how to fix my leaking shower enclosure

27 Dec 2009
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United Kingdom
Hi all, sorry, another leaking shower question.

Moved into my new house a year ago, and the shower in the ensure developed a leak through to the ceiling below, but couldn't pinpoint where. Resealing around the inside of the tray seemed to fix it, but leak has come back with a vengeance, so trying to do it from scratch this time. Have removed most of the old sealant, but have a few questions.

1) I understand I should seal the outside of the shower enclosure, to allow any water that works it's way into the frame to escape back into the tray. In my case, the frame channel has a circular profile, which means the outside section 'overhangs' onto the floor tiles surrounding the tray - a couple of photos show the situation, and cross section. How then could I just seal that horizontal bottom edge externally, and not end up with water sitting there outside the tray - can't imagine that would be good? Do I have to seal internally in this case?

2) as the wall is out of true, the gap between the two pieces of the channel closes to almost nothing at the bottom. The current sealing inside has sealed between the wall tile and attached Channel down as far as it can go, but the last 5 inches bridges the two pieces of channel entirely - so water could get behind that and be trapped. Is that the right thing to do (should I seal the vertical inside the shower at all)? if not what's the right approach. Currently there's no sealing outside, except to close the gap at the bottom (already removed in the pictures)

3) should I seal along the bottom of the glass internally (as it has been) or just on the outside ?

4) back to first picture - you can see that water gets through outside the enclosure and along the wall/flor junction. Does that indicate the wall/tray behind the channel hasn't been sealed - presumably I would need to dismantle the whole thing to fix that, which I obviously hope I don't have to do.

5) the gasket around the trap hasn't been installed quite right by the looks of things - you can see towards the bottom, and there some old sealant someone's applied, though the gasket does at least show all around. Does that look like a problem, if so anywAy to resolve it without removing the tray entirely? Would a repeat of the bodge with some more sealant help against any possible problems?

6) finally, planning to regrout the walls as some of the joints have broken down. The travertine tiles have almost no gaps, so any advice thereto make the grout bond properly - very hard to find a thin enough tool to scrape out existing. Or am I going to have to resort to silicone there as well.

Hope that's not too many questions, and appreciate any advice!


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Anyone? Need to try and wrap this up this weekend in time for Xmas, so any advice appreciated.
As a generic guide, the silicon should be applied to the outside of the frame/glass, but not inside, to allow drain away. Some will silicon the inside also of the wall tie to prevent excessive penetration.

The major source of leakage is usually where the wall tie meets the shower tray internally. It is useful to bed that area into uncured silicone to ensure a good seal. If you have to do this, make sure the surrounding immediate area is scrupulously clean of all old silicone and dry.

I can't see an internal bead of silicon around the join between shower tray and tiles - there should be one.

The leak may well be a simple gasket seal at the waste, though. Fingers crossed on this! If so, can you remove old unit and replace with quality McAlpine product? This would be my first port of call.

Can you get any visuals of the underneath of the shower tray - even if it means making a small inspection hole in the ceiling below, it would save hours of guess work.

Good luck, buddy!
Thanks for the reply - was midway though removing the old sealant when I took the pictures, hence where it's missing.

The part I'm really scratching my head on is sealing the frame to the wall. As you can see in pictures 1 &2, They've put the glass right on the edge of the tray, which means the channel is half on/half off the tray. So if any water gets into it, it would actually get onto the tiles next to the tray under that half of the channel, and not be able to drain back. So I can't see how just sealing the outside could prevent that. The only thing I can think is to seal the whole lot internally. Any other options? I really don't want to have to move the glass if I can avoid it.
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I can't understand why the fitters moved outside the shower tray area to fit the glass - unless it is a quadrant tray and they had to bodge things to make everything fit. But your picture seems to show a flat screen.

You will have to adapt to what you have got. The ideal fix would be to dis-assemble and move the wall fixings in so the screen is then correctly located. I can think of a thousand reasons why you might not fancy doing that 5 days before Christmas!

So, second choice would be to break all the usual rules and seal thoroughly the inside edges of the screen and wall tie. But that would still leave a weak area at the base of the wall tie for water to invariably get to and leak out from. So, if you can access that area and bed in uncured silicone, it would be time well spent.

A fine bead of silicone pressed between the Travertine tiles would be the easiest fix to prevent water ingress in that area - grout would not be easy to work in the small gap.

Again, would highly recommend you get a visual on where the shower is leaking before committing time to a fix.
Have to agree with snes that the screen is not fitted correctly. Only reason they have done like this is to conceal the joint between tray and floor tile. The wall jam has to be fully on the tray so you will see white on the outside of the glass. Seal the glass to tray and jam to tray and the vertical all outside. Make sure that the jam is sealed at its base as you refix to wall as it is usually missed and leaks down behind jam and tray.
The grout lines on the tiles look too narrow should be 2 to 3mm spacers then grouted. If no or very little space this will lead to the grout falling out and water being drawn in to and behind tiles, see a lot of that.
As started glass should be centered on tray edge where possible.But if the trap leaks you could be wasting time with the enclosure, you need to check from below.

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