Leaking Shower Drain

A leaking shower drain can be a massive pain. Water that drains out of your shower improperly can start to leak, and you might notice water damage or drips from the ceiling directly below. It’s usually a problem that you’ll notice on your own, but that’s not always the case. In this guide, we’re telling you how to fix a leaking shower drain and how to figure out why your drain is leaking.

Shower Drain

Fixing a leaking shower drain is important, but you first must identify the problem. Numerous things cause a leaky shower, which we cover in more detail below. Identifying the source of the problem is perhaps the most important part of solving it.

Generally, fixing a leaking shower drain involves removing various parts of the drainage system and either repairing them or replacing them. The issue is complicated by the fact that many aspects may be faulty/leaking. These include the pipes, the shower pan, the cover plate, the drain itself, and more!

Why is My Shower Drain Leaking (Plus Other Common Issues)?

As mentioned above, perhaps the most important part of fixing a leaky shower drain is identifying the problem. Because you may have noticed the problem via a leaky ceiling, the source of the leak may be hidden. Identifying this source is your key to solving the problem.

Here are the potential issues that could lead to a leaky shower drain or that might be confused with a leaky shower drain:

The actual shower drain is leaking. A leaking drain is usually a result of a faulty connection between the shower drain and the base. The plumber’s putty that affixed the shower drain to the ground might have dried up or cracked. Alternatively, the rubber gasket that helps affix the drain may have deteriorated or broken.

The shower pan on the base of the shower is leaking. The shower pan collects water and funnels it toward the drain. It might be the case that the shower pan was improperly affixed to the walls, to the drain, or the pan itself might be leaking. This issue might appear identical to a leaky drain.

The problem may not be with the drain but with the plumbing that feeds your shower head. The issue may be behind your wall and cause a leak that pools and, eventually, leaks onto the floor below. The effect caused will be very similar to a leaky shower drain.

The shower plate which affixes your faucet or showerhead (or shower head arm) to the wall might not be properly sealed. If this is the case, water and condensation can run down the shower walls, working their way behind the cover plate, behind the wall, and pool beneath the shower.

How To Tell if Leak is Coming From Drain?

As you can see from our above section, there are many potential sources of leaks in a full shower system. The pipes, the pan, the covers, the walls, the drain! It can be difficult to isolate the source of the problem.

Since this article focuses on fixing a leaky shower drain, here’s how to see whether the drain is the root of your problem:

It’s quite simple really, you need to isolate the water flow to only your drain. Take a big cup or jug of water and slowly pour it down your drain. Then, see whether you see any signs of leakage (such as leaking from the ceiling below). If this is the case, then you know the issue is with your drain.

Here’s what to do about it:

How Do I Fix It?

Before you go about fixing the drain, use our method above to tell whether a leaky drain is a problem.

Corian floor and drain from modern shower in luxury bathroom

If you’ve identified your leaky drain, here’s what you should do to fix it. Of course, this method won’t work for every drain, but it is the most common solution as a catch-all.

Most Common Solution for a Leaky Drain

Step 1 – First, you’ll need to remove the drain cover on your shower. For this, you’ll need to either unscrew the lid or pop off the cover with a screwdriver. Whatever type of lid you own, this should be easy to figure out.

Step 2 – Next, you’ll need to remove the actual drain. Typically, it will twist out counter-clockwise, and you can do so with a pair of Channellock pliers.

Step 3 – Next, you’ll want to replace the friction washer and rubber gasket washer with new parts. These are cheap and found at any hardware store (just be sure they’re the right size). Likely, these components were faulty and caused your leak. With most drains, they can simply be dropped into place.

Step 4 – Use a silicone sealant, and apply it to the opening of the drain around the edges to ensure no potential leakage when you reaffix it. Before it dries, screw the drain back into place, once again ensuring a complete seal for the drain. Use the channel lock pliers to fasten the drain in place.

Step 5 – Reattach the drain cover. Wait for the sealant to dry (about 20 minutes).

Step 6 – Run your shower and see whether the issue is resolved. If not, you might have a more substantial issue on your hands, which might require the assistance of a professional.


Thanks for reading our guide to a leaky shower drain. Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to pinpoint whether the problem with your shower is a leaky drain. In reality, your shower could be leaking from many places, some of which are easier to fix than others.

We showed you how to identify and fix a leaky shower drain and identify whether the problem is more complex. Whatever the case, the problem is fixable, whether by you or a professional!

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