I have a leak that's going from my upstairs bathroom tub/shower to my downstairs bathroom ceiling. The leak occurs only when someone is using the shower or tub. I had someone open up the ceiling and inspect was going on from below. A PVC pipe was found to be leaking and was repaired. I proceeded to re-grout all the tile where water may be wanted to go through the tile. I also re-caulked, using silicone, the corners of the wall where the tile and the tub meet.

That pipe no longer leaks, but amazingly, I appear to still have some leak somewhere else in the ceiling.

My shower head is detachable like a wand. I detached it and began applying water in various areas to see if I could reproduce the leak. I think I found that when I apply it on my escutcheon plate, it appears to reproduce the leak. I have a small hole there that I discovered in the grout, perhaps 2 mm thick. I am thinking to apply silicone to seal the plate. It is currently flush against the wall, and with the exception of the 2mm thick hole, I see no gaps. There is no silicone however, I suppose this was never sealed.

When researching how to silicone seal this, I found that some people recommend opening it up and putting plumbers putty, something I'm not sure is necessary in my case. I am planning to apply the silicone.

When applying silicone to the escutcheon plate, some people recommend putting it only on the top area where the plate meets the tile wall, where water would flow down into on top of the plate from the top of the shower. I suppose the rationale is that if water gets stuck there, it may somehow escape into the shower down the tile, rather than behind the wall. I'm not sure though.

Should I seal only the top 3/4 circumference of the plate, or should I seal the whole circumference of the plate?

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  • Picture would help a lot.
    – DMoore
    Aug 26, 2013 at 15:33
  • It is hard to tell, but it looks like your tub spout has a large gap and I see pipe. This needs to be sealed too.
    – user30114
    Dec 28, 2014 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


You should only seal the upper arc (clock face analogy: 7 through 12, to 5, leaving the 6 position open).

You can seal behind the escutcheon. in the plane of the tile (bridging the actual wall penetration), at the 7-6-5 position. there should remain a small gap at the bottom of the escutcheon cover plate and the tile.

  • Good info. Before he added the picture I had a big "Huh?" for both of you. Escutcheon in my world is shower handle trim.
    – DMoore
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:20
  • Thanks for your reply, if you look at my picture the plate is right to the tile, with no gap except for the grout hole... should I bring it a little back away from the tile before I silicone grout this (to allow the water escape on the bottom), or is it fine to be flush with the tile plane?
    – paneerlovr
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:47
  • I would add - just in case OP doesn't understand - that you should seal after trim is firmly in place. I don't see any silicone in that pic, and I especially want to see it in the grout crack on the right side where it looks like there is a little hole.
    – DMoore
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:48
  • Indeed DMoore, I plan to silicone seal it tonight, I will definitely put silicone on the whole to make sure it is water sealed. I thought initially the hole was too small to make a difference, but I now believe the hole could be the main issue, in addition to sealing the plate. I'll do it as HerrBag mentioned, I think I'll just do it on the outside in the upper arc he mentioned. I hope that will fix the problem....
    – paneerlovr
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:56

I had a similar problem -- I put in two tile showers, and I didn't want water to leak down behind the trim ring or even have steam from the shower get inside the wall. Considering how much labor we expend to prevent water from getting into the floor or walls of a tiled shower, it didn't make sense to me to leave a 6" diameter hole under the trim ring or one around the shower head tube. The latter I took care of with grout, but I thought I'd post photos of what I did with the valve, since I didn't find anything like it online.

The shower valve opening

The trim ring does have a piece of adhesive foam around the inside, like weather stripping, where it sits against the tile, but I didn't want to have to count on that to keep water and steam out indefinitely.

What I did was cut a circular gasket a little smaller than the trim ring out of a piece of shower pan liner, available at big-box stores for about $5 a yard (5 feet wide) (or they may have a scrap for less). It's 40 mils, just under 1/16" thick, so it's pretty sturdy.

I cut a hole in the center just the size of the valve, so it would fit snugly over it. I also cut a small X at each of the two trim-ring mounting screws, and I cut a V notch at the bottom, so that any water that got behind it could drain out.

Test-fitting the gasket

After test-fitting, I removed it and applied a bead of silicone caulk all around it and a little in from the edge, stopping short of the V notch.

The gasket with silicone bead

Then I pressed it in place. When the caulk dried, I installed the trim ring, with its internal weatherstripping, secure in the knowledge that that wasn't my only line of defense.

The trim ring installed

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