I have been a renter in a duplex apartment for several years, and I am unfortunately having some trouble with my upstairs shower. It has been clear for some time that the shower unit has been in need of repair, but recently water has begun leaking through to the first floor bath and it is obvious that the backer board behind the tile near the shower faucet has become soggy - tiles near the bottom are beginning to detach and it seems a large section of the tile wall is in danger of failing completely.

What would be the minimum expedient repair required to prevent further damage and allow the shower to be usable (until the inevitable renovation that will take place when the unit is vacated)?

I live in the Northeast U.S.

  • If you have specific questions on how to do the repair yourself then you will likely find lots of great information on this site and people willing to help but costs vary greatly depending on location - even a hundred miles can make a big difference so it is near impossible for anyone on here to "quote" the job
    – Steven
    Aug 2, 2012 at 21:45
  • 1
    The cost of a job and rental contracts are considered offtopic because they aren't easily answered in an international forum.
    – BMitch
    Aug 2, 2012 at 22:25
  • Photos of the damage will also help if you want to DIY. If you're looking for details about a contractor, then have a contractor give you an estimate.
    – BMitch
    Aug 2, 2012 at 22:29
  • Landlords can be extraordinarily lazy/cheap when it comes to common home repairs. Most will not have a problem with you fixing things yourself and giving the receipts to be deducted from your rent. Aug 3, 2012 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


No one can really tell you what the cost will be online. You're going to have to have a contractor come out and take a look.

It could be as simple as replacing the tiles and grout.

It could be as complex as gutting the bathroom and completely replacing all the rotted framing (if it's rotted).

So, could be $500. Could be $10,000.

There's no easy fix for this. Your best bet is to just top using it.


Water damaged material should be replaced, but how did it get damaged in the first place? Replacing material without repairing the water source is futile. Sounds like the shower valve is leaking, that must be repaired. Sometimes it's best to access it from the opposite side, the side without tiles, often a closet or bedroom.

To make the shower usable and prevent water getting past damaged tiles, the whole damaged wall could be covered with a plastic panel intended to line showers and is simply glued in place with an adhesive that won't damage plastic. Seal the edges and you've just put a giant band-aid over the whole problem, to be dealt with at a later date.

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