Sunday, January 14, 2007

Old home blues: shower leak is back

One step forward, two old home leaps backwards.

Just when I thought I could focus all of my attention on the upstairs bathroom again – the project that I’m actually supposed to be working on – another leak appeared under the downstairs shower.

The situation is the same as before: I was in the basement using the utility tub when I glanced over and noticed water on the floor under the shower location. I guess the hot water faucet repair wasn’t the only situation I’m dealing with in that shower.

Upon discovering the new leak, I went into the shower stall with a flashlight to look around. With the better light in hand, it was easy to spot trouble spots that the shower light itself wasn’t illuminating. Most notably, there is grout missing where the tile on the shower wall and the tile on the shower floor meet. (With the better light – either a flash light or camera flash – you can also see shower scum and the overall nastiness of that grout area that isn’t visible to the naked eye with just the shower light. Pretty gross; I can’t believe I’m actually sharing this with the world.)

Since the crumbling grout is in the far front corner of the shower, I presume that water doesn’t always get to that location during each and every shower. If this is indeed the cause of the latest leak into the basement, this would explain why there isn’t water dripping into the basement after each and every shower. Looks like a trip to the local hardware store, and possibly the local tile store.

Of all the time I’ve devoted to the upstairs bathroom remodel, I’d be willing to guess that 30% of it has gone to addressing issues that have popped up in the downstairs bathroom. While I know these problems need to be addressed (especially since some family members are coming in from out of town next weekend), it’s frustrating that all of my time can’t be going to the primary project; the upstairs bathroom.

Old homes; you love them for how they look, but cuss them for what they do to you.


  1. Bergie,

    I have the same problem with my downstairs 1960 era tile shower. (with all the same nastiness- no shame there!)

    I keep re-grouting the edges where the wall meets the floor, only to have the grout go missing after a year and I find another nasty leak.

    I had one person suggest using caulk that cures to the consistency of concrete.

    I was wondering if you, or anyone else, had a better solution.


  2. Hi Shwee,

    Read my post Tile grout repair preparation where I used two-part marine epoxy as a strong sealant under the visable grout that I later used. To date, there have been no additional leaks, although the grout that I put on top of the two part epoxy as the finish coat has since failed again.

    Good luck!