It is one of those things that can come on suddenly, or you can barely notice it taking hold over a protracted period of time. Leaky shower pans are not only a major inconvenience; they can also be the root of other, more serious problems in your home and if not fixed, can have devastating results. Because your eye does not naturally go to ground level, you may overlook the symptoms of leaky shower pans so keep an eye out for the following tell-tale signs in your bathrooms.
Whether it is visibly damp, you feel it under foot or there is an odor of mildew, damp or wet carpet must be investigated as soon as you notice it. The longer the problem is allowed to remain uncorrected, the more damage that will be done.
Capillary action will only encourage the moisture to creep further and further along the carpet surface, potentially ruining it permanently. Carpet is an expensive fixture to replace, especially if you can not find the exact same style and color again to match the rest of the house.
Leaky Ceiling beneath the Bathroom
Somehow you notice moisture on the ceiling above you and at first, there seems to be no logical explanation because the roof is another story up. If you check where your bathroom is positioned, you will probably find that it is directly above the wet patch and the reason for the dampness is a leaky shower pan. Imagine the damage that is being done to the ceiling cavity.
Grout Turning Moldy or Flaking Off
Moisture behind the wall can turn grout moldy or cause it to flake off because it simply cannot sustain the dampness behind it. You will know your shower pans are leaking if there are grout problems.
Gaps Between Wall and Floor tiles
Notice a gap where the wall and floor tiles meet? A gap that was not there before? Obviously it should not be there, and you can bet that you have a leaky shower pan.
If you have floor-installed bathroom cabinets, especially those made of particle board, and they are beginning to swell, perhaps even with the laminate lifting, then moisture is getting into the wood. Time to check your shower pan.
What to do when your shower pan leaks
Basically, any kind of abnormality resulting in discoloration, mold, disappearing grout or swelling in wood can be attributed to shower pans that are not watertight. At the very least, it is worth investigating the pan. Start by a visual examination yourself and if you are in doubt, call in a licensed plumber who can identify the root cause for you and recommend an appropriate course of action.
Once you learn the extent of the damage, you can determine whether a simple repair job will be adequate or if more extensive restoration is needed. It can be heartbreaking to spend large sums of money on behind-the-scenes repairs when you could spend instead on cosmetic enhancements but without a well-functioning plumbing system, you might as well be painting water on paper.
There is always a bright side
On the other hand, having to repair leaky shower pans often leads homeowners to consider renovations to their outdated bathrooms and the results can be awesome. Until you have visited a couple of bathroom showrooms, you will not relaize the amazing developments that have been made in decor, functionality and convenience. One day you have a leaky shower pan, the next you have a state-of-the-art bathroom to die for.