Leaking bathroom

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Old 12-02-12, 05:34 PM
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Leaking bathroom

We moved in a house 8 months ago, there were plumbing issues after issues, there was a more serious problem tonight, when someone was taking 20 minutes shower, water started leaking hard from light fixtures of downstairs (photo below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9067814...in/photostream

We have heard dripping sound when someone was taking shower since we moved in, I thought it was sound of expansion of the pipes. Tonight is the first time water leaked to downstairs. There is no water mark on ceiling of downstairs.

I think I'm going to open some dry walls around the bath tab tomorrow, my question is where should I open first and how big the opening should I make.

Thanks for your suggestions.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 05:54 PM
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If you have a joist finder,I would use it to mark open a square hole approximate 16" x 16",Use a sheet rock knife so that you can cut along the middle of the joist thus making it easy to put the sheet rock back. If the sheet rock is damaged try even harder to make the cut a rectangle or square so that when you cut a replacement piece it will fit relativity easy.

Please note that the water can travel for quite a while along a joist or on top of a vent before getting to the next floor. But before you cut anything though, please check the outside of the shower and see if water is running down the outside of the shower and through the floor tiles.
Good luck
 
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Old 12-02-12, 06:10 PM
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I'll do what you suggested to make the cuts. We don't have separate shower for that bathroom, the shower is in the bath tab.

I just noticed there was dripping sound when someone was using vanity of the bathroom, so the problem seems on drain pipes common to the shower and vanity.

The house is only 5 years old, the problems seem caused by bad contractors.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 06:26 PM
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so the problem seems on drain pipes common to the shower and vanity.
That's not good. That sounds like a drain issue and that may mean opening the ceiling below the bathroom. If it's PVC then you might be able to hear the water running thru it without it necessarilly leaking.

A more likely place to leak would be between the divertor valve and the shower head.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 06:39 PM
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That is actually good news, meaning if the leak is just a seal in the drain pipe, it should be relatively easy to fix.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 07:12 PM
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The sound was not running water but dripping sound one drop every few seconds lasting about 5 minutes after bath tab or vanity was used.

I'll check the seals first tomorrow.

I may make some small cuts around the leaking light fixture and use a cell phone to take some photos. Those cuts can be covered by the light fixture.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 05:09 AM
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If you have access, I would begin my investigation and demo of the wall behind the shower. This would give you a peek at the shower supply and drain. It seems unlikely that the shower and vanity leak at the same time, the drains are usually not tied together except at the vent stack.

You can do some preliminary investigating by concentrating on the shower arm connection to the drop elbow in the wall. Pull back the cover plate on the shower arm, shine a flash light into the hole and turn on the shower. I usually have a bucket to catch the water so I can stand in the shower area during the test. You can also take the trim off the supply handle and see if there is a leak there when the shower is on. You can also plug the shower drain hole, add some water and see if the seal on the drain is tight.

If it is on the supply side, it would have to be after all the valves, otherwise it would leak all the time. Drains, as stated, would be one or the other but probably not both.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 06:43 AM
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If your sure its when the vanity is used also, then it would be the area where the tub enters the vanity line. Usually a wye.

I would first be sure before I would cut anything open.

Look at the strainer in the tub. Is it tight?

Grout good?

Chaulk around spout?

Shower door or curtain good/secure?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for everyone's advice. Since the leak was bad last night and it could be there for months/years, I decided to open the wall behind the bath tub (in a closet) to see if there is mold and other damages:

OpenDryWall | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Good news are,
(1). There is no visible mold although the insulation under the P-trap is wet. The ceiling under leaking almost dried overnight.
(2). The leaking light fixture is only about 8" from the P-trap, the water damage seems very localized (only the insulation under P-trap is wet).
(3). The leaking doesn't seem related to vanity, the drain pipe from bath tub P-trap goes under the tub to the vent/drain stack on the other end of wall.
(4). The drain for bath tub does not seem to leak (I put water to the bath tub drain).

I found both the faucet and spout are very loose:

Faucet | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

TubSpout | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I caulked and tight the faucet to wall, but could not found a way to loose and re-tight the spout (it's very tight, I was afraid to use too much force to break something).

The spout moves back and forth if I push it, should there be something behind the wall to prevent it from moving back? I checked another bathroom, the sprout can also be pushed back. Did the contractor miss something when he installed the spouts?

I'll leave the wall open for a while, and may make a removable door rather than permanent dry wall.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:01 AM
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There should be a set screw under the spout. You will need to loosen and see if you can push the spout on further.

Then you can caulk around the spout.

I usually fill the hole where the pipe comes through the wall with caulk, then install the spout.

This will be the best at preventing water seepage through that hole where the pipe comes through.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:34 AM
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I took photos under the spout
spout | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
spout2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
I did not see a set screw.

May be I can caulk it from behind the wall?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:53 AM
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Less trouble would be to caulk from behind the wall.

That spout unscrews CCW. You would then need to unsolder the male adapter, shorther the copper and re install/solder the male adapter.

Additionally if there is some play you may be able to make a brace and pull the copper back from behind the wall. Pull and brace so the spout sits flush with wall. Then caulk hole and spout side.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 12:23 PM
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Check the donut gasket on the overflow, should be fine given the age of the house, but you never know. I think that there is enough play in all your trim out that it probably is the source of the water. Take the cover trim plate off the supply faucet. There should be 2 eyelets for you to screw the mixing valve body to a cross brace. They will be located on opposite corners.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 02:56 PM
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I agree the professional way to correct the hanging spout would be to shorten the copper, the gap between spout and wall is too wide and there isn't enough play to pull back. It's too much for me since last night, I caulked the spout behind the wall for the time being. I'll redo it later.

I believe the faucet was the main source of leaking when taking showers, I did check the overflow, the screws are tight and the washer is fine.

I feel more comfortable today than last night with the faucet tighten, wall opened and ceiling drilled. I'll have my fingers crossed hoping no other plumbing problem pop out tonight.

Thanks for everyone!
 
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