Plumbing Question

Should there be access to the pipework below my shower cubicle tray?

Hi, we had our ensuite refitted in July 2010 we have been quite happy with the work until about 3 weeks ago when we noticed a wet patch in our garage below. We haven't used the shower since and the we patch is still there and it is right by/over the fuse box. When we first noticed the patch we called british gas out, because we have the plumbing cover with them and as it had been over a year since the refit. They walked in "looked" and just said that the grout and sealant was not done correctly and that it would need to be re-done.
My husband managed to get the company that did the work to come out and have a look, but they just put a very small amount more sealant round part of the tray (which was the wrong end from the leak) and left.
I was just chatting to a workman that was doing some work for my mother and he said he would come and take a look as we still daren't use it.
This man took the front off below the shower tray to ensure the pipes/waste was not leaking (which is more than anyone else had done) and the tray is on a wooden frame that has been tiled into our bathroom and allows no access to the pipework. I mean you cannot see below the tray at all, it does not appear to be on feet like our other shower and our bath.
There is no way to see where the leak is coming from, and the only way in would be to either cut through the garage ceiling and go through the floor or to take the bottom layers of tiles off, remove the shower cubicle and litterally remove the tray?
When I called the company back and told them this that fitted the shower they said this was normal and how they always fitted showers and all we had to do was drill a series of holes in the wood or cut a piece out and then replace it after??
Does this sound right because I feel we are being led up the garden path and that this will just end up costing us a small fortune to put right work that was not carried out properly in the first place.
Thanks I look forward to your replies.

Thanks for the reply but the job was not cheap - it cost about £4000 but they seem like a good comapny.

Hi All

Thanks so much for your replies, I have plumbing cover with British Gas, so I have asked them to come back out today. Just hope they can stop the leak and then we will just need to foot the bill for making good again. We move soon so I really hope that doesn't cost the earth.
Thanks again for all your help.

5 Answers

Best Answer

In my experience it is unlikely to be the pipework. If it was installed correctly, it is very unusual for a pipe to just start leaking with no reason.

With showers, it is nearly always down to silicone failure between the tiles and the shower tray.

The guy that came and just added a bit of extra silicone, did not do a proper job. For the silicone to 'properly stick' the surfaces need to be spotlessly clean. This means the removal of all the old silicone. You rarely get a good seal between new and old silicone. Its a horrible job, but has to be done. Patiently remove all the old silicone, clean and dry all the surfaces and then re-silicone around the entire shower, paying particular attention to the corners.

Answered 21st Nov 2014

1st Aid 4 Fencing

Member since 19 Nov 2014

some trays come with leg/riser kits some dont ,what did you pay for ,was it the cheapest quote out of the 3or so you got ,if so then this is an example of a budget bathroom,wont cost much to cut a square out of the cieling in the garage ,fix the pipe ,then patch up ,around 250 will cover it i suppose,pay cheap ,pay twice

Answered 6th Mar 2012


Member since 7 Jun 2008

I always use shower trays with there own leg riser kits,wooden frames under trays not good practise nowadays as wood will move and if get a leak it will rot in time.Always better to spend a bit more on a decent tray that will last.

Answered 7th Mar 2012


Member since 20 Feb 2010

Hi, go through the garage ceiling and leave an access trap for future reference,
I'm afraid shower unit's are prone to leaking, usually not sealed properly when
fitted, I alway's go over the top, double sealing when fitting tray and tiling.
If the firm that fitted the tray carried out the work less than a year ago they
should refit it, if they don't, then I would get in a better firm, but let them
know that you are not happy.
Hope it turn,s out to be a loose trap, or leaking joint, as to replace the tray
and disturb everything would be costly.
Hope this is of help to you.

Answered 7th Mar 2012

Paul Callaghan Builder

Member since 27 Feb 2012

The low profile shower trays look nice but this is the problem with them ie acess to the waste pipe, personally i would cut out a hole in the garage plasterboard ceiling to investigate then replace with a ply panel painted the same as the ceiling.

Answered 6th Mar 2012

sovereign plumbing and heating

Member since 23 Nov 2011

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