Fixing Typical Bathroom Plumbing Problems with Older Showers

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When most Denver, CO homeowners think of bathroom plumbing services, they think of obvious issues like low water pressure, no hot water, or a leaky tap. But showers can have several problems brewing behind the scenes, issues that you can’t see until serious damage is already done. 

In time, all plumbing components eventually wear out and need replacing or upgrading. Shower pipes are tricky for a homeowner to look at because they are typically not easily accessible. Outdated building codes, worn out pipes, hard water, and years of poor maintenance can all lead to problems. If your shower is older, there are 4 potential plumbing problems you need to be aware of.

Hairline Cracks in a Shower/Tub Combo

Do you have a fiberglass shower or tub? It’s most likely outdated. According to HUD, most fiberglass bathtub and shower combos last about 15 years (it’s been at least that long since these types of units were popular, so it’s probably time to start thinking of remodeling). At that time, hairline cracks can start to appear, leaking water into the surrounding walls and floors. This water can pool up, soaking insulation and weakening studs. The damage can become especially extensive if your bathroom is on the upper level of your house. 

It may be tempting to buy a DIY kit for repairing cracks, but these can be difficult to apply. The patching and repair work is almost always obvious. By the time you actually notice the cracks, damage may already be done to the flooring underneath your tub. At this point, you should use a Denver licensed remodeling contractor from Bell Plumbing and Heating.

Drywall Rot Behind Grout

In decades past, it was common for shower walls to be covered in tile. Older grout between the tiles can become worn down or have tiny cracks, allowing water to seep into the drywall. 

Tile and grout can both prove to be higher maintenance than other materials available today. Tiles must be cleaned carefully and grout must be replaced periodically. Upgrading to marble, stone resin, or back-painted glass could save you money in the long run.

Outdated Drain Sizes

The drains in older showers may not be up to code. Drains that are too small result in slower drain times and put your bathroom at an increased risk of flooding. It’s possible that you may not be able to sell your home if the drain sizes are not up to current codes.

Your outdated drain may not be causing you any problems now, but updating it before it’s an urgent issue will save you from any future headaches.

Corroded Pipes

Like any other component in your house, pipes will eventually wear out. Corrosion can lead to small, pinhole leaks in the plumbing in your walls. The resulting moisture can destroy insulation and drywall, and lead to mold growth. 

Pipes have different lifespans depending on the material they’re made of. The inspection report from when you bought your house should indicate what type of pipes your house has. If this information isn’t available, it is well worth the money to have a professional plumbing inspection to determine your pipes’ age, what they’re made of, and what kind of condition they’re in. 

What’s Behind the Scenes in Your Shower?

If you have an older home, the plumbing problems you can’t see can end up costing you a lot of money. Routine maintenance and upgrades are cheaper and more manageable than dealing with the after-effects of flooding, a major leak, or rotted drywall. Some repairs are a matter of replacing a part or two. With older showers, it is sometimes more economical to do an entire replacement. A professional, licensed plumber can advise you on the best options for your shower. If your bathroom has issues that are more than what Bell’s plumbers can fix, consider a bathroom remodel with Bell.

The Author:
Bell Plumbing & Heating has been providing customers with plumbing and heating services since 1926, but that’s not all we do today. We also offer kitchen and bathroom remodeling services (we’ve been remodeling kitchens and bathrooms for over 50 years now), drain and sewer line services, and electrical repairs and installations. Visit us online at

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