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quince19

06:08AM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 09/23/05
5 lifetime posts
Bvplumbing
My one full bath is above my kitchen, and there has been a leak through the ceiling from the bath to the kitchen since May. Two plumbers have been here; one replaced the faucet, showerhead and tub spigot thinking that the 30 year old fixture had a crack. Of course, the tile in the wall behind it came out too, to much expense. The leak is still happening.

The scenario is one shower a day, every day. On 1 - 2 days per week, about a half cup of water is in a puddle on the kitchen floor (through the ceiling which lines up to just under outside the upstairs tub). As an experiment, I have filled the tub to capacity and let it drain, and the floor beneath is dry. I have also run the shower for some 20 minutes or more, and the floor beneath is dry. The floor is dry most days and it appears that whatever is dripping builds up and then lets loose for a day or so and then stops. There is no noise. The ceiling where this leak occurs is open, exposing the subfloor above (the bath subfloor). It's easy to see the damage to the subfloor plywood.

Both plumbers say they've checked absolutely everything that can be checked but have found no evidence of anything to cause the leak. One wants to take my entire upstairs hall outside the bathroom apart, but I haven't allowed that. The other plumber wants to take my entire kitchen ceiling out and I haven't yet allowed that either. Both appear to be fishing because neither has a clue. And that's after I've already spent $1200.

On the phone another plumber said he thought it was the tile - I have a tile bathroom floor, tile walls half way up, a completely tiled shower. The caulk is layered on very thick and the grout on all ths tile appears to be in very good shape. There are no broken or cracked or chipped tiles. There is no water on the floor. But this third plumber says he thinks the entire shower needs to be regrouted because the bathroom is 30 years old and the grout after awhile gets more porous and starts to act like a sponge.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO OR THINK ANYMORE. CAN ANYONE OUT THERE HELP ME???

THANK YOU SO MUCH.


Billhart

06:58AM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
The ceiling is getting that wet it will need to be repaired anyway by now.

Not necessarily the whole ceiling, but certainly a patch in that area. So go ahead and open it up for inspection.

Now are you the only person using the shower? What kind of shower door/curtain is there?

I have heard of similar problems where it turned out that one member of the family was leaving the door open or the curtain on the outside of the tub.

Try only taking a bath for 2 weeks. If you don't have a problem then that rules out the facuet and drain.


quince19

12:33PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 09/23/05
5 lifetime posts
Thank you Bill Hart but as stated, the ceiling is already open, in fact several feet of it in two places. There isn't a family member leaving the curtain open; there is only me and I'm fastidious with keeping the curtain and liner very well closed. As stated, the tub has been filled to capacity and drained several times with no water to be found, so it's definitely the shower and not the tub.

I appreciate your help but as I stated, all this has been investigated and still no solution by me and two recommended plumbers.

doug seibert

12:46PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 08/10/02
843 lifetime posts
Is this a single tub w/showerhead ?

also...

All plumbing drains eventually exit the roof as a vent......the vent pipe is surrounded/weatherproofed by a boot.......Check the boot for leaks......

Billhart

03:09PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
Looking at the joist and sub-floor where are the water stains. That should give you some clues was to what part of the "system" that the water is coming from.

Might have to drill a few holes under the tub so that it will allow the water to come out direclty with out running across under the tub.

BTW, Grout is not waterprood, period. It needs a sealer.

"The caulk is layered on very thick and the grout on all ths tile appears to be in very good shape."

It is hard to tell without looking at it. But if caulk was just put over existing caulk you can have paths that actually trap water amd allow it to run behind it.

The other think that Doug is getting to is that this might not have anything to do with the shower, but rather someother source of water.

Rain with leaky roof or bad flashing around the plumbing vent, bathroom vent, etc.

And is there an AC unit in the attic?


quince19

04:43PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 09/23/05
5 lifetime posts
Thank you gentlemen but I don't think - respectfully - we're on the right track. There is a new roof in place which has caused absolutely no problems. There is no vent in the roof area near the bathroom; I know; this house has been in my family for over 45 years. And, just for the record, the roof wasn't shingled over; it was removed and a new roof w/new flashing was installed. Anyway, also, there isn't any a/c in the house at all, so that's not the cause. If there was water hiding behind some tile somewhere regularly enough to cause a flow through the floor and through the kitchen ceiling every week since May, wouldn't the tile or grout or something show some mold or mildew? And, by the way, we've had a near drought this summer; almost no rain at all (I know; I have a wet basement also - lucky me).

doug seibert

07:02PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 08/10/02
843 lifetime posts
Keep an open mind and listen to our suggestions.......we're helping from a mile away .....basing our advice on the scant bit of information provided.......

I offered a non-shower based leak.......a new roof would be a prime candidate for a flashing mistake....sorry about your drought.......EVERY plumbing fixture is vented....most thru the roof.....

I'll-Ask-Again.....Is this a combined tub/shower?...or a tub and a separate tiled shower......

You've already been "hosed" by two plumbers on-site......They changed the supply fixtures and re-tiled ?.....

Has anybody "hosed" the tub/shower yet........after 15 minutes of a garden hose spray on ALL the surfaces any leaks should be visible in the ceiling opening......

The "wet" wall at the tub is usually open to the undertub.....the floor opening around the tub drain is usually oversize......what can you see/feel.......

quince19

07:20PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 09/23/05
5 lifetime posts
Thank you again for your reply. I know there isn't an opening in the roof anywhere near the upstairs bath. The only venting I've ever seen is a small tube protruding from the top of the garage which isn't near the bath, so I'm stumped. Anyway, yes, tub/shower combo. The garden hose spray is a very good idea, although I don't know how that would be accomplished considering the pressure is not good. Maybe I could just fill a pot with water and slosh it all over the tiles while standing in the tub as an experiment to see what happens? Sounds like a comedy skit but that would certainly answer the question, I guess.

Could there be a crack in the tub? This house was built in 1959 and the tub has a liner in it which was installed some years ago in order to change the color; it's one of those Rebath type things which seems stable. If the tub was cracked beneath it, I wouldn't be able to tell since all I can see is the liner. I would guess the tub used in the late 50's must have been cast iron w/porcelain overlay so I don't see how it could have cracked, but anyway . . . is it possible?

Thanks so much for your continuing help.


Billhart

07:57PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
I have never seen one of those so I really don't know how they work.

But if it was installed AFTER the tile then there is no real way to prevent water from going down behind it.

Yes, it can be caulked. But really any joint like that would be designed for failure.

The wall and tub/liner really need to be installed "shingle fashion" so that water runs down over and out. Caulk is just a first line of defence to keep out the bulk of the water.

If it is the whole seal then sooner or later water will get behind it.


quince19

08:38PM | 09/24/05
Member Since: 09/23/05
5 lifetime posts
Once again, thanks but the liner has been caulked over and over again, including with the tub full of water so that any gap between the tile and the edge of the liner was filled many times over with caulk. Also, the liner was installed years and years ago and only this past May did problems begin. Even if the liner isn't really caulked well, and even if it has a hairline crack that I can't see, it still had a cast iron tub beneath it, so if water is leaking from the liner, it is leaking into the tub -- ????
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