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Tips on maintenance and repairs to leaking showers

A Man At Hand Property Maintenance
Tips on maintenance and repairs to leaking showers

A poorly maintained shower can become a problem when it starts to leak and soak through to adjacent walls. The wall can become saturated, plaster can start to bubble and then paint work will also be damaged.

The cause of the leak can be many different possibilities:
  • Fatigued, aged or cracked movement joints
  • Cracked, fatigued or missing grout
  • Cracked tiles
  • Leaking pipes
Repairs and maintenance to leaking shower
Typically, a quick visual inspection by the home owner, resident or agent often can determine the most likely cause, simply by looking for the above items. If nothing appears visually amiss or cracked, then a licensed plumber will be required to pressure test the pipes. 
We recommend a pressure test is carried out prior to any other works going ahead.
Movement Joints

Movement joints are the joins at the corners between each of the walls and the walls and the floor. In some showers these joins will be a flexible silicone strip that allows for movement in the structure. In other showers this might be just grout. 

The silicone joins can fatigue and crack with age, however grout joints are more likely to crack over time without having the flexibility to move. 
To repair movement joints, the grout or silicon is removed, the area is cleaned, dried and treated with an anti-mould treatment. Then a new silicon strip is installed. 
The standard price to strip out and replace the movement joints is $176 (incl GST) for a standard 2-walled shower.
For January 2016 we are offering this service for $125 (incl GST) for properties where the shower is clean and dry prior, ready for attendance. 

Re-seal shower movement joints to stop leaking shower
Minor cracks to grout or extend your grout's life

To repair very fine cracks in the grout, or to maintain its life, it is best to re-seal the grout. To do this the shower must first be clean and dry, then a fine application of sealer is applied along the grout lines.

The standard price for this is $66 (incl GST) if incorporated with other works at the property.

Cracking to the grout

Over time the grout can age, fatigue and become cracked. If cracking is more extensive, then it is wise to remove and replace all the grout.

To do this the shower must first be clean. The grout is then removed mechanically, new grout is installed and finished neatly. When a shower is re-grouted, the movement joints are also removed and replaced with new.

The standard price for this is $495 (incl GST) for a standard 2-walled shower and $561 (incl GST) for a 3-walled shower.

Cracked tiles

Cracked tiles will provide a path for water to get in behind them. To replace cracked tile(s), the grout surrounding is removed, cracked tiles are removed and new tiles installed using adhesive. The surrounding grout is re-instated and the grout sealed.

If matching spare tiles are available onsite at the property, then these are best to ensure the best match for finish.

Pricing for this service depends on how many tiles need to be replaced and what size they are. We have standard pricing for this, however it is best to contact us to assess the individual property needs.

When is a licensed plumber required?

A licensed plumber will be required if there are any issues with the inlet or waste pipes. If there are obvious issues with cracking to the tiles and grout, then there might be reasonable confidence that this is the cause.

If in doubt or you want to reduce the risk of any further unknowns, then best practice is to get a licensed plumber to pressure test the pipes, before carrying out any other repair works. Any plumbing repair works will damage tiles and grout in the shower. So its best to get this done first.

For licensed plumbing works, we can recommend: Blackburn Plumbing, Gary Blackburn on 9307 6591 or 0418 942 157.

Plaster and paint repairs to a damaged wall

A water damaged wall will look like this image below:
Repairs to plaster damaged wall

To repair water damage to a wall, first the leak in the shower (or other water area) needs to be repaired. Then we need to wait for the wall to dry. If the leak isn't repaired, or if the wall isn't dry, then any repairs to the wall will re-occur.

Once the wall is dry, damaged plaster is scraped out, new plaster is applied and then left to dry. A few days later we return to sand and paint the patched area.

An approximate price for this type of work, for a typical water damaged wall, is $570 (incl GST) across the 2 visits.

Prevention and maintenance is best

Quick maintenance is best to reduce the likelihood of additional damage to the property. Carry out maintenance and repair any cracks as soon as they are noticed. This will help to avoid the moisture affecting the wall and carpets in adjacent rooms.

If you notice water damage to a wall, then this is a very good indication that there is a leak issue. The carpets may also be wet in some properties. A quick check to the walls on the other side of the shower is worthwhile from time to time. Often the reverse wall is the inside of a wardrobe, so a quick look behind the clothes might be required.

A few things to be aware of...

The shower won't be able to be used for at least 24 hours after any works are carried out, to give time for silicone, grout, sealer and adhesive to dry.

After the shower leak is repaired, we need to wait until the wall is dry before the plaster and paint can be repaired. This will vary depending on the season, airflow through the home and the level of wall saturation. A moisture gauge can be used to measure the wall moisture. 

It is also important to note that any work that involves sanding plaster or grinding out grout is messy and will create a fine dust. We take care to reduce this dust and clean up after the works, however the dust will become airborne and settle again later on surfaces.

Things to consider if you are building a new home or renovating

If you are building a new home or renovating, then its a great opportunity to ensure your home is ready for likely future maintenance as the home ages. A few simple things will make your future maintenance cheaper, easier and reduce the cost of damage.

So a few tips to consider:

  • Waterproof the full wall areas when building (not just the joint areas).
  • Buy extra matching tiles and keep them onsite somewhere (usual spots are bottom or linen cupboard or shed).
  • Sealing the grout as it ages will help to extend its life by infilling any very fine cracks.
  • Carry out maintenance and repair any cracks as soon as they are noticed.

How we can help...

We carry out repairs to leaking showers including:

  • Re-sealing movement joints
  • Grout re-sealing
  • Grout removal and replacement
  • Tile removal and replacement

Unfortunately, we can't assist with licensed plumbing works as we are not licensed plumbers.

We can assist with all repairs to the water damage to the wall, including the plastering and painting.

Property maintenance in Clarkson and Joondalup
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