When I moved into this house 3 years ago, there was evidence on the kitchen ceiling of a previous repair (obvious drywall patch), and some water damage that must have happened after the initial repair, underneath the upstairs shower. Previous owners said it was like that when they moved in a few years before that. The damage wasn't getting worse, so I put it on the bottom of the list.

This morning I saw drips on the kitchen counter after my shower. Checked the drywall and it was soaked. Cut open the drywall to find this. It appears the water is coming through the crack in the caulk around the drain. As far as I can tell the pipes themselves are fine.

I've only dealt with drains under a sink. Is this normal for under the shower? It looks to me like a giant mess.

What's my next step? Unscrew and replace the flange? Do I need to be worried about my shower pan? Is the drain installed correctly?


Sorry for the terrible photo, best I could get. This is where the drainpipe connects to the shower pan. Notice the gobs of caulk and the crack in the caulking.


Here's the shower pan from the top. Last summer I recaulked everything in the shower, including installing and caulking down a new hair catcher. I had to remove several layers of old caulk all around the shower, especially at the drain.

This has obviously been an ongoing issue for a while, I want to fix it right before I have the drywall replaced. Is this DIY-able or do I call a plumber?

  • 2
    Caulk doesn't belong in either of those places. On top there should be plumber's putty sealing the drain flange and underneath, the tailpiece is tightened with a gasket. That seal is a likely candidate for your leak. Caulk in this location is bad too. You will probably need to remove the old drain and all the caulking and reinstall a new one correctly.
    – gnicko
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 0:21
  • It almost looks like someone tried to glue the pipe end into a "no-caulk" (hah!) shower drain, instead of using the proper putty and rubber seals. And then continued with irrelevant repair procedures when it of course failed.
    – kreemoweet
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


From the pictures, this seems like you can just add plumber's putty (not caulk) and re-tighten it. BUT, since this would be an easy fix, AND it was not fixed by the previous owners, the issue might be something else, e.g. stripped threads, hairline crack, etc. Regardless, buy the whole drain assembly at a hardware store for $20 and reinstall it following the instructions. You already did the difficult part, which is removing the drywall and getting access.

  • IMO, the difficult part is replacing the drywall!
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 13:04

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