A leaky shower door has a way of ruining a pleasant shower and turning the process into a mess. Water on the floor that accumulates repeatedly will eventually cause damage to sheetrock, baseboards, flooring or subflooring. To avoid costly repairs and even complicated replacement of flooring, determine the cause of the problem so you can repair the leaks.
The leaks may originate from a variety of issues, so detective work is the first step in the process. Once you determine how and why the leaks occur, you’ll have a better understanding of how the issue needs to be resolved. Many problems are uncomplicated enough for most homeowners to tackle, but if you have more involved work, you always have the option of hiring a professional to handle the repairs.
One of the most common spots for shower doors to leak is along the metal track or at the point in the door where frame meets glass. Sometimes, a leak can be minor enough to seem inconsequential, but the result of the leak over a number of years can lead to water-damaged surfaces and mold where moisture sits for an extended period of time.
Improper initial caulking is often the reason for a leaking shower door, with inadequate caulk lining the shower trim. Over time, it’s also common for a homeowner to add more caulk to the shower door in an attempt to repair the leak. Unfortunately, adding more caulk actually compounds the problem and usually makes a leak worse.
The important areas for caulk include the outside perimeter of the metal shower trim. Look inside the metal track to find “weep holes” designed to drain water from the metal track. If you have covered these weep holes with caulk, the condensation and water that accumulates inside the metal track has nowhere to go, and it will eventually find a way to leak.
Choose 100 percent silicone caulk for shower door caulking to ensure the caulk lasts for years. Silicone caulk resists cracking and shrinking, maintaining its flexibility and durability.
The installation process of shower doors must be correct to prevent leaks. The underside of the bottom metal track of the door must have a thick bead of silicone caulk along it before you situate it in place on the tub. Use the same sealing technique at the points on the walls where the tracks contact the surface.
A shower door with a hinge that swings usually features a sweep along the bottom edge. This sweep is a flexible strip that seals the gap between the door and the shower doorway. When closing the shower door with water running, an effective door sweep will ensure that water doesn’t leak out of the shower.
Over time, a door sweep may wear and become damaged. When this occurs, replace it to prevent leaks. When choosing a new door sweep, remove the old door sweep in order to replace it with a comparable one. It’s important for the new sweep to match the old one in size and specifications to ensure a proper fit and effective seal.
Gaskets provide further seals on shower doors to prevent leaking. Gaskets – made from plastic, come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles to fit every shower door and every space. Over time, plastic gaskets may break down and crack. When this occurs, leaking may transpire. When you notice that gaskets fail to stop leaks, replace them quickly to prevent costly damage. Remove the gaskets from the shower door and use them to purchase replacement gaskets that match precisely.