How to Fix a Leaking Shower

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated June 16, 2021
Luxury shower head
grandriver / E+ via Getty Images

Finding the source of your leaking shower can help you save money on the fix

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

A leaking shower can really mess up your morning routine, but luckily, there’s usually a simple fix. Fixing a shower leak starts with a little detective work. If you can identify the problem, you can fix it yourself with fewer trips to the hardware store for supplies—or by hiring the right pro.

  • Difficulty: 2/5

  • A couple of hours

  • A bucket or hose, towels, and some duct tape to start. Additional materials will depend on the source of the leak

Cost to DIY or Hire a Pro

Once you determine the source of the leak, you can decide if you want to do the work yourself for $100 to $300 in tools and supplies or hire a pro. Here are some average prices to have a professional fix a leaky shower:

  • Grout repair: $180–$420

  • Shower pan replacement: $250–$400

  • Plumber: $45 to $200 per hour

Identifying the Source of the Leak

To track down what is causing water to go where it shouldn’t, you’ll need to start with a clean, dry shower.

  • Cover the shower drain with duct tape to prevent it from draining. Apply a good 6 inches all the way around the drain to keep the water out.

  • Without using the showerhead, fill the shower up to the top of the shower floor pan. Use buckets or a hose and a different water source.

  • Now, wait for 15 to 20 minutes, then see if the leak appears. You might see water or watermarks on the ceiling below or when you look in the basement or crawlspace.

Is the Leak in the Shower Floor?

If you see a leak at this point, the problem is likely in your shower floor. Replacing it takes some precision, so you probably want to leave the project to a local shower repair pro

If after waiting your 15-20 minutes, there’s no sign of the suspect, grab your magnifying glass and let’s keep looking for clues.

How to Replace a Shower Floor Yourself

First, measure the shower floor size twice, noting where the drain is located. Then head to the hardware store for a replacement ($180 to $300). Follow the manufacturer’s installation process. 

Take special care to make sure the water is off and that the floor is level.

Is the Leak in the Drain?

If the problem wasn’t in the shower pan, we’ll move our search to the drain.

  • Peel off the duct tape covering the drain and look for leaks. If one has sprung, the problem is likely the drain.

Drains wear out over time and can allow water to drip where you don’t want it to go, so you’ll need to replace the drain before it spells more trouble.

How to Replace a Shower Drain Yourself

If you feel comfortable, you can replace the shower drain on your own. Getting the old drain out can be tricky because if it was installed right, it should be in there pretty tight. You might need a hacksaw ($15) to get it out. 

Follow the instructions to install the new drain ($10 to $30), but give it a test with a small amount of water before caulking ($10) to make sure it’s in right. Then you’ll need to caulk the shower, so it’s watertight. 

Drain Replacement Tools and Materials:

  • Hacksaw

  • Replacement Drain

  • Caulk and caulk gun

Take a picture of the area you plan to repair and bring it with you when you go to buy the parts.

Bathroom with leaking shower
Jacek Kadaj / Moment via Getty Images

Is the Leak in the Grout?

If you still can’t spot the source of the leak, it’s likely that your shower is leaking because between the tiles, the grout is cracking. If you see any missing or cracked grout, that might be your spot. The spot can be quite small and still let water through. 

Start with dry shower walls, then take your bucket and splash water at a small section of wall at a time. Check for leaks as you go. Keep looking even after you’ve found one. There might be more where that came from.

If you have a leak or spots where the grout is missing, scrape out any loose material and regrout the area. 

If you’re comfortable, you can do this yourself. However, beware that tiles can easily pop off and break in the process, hire a tile pro if you are trying to save precious original tile. It might also be a fun opportunity to upgrade your tile style. It’s up to you.

Hiring a grout pro costs between $180 and $420 for a shower repair on average.

DIY Tile Regrouting

This project will take you a couple of hours, depending on how big your shower is and how small your tile is. Cleaning out the old, dingy grout might give your shower a fresh new look along with its new leak-free status.

Grout Materials

When removing old grout, debris can fly, so wear a mask and safety glasses. You’ll also need a broom or vacuum handy to clean up the mess.

  • Oscillating tool

  • Grout float

  • Grout sponge

  • Old towels

  • Grout mix and a bucket OR pre-mixed grout

Now it’s time to get to work:

  • Use an oscillating multi-tool ($60–$100) and a scraper to get the old grout out.

  • Mix up your new grout and apply it with a grout float ($6) to clean up excess with a $3 sponge.

  • Once it’s dry, wipe the walls to remove any residue.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.