Bathrooms, laundries and kitchens are some of the hardest working rooms in the home.
One of the main challenges the rooms face is the presence of water. A leaky bath or shower might seem like a small problem, but tiny leaks can turn into serious water damage if the issue isn’t addressed. You can call your plumber for help, but some types of water leaks are easy to fix on your own!
In this article we’ll discuss how to fix a shower leak and ensure your bathroom remains waterproof.
Materials You’ll Need
Replacing the silicone in your shower is a DIY-friendly project. It takes a couple hours and a steady hand to get the job done. You’ll need a few tools and materials for your project:
- Bathroom silicone (look for a product that’s mould resistant)
- Caulking gun
- Razor blade
- Methylated spirits
- Clean cloth
- Paddle pop sticks
- White vinegar or mould remover
It’s a good idea to buy more silicone than you think you’ll need. Silicone tubes can be sealed with a heavy-duty tape, and they may come in handy if you ever need to touch up another wet area.
We also recommend purchasing a caulking gun for the project. Caulking guns are cheap and they make it much easier to apply silicone to large areas, such as showers and baths.
How to Fix a Shower Leak
1. Remove the old silicone
It’s almost impossible to pinpoint exactly where a shower is leaking from. That means you’ll need to remove all the old silicone in the shower cubicle.
This is done using a utility knife or razor blade. Carefully work the edge of the blade underneath the silicone, and push it along the length of the joint. Repeat this process until the old bead of silicone has been sliced off the tile and can be removed.
You should be able to pull the silicone out by hand. Note that old silicone can become brittle, so this stage may take a bit of patience.
Once you’ve got the bulk of the silicone off the tile, you can use the razor blade to scrape up any remaining lumps.
2. Use methylated spirits to clean up remaining silicone
You probably won’t be able to remove all the silicone with a razor blade. Some imperfections are okay, but it’s best to remove as much of the old caulking as possible.
You can speed up this process with methylated spirits and a cloth. Methylated spirits should soften the old silicone, and you’ll be able to wipe it away with a cloth.
3. Sterilise the gap behind the silicone
Leaky showers and mould go hand-in-hand. Once you’ve removed as much silicone as possible, it’s important to treat any mould you find. This can be done with white vinegar or another mould removal product.
Use the vinegar and a scourer to clean out the gap behind the old silicone as best you can.
4. Allow the shower to dry completely
You need to wait for the shower cubicle to dry completely before applying new silicone. If you apply new silicone immediately, any water that has worked its way into the leaky joint will cause mould problems down the line.
We recommend waiting 3-4 days for the shower to dry completely. Don’t use the shower during this time.
If you’re on a tight schedule, you can use a hair dryer or heat gun to speed up the process. Be careful not to apply too much heat to your tiles and grout – excess heat can damage some types of grout.
5. Apply new silicone
We’re ready to apply new silicone in the shower! Load a tube of silicone into your caulking gun and cut the tip off the tube in the marked position. If you’ve never used a caulking gun before, run a bead of silicone along a scrap piece of cardboard to get a feel for how much material comes out.
Place the tip of the silicone tube against the joint in your shower, squeeze the handle on the gun and steadily move the gun along the length of the joint. The goal is to apply an even bead of silicone that completely fills the gap. Don’t apply too much silicone to an area, as this can be difficult to clean up later.
6. Smooth out the silicone
Once you have run a bead of silicone, take the rounded end of a paddle pop stick and gently drag it along the length of the silicone to smooth out the surface.
This improves how the silicone looks, and it ensures the silicone is sealed against the tiles nicely.
Be as neat as possible during this stage. Bathroom silicone is very sticky and it can be difficult to clean up any spillages or mistakes. Repeat the process of running a new bead of silicone and then smoothing it out until your shower has been fully sealed.
7. Clean up any remaining sealant
It’s normal to make a few mistakes with a caulking gun. Wet silicone can be cleaned up using a damp cloth. If the silicone has started to cure, you may need to use methylated spirits to tidy up any mistakes.
8. Allow the new silicone to cure fully
Fresh silicone needs to cure fully before the shower can be used again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions here. You’ll probably need to wait 24-48 hours before you can use the shower safely.
Don’t Put Up with a Leaky Bathroom – Contact Liqwyd Solutions Today!
Bathroom silicone deteriorates under normal use. While a leaky shower is inconvenient, silicone only lasts about 5 years, so you’ll need to replace your sealant sooner or later. It’s a DIY-friendly job, or you can get in touch with Liqwyd Solutions and let our team handle it!
Liqwyd Solutions is a residential plumber that works all over the Brisbane region. We’re experts in all plumbing issues around the home, and we take on jobs of all shapes and sizes. If you have a leaky shower, dripping taps, blocked drains or other bathroom issues, we can keep your day flowing.
Get in touch with us to book an appointment, or give us a call if you need help diagnosing a leak in your bathroom!