Showers can suffer various types of leaks. You may have steady drips from the showerhead. That would be less concerning than the issue of tile shower leaking. If your shower is leaking through the tiles, then it is a more complicated problem. Over the years, many changes in building codes and also the quality of plumbing fixtures available widely have reduced the chances of a shower leaking through the tiles. But when it does happen, it can jeopardize the structural integrity of the walls and pose a serious risk to the property.
Let us segregate two simple structures that form the walls of a bathroom. There is a tiled surface, with dados or backsplashes. This is not impeccably waterproof. It is resistive. The waterproofing is actually behind the tiles or the backsplashes which form the primary structure of the walls and not the decking up of the walls.
Signs of Leaks
The first thing you must know is the signs of a shower leaking through the tiles. If you find water sipping out of some cracks in the tiles or where tiles are sealed together, then it is an obvious sign. You may not find such obvious signs and instead, you could find damp patches on the tiles, musty smell from the surface and the color of the tiles may change over time, usually becoming darker as the leak gets worse.
There are many causes of tile shower leaking. Pinholes in grout or poorly grouted tiles are common causes. There can be a leak in the pipes behind the wall or inside the wall if it is concealed plumbing. There can be an issue with the puddle flange that is typically installed beneath the floor grate. Any kind of tap-ware will have fluid aprons installed around them at specific places on the wall where the fixtures penetrate the wall. The absence of these fluid aprons may cause the leak. Worn out tiles, damaged tiles, structural faults of the walls, damaged or improper waterproofing and improperly adhered or sealed tiles can also cause the leaks.
It is not uncommon for installation problems or non-adherence to building codes to have facilitated such leaks. The problem with tile shower leaking is that you cannot inspect the condition for all the possible causes. You will need a professional. Even if you are fairly certain what the real cause is, the complexity of the repair or replacement of relevant fixtures will be daunting and it will demand professional expertise.