Why Your Shower Leaking Through The Ceiling (6 Reasons)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

If you notice watermarks on the ceiling under the upstairs bathroom, the shower might be leaking. It means that soon enough, water will be leaking through the ceiling. When this happens, you might wonder about the possible reasons your shower is leaking through the ceiling. 

There are a few reasons why water could be leaking from a ceiling under a bathroom. Here are 6 possible reasons why your shower is leaking through the ceiling:

  1. It could be leaking pipes.
  2. Leaking heating system
  3. It could be damaged tiles
  4. It could be a leaking collection pan.
  5. It could be a blocked drain.
  6. It could be a damaged drain seal. 

Having your shower leaking through the ceiling can lead to structural damage, and finding out why your shower is leaking through the ceiling becomes urgent. Read on to find out what I found out while researching this topic.

Why Your Shower Leaks Through The Ceiling – 6 Possibilities

Experts in the plumbing industry identified 6 problem areas that can be why your shower is leaking through the ceiling. In this part of the post, I will share the information from the experts with you. Each potential reason will be under its own sub-heading.

Shower Can Leak Through Ceiling Because Of Leaking Pipes

When your plumbing pipes that feed the upstairs bathroom leak, it will cause water to leak through your ceiling. Sometimes it happens that pipes become corroded and, as a result, develop small holes from which they leak water. It is essential to do leak detection along the pipes to identify the leaking pipes. Marks on the ceiling will indicate where the problem areas are.

When your home’s plumbing installations are done by persons that do not know what they are doing, it will lead to shoddy work, and that can also cause pipes to start leaking. Experts in the plumbing industry suggest that only qualified and experienced persons perform plumbing work. Any connection point like an at-piece, elbow, or straight connector creates a potential leak point.

Shower Can Leak Through Ceiling Because Of Heating System

heating system

Most plumbers choose to install water heating systems in the basement because when pipes burst or the heating system fails, you do not have flooded ceilings. However, it is not uncommon to have water heating systems close to an upstairs bathroom. It means it could be a leak from the water heating system that can leak through the ceiling.

When water leaks from the shower and comes through the ceiling, it could be cold or hot. If it is hot water, it may well be the water heating system leaking through the ceiling. It is crucial to insulate water heating pipes because when they freeze over, they can burst. And that will flood your ceilings under the shower. 

Shower Can Leak Through Ceiling Because of Damaged Tiles

damaged tiles

Damaged tiles inside the shower are another possible reason your shower leaks through the ceiling. The tiling inside a shower is not only there to look aesthetically pleasing, but it is also there to seal the space between the wall and the shower. When tiles are broken or damaged, the water can go into the cracks and accumulate on the ceiling.

In some cases, contractors do not seal all the spaces properly or apply a type of grouting not meant for wet areas. Therefore, it is imperative to use waterproof sealants close to the bottom of the shower. It is where most of the water from the shower splashes or ends up.

Shower Can Leak Through Ceiling Because Of Collection Pan

The collection pan of a shower is another possible reason why water is leaking through the ceiling. A collection pan is the bottom part of a shower, where all the water from the shower dams up before going down the drainage system. If the collection pan is cracked or broken, the water will leak through the ceiling.

The other place that a collection pan can start leaking is between the pan and the tiles on the wall. Professionals suggest that you seal this space with a silicone sealant instead of tile grouting. The corners and around the door are other spaces that you can seal with silicone sealant. Check the collection pan regularly to ensure that you deal with the leaks early on.

Shower Can Leak Through Ceiling Because Of Blocked Drain

When the drainage system of the shower is blocked, it can lead to the shower leaking through the ceiling. Likewise, when water backs up because it does not drain properly, it escapes through any gap or hole. So if any spaces are not sealed correctly or in cases where drainage pipes are cracked, the water will leak through the ceiling.

Keeping drainage systems clean to prevent the drain from blocking up is advisable. Clean the shower drain grid regularly to help avoid a possible blockage. It also makes sense to remove the grid at times to clean out hair and soap deposits that accumulate under the grid.

Drain Seal Causing Shower To Leak Through Ceiling

A drainage seal in the shower can also cause a leak through the ceiling. The rubber seal is situated just underneath the grid of the drainage outlet of the shower. If this seal is cracked or worn out, then it will cause a leak through the ceiling. Experts suggest that you replace this seal every two years to prevent leaks.

Many new showers do not have this seal anymore because of its risk. Doing a proper check and cleanup of your shower will help you eradicate the chances of a leak going from the shower through to the ceiling.


Proper housekeeping and maintenance in popular living spaces of a home will help the homeowner identify problems before something terrible occurs. Unfortunately, many homeowners have a problem where they can not see what goes on in the hidden spaces. So if there is a leak letting water through the ceiling and it’s under a shower, the best option is to act immediately.

Find the leak and have it fixed. I hope that my research helps you as much as it helped me in being able to find leaks and knowing what lies in the hidden spaces that you can not see.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.