Wet floor shower room leaks!
Although wet floor shower rooms have been around for decades, in the formative years before prefabricated formers, constructing the wet floor shower area, and forming a gradient with adequate drainage was not particularly straight forward and their performance and reliability could be questioned. As time went on and the demand for wet floor shower rooms became more popular, manufactured formers came into the marketplace making the whole wet floor shower (client & contractor) experience, a more dependable and consistent solution to showering, especially in the disabled bathroom sector.
People of a certain generation that had grown up bathing, where generally they enjoyed a hot soak and relax in a calm peaceful environment in a bathtub, were not going to easily change their bathing habits or mindset which had been set over a lifetime. Although wet floor shower rooms have progressed through the years and offer numerous benefits which include easy access and simple, modern designs, people were still a little apprehensive and sceptical that they could leak, which still exists in smaller numbers to this day. However, because there many quality products in today’s marketplace to create a leak free wet floor shower room, people of all generations are now far more accepting of wet floor showers whether it be a trend or for accessibility.
It is worth noting any bathroom can have a leak, whether you have a bath, shower cubicle, wash hand basin and toilet, the fact is, it is a bit more difficult to overcome a leak with a wet floor shower room because the pipework and wet floor former are generally buried under the (tiles / anti-slip) flooring where it is difficult to access, whereas baths, shower cubicles, wash hand basins and toilets, you can often get access to the pipework.
Below are some reasons wet floor showers may leak:
Poor installation – can happen for a variety of reasons, corners are being cut by a contractor, money is trying to be saved, person not experienced in fitting wet rooms, manufacturers instructions have not been followed. Points listed below are attributed to poor insulation, which could cause leaks in a wet floor shower room.
- Badly fitted former
- Flex / bounce in the shower area
- Wrong waste
- No tanking applied (tiled flooring)
- Broken pipework or pipework not connected or fitted properly
- Badly fitted shower unit
Other Areas – such as the floor or walls need as much attention and for the same reason as above, the following could cause leaks in a wet floor shower:
- Badly fitted floor or wall tiles
- Hairline cracks in floor or wall tiles
- Badly grouted floor and wall tiles
- Flexible adhesive and grout not used
- Wrong type of flooring used
- No vinyl coved upstands
- Captiles not used, so flooring cannot be tucked in
- Corner joints and other joints are not heat sealed in the shower area on vinyl anti-slip floors
- Poor siliconed edges
There are several areas of concern that can cause a leak in a wet floor shower room, but if the following is adhered to, then leaks will not occur:
- Use quality products from reputable companies
- Follow the manufacturers fitting instructions
- Use the correct equipment and materials
- Fit a proper sub frame
- Correctly fit former and waste
- All pipework tested before former, and waste are secured
- Properly secure waste and trap
- Tanking applied (tiled flooring)
- Propper anti slip flooring with captiles and corners and joints heat sealed
- Flexible wall and floor adhesive and grout
Tell-tale signs there may be a leak:
One of the main areas when a wet room is leaking, is through the ceiling underneath the shower / bathroom area and can be in the form of a dripping water, damp patch, cracks, sagging ceiling or mould.
If the water is continually dripping / pouring out, generally underneath the shower area in the room below, the first thing you should do is turn the water off at the stop cock / mains. If the leak is continual then the chances are it’s coming from a water pipe and a plumber needs to attend.
If possible, try and identify where the leak is coming from, for example: hole in the flooring, cracked or loose tiles, missing grout etc.
Assuming it’s not a water pipe and the leak only appears whilst showering, then it could be several things such as a loose or disconnected waste pipe, trap not fitted properly, not properly siliconed, missing grout, cracked or loose tiles etc.
Some types of leaks can be investigated from below, by cutting a section of the ceiling out and running separate water tests. This way it should give you a clearer picture of where the leak is coming from without taking up the wet room shower.
All repair works should be carried out by a reputable and experienced company.
Prestwich based Accessible Bathroom Consultants can help and assist with planning, designing, specifying, and sourcing products for all types of walk-in shower rooms. We cover areas in the northwest with independent and impartial advice on all types of disabled and accessible bathrooms.