How to Replace Leaking Shower Drains

Leaking shower drains can cause huge damages not only to the bathroom, but also to the ceiling and framing of the room below it. You have to be aware that it is possible that there will be no signs of leaking inside the bathroom, which can be doubly dangerous. There are a number of reasons why shower drains can leak and all of these will cause annoyance, water damage, and possibly costly repairs. The most common solution is to replace the shower drain from the top using a special drain assembly that can be easily and quickly installed. Let us look how.

Preparing for the Installation

Before you can replace your leaking shower drain without having to tear open your ceiling, you have to make sure that you have all the necessary tools and materials ready. This will prevent costly and unnecessary delays that can worsen the problem.

The things that you would need are:

  • Special drain assembly;
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver;
  • Caulk gun; and
  • Hacksaw blade.

Cause of the Leak

It is equally important to determine the cause of the leak before doing the replacement. This will ensure that finishing the replacement would end your plumbing problems. When stains show up on the finished ceiling below your bathroom, there are 2 common sources of the leaks:

  • Drain Connections
    The drains of showers (as well as tubs) are connected to P-traps; yes, just like the one found under your sink. These traps are prone to leaking, with the water eventually reaching the ceiling underneath. The leaks can also be caused by seepage going past the strainers because of improper connection to the drain.
    Cracks and breaks on the fixture is likewise another reason that can weaken the drain connections. All of these sources of leaks will damage the ceiling below it that will contribute to the cost of the repair.

  • Supply Leaks
    You cannot discount the fact that the supply connections running between the bathroom and the ceiling beneath it can become rusted or loose. This will also result in unwanted leaks. It is also possible that the soldered connections of the valves have become unsecure because of corrosion or due to the age of your plumbing pipes. Leaks in these sections can also be attributed to improper installation.
    Keep in mind that valves normally make use of a screw-on connection. When this connection is not tightened (or overtightened) properly, the likelihood of leaks increases. This can happen with connections between the valve and the tub spout as well as the shower arm and the threaded elbow located behind the bathroom wall. Pinhole leaks will eventually develop as your plumbing pipes age, which is why it is suggested to have a plumbing inspection regularly scheduled to ensure the health of your home plumbing system.

Installing Leak-Proof Drains

Do you need to cut open your ceiling to replace a leaking drain? Not anymore! This is because of leak-proof drain products that can be installed from above, provided that you have a fiberglass or plastic shower base.

The drain makes use of an O-ring to seal the 2-inch drainpipe. If you have a smaller drainpipe, you would need to use an adapter that you can buy from the local hardware store. The design makes use of flip outs that will keep the drain in place. The installation can be done in as fast as 30 minutes on the average.

The most difficult part of installing this leak-proof drain is the removal of the old drain flange. You will need the hacksaw blade to cut through it and pry it loose by sections from the shower pan. Do not remove the existing drainpipe. The new leak-proof drain should slip over this drainpipe with the O-rings creating an automatic seal.

Close it out by applying the sealant to the underside of the drain flange.

This should solve your problem with leaking shower drains. However, if you still observe leaks, then chances are you have other plumbing problems. Now is the time to call on a licensed plumbing service to have your pipes and fixtures inspected.