How to Find and Fix Bathroom Leaks, Part 2

finding and fixing bathroom leaks, part 2

In the first iteration of this series, we talked about splash leaks and toilet bathroom leaks: what they are, how to find them, and how to fix them. This time, our focus is faucet and shower head leaks.

Since bathrooms use more water than any part of your home, it’s not surprising that they’re the most likely culprits for bill-raising and headache-inducing leaks. After you read this, though, they won’t have to be a problem you systematically avoid. Instead, you’ll be able to tackle bathroom leaks head on as soon as you notice them (maybe with a little help from us).

Leaking Faucets

faucet leaksWhat they are:

There are a number of different reasons why a faucet might be leaking. The main four include problems with the o-ring, a corroded valve seat, a worn out washer, or an improperly installed washer.

The o-ring is a small disc attached to the main stem screw that is used to keep the faucet in place. Dripping can occur here when the o-ring becomes loose or worn out.

The valve seat is the connection between the faucet and the spout, located in the compression mechanism. Water runs through this area–which means sediment does, too. That build-up can lead to the corrosion of the valve seat.

Finally, the washer can cause leaking, either from being improperly installed (wrong size, etc.) or worn down by constant friction.

How to find them:

All you have to do is listen. Do you hear dripping when no one is using a faucet? Looks like you’ve got a leak.

How to fix them:

Fixing a leaky faucet is something most people can accomplish at home without calling a professional. First, shut off the water supply valves beneath your sink. Then, turn the faucet on to let any lingering water drain. Remove the faucet handle by removing the screw cover and using an Allen wrench or screwdriver to remove the screw. After this, lift the handle.

Commonly, the leak will be coming from your faucets cap and adjusting ring, which you’ll be able to see now. Try tightening them using a needle-nose pliers. If this initial effort doesn’t fix the leak, it means that your faucet’s seats and springs need to be replaced. We recommend you call a professional plumber in to perform this job.

Shower Leaks

shower leaksWhat they are:

Shower leaks come from compromises in the build of your shower. These compromises lead to pooling around the shower’s base. Shower leaks may pool on the floor or seep into the flooring, leading to rotting wood and compromised structures.

How to find them:

Shower leaks can come from just about anywhere: the floor, drain, or grout are the main suspects.

You can tell it’s the floor by taking the following steps: first, clean the floor and let it dry. Then, covering and sealing the drain with duct tape. Now, take water from a bottle or other non-shower source and pour enough water in to reach the shower threshold. After that you just wait and see. You’ll be able to see if there is water pooling outside of the shower and that will tell you that the problem is in its base.

You can tell it’s the drain by peeling the tape off from our last suggestion and seeing if things start leaking again. At this point, the drain would be the culprit.

You can tell if it’s the grout by hand-splashing and examining all of the grout in your shower. It will take a while, but it should be easy to find by visually inspecting all the grout both before and after you splash water on it. It doesn’t take much for a grout leak to cause pooling, so you’ll have to look closely.

How to fix them:

How you fix one of these leaks depends on where in your shower the leak came from.

A leaking shower floor, in most cases, will need to be addressed by a professional. They would remove the shower floor to look beneath and replace rotting wood, then rebuild the shower floor.

A grout leak is a simpler fix… just replace the grout.

As for a leak in your shower drain, you can usually fix any problems you have by replacing the rubber gasket. Clean out the rim of the drain and bottom of the shower pan to prep the drain for the new gasket. Install it with the help of some plumber’s putty, and you’re good to go. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, a professional can come and do it easily.


Now you know all about the most – and least – common bathroom leaks. No matter where, how, or when you find a leak, you can handle it – and we can help. Never hesitate to give Ben Franklin a call when you’ve spotted a leak. We’ve got you covered.