Updated: Feb 25
Have you been wasting valuable resources trying to resolve the problem of water infiltration in showers? Learn how to spot it, and modern solutions to end your problem.
Showers with never-ending water infiltration leave homeowners scrambling for solutions. It’s a problem virtually every shower faces at some point; natural stone, porcelain and marble surfaces tend to experience related issues more quickly. Water seeping, damaged drywall, and/or surface staining are among the signals.
You may also have a reconstructed shower in which water infiltration will persist unless you use a fiberglass shell to encapsulate it, which will still have seams that get moldy.
Let’s take a look at what water infiltration looks like, why it happens, and what to do about it.
What is water infiltration?
Showers are waterproof—or they should be when built to code! They are not, however, completely water resistant. In our experience, most showers have minor or severe water saturation regardless of the type of materials or installation methods.
Your shower's weakness—and the cause of much damage—are the very minor fissures on seams that allow small but steady water and impurities within it to infiltrate under the tiles or slabs. Unfortunately, this process BEGINS THE VERY FIRST DAY YOU START USING YOUR SHOWER.
Why does water infiltration in showers happen?
Your shower will have a liner that catches the water when (not if), water gets under the tiles. And most showers are designed to allow water to drain from under weep holes on shower drains; there are even newer methods that make it possible to install tile directly on to the protective waterproofing as well as the drain. Still, the adhesive used to bond the tile is thin set cement which still absorbs water, and will saturate it.
The water infiltration problem in showers exists independent of the installation methods or the type of materials you have chosen.
Depending on how well the installation was executed, the materials used, and whether the appropriate sealant was applied, the effect of this gradual infiltration of water in your shower
is increasingly obvious. Some of the signs of water damage in walls and under your shower include:
loosening or broken tiles,
seeping water on bathroom floor after shower
water running down outside wall
shower tiles absorbing water
moisture in shower walls
persisting mold or mildew and/or a musty smell,
decaying at the setting base.
We’ve given this situation the name Waterlogged Showers™. See examples of the problem:
What to do if you’re seeing warning signs like these
Water infiltration in showers will cause damage to the most durable materials—including marble, stone and porcelain—and in some cases leaks outside the shower's protective liner.
You can use porcelain tile to hide water infiltration; however, the problem will show broken, stale, and calcium build-up on seams.
If your shower is showing only initial signs of damage some may recommend re-grouting or caulking. If there’s more serious damage, the recommendation may be to rip out the shower and reconstruct it.
But the first is a “band-aid” type of solution; the second is always very expensive, time-consuming and disruptive to your life!
This is why we worked closely with those specializing in marble, porcelain, and natural stone to come up with a better solution. One that requires virtually no deconstruction, and very little downtime. The steps are straightforward, and have been proven to extend the life of luxury showers by many years. The general approach is as follows:
Evaluate the structure (using sound tests to identify what’s moving)
Thoroughly dry the structure
Use injections of premium epoxy to reinforce and/or stabilize the shower structure
Replace grout seams that have deteriorated
Purify and apply premium sealer appropriate for the surface materials
If there are glass seals, replace and/or refresh them, applying silicone to glass enclosures
While this process will resolve the problems caused by water infiltration, your shower will still require surface re-sealing and maintenance—at least every 2 years, depending on how often they’re used, as well as water type and quality.
Your showers are the most valuable space in the house, give them the proper attention and invest in appropriate repairs, which are a preferable alternative to reconstruction. At TERSO MR®, we present homeowners with solutions to shower damages independent of the materials or installation methods.
The reality is, showers are not water-resistant. Preventing water infiltration in showers, however, is possible! Learn more about TERSO MR®’s solutions to address Waterlogged Showers™.