Today Autry Plumbing would like to offer you some professional plumbing tips. We’ll demonstrate how to locate and repair common water leaks that are often hidden before they cause rot and other costly damage.
The majority of them can be found near bathtubs and showers, as well as drains, sinks, and toilets.
Water spraying out of the shower past the curtain or shower door is known as a splash leak. According to plumbers, this is the most common form of bathroom leak. Although it can seem slight, when water seeps into the subfloor where the tub or shower meets the flooring, it causes significant damage. When vinyl flooring or tiles begin to loosen, or worse still, the plywood subfloor delaminates and rots, necessitating a massive, costly tear-out and replacement project.
Trouble signs include:
Next to the shower, curling vinyl flooring or loose tiles.
Near the tub, peeling paint or flaking, chalky-looking wood finish.
Water stains on the ceiling or the floor joists.
Near the tub or shower, there are mold spots on the wall or surface.
After you shower, look for standing water on the floor if you used a curtain.
How to locate the source of a leaking bathtub drain:
Splash water all over the shower door and frame if you have one. Leaks around the perimeter could take up to five minutes to appear.
Check for holes if the door has rubber gaskets or a rubber door sweep.
Often look for any caulk gaps where the shower or tub meets the concrete.
Fixing a leaking tub drain consists of the following steps:
When closing sliding doors, make sure they are appropriately overlapped. Closest to the faucet should be the inner door.
If you have a shower curtain instead of a fence, make sure it is fully closed while you shower, or install a splash guard.
Run a small bead of tub and caulk around the inside of a leaking frame to seal it. Fill any holes between the frame and the shower surround with caulk. Wipe away any excess caulk as soon as possible. Check for leaks after the caulk has dried.
The rusty gaskets or door sweeps should be replaced. Get the old one to a home center or a plumbing supplies store to find a replacement that matches (be sure to get the correct size to fit).
Scrape out any holes in the old caulk around the floor and apply a fresh bead.
Water can leak around the outside of the drain, where it connects to the tub or shower, due to drain leaks. This is particularly popular with plastic or fiberglass tubs and shower pans, which bend slightly when you stand on them, causing the seal around the drain to crack. These leaks have the potential to stain or damage the ceiling below, as well as rot the floor joists. The leak will damage the flooring in the bathroom or adjoining rooms if the tub is placed on a concrete slab.
Symptoms of a leaking bathtub drain include:
- Water stains on the ceiling or the floor joists.
- Damp floors in adjoining rooms or loose flooring by the tub (if the tub is on a concrete slab).
To locate the source of a leaking tub drain, follow these steps:
- If you can see the drain’s underside through an access panel or an open ceiling, fill the tub halfway and drain it. Plug the drain with a washcloth, and then turn off the water in the tub.
- From below, via the access pad, inspect the drains and traps for leaks.
- If you don’t have access to the drain’s underside, plug it and fill it with enough water to create a small puddle around it (photo). Set a bottle of shampoo next to the puddle to mark the edge.
- After that, wait an hour. The drain is leaking if the puddle shrinks. This test should not be done with your tub stopper because it can leak. Remove the stopper and place a 1-1/2-in—test plugin in its place (find them at home centers). For a tub, remove the grate and plug it in with a 2-inch plug.
How to fix a leaking bathtub drain:
- Screw the drain flange from the top.
- Then clean the flange and caulk it with silicone.
- Remove the rubber gasket from under the tub’s drain hole and send it to a home center to be replaced (be sure to get the correct size to fit).
- Replace the gasket and screw the drain flange in place.
- Tighten the ring nut that secures the drain to the shower pan if you have access to it from below.
- Replace the drain assembly if that doesn’t work.
- Break a hole in the ceiling below the drain or replace the drain assembly with a WingTite drain if you don’t have access underneath it.
Shower and tub: Leaks in the tiles
Water seeps through deteriorated grout or caulk and into the wall behind the tile, causing tile leaks. This may result in tile falling off the wall, extreme deterioration of the wall framing, and damage to the subfloor, joists, or the ceiling below.
Trouble signs include:
- Tiles that are loose.
- Mold that won’t go away.
- When the shower is against an exterior wall, you may notice some peeling paint on the outside.
- Under the tub, there are stains on the ceiling.
- Where to look for the source:
Check for holes in the grout and caulk joints. Mold is almost always found here.
Check the access panel behind the faucet and look for dampness or stains, whether there is loose tile behind the faucet or spout.
What to do with it:
- Remove any loose tiles, old grout, and caulk.
- You can reattach tiles, regrout, and recaulk using tub and tile caulk if the surface behind the tile is still solid.
- You’ll need to replace the backer board and tile or add a fiberglass surround if more than a few tiles are loose or the wall is spongy.
Leaky toilet flange
Find the source.
To find the root of a ceiling stain, take measurements from stacked walls. The stain usually appears near to the source.
The toilet meets the waste pipe below, causing leaks. Any flush allows water to seep out, destroying flooring, rotting the subfloor and joists, and causing damage to the ceiling below.
Trouble signs include:
- Water is dripping from the toilet’s foundation.
- Flooring that is loose or broken.
- Below are stains on the ceiling.
- When you lean against the toilet, it shakes slightly. The wax seal between the toilet and the closet flange will finally be broken as a result of this movement.
Where to look for the source:
If you have ceiling stains, take measurements from the stacked walls before removing the toilet. If the stain is near the toilet, the most probable cause is a leaking flange. Remove the toilet and check for leaks in the following areas:
- The flange is just below the level of the surrounding floor.
- The flange has cracks in it.
- Bolts or the slots into which they fit are damaged.
- The flange is not securely fastened to the subfloor.
What to do with it:
- Reinstall the toilet with a new wax ring if none of the problems mentioned above are found.
- Place a plastic flange riser over the current flange if it is too low.
- Install a metal repair flange if the flange or bolt slots are broken.
- If the toilet is rocking because the floor is rough, use toilet shims when reinstalling it.
If you have a plumbing problem that you think may require professional attention, simply CONTACT US to troubleshoot the problem and provide you with our free estimate. Autry Plumbing is the TOP RATED PLUMBING COMPANY IN WNC providing plumbing in Asheville NC and surrounding areas!