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Shower Leaking Through Ceiling – 8 Likely Causes

Shower Leaking Through Ceiling - damp

Shower Leaking Through Ceiling?

When looking at the subject of a ceiling leak in your home, one of the most common sources of those in the UK is when you get a shower leaking through ceilings. People often notice this from a new crack, damp patch or mould on their ceiling directly under where a shower is located in their house.

We help to explain below the 8 most common causes of a shower leaking through ceiling. With the increase in showers, shower cubicles and ensuite bathrooms (which normally have showers in them) in the UK, there has been regular water leaks from an upstairs shower leak in ceilings.

Shower Leak Through Ceiling
Shower Leak Through Ceiling

This type of leak can be investigated from both above (looking under the floor above) or from below, looking at the area around the ceiling affected below. The best method will depend on each property and the materials used and construction.

So you might think that would be a simple thing to get to the bottom of, but that is not necessarily the case as there are a number of possible causes and many of them can be difficult to see. Modern bathrooms and ensuites are often tiled or have panelling, bespoke units etc which can help to hide a potential water leak which means a professional water leak detection to find the leak.

Ceiling Leak Crack
Ceiling Leak Crack

Spoiler – as you will see below, it might not actually be the shower leaking also! (see the last two things on the list which you might not have thought of)

So let’s look at 8 top reasons why you have an upstairs shower leaking through ceilings below…

Broken Plumbing Pipes Feeding the Shower – 1

Pretty much all showers will have a cold water feed to them and some will have hot water feeding them too. So, one of the possible culprits for a shower leaking through ceilings is a plumbing leak in the pipes feeding the shower, this will generally be a copper pipe leak or a push fit / plastic pipe leak.

As with all water leaks on this list, the extent of the leak and the ceiling water damage it causes will vary from a small drip to a full flow of mains pressure water. That said, if it is something you have noticed occur gradually rather than suddenly, it is more likely to be a slower leak.

That said, as we show in our water leak calculator, even a relatively slow drip can leak several litres of water per day, which can cause significant damage to your property.

We are experienced an finding plumbing leaks as you might expect, using a range of leak detection equipment and processes, one of those is pipe detectors to help see where pipes go in walls floors and ceilings, which is clearly important with such a water leak.

Leak from Shower Unit Itself – 2

Next on the list of things that can be causing a shower to be leaking through ceilings is the actual shower itself. Now clearly, there are many different sorts of showers and even within certain categories of shower units, for example electric showers, there are many different designs and makes.

Note – with electric showers, safety precautions are taken. As you will likely know, electricty and water leaks are not a good combination and therefore there is a risk of electric shock. This is one of the reasons we do a 5 step risk assessment on all our work, especially important when you get a shower leaking through ceilings, with other risks involved too.

On this topic – see our related guide to the value of earlier water leak detection.

Sometimes a shower leak is from something within the shower unit itself, or in combination with our previous thing on the list, a connection into the shower unit. This type of shower leak is not the most common but it can happen and these leaks can be detected using specialist methods.

Leak in Ceiling
Leak in Ceiling from Toilet Above

Broken Waste Pipes from Shower Waste – 3

We’ve talked above about the feed of water to the shower and then the shower itself but another reason you might have a shower leaking through ceilings is the waste water leaving the shower, this is what is categorised as ‘grey water’ going into the shower waste and / or trap.

Clearly the water from a shower has to go somewhere and that is down the shower waste or ‘plug hole’ not that stand alone showers have plugs although some showers are integrated into bath tubs.

So a problem with those waste pipes, or their connection to other main waste pipes can leak and, as with many things on this list, they will be under the shower and hidden between the shower or bathroom floor and the ceiling above.

Something that comes into play here is clogged shower drains or shower drain leaks, which can affect the problem. The same can be said for people attempting to remove shower clogs. It is not unknown for this to affect or possibly even break the the pipes, which can then leak and can smell too.

Shower Leak
Shower Leak

We have an interesting article that looks at how much water do items use, including showers and other items from around the house.

Broken Shower Base – 4

Next on the list of things causing shower leaking through ceilings below is a broken shower base or tray. This is where from specific damage or simple wear and tear over time the base is broken. This can be something ‘dramatic’ like a hole or major crack but you would know about that if it happened!

More often when leak detection comes into play, this can be from a hairline crack in the shower tray which may be barely noticeable but can leak as you use the shower, then leading to the shower leaking through ceilings below. As we said above, even a very minor drip can build up.

Broken Tiles or Grout around Shower – 5

Very similar to the previous thing on the list is a break to the tiles (or waterproof boarding / sealed shower unit in some cases) or grout around the shower area. So as the shower is used, water splashing or spraying on to the affected area can let water through then leading to the shower leaking through ceilings below.

Modern showers are normally well sealed and have ‘back-up’ waterproofing behind units, wet wall panels and tiles etc but, equally, water penetrating broken tiles over time can accumulate, cause damage and the water (if it doesn’t dry or get removed) has to go somewhere.

Ceiling Leak
Ceiling Leaks

Perished or Broken Shower Seal – 6

Very similar to the previous reason for a shower leaking through ceilings below is a perished or broken shower seal around the shower. Most commonly this is a silicone beading, especially at low level where it comes into contact with water most often.

In some instances, a perished shower seal can leak water outside of the shower area / cubicle and leak gradually onto the flooring outside, which then in turn leaks to the ceiling below.

Over time, or if it has not been applied correctly, it can cause a shower leaking through ceilings below. It is not uncommon for people to re-do or replace silicone shower seals themselves but, if you do that, make sure it is done properly. And importantly, just after you have done it keep a close eye to check it is fine. If in doubt get help from a professional.

Outside of the Shower – 7

As we just hinted on the previous point, sometimes when people think they have a shower leaking through ceilings below, it is not a leak inside the shower but something outside that area that is causing the water damage below.

As we said just above, it can be the shower area leaking outside but this can even be people getting out of a shower wet, dripping on the floor and water leaking through a gap or crack in the floor below. That might sound odd (and indeed it isn’t the most common thing on this list, but when you get out of a shower dripping wet, if you are not careful you that can go onto the floor below you.

Of all the things on this list this is the most preventable if you are careful when getting out of the shower, or even making sure you have drip dried a bit before getting out of the shower. This is more likely to be a problem in a household where a shower is shared by several people.

Water Leak in Bathroom
Water Leak in Bathroom – leak in floor, wall or ceiling

Something Else Causing ‘Shower Leaking Through Ceiling’! – 8

Finally on our list of 8 things that can be the case of a shower leaking through ceilings below is something completely nothing to do with the shower!

People when spotting what they think is a wet patch or damage to their ceiling then think ‘that’s where my shower is’ and immediately suspect it is the shower leaking through ceilings but it can be something else. As we said earlier, showers are usually in bathrooms and ensuites.

Those areas are likely to have other things around that are common causes of water leaks, that are nothing to do with the shower itself. For example:

So as you can see, something apparently as simple as a shower leaking through ceilings below might not always be simple. If you need help with advanced water leak detection, contact our friendly team today and we help you find that leak or any other leaks you might have.

If you have a lot of damage caused by a shower leaking through ceilings, you may find that a loss adjuster is involved in your home insurance claim at various key stages.

Of course in some instances, the leak may not be from your property if could be a water leak from an upstairs flat, which is a potentially trickier scenario involving other third parties.

Shower Leaking Through Ceilings – Water Damage

As well as being having Leak Detection Specialist knowledge we are also a professional Water Damage Restoration company so as well as helping to find your leak we can help evaluate the water damage from a leak and help restore / dry your property back to normal after a leak.

We also offer a range of other services related to Water Damage Repairs also, including shower leak repairs from a shower leaking through ceilings, floors or walls. Whilst we are on the subject of showers, we have a really interesting article comparing Bath vs Shower Condensation in your bathroom, the results are very clear.

There is also another article on Bathroom Condensation in general and a fascinating article with a trick on how to Reduce Condensation in bathrooms. logo logo

Shower Leaking Through Ceiling – FAQs:

Why is my shower leaking from the bottom?

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A shower leaking from the bottom can be caused by a number of things, this includes – a leaking waste pipe, a leak to the pipes or plumbing feeding the shower, a damaged shower tray or shower seal or even damage to tiles in or around the shower. Shower leaks can be difficult to find, especially given they are often shower cubicles which are sealed or difficult to access. A professional leak detection company like ourselves can help find shower leaks.

Can I claim on home insurance for a leaking shower?

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It depends on your insurance policy, but it is fairly common for people to claim on their home insurance for a leaking shower, both in terms of finding the shower leak in the first place and also the water damage caused by the shower – such as when a shower is leaking through ceilings. Water leaks, including shower leaks, are one of the most common types of claims people make on their home insurance.