I know you guys have never had a shower leak before.
Guess what? I have.
To my knowledge, I’ve never had one leak after it’s been built. But I’ve had them leak during the flood testing stage before.
In fact, I’ve failed several flood tests. Now I’m coming clean.
My most recent flood testing failure
This most recent leak happened right before I was set to leave for The TISE show in Las Vegas.
I did everything like normal. Even waited a day for the sealant and mortar to dry. Then filled it up with water thinking that I would leave it that way for several days while I was out of town.
But, luckily, I came back one more day to inspect it. That’s when I noticed two things:
- A dark spot under the translucent liner
- The water level was exactly 1/8 inch lower
Checking your work
See, the thing is, I would never have known it was leaking if I had never checked it.
I’ve even had guys tell me that if the water level is down 1/4 inch that it’s just ‘evaporation’.
But I know better because I’ve failed these tests before. In fact, I’ve checked every single shower pan that I’ve built since 2002.
Lessons learned the hard way
I’ve failed flood tests for things as simple as I couldn’t get the plug to seal. Consequently, I came back the next day to find NO water in the shower pan whatsoever.
That’s how I know the inflatable plug seals the best.
I’ve also had water drip down into the kitchen before. That wasn’t fun but it’s still better than having a completely finished shower dripping water.
But you’ve never had a problem…
So, I’m putting this out there to say that if you don’t test your showers then you really don’t know if they leak or not.
You only know that you’ve never been called back to fix a leak.
In fact, a shower with a very slow leak can take years to manifest and this type of failure typically does the most damage to the structure.
If you’re new to testing, I’ve written a pretty comprehensive post on how to flood test a shower including troubleshooting tips if you do have a leak.
Additionally, TileLetter this month has a story on flood testing. It’s sponsored but it’s still worth a read.
But the moral of the story is to just check your work.
tl;dr: Flood test your showers. Every single one. of them.