Why Is My Shower Leaking Into Our Walls?

Almost 60% of bathroom renovations that we do in Perth is due to an issue with either rising dampness or leaks. It’s like an untreated disease that in time like all diseases left becomes worse and worse. So the question is have an I got this issue in my bathroom? and if so what has caused this unsightly horrible mould ridden wall disease.

Well first using a combination of dot points and visual images we will show you the most common signs of rising dampness or water leaking into your walls around the shower.

Lets break it down with some questions to ask yourself below.

  • Are your tiles protruding from their natural position on the wall
  • Do your tiles have a hollow sound when you knock them
  • Has paint been peeling from your walls/ceiling in the bathroom? ·
  • Has paint been peeling on the shared walls adjacent to (or outside) the bathroom? ·
  • You see swollen timbers or moldy/dirty skirting boards in or around the bathroom
  • Are you noticing a damp or musty smell in your house, or in the rooms nearest to the shower room? ·
  • Noticing damp carpet in the rooms adjacent to the bathroom? ·
  • Has mold been growing on the clothes and shoes that you keep in your wardrobe, or is there mold growing in places on walls and ceilings in your home? ·
  • Is your current shower hard to keep to keep clean?
  • Are the existing seals black and moldy? ·
  • Are there cracks in your shower tiles or cracks, or holes, in the grout?

Below are examples of rising dampness.

Rising Dampness Perth




Anyone of the points above could indicate that your shower is a leaking shower. And, as you can see, it is not just a problem in the bathroom! A leaking shower can damage your home; your clothes, timbers, walls, paintwork and probably the most dangerous is electrical outlets if nearby.

If left unattended, a leaking shower can lead to expensive repairs in your home. Furthermore, persistent mold and mildew are very unhealthy, as are the strong chemical cleaners and bleaches commonly used to treat mold and clean wet areas.

So why is my shower leaking? There are several potential reasons why this may be occurring, it’s important to note though that any home built before 2000 in Perth WA legally were not required to have to have a waterproofing membrane that’s compulsory now in all new bathrooms. So once the grout fails without a membrane the issue will start to begin immediately. Now below is assuming you don’t have a membrane I will do a list after this for if you do on why the shower maybe leaking. 

1. Buildings move. Newer structures will naturally settle into their foundations. Extreme hot and/or cold weather, and dry spells and heavy rain, affect a structure, and the ground around it. This can create building movement and is a common and natural process in all buildings.

2. Natural building movement can weaken, or crack your grout. Movement can also affect the original placement of your shower seals. Cracking or missing grout, cracked or broken tiles and compromised seals will create spaces for water to leak out on the bathroom floor – or worse – down through the shower floor or into the bathroom walls.

3. Tiles are not porous and designed to last. Grout IS porous, and movement and harsh cleaners will damage grout over time. Cracked and/or missing grout is a very common reason that showers leak. 

4. Heavy chemicals and cleaners will eat away at grout or form of sealer the shower may have underneath.

5. Most main bathrooms leak first due to the amount of usage that occurs. If you think 3 or 4 people using a shower everyday maybe twice a day and that water is seeping into the wall everytime you use it so if the rising dampness has already started it escalates quite quickly.

If I think i have membrane underneath?

  1. The membrane has failed due to wrongly installing the product.
  2. You have an open shower or issues of shower screen leaking that has gone untreated. It’s important to note that if you can see water travelling or leaking through your screen to areas that would not have a membrane that rising dampness will occur over time.
  3. The heavy chemical can not only damage the grout but can cause damage to the membrane underneath damaging the rubber seal.
  4. You can have an incredibly slow leak in the taps in the wall. With taps leaking it’s usually quite a sudden issue so keep in mind that it’s highly unlikely it would be rising dampness as that’s a slow gradual process and only occurs if you are using the shower

Rising-damp Perth WA

Now, what do you do to solve this problem? In most cases, if you don’t use the shower again you won’t have any more issues. That though is not ideal for families or one shower homes. The next short-term option is to re-grout but as this article hopefully has taught you once it gets any little bit through the grout it will come back gain. The final and the guaranteed method is waterproofing the shower completely. Once that rubber has been installed any water that gets through the grout will just flow to the drain. I am never one to upsell on anything that a client wants but if you want peace of mind re-tiling often tap changes and waterproofing will solve that piece of mind. This brings on new issues though as do you stop with just the shower recess? as that will be new and the rest of the bathroom looks old. If regrouting and waterproofing on the surface is the route you want to take keep in mind that I do a lot of quotes for people who have got it did and it has only lasted 6 months to 2 years. That’s not to say it won’t last for you it’s just best to look at as a short-term option. Always remember every bathroom is different and do the research that best suits your bathroom,

It’s important to note that all our advice is general in nature and all bathrooms are unique so always speak to your local qualified tradesman for the best advice. If you are looking for a bathroom renovation quote and live in Perth, Western Australia just email us at smallbathroomrenovations@gmail.com

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