HELP! My Shower is Leaking!

2:52 PM

Update:  This past weekend I noticed that my kids shower was leaking.  This original post took me 2 hours over a couple of days to resolve.  Luckily I was able to refer back to my own blog and to fix the kids shower.

This time around I was able to fix the leak with only 1 trip to Lowes.  The entire repair took about 30 minutes (including shooing kids and dogs out of the bathroom so that I could work).

In honor of my latest triumph over another leaky faucet, here's a repost!
First it was the kitchen sink, then it was the shower!  That tap, tap, tap from the master bath just about drove me batty!  It was time, once again for a quicky DIY fix!

Fixing a leaky shower is simple in theory.  If you're working with newer parts the job is a breeze.  Unfortunately I had a bit of trouble, but everything worked out ok in the end.

I know from experience that a dripping shower head usually means that you need a new shower cartridge.  Calling a plumber to fix this problem costs about $250 in my area.  Buying a new cartridge from the hardware store costs about $40.  I enjoy saving money as much as I enjoy home repair so I chose to fix my own! 

We have a Delta Single Handle Shower (I don't know how old it is - it came with the house)

Here's what I did:

FIRST, TURN OFF THE WATER SUPPLY TO THE WHOLE HOUSE!  This step is an annoyance to people in the house, but it's necessary when fixing a shower leak.

House Water Supply 

Remove the decorative cover on the shower handle.

Remove decorative plate

Handle with plate removed

Now you'll need to find the screw that holds the shower handle in place.  This is the Delta 1300 series and the handle is held on by a tiny screw on the bottom of the handle.

Tiny screw hold on the back of shower handle

I need a hex key to remove this handle.  I happen to have a bunch.

Hex key (also called an Allen Key)

It took a few minutes to figure out which size I needed, but I finally found the right fit.

I needed this one

I should pause and say that this is where this project went off the rails for me.  Try as I might I COULD NOT get that tiny screw loose. 

I tried WD40, Liquid Wrench, vinegar, cussing and slamming things around and then I took a break from this project.

It was torture to feel like this tiny screw had gotten the best of me.  All the while tap, tap, tap the water was still leaking in the shower.

Cut to 1 week later, i'm back at it again.  I consulted the internet, Home Depot, Lowes and every Fix-It site I could find.  By now the screw was stripped.  The tool guy at Lowes sold me a screw extractor which seemed pretty promising!

Great tool for stripped screw heads

I'm sure i'll use this tool on another project, but sadly it was too big.

In the end I did was I was told not to do.  I broke the handle off!  Apparently breaking the handle off is a risky proposition.  You could just break off the handle or you could break something inside the wall.  I rolled the dice and got lucky.  The handle came off.

I finally just broke it off!

Now the job gets easy again.

Remove the ring that holds the shower cartridge in place.

Remove the metal ring that holds the cartridge in place

Pull out the old cartridge and insert the new one.  Make sure you follow the manufacturer directions on the cartridge.  Youll want to make sure that hot and cold are on the correct side.

New replacement cartridge

Slip in the new cartridge, reinstall the metal ring

Reinstall metal ring 

Reinstall the decorative wall plate and shower handle.

Reinstall decorative plate

I installed a new (easier to remove) handle but I forgot to take a picture.  This is what it looks like:

New shower handle

That's it's!  No more tap, tap, tap dripping shower faucet!  Hooray!!!!


This job turned out the be a matter of time vs. money.  Because the handle was stuck this job actually took a week to complete.  About 2 hours the first Ssaturday and about 50 minutes the second Saturday.  If everything had gone smoothly this job should have taken about 20 minutes. 

A good hardware store is worth it's weight in gold!  In my area Home Depot is close and convenient if you know what you're looking for.  Lowes is best if you have questions or need guidance.  KNOW YOUR HARDWARE STORES!

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  1. It's true what you said about how much money you can save if you can fix your own leak. I tried learning it as well through watching instructional videos on YouTube, but I'm still worried of messing everything up. I think what you wrote here will be helpful for others, so thank you for sharing these methods and tips. As for me, I think I'll stick to my plumber for the time being. Carmella Vancil

  2. So that’s why that shower drips... Huh.

    Myself, I usually don’t mind the dripping shower, but at some point, the shower cartridge becomes a problem, and I usually just call a friend who knows the stuff. I know, I should probably call a plumber, but a free lunch or dinner is cheaper than a plumber. Now I can try to do it for myself. Hopefully I don’t encounter a resilient screw.

    -- Darryl

  3. Fixing leaks alone have pros and cons. It can save you lots of money, and with the right tools, the job will be easier for you. Although, if you're not skilled enough and fail to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem, you might worsen the situation. Thank you for these tips nonetheless. They will surely benefit many.
    Total Plumbing Inc.

  4. All the measures, taken by you in order to fix the shower leakage, were commendable. I am hugely impressed by your post. Thanks.
    How to repair Leaking shower

  5. All the pics you provided in your blog to fix the leakage of shower is nice. You can save lot's of money if you solve the problem of leaking at proper time is the wall and floor also damages thanks for posting leaking showers problem

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Carol, the company that you mentioned in your post has asked that your comment be censored. If I had the ability to edit your post and remove the reference to that firm I would have done so. As I do not have the ability to edit users the post was removed.

      I encourage you to repost your thoughts making sure to leave out the same of, links to or any reference to that firm.

      Thanks for understanding.

  7. Shower leaking is so bothering. 24 hours the water is falling. But I can now see this is repairable. Before reading this I was thinking about replacing this. Also I can see it will not cost me a lot of money so need not to do the replacement. I am happy now and also hired a trained contractors from Sydney bathroom renovators-Star Ceramics

  8. I noticed that my shower is leaking. I think it's important for me to get this fixed right away. I don't want it to cause any damage or serious problems. I want to know who I should call about this.

    1. Gary, this is the easiest repair in the world! Why on earth would someone call a plumber. That's just throwing away good money!

  9. What a great work that was done for the shower handle. How would you know what size of handle to install? I'm asking this because my wife found a leak in the shower, and it's coming from the handle.

  10. Heavy rains in my region caused blocked drains, and made it difficult for all of us to handle the situation at that time. We are thankful to Mpho S who assisted us in a bad weather and relived us from all stress and worries easily.

  11. Before the huge pharmaceutical organizations became possibly the most important factor, specialists would prescribe COLD showers to settle an entire host of issues.hard water shower filter