Once a plumber can see under the shower stall while water is running, the leak should be easy to spot.
Q: I am a semi-retired finish carpenter. My second-floor shower stall is unusable as water leaks onto the ceiling below when it’s used. All my friends have said it’s the old tile shower pan. Before I start ripping out the entire shower stall, do you have any ideas on how I can find out what exactly is causing the leak?
A: I recommend starting with a professional contractor to install a small access panel in the ceiling, directly below the shower stall. Since you’re a carpenter and if you have experience installing ceiling access panels, you may want to complete this step yourself.
Then, once a plumber can see under the shower stall while water is running, the leak should be easy to spot. If it turns out to be a water- or drain-line leak, hopefully it can be repaired without demo work. But if it turns out to be the shower stall itself, you may be looking at a complete shower remodel. The good news is new shower stall remodeling wall kits and bases are available.
Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. For more information, visit eddelgrande.com.