We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Fix a Leaking Shower Drain?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

To fix a leaking shower drain, the old drain assembly should be removed to determine the cause of the leak so that any damaged parts can be replaced. A shower drain is comprised of multiple parts designed to fit together and form a watertight seal. If the leak is in the shower drain assembly, these parts can be replaced by a handyman or homeowner with a moderate skill level, and are usually available for purchase at local home improvement stores.

A leaking shower drain is often first noticed as water damage on the ceiling or wall in the room below it. To diagnose the problem, the shower drain must first be disassembled to discover which part is malfunctioning. It may also be necessary to access the crawl space between the floor and ceiling directly below the shower drain to determine the extent of the water damage.

The primary parts used in a shower drain assembly are the strainer, strainer body, shower pan, rubber gasket, drain body, and drain pipe. The drain pipe should be permanently attached to the connecting water lines of the house and is typically made of PVC. If the drain pipe is leaking, it must be unattached from both the water supply lines and the shower drain assembly. This type of repair usually requires the expertise of a professional plumber.

The strainer is the visible portion of the drain, often made of metal, which prevents large objects from going down the drain. This can be removed by unscrewing the two screws which hold it into place. Once the strainer has been removed, the full drain assembly should be visible, and the source of the leaking shower drain identified.

The strainer body and drain body are usually connected by interlocking threads and plumber's putty. Between these two pieces lies a rubber gasket, which rests against the surrounding shower pan. This gasket prevents water from seeping through the strainer body and drain body and into the surrounding wood and drywall of the house. The strainer body can be removed using channel locks to further diagnose and repair the leaking shower drain.

Any old plumber's putty used to install the original drain assembly should be examined and removed with a fine wire brush. As this putty ages, it tends to become brittle and cracked. If this is the source of the leak, and none of the drain assembly parts are damaged, then new putty can be spread into place to create a water tight seal.

The rubber gasket which rests between the drain body and the shower pan can be removed by gently nudging the drain pipe to the side until the gasket is slightly visible. It can be lifted away by hand and examined for damage. Old gaskets, like old plumber's putty, can crack with time until they no longer form a water tight seal around the shower pan. A new gasket can be put in place by sliding it between the drain body and shower pan. New plumber's putty should be used with this type of repair, and spread generously around the strainer body to ensure a water tight fit.

A cracked or damaged strainer body can be replaced with a new one by purchasing an identical or similar match at a local hardware store, or through online ordering. When the strainer body is cracked, it can allow water to seep into the shower pan or between the gasket and drain body, creating the leaking shower drain. The new strainer body should be matched to the threads of the old body exactly, to ensure that the new part will fit with the existing drain body. If the threads are not exact, these two parts will not screw into one another, and will not be able to form a watertight seal.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By Vincenzo — On Aug 21, 2014

@Logicfest -- One good way to extend the life of a shower pan is to take care of the floor that is covering it. If it is a tiled floor, make sure the grout is sealed at least yearly so as to prevent leaks from getting through to the shower pan. That sealant is easy to find and is fairly inexpensive. It is very easy to use, too.

If you don't have a tiled floor, you might be in better shape as there are a lot of materials out there that resist water much better than tile.

By Logicfest — On Aug 20, 2014

The worst scenario is when your shower pan has cracked or is leaking. The shower pan, in a lot of ways, is the weak link in a shower drainage system as they can become problematic after a decade or so and start leaking. Those are very hard to inspect because they are typically covered by a shower floor and can leak away for months or years without being noticed. Mold, mildew and other problems can crop up along with all of that leaking.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.