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Bathtub leak while shower

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Jun 12, 2013, 02:35 AM
quanghoc
Bathtub leak while shower
My bathtub leaks water into basement while shower only (not when bathing). It has about 20 drops per min. It only happens when someone in shower and not when shower running by itself.

I sealed off the faucet & handle area with plastic and tape to make sure the water not running down the wall into behind the crack. It still leaks.

There is no obvious crack on the tub, wall or seal. I suspected it was the seal but I ran my finger along, no crack and nothing lose.

Would it be possible that the seal still leaks water even "visually" there is nothing wrong with it?
Jun 12, 2013, 11:01 AM
swschrad
sure, it's possible. could be leaks in plumbing, for instance the shower run, could be permeation through the wall, could be there was no waterproofing behind the wall and it's running off the sill of the tub.

you are going to have to put an inspection hole in someplace, if you don't have an access panel to the faucet assembly on the opposite side of the wall, and use an inspection camera with a fiber optic snake. basically they're a rework of common cellphone parts, and you can get one with a harbor freight 20% off coupon for just over $60.


sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jun 12, 2013, 12:53 PM
quanghoc
I did open the drywall to look behind the plumbing of the faucet and saw nothing. I also confirmed that's not the plumbing because if I put the shower straight in the middle of the tub, no leak. If I pointed it left / right (to the wall or shower door), there is small leak. If someone taking the shower, larger leak.

So I guess it's either the wall or the seal along the tub. I taped off the soap box on the wall with masking tape and plastic and it's still leaking. Basically I just eliminated one by one.

It's hard to believe the seal would leak even there is no obvious visual sign of damage.
Jun 12, 2013, 05:23 PM
Jaybee
What is the surround made of?

There is no 'seal' around the tub. What it has is a 1" lip that the surround material overlaps. Since you have determined that it only leaks when water is directed towards the sides, there are only a few possible causes:

1. Any corner, especially the corner closest to the faucet. Check to see that it's not cracked. Caulk if necessary.
2. Tile (if the surround it tile). Look for cracked grout. Gently push on the tile, again - especially on the wall with the faucet. If it moves inward at all then you have found your leaking area.
3. Side runoff - Sometimes hard to see but water sticks to the tub surface and runs out over the front edge of the tub - almost always at the outer edge nearest the faucet. It will leave a puddle on the floor. You can fix this by adding a deflector. This can also happen at the foot end of the tub, but is less common as the tub would have to be out of level to leak in this area.
4. Around the faucet. Make sure that your trim plate is sealed - especially on the top and sides.


Jaybee
Jun 12, 2013, 11:50 PM
quanghoc
I did more experiment today and it still LEAKS!

I sealed off the surround like in the picture below with masking tape and polyvinyl. When I ran the shower alone pointing in that direction, no leak.

When I actually took the shower, it leaks. Super strange.


Jun 12, 2013, 11:54 PM
quanghoc
I also sealed off the soap box, all faucets to troubleshoot.

As you can see, the other side of the tub is also sealed to prevent water running inward into the front.

Still leaks!!


Jun 12, 2013, 11:55 PM
quanghoc
This picture shows that I open the drywall and looked behind. There is no leak along the pipes or drains.

When I went under basement, I saw water dripping from (1) and going to (2). Sometime I also see water running along the wood frame under the bathtub. Look like there are multiple leaks. But I cannot confirm that (1) is where the leak starts because it was sealed off. Plus water could ran from some other places into (1)

This message has been edited. Last edited by: quanghoc,


Jun 13, 2013, 08:54 AM
Jaybee
Your number (1) is right at the end of the lip of the tub. Any water that gets behind the surround between the tile and the backer can run to this area, then just flow off along the edge of the tub to below. This indicates that you have a higher up leak that works it's way down to the tub. The wall that contains the faucet is always the most likely source of a leak like this as it has the most areas to go wrong. Since you have taped off fixtures and tub to tile area, then that leaves the surround tile and grout as the likely problem.

Since you can make it leak while showering yet not always leaking by just spraying water, this too indicates that you are splashing water on the walls in an area that is no longer waterproof.

To troubleshoot, add a hose to your spout so you can spray in a particular direction. Start low and work your way up - go slow - it often takes a couple of minutes for water to work it's way through.

Prior to the spray test, just push on all the tiles. Any that move (even a little) or feel 'soft' are probably the leak area.


Jaybee
Jun 13, 2013, 11:58 AM
Frodo
it may be the shoe leaking. the drain under the strainer is called a shoe.. the strainer screws into the tub, with a gasket on the bottom and plumbers puddy between the strainer and bottom of tub..look under tub. see if its dripping, also lok where the overflow is connected to the top hole of the tub. this is a spot that leaks alot. have your better half pour water over the overflow use you look at the connection


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Jun 14, 2013, 01:22 AM
quanghoc
quote:
Originally posted by Jaybee:
To troubleshoot, add a hose to your spout so you can spray in a particular direction. Start low and work your way up - go slow - it often takes a couple of minutes for water to work it's way through.

Prior to the spray test, just push on all the tiles. Any that move (even a little) or feel 'soft' are probably the leak area.


I will get a hose to test tomorrow. But I did check every tile and none are lose. I am getting suspicious could be (4) leaking and going sideway to (1)
Jun 14, 2013, 01:24 AM
quanghoc
quote:
Originally posted by Frodo:
it may be the shoe leaking. the drain under the strainer is called a shoe.. the strainer screws into the tub, with a gasket on the bottom and plumbers puddy between the strainer and bottom of tub..look under tub. see if its dripping, also lok where the overflow is connected to the top hole of the tub. this is a spot that leaks alot. have your better half pour water over the overflow use you look at the connection


I attached photo below. I check below (5) under basement, there is no leak, if that is the shoe you were talking about.

I didn't see any overflow. Is it (4)?


Jun 14, 2013, 04:43 AM
Frodo
it looks to me that your prob is the tub to tile caulk joint.
did you ck the shower head piping? if the pipe to shower head is leaking, it will ONLY leak when the shower is on

so its tub surround or plumbing pipes i bet tub surround
leaks like this can drive you crazy




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Jun 15, 2013, 02:29 AM
quanghoc
I found the leak after nearly 1 week of troubleshooting. It was exactly what Frodo said: grout of the tiles.

I was so angry today and I started punching the wall, thinking I am going to take it down. After punching hard few times, the grout start falling down with flakes. Then I know something is wrong. I got my finger nails in between several tiles cracks and see the gaps. It was the trickiest leak I ever seen!! LOL

This message has been edited. Last edited by: quanghoc,
Jun 15, 2013, 03:51 AM
Frodo
good, glad you found it.now you get to cut out al of that old grout/caulk
clean it real good and use 100% silly-cone to seal it up with.

but before you do....see what jaybee or swchrad think of the best fix. i'm a plumber
we found the leak. did my job. the others know better how to fix

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Frodo,




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Jun 15, 2013, 11:02 AM
nona
glad you found the leak. and now need to seal the joints. I prefer a polyurethane caulk over a silicone caulk. Why ? Because after cleaning both you still have to remove all and I do mean all of the silicone to reseal the joint, as nothing will stick to silicone , not even silicon. ( except maybe soap scum )Poly, on the other hand, is easy to redo so long as it is clean. poly will stick to poly,
But , as always, it's your choice
Jun 15, 2013, 03:52 PM
GardenSprite
Quanghoc, I've been following this thread and was wondering what the cause of the leak was, so I'm glad you found it.

Sometimes a bit of violence solves a problem quicker than rationed analysis. Big Grin

Glad the problem has been identified.
Jun 20, 2013, 11:16 PM
quanghoc
After fixing & several days later, NO MORE LEAK Wink

I just basically pull off some tiles and spray bleach to kill mold. Then caulk the tiles back in with some general purpose poly tube from Lowes. It's a F- job if you are professional plumbing. But considering I know I will remodel the whole bathroom with in 1.5 yrs, I think it will stay Smile

Here is the photo before I found the leak. Impossible to see it.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: quanghoc,


Jun 20, 2013, 11:17 PM
quanghoc
After I hitting the wall, flakes coming off like below.


Jun 20, 2013, 11:17 PM
quanghoc
I pulled tiles out and clean up really good. I supposed to pull more tiles on top but I was lazy. The top probably got some mold too but heck, we don't smell them! lol


Jun 27, 2013, 08:09 AM
Frodo
the whole problem is the tile was installed wrong to begin with. it looks like it was glued on to the sheet rock. no water barier behind the tile.


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