I've noticed some wet spots on the basement carpet underneath our tiled shower on the ground floor. I had hoped it was from water getting out of the shower, but I did a flood test today by putting about an inch of water in the bottom, and it was raining in the basement through a weak point in the subfloor.

The house is about 20 years old, and the shower is likely of a similar age. There are some cracks in the sanded grout where the tiled floor meets the tiled wall, but I would have thought the vinyl shower pan should catch any water getting out through there.

At this point I'm contemplating ripping everything out and building the shower over myself. I figure any attempt to find the source of the leak would inevitably result in me cracking tiles, which would necessitate redoing all the tiling, and at that point I may as well strip everything out and build it the way I want, and do it well. Am I crazy to think this way? Is there an alternative way to repair the leak that I haven't considered and would be cheaper and/or faster?

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    I don't think you're crazy - I'm no expert, but I've heard that leaking tile showers can be very difficult to fix. Hopefully somebody with more experience will weigh in. (neither of the showers i've built leak ... yet ... knock on wood) Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


Well, I didn't attract any other answer besides CoAstroGeek's comment, but we went ahead and started tearing out our shower anyway. We found multiple punctures in the pan liner (including some from mounting cement board to the inside of the curb), and general shoddy construction (big thanks to the Floor Elf for his helpful pages on building a shower). I think I'm well justified in pulling everything out and rebuilding. I guess I could try to patch the pan liner, but I'm never going to match that tile, and so I may as well rebuild everything from scratch, properly.

  • Update: The rebuilt shower looks great, and has been functional for three years now.
    – Paul Price
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 22:08

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