HELP...Tile Shower Leaking [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-04-2019, 02:59 PM
I noticed the rug on floor outside the tile shower continues to be wet long after the shower is used. Initially I thought it was just from water dripping off the shower door when opened. Then I removed the rug and noticed water is coming up from the joints around the curb as shown on the attached photo. A look in the crawl space revealed the leak has been occurring for some time and water was slowly dripping from the joists. The leak is apparently coming from the shower floor/curb and NOT near the drain or supply lines.

Thoughts on what has gone wrong and how to repair it?

Thanks in advance!


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06-04-2019, 04:03 PM
Hi Hicks, sorry to meet you under such circumstances.

The first thing that comes to mind is that shower door. Can you check to see if there are any screws into the curb from the door frame?

Shower door installers are well known killers of shower curbs with their careless use and placement of screws. Most wouldn’t consider drilling into a tub edge but will quite readily drill into a curb. :think:

06-04-2019, 09:14 PM
Welcome to the forum, Hicks. :)

Any idea how the shower was constructed? Pictures of the various phases of construction would help.

06-04-2019, 09:23 PM
Shower is 13 years old.

There aren’t any screws in or near the bottom of the door track.

Thanks for the replies. Please keep them coming.

Tool Guy - Kg
06-04-2019, 10:24 PM
The apparent efflorescence (white salt-looking mineral) on the outside of the curb hints that the curb has a lack of waterproofing. It appears that moisture is entering the curb from inside the shower and exiting the curb where the white stuff is.

If you get down close, can you see a crack under the top tiles on the inside of the curb?


06-04-2019, 10:37 PM
Broken record. Good news is your alive and have a house with warm water.
Bad new is I predict a shower rebuild.
So go tell the wife the good news she gets to pick out all new colors in the bath. Make it sound like your idea and a gift. The leak isn't the reason.

Tool Guy - Kg
06-04-2019, 11:08 PM
...or could be a $50 curb re-build.

Might be good to get more details before we convince Hicks to throw in the towel.

06-04-2019, 11:15 PM
Yes hopefully the problem is just near top of curb and he has some spare tiles. With no screws as culprits in the door track I lost hope, but please know I went worse case to help prepare for the worst.
I just pictured water through the subfloor and see the efflorescence all over and carpet wet a long time so I'm picturing black 2x4s.
But maybe the leak is only in the curb center and it just needs a waterproof cap.
And I admit I have no experience in fixing a leaking curb. And not much tile experience but I have been dealing with leaking windows and stucco for 16 years. I'm hopeful this 2 nd total redo on one side of my house using Hardie will fix it. But I have seen to much rotting wood for one person.

06-05-2019, 05:29 AM
Try the following steps, in order, to try and pinpoint the leak.

1. Cap off the shower head and any sprays. Turn on the water to pressurize the pipes. If it leaks, it’s the plumbing.

2. Leaves the pipes capped. Plug up the drain with an inflatable test plug, just above the p-trap. Get water from another source and pour it directly into the drain to just above where the drain is glued onto the riser. Let sit for 20 min or so. If it leaks, it’s the glued plumbing connections in the drain.

3. Add more water directly to the drain until you have a shallow pool that’s just 6-8” across the drain. Let it sit. If it leaks, the problem is where the waterproofing ties into the drain.

4. Fill up the whole pan with a few inches of water, but stay an inch or two below the curb. Let it sit. If it leaks, the problem is where the waterproofing turns up the walls or wraps around the corners.

5. If you have a handheld sprayer, spray down just the curb. Start at one end for a few minutes, then slowly move your way to the other end, checking for leaks the whole time.

6. At this point you can try spraying down the walls, starting at the bottom of one wall and slowly moving your way up and around the shower.

06-05-2019, 09:52 AM
Here is a pic from the crawl space.
The leak is definitely in the area of the curb, not the supply lines or drain, as those are clearly visible from the crawl space.

06-05-2019, 09:48 PM
From a picture you can't tell where the drain line is or where the curb but that is quite a bit of water leakage over sometime with the mold.

Did you look for any cracks in the grout lines on the inside of the curb especially the ends or that top tile

06-06-2019, 10:08 AM
I inspected closer this am and there is definitely a horizontal crack that essentially runs the entire length of the inside top corner of the curb, where the vertical tile meets the horizontal tile.

06-06-2019, 12:29 PM
Hicks, the crack suggests that water went under the curb's waterproofing and swelled the wood there, thus pushing up the tile. I'd probably do careful exploratory surgery, i.e. remove the tile on top of the curb to see what you'll find below. You could be lucky that the damage happened from water wicking to the outside of the shower and then getting into the curb from that side. My guess is that you're not that lucky and that you'll find a leak in the waterproofing in a critical spot of that curb. But that's just a guess based on probability. Nobody can know for sure until you open it up.

If you carefully pry off the tile, you should be able to reinstall/regrout if this is fixable. That, of course, mandates the prior removal of the door.

06-06-2019, 07:39 PM
Tap on the tile with a screwdriver or similar. Does it sound hollow? Any movement when you press on the tiles?

06-07-2019, 05:36 AM
Some of the tiles may lift off fairly easy, especially the tiles on top of the curb. The tiles on the inside and out may need the grout joints cut first if you are trying to avoid breaking any tiles.