How To Check a Shower Pan for Leaks

Shower Pan Leak Detection

Shower pan leaks can be the #1 most overlooked cause of chronic water damage and mold in your home.

In the 1970s shower pans liners were made out of lead which most didn't last very long. Nowadays Liners are made from thin, strong, flexible plastic.  

Generally, shower pans now have a lifespan of 10-40 years depending on the materials used and amount of usage the shower gets. It is also not rare to see a shower pan leak sooner than that because of in-proper installations or due to a defective plastic liner.

The main piece that fails in the shower pan's construction is the thin plastic shower pan liner (See Image below).

Shower Pan Diagram

Shower Pan Diagram

This plastic liner is essential in keeping the water from leaking/filtering out into the surrounding areas while someone is taking a shower. 

Areas where you can notice water damage due to this type of leak is on bathroom walls, around the shower curb, first floor ceilings under shower, and crawl spaces. If not addressed quickly this can lead to bigger issues like mold and cause the subfloor to wet rot.  Watch the video above to see how you can test the liner.

This test must be done and is recommended by most building codes during inspections before the tile is installed. It can also be done after tile has been installed as well to test for leaks.

We still recommend calling a professional to 100% confirm this is the cause of your leak. 

3 Common Problems With Shower Pans

The 3 most common areas a shower pan can leak from :

1. the Shower Liner having a hole or rip during tile installation or old faulty shower liner. 

2. Around the drain area where the bolts hold the liner down.

3. Where two pieces of shower pan liner are glued together. This connection is usually found when the shower is bigger than standard size or a bench / sitting area is placed inside the shower area. These benches might look nice but they are prone to leaks and humidity build up inside the voided areas that cause mold. ( see picture below of an example of a bench in shower pan) 

Shower Pan Installed Correctly

Shower Pan Installed Correctly


shower pan leak, shower pan replacement, shower pan test

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