It’s every shower-lovers worst nightmare isn’t it? Your trusty old shower has started leaking and nothing you do seems to be helping! Never fear, help is at hand…

With this handy DIY guide, we’ll get straight to the point: Can your leaky shower be fixed or will you have to replace it?


How to fix a leaky shower

First things first, with any type of plumbing issue we would always recommend hiring an experienced professional tradesperson. If not, you run the risk of causing further issues or even damage to your bathroom.

The first thing to consider is the age of your shower. If you’ve had it quite a long time, it may not be worth trying to fix. Generally, older showers, which have undergone plenty of usage, are more prone to problems like leaks. A new shower may not be as expensive as you first thought, so it's definitely worth considering a replacement.

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Next, you’ll need to identify which part of your shower is actually leaking. In most cases, it will be in one of 2 places:

Click on the links above to jump to instructions for each particular leak.


Before you do anything

Before attempting to fix a leaky shower, let alone replacing it, you will need to turn your water supply off at the main stop tap, as well as your hot water supply which is usually done by pressing a switch or turning a stop tap located near your boiler. To check that all the water is drained from the system, run your taps until no more water comes out.

Of course, there are many different types of shower which can develop a fault over time and different parts of a shower can leak. In this article, we’ll examine the most common type which is an exposed mixer valve shower. If you have a different type of shower which has started leaking, we recommend seeking the advice of an experienced trade professional.


How to fix a leaky shower head

If it’s just your shower head that appears to be leaking, this should be much easier to remedy than leaks that spring from other parts of your shower. Simply follow these instructions.

1. Clean your shower head

Dirt particles and limescale can build up over time, leading to poor flow, blockages and potential leaks. Soak your shower head in a mixture of white vinegar and water, before removing and rinsing clean. Use a toothbrush (an old one; don’t borrow your partner’s!) and scrub the shower head thoroughly. Our guide to cleaning your shower head will explain everything in detail.

2. Secure the O ring using tape

Examine the O ring (also known as a washer). This small rubber ring is designed to prevent water from leaking from the join between the hose and shower head. If it looks damaged or worn, it’s worth replacing this.

If the O ring looks fine, then it may be worth adding some adhesive tape to the threads on the end of the pipe stem—helping form a watertight seal and preventing threads from seizing in the future.

3. Reattach your shower head and switch water back on

Reattach and tighten your shower head by hand, until it feels secure. You can then tighten it further using your pliers. Switch the water back on and check that it is flowing smoothly, then switch the water back off and make sure there are no further leaks. These actions should provide a remedy for your issue.

If the issue still persists, it may be worth simply replacing your old shower head (and hose, if applicable) with a new one. At VictoriaPlum.com, you’ll find a wide range of shower heads and accessories for all types of shower.

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Tools and materials you’ll need to fix a leaky shower head:

  • Cleaning solution
  • Pliers
  • Thread seal tape

You may also need:

  • Replacement washer

Time to complete:

  • 15 minutes


How to fix a leaky shower valve

If the leak is coming from your shower valve, this may be a more complicated issue which may not necessarily be easy or even possible to fix.

1. Taking the valve apart

Ensuring your water is turned off at the mains, remove the handle from the valve. There will be a screw that can be easily removed with a screwdriver. This will allow you to remove any covering plates or trim, so that you can access the valve itself. This should reveal the gasket (usually a rubber ring).

2. Replace the gasket with putty

Examine the gasket for any breaks or deterioration. This may be the cause of the leak and can be remedied by replacing with plumber’s putty. This will help form a waterproof seal.

3. Replace any washers

Next, find the shower stem. This is where the hose or pipe joins the valve itself. It should have a removable cover. Remove and replace all of the washers (small rubber rings) in the shower stem. This is easier and less time-consuming then replacing, testing and having to repeat the whole process again.

Examine the shower stem for any damage, as this may also be the cause of any leaks.

4. Put the valve back together

Before you start putting the valve back together (the reverse process to how you dismantled it), clean the exposed pipes thoroughly with a mixture of white vinegar and water.

Once you have done this, turn your water back on at the mains and switch your shower on. It should now be free of any leaks.

If not, your shower will need to be replaced. At VictoriaPlum.com, you’ll find a huge range of showers, including brand names such as Mira Showers, Grohe, Bristan, Triton, Aqualisa and more, all at affordable prices. What’s more, if you need a replacement in a hurry, next day delivery is available.

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Tools and materials you’ll need to fix a leaky shower valve:

  • Cleaning solution
  • Pliers
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Replacement washers
  • Standard screwdrivers
  • Thread seal tape

You may also need:

  • Replacement washer

Time to complete:

  • 15 minutes

How to replace a leaky shower

If none of the fixes above solve your leaky shower, it may be time to replace it.

At this point, it’s important to stress that replacing a shower is a rather more complicated task than merely trying to fix a leaky shower. There are many different types of showers available and installation can differ from model to model. That’s why we highly recommend hiring an experienced plumber to do this for you.

So that you can understand the general process you’ll need to go through to replace a leaky shower, we’ve set out the steps below. These detail how to replace an exposed mixer shower with a like-for-like model.

1. Remove your existing or leaky shower

After ensuring the water is turned off at the mains, go through the same process of dismantling your shower, as detailed above. To remove the valve entirely, you will need to cut it out of the wall using a mini hacksaw or tube cutter.

2. Put your new shower in place

Take your new shower out of its packaging and position over the exposed copper pipes. Ease the valve onto the pipes, ensuring they are pushed in firmly and securely.

3. Solder valve joints

To make sure the connection between the copper pipes and the valve are watertight, you will need to solder around each joint. Make sure you stick to all relevant safety advice when soldering.

Once completed, leave to cool down for at least 30 minutes.

4. Fit the rest of your new shower

Following the instructions provided with your new shower, fit the cartridge, ensuring the valve is set to “off”.

Fitting the rest of your new shower

5. Switch water back on

Switch your water back on at the mains and then test your shower by turning the valve to “on”. If you’re satisfied there aren’t any leaks, fit the rest of the shower in accordance with the instructions supplied. You may need an electric drill to complete this part.

Tools and materials you’ll need to replace a leaky shower:

  • Electric drill
  • Mini hacksaw or copper tube cutter
  • Soldering iron
  • Standard screwdrivers

Time to complete:

  • 1–2 hours

A final word

Whilst fixing or replacing a leaky shower may save you time and money, we always, always recommend hiring an experienced and recommended plumber to carry out jobs like this. If you are inexperienced in this type of DIY, you could potentially cause damage to your bathroom and plumbing, costing more to fix in the long run.


Shop showers

If your old shower has sprayed for the very last time, it’s time to buy a new one. And what better place to begin then right here at VictoriaPlum.com. We have comprehensive selection of showers, including mixer showers, electric showers, digital showers and more. Choose from traditional or contemporary designs with concealed and unconcealed valves. Pick out a dual or even triple outlet showers for added luxury, or simply find new shower fittings and accessories like handsets and hoses.

To begin browsing, simply click on the image below.

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Save time and money with bathroom DIY advice

If you’re experienced and confident with more complex DIY tasks, you could save time and money in your bathroom with our expert DIY guides. Simply head to our bathroom advice section or click on any of the links below to head straight to an article.

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