Drano and a hole in the lead shower pan


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Old 03-26-06, 10:48 AM
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Drano and a hole in the lead shower pan

I have rented my house a month ago for a few years and prior to that point, I had a new bathroom installed though did not disrupt the lead shower pan--just rebuilt the shower walls with the floor intact. Once the new people moved in, they said there was aproblem with water going fast enough down the stall shower drain and poured Drano in there to solve the problem. Shortly after that point, within 2 weeks, the ceiling started leaking. One plumber said the shower pan was not the problem and did tests with a hose form the tub to the shower and couldn't get it to leak. But 2 tile experts ca,e and said the shower pan wa the problem and they want to rip out the last 2 rows of tile on the walls and the floor so the pan can be replaced. I don't knwo who to belive-the plumber who says the problem is not the pan but rather grouting or the tile guy who says the problem is a new shower pan. But the bigger problem in my mind is who is responsbile. i am wondering if the Drano poured down the hole uinthe stall shower--don't know how much though I was told aboiut it after by the renters--could have made a hole in the shower pan if it was poured in in great amounts or if it wasn't poured in carefully. I don't want to get into the blame game, but I am looking at a $5000 repair and don't want to deal with it.
 
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Old 03-26-06, 11:13 AM
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I don't see how you could blame the renters. What they did was not unreasonable at all.

You will have to check the shower yourself. Put that hose back into the shower and keep running the water to keep the top of the drain flange in water. Do not get water above the pan. You may have to run the water for at least 10 or 15 minutes before you will see it below. When there is a leak, the water spreads onto the ceiling below (let's assume it is drywall). If it is dead level, it will pool up before starting to run anywhere. When it does run, it may have to go a distance before the water finds an opening, such as a joint or a light fixture, and shows itself. If there happens to be insulation in the ceiling (maybe for sound deading) that wil soak up water. The leak may not show up unless two showers are taken back to back, because the water has a chance to dry up between showers. If you run the water for 20 minutes or so, and there is no sign of leakage after another 15 minutes or so, then look at the tile. If there is leakage, you will have to open the ceiling. The leak could be a hole in the pipe, a loose fitting or a loose/failed drain flange.
Believe it or not, I have encountered a few situations where PVC drain joints all of a sudden started leaking after 10 or 20 years, and there is not sign of any cement on the joint, which I could pull aprt by hand. I have seen copper drain pipe corroded through from acidic well or spring water.

Look closely at the grout lines. If you see any grout that is not tight, try pushing on the tile and see if it gives. Start running water on suspect tile first, trying for 15 or 20 minutes as above.
That is how I would approach it.
 
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Old 03-27-06, 07:21 PM
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drano can't eat through lead?

so the drano didn't eat through the lead?
 
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Old 03-27-06, 09:06 PM
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It may have been the final blow for a pipe that was already badly corroded, but it was not the cause of the leak,
and I don't think that the shower pan or drain is lead.
 
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Old 03-28-06, 10:48 PM
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Actually lead was used for shower pans, but that was quite some time ago. If you do have a lead shower pan it can't be too far from retirement & it should have been addressed with the bath remodel. Why remodel a bathroom & leave a 60 year old shower pan?

If the piping/pan is so fragile that one dose of Drano eats a hole in it, it was a failure waiting to happen. And they probably put the Drano in the drain, not all over the pan. As unpleasant as it may be to pay for your own repairs, that's the way it is sometimes. Replacing a shower pan should not cost $5K.
 
 

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