A shower failure refers to a situation where your shower does not work as intended, meaning it does not provide water, the water pressure is insufficient, the temperature is off, or leaks are apparent. There are a number of causes for a shower to fail, including age, misuse, or installation errors. This post will look at the causes and resources available for homeowners to determine what a shower failure might mean and how a construction advocate can help resolve contractor installation errors.

What Causes a Shower Failure?

A shower failure can be caused by several factors including:

  • Low water pressure: if the pressure is low, it can affect the shower’s performance
  • Clogged showerhead: mineral deposits clogging the showerhead can reduce water flow
  • Leaking valves: damaged or worn valves can cause leaks
  • Faulty thermostatic valve: temperature controls are compromised
  • Electrical problems: a blown fuse or tripped breaker can affect the shower’s operating system
  • Broken pipe: water can leak and cause potential flooding or water damage

hand touching faulty shower tiling

Where is a Shower Most Likely to Leak?

A shower is most likely to leak at the following points:

  • Showerhead: where the showerhead is attached to the arm, or where the arm connects to the wall
  • Shower pan: at the seams or drain of the shower pan
  • Valve: where controls for the water or showerhead are located
  • Hoses: at the connections between the hoses and the vale, showerhead or wall
  • Tiles: where shower tiles meet, especially if the grout is cracked or missing. If water penetrates behind your shower tiles, it can penetrate walls and surrounding areas to cause damage to drywall, subfloor and other materials, resulting in mold growth and structural damage. It can weaken the adhesive holding the tiles in place and cause them to loosen or fall off. It can also penetrate the group and cause it to deteriorate, leading to cracks and gaps that allow water to penetrate even farther. In addition, if water is allowed to sit behind tiles for an extended period of time, it can cause unpleasant odors to develop.

Inspect Your Shower Regularly

It is important to regularly inspect your shower for signs of leakage, and to address leaks as soon as they are discovered to prevent further damage or potential health hazards. To check for leaks, follow these steps:

  1. Test the water pressure. Turn on the shower and observe the water flow. Low pressure can indicate a failed shower system.
  2. Look for leaks. Check the showerhead, hoses, valves, tiles and shower pan for signs of water damage, discoloration or staining.
  3. Check the temperature control: Make sure it works correctly and that the water is not too hot or too cold.
  4. Inspect the drain: Ensure the drain is functioning properly and is not clogged with hair or debris.
  5. Listen for unusual sounds. Whistling, humming or other strange noises when you turn on the shower could indicate a problem with the plumbing system.

It’s important also to look around the shower pan. A failed shower pan can cause water to leak onto the floor and potentially seep into the subfloor or underlying structure, causing damage to the wood, drywall or other materials, and result in mold growth, structural damage and other health and safety hazards. A failed shower pan can also cause water to pool in the shower, creating a slipping hazard and increasing the risk of falls and injuries.

If you suspect a failed shower system, call a licensed plumber to diagnose and repair the problem, and restore the shower to proper working condition.

Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover a Failed Shower System?

Whether or not your homeowner’s insurance will cover a shower failure depends on your specific policy and the cause of the failure. Most standard homeowner’s policies cover sudden and accidental damage to the plumbing system, including a shower fail, if it is not caused by a covered peril such as a burst pipe or unexpected overflow. If the failure is due to normal wear and tear or a pre-existing condition, it may not be covered. It is best to review your insurance policy and speak with your insurance provider to determine the specific terms and conditions for coverage.

I Think My Contractor Caused my Shower Failure

If a shower installation is not performed correctly, it can result in a failed shower system that requires costly repairs. It is important to hire a licensed and experienced contractor to ensure a proper and safe installation. Some of the ways a contractor can mess up a shower installation include:

  • Improper sizing. If shower components are not the right size for the space, they can cause leaks and other problems.
  • Incorrect placement. If components are not installed in the correct locations or at the correct angles, it can result in a shower fail.
  • Poor plumbing connections. Plumbing connections that are not properly sealed can leak and cause water damage.
  • Improper waterproofing. When not properly waterproofed, water can seep into surround areas and cause damage.
  • Lack of slope. A shower floor requires a correct slope to enable water to drain and avoid pooling or leaks.
  • Incorrectly-installed drain. Water can back up.
  • Improper ventilation. When a shower is not properly ventilated, moisture can build up and cause mold and mildew growth.

Trust a Forensic Expert in Construction Fails to Document your Shower Failure

If you suspect that a contractor you hired has caused your shower fail, and you live in the Northern Virginia/Maryland/Washington DC metropolitan area, it is time to call in a forensic expert like Matthew Furlong of Först Consulting Group to inspect it. Först provides professional expertise in construction failures to determine the root cause of the failure.

A Först professional will perform a thorough and detailed inspection of the shower and its components to identify defects, deficiencies or malfunctions that may have contributed to the failure. They will also gather and may analyze data, review design and construction documents, and consult with relevant professionals to determine the cause, and provide a complete report, along with photographs, to the homeowner. This information can be used to support claims or legal proceedings related to the failure.

Först’s forensic expert can also provide recommendations and rough pricing for repairing or replacing the failed shower system to prevent future failures and ensure the shower’s safety and functionality.

If you need an impartial and comprehensive assessment of your failed shower system, contact Först Consulting Group. We work with homeowners as a construction advocacy resource and expert witness in cases where construction fails are suspected. For construction issues or fails, contact Först.