cause is.

This article will break down everything including the reason for the shower drain leaking and how to fix it.

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Reasons For Shower Drain Leak

1. Leaking Pipe Between Showerhead And Valve

It’s common for a leak to occur between the showerhead and shower valve.

The reason this happens is due to the shower riser’s arm. When the threads deteriorate, it’s normal for the hold to loosen.

As a result, the arm attached to this component will break or become structurally weak. Until this is repaired or replaced, the leak will continue getting worse.

shower drain leak

2. Failing Shower Pan

Shower pans are an essential part of the shower.

If there are any issues or discrepancies in the shower pan, it’s common for a leak to start making a mess inside the property.

This specific component acts as a protective liner for the shower. If it doesn’t function as required, the water will start leaking downstairs and into other parts of the house.

It’s essential to replace/repair the shower pan before things worsen.

3. Improper Seal Around Cover Plate

The cover plate is close to the shower valve or faucet.

It has to be appropriately sealed or it’s common for the water to start leaking everywhere. What happens is the water starts running where it’s not supposed to.

This means it will begin to run behind the plate and down into the walls. This can become associated with a shower drain leak.

shower drain leak

4. Damaged Rubber Gasket

When the rubber gasket loosens or loses its hold, the shower drain will begin to leak profusely.

You have to make sure that seal is strong as it was on day one. The best course of action for a problem like this is to replace the rubber gasket or apply putty around the area to seal it again.

This is a judgment call based on how extensive the damage is.

How To Fix A Leaking Shower Drain

1. Remove the Drain Cover

The first step is to remove the drain cover to access the rubber gasket.

You will want to do this by removing the screws on the surface. These will vary depending on the drain plate’s size, shape, and structure.

Find the right type of screwdriver or drill to remove these screws quickly. Remember to not lose those screws as you will need them to re-install the drain cover later.

To properly remove the drain cover, you will want to pull counter-clockwise using pliers. This will help grip the shower drain cover and make sure it pops out.

shower drain leak

2. Install a New Friction Washer & Rubber Gasket

At this point, you will notice a friction washer and rubber gasket.

This is where the leak is happening. When these weaken or the sealant loosens, it’s normal for water to start leaking where it is not supposed to.

As a result, you will want to replace or repair these components.

It’s recommended to keep things simple and replace the two parts.

3. Apply Sealant

Before putting in the new rubber gasket, it’s important to re-seal the drain.

This means taking a silicone-based sealant and applying it where the rubber gasket will sit. This is going to ensure those parts don’t weaken again.

Make sure to apply the sealant cleanly to avoid making a mess near the shower drain.

shower drain leak

4. Re-Install the Drain Cover

Now, you are going to press the rubber gasket and washer into place.

Make sure they are sitting on the silicone-based sealant that has been applied. It should be sitting right in the middle to make sure the sealant does its job.

Once you are sure about the placement of the rubber gasket, it’s time to re-install the drain cover. You will want to press it in and turn clockwise.

You can tighten the shower drain cover using pliers (if necessary).

To finish the job, put the screws back in and tighten them properly.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons for a shower drain leak and how to correct the problem before it spirals out of control.

A shower drain leak is usually caused by a damaged rubber gasket underneath the drain cover. The sealant can loosen meaning it has to be re-applied for the gasket to hold.

Read More On Bathrooms:

  1. Finding The Right Size For Shower Drain
  2. How To Use a Shower Drain With Sink
  3. Tips For Cleansing A Shower Head Safely
  4. How To Install Shower Head In The Right Spot
  5. How To Find The Right Spot For Shower Drain