DEAR MIKE: I have a problem with water creeping under my shower door when I shower. My neighbor came over and said it looks like my shower door is missing a part at the bottom of it. How can I prevent the water from leaking out? -- Shawn L.
DEAR SHAWN: Most of the complaints I hear about leaking shower doors are that they leak from underneath the door (like yours).
I would like to add a complaint. Like many people, I have a glass shower door with a sweep on the bottom of it. The sweep attaches to the inside bottom of the door and has a drip edge to direct water back into the shower, and a rubber sweep on the bottom of the door to keep water from splashing out.
Now, my wife is a cleaning fanatic who goes ballistic if there is even a drop of water on the glass, so she bought a squeegee. Well, I got a little lax on squeegeeing the glass after a shower so she bought some chemicals to spray on the glass to leave a streak-free surface. The chemicals worked their way down to the drip edge.
You know how when you open the door from the inside of the shower you sometimes have to push a little harder than normal? That extra effort pushed all those chemicals on the carpet, leaving a rainbow arc of discoloration. The nice thing though is that it's permanent.
The sweep typically rubs against the bottom track of the shower. Often, the friction from opening and closing the door will cause the shower sweep to recede up into the drip edge, leaving a gap for water to splash through. The sweep can be adjusted or replaced to eliminate this gap.
The drip edge and sweep are usually held in place with a couple of screws, but I have seen them held in place with silicone caulk or even double-sided tape.
Inspect the condition of the sweep. It will probably be a little wavy but that's OK. If your drip edge is held in place with screws, this job is easy.
To adjust the sweep, loosen the screws (don't remove them), and pull the sweep down evenly so that it just touches the bottom track of the shower. Then tighten the screws.
If the sweep needs to be replaced, buy a new one at a home improvement or plumbing supply store and sandwich it in between the door and drip edge (you may have to trim it). Then screw the drip edge into the door.
Some types of drip edges have a groove that the sweep slides into. These sweeps are likely to be held in place with silicone caulk. I don't particularly like sweeps that are secured with caulk only, because they seem to work themselves loose quickly.
If you have this type of drip edge, apply a bead of clear silicone caulk to the back lip of the drip edge and push it back into place. Apply a second small bead of caulk at the top of the drip edge where it meets the door and smooth it with a wet finger. As a back up, you may want to install three small self-tapping water-resistant screws (like galvanized or brass) through the drip edge into the door.
Finally, some drip edges have a stop built in at the swinging side of the door. If yours does not have this feature, you can put a dab of caulk at the end to stop a spray of water (or chemicals) from arcing across your