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There are building materials in a showering environment that will and wear and perish over time. These being the grout and the silicone seals. Each product has a life span but that span depends on how they area cleaned and maintained over the life of the shower enclosure. One of the reasons why grout and silicones break down is that they can become contaminated with fungus and bacteria that thrive in humid, wet environments.


Shower Enclosures:

Bacteria: Micrococcus, Staphylococcus, E. coli, Streptococcus, Campylobacter. Given the number of soaps, gels and hair products used in our showers, you’d expect it to be fairly clean. To a point, this is true but some colorants in hair products and soaps can actually discolour white and light coloured grout as well as black mould growth causing discolouration and breakdown of grout.

Surface of Shower Tray:

Bacteria: E. coli, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Enterococcus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptobacillus, Campylobacter. 70% of a used shower tray can be infected with up to 8 different types of bacteria. It is very important that an area to be reseal is clean. Therefore before commencing any resealing work, I must clean the area beforehand. There is no point applying new antibacterial silicone to a contaminated surface.


Building materials in a wet environment will wear and perish over time. Grout and the silicone seals will eventually break down or become contaminated with everyday shower use. The life span of a shower enclosure depends on how the area is cleaned and maintained. The better the maintenance schedule, the longer the enclosure will last before causing problems. The old saying that prevention is better than cure certainly applies to shower enclosures.

One of the reasons why grout and silicones break down is that they become contaminated with fungus and bacteria that thrive in humid, wet environments.

I specialise in grout and tile cleaning, replacing silicone/mastic seals and replacing grout. Bathroom/tile suppliers now realise the importance of shower enclosure maintenance and the need for replacing silicone seals periodically. Most are now advising that newly installed shower enclosures should have silicone seals replaced, and grout checked once every couple of years and some even saying once per year. The reason being, to help prevent leaks occurring which cause damage to surrounding areas. Even new showers can begin to leak quickly after installation. For example, floors can settle causing cracks to develop and water to escape and cause water damage. Also a new shower may not even be sealed properly in the first place and this can cause problems from the very first use.


Within the last number of years there has been the introduction of new walling systems for shower enclosures. Multi Panel wall panels and PVC panels are being used as a wall covering instead of traditional tiles. These coverings are classed as ‘soft’ coverings. It is really important that these coverings are periodically re-sealed at the tray and other areas of the shower to make sure that they stay watertight.


Noticing failures in shower enclosures early is the key. If there is a failure within your shower enclosure, water damage only gets worse every time the shower is used.

Here's what you should be checking for:

  • Silicone/Mastic Seals breaking or coming away
  • Black mould growing on Silicone/Mastic
  • Missing grout from the tile joints
  • Hairline cracks in the grout
  • Any holes or pin holes in the grout
  • Grout beginning to wear away in the joint
  • Black mould growing on the grout

The importance of replacing silicone/mastic or repairing grout as soon as possible is not to be understated. The grout between the tiles is especially important in a wet environment. For example, if there is a hairline crack in the grout, water will be getting into this crack every time the shower is used. The water will eventually get to the wall and even if the wall has a tanking membrane, the water will get in behind the tiles. This can cause pressure to build up behind the tiles and cause the tiling to fail and in extreme cases tiles will come away from the wall.


A leaking shower is a very common problem that is generally down to little or no maintenance schedule. I have over 25 years of experience working on showers. Being a Tiler for years I installed many showers enclosures and know exactly how showers were installed and the common failures that can arise therein. I have seen the vast improvements in building materials and techniques but these improvements do not mean that a shower enclosure will stay watertight. With these years of experience I can usually work out why a shower is leaking and come up with a solution to stop that leak.

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Whether it’s a leaking shower in Lisburn, unsightly black mould grout in Downpatrick, black mould or mildew on silicone seals in Newcastle, damaged or broken seals in Banbridge or loose grout in Belfast. The Shower Doctor NI has the experience and the expertise to find a solution to any of these problems. We pride ourselves on doing the best possible job giving the best possible finish using the newest products on the market.


Mon to Fri / 8.45am to 5.00pm