Tile Shower Pan leaks found at Home Inspection

Testing a shower pan can reveal hidden issues

Testing a shower pan can reveal hidden issues

We test tile shower pans during our Arizona home inspections.

One of the things that makes our home inspection company different is during the inspection, we will fill the shower pan with water to test for leaks. This may seem pretty simple but many inspectors simply do a visual examination and run the water for a minute (or less) to make sure the faucet functions.
By filling the pan we are able to discover issues many others miss. About 20% of the tile shower pans we test during a home inspection fail.

The real sad fact is most of the pans that fail were installed in the last few years.

I have had home owners and contractors argue with me about the test, but the procedure we perform is actually spelled out in the International Residential building code.

IRC. P2503.6 Shower liner test.
Where shower floors and receptors are made water tight by the application of materials required by Section P2709.2, the completed liner installation shall be tested. The pipe from the shower drain shall be plugged water tight for the test. The floor and receptor area shall be filled with potable water to a depth of not less than 2 inches (51 mm) measured at the threshold. Where a threshold of at least 2 inches high does not exist, a temporary threshold shall be constructed to retain the test water in the lined floor or receptor area to a level not less than 2 inches deep measured at the threshold. The water shall be retained for a test period of not less than 15 minutes and there shall be no evidence of leakage. (We don’t build temporary thresholds)

The shower pan above is less than 2 years old. We did the code required pan test during our home inspection and in under 10 minutes I saw water coming out of the exterior wall.

Shower pan leak found during a home inspection

Shower pan leak found during a home inspection

This can lead to several other problems, such as rotten wood, wet insulation, and mold. The cost to repair this shower was estimated at $1,600. (not including repairing any resulting damage)

We frequently find this issue on homes that have been flipped as the homeowner may do the work themselves or hire an inexpensive person to do the work.
It should be noted that  AZ requires work performed on homes for sale to be by contractors.

If you are buying a home in the Phoenix Metro area, Please do your homework. Not all inspection companies provide the same service or the same features.
Click here to see some of the reasons we are different than the other inspection companies

Please take a few minutes and check out our site and learn how to choose a home inspector, common issues found and how to prepare your home for the inspection.


If you have any questions or to book your inspection, feel free to call our office 480-636-7400


Scott Warga, is the Qualifying party for ACSI American  Construction Specialists and Investigations LLC,(ROC216772) a dual  licensed residential and small commercial contractor. He is also a  qualified Arizona home inspector certified by the Arizona Board of  Technical Registration (#38062) and was appointed to the Arizona Board  of Technical Registration’s Enforcement Advisory Committee. He has 9  years construction experience and has performed residential and  commercial property inspections for over 14 years. He has specialized in forensic inspections, investigating failed, damaged and defective  construction for over 4 years. He is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors, (#205826) and sat on their board of  directors for a total of 7 years (2 years as Speaker, 3 years as board member, 1 year as secretary & 1 year as Vice President). Scott is also a member of the International Code Council  (#5095644). He has been an instructor of home inspection at Mesa  Community College, Arizona Sun-Tech Home Inspection School and for  Inspection Training Associates, a Kaplan Professional School. He has  served as District Chairman & Vice President for the Arizona chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors and has been an approved instructor  for both them and the Arizona Department of Real Estate.

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