water leak between condo units

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Old 03-27-13, 11:39 PM
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water leak between condo units

Hello,

I have a second story condo. Recently my downstairs neighbor contacted me saying there is a leak between our units, saying there is a large water bubble forming on the ceiling. This happened the day after I took a bath. It happened only because I took a bath because I always take showers (just this one night I took a bath). Also, the damage hasn't gotten worse since that day, even though I continue to take showers. I thought this happened because the drain isn't completely sealed but someone told me it's caused by overflow when the drain is clogged. My neighbor also mentioned that there was a small water bubble before this and it got larger on that day.

I know I need to get more information and possibly a picture. I am hoping to avoid opening up the ceiling (possibly sand and repaint to fix the damage) but need to nail down the problem first. Does anyone have a good idea on what the problem might be?
 
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Old 03-28-13, 03:58 AM
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If the damage is located directly below your shower/tub, then opening his ceiling is the only way to detect and correct the problem. With a condo, you need to determine who owns what, and who is responsible for correcting things.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 04:32 AM
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I'm betting it's at the tub drain but it could be a cracked drain pipe or a joint came loose. Like Chandler said the ceiling probably needs to be opened to find the source of the leak.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 06:13 AM
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If the plumbing side of your shower backs against a closet or other drywall wall, you could start there by opening up an 18" square at floor-level. You should be able to reach your hand in to feel where the water may be coming from.

But at some point your downstairs neighbor is probably going to have to have the drywall replaced, if it's a "big" bubble, sanding won't help much.
 
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Old 04-03-13, 10:24 PM
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Opening it up will not be an option. After further investigation I found between the units is solid wood. It's not drywall. No patch could ever make it as structurally sound as it is now so I will be resolving it without opening it up. My question is to ask experienced plumbers if they have encountered a problem that was described to them like this and what they found the problem/solution to be?

A correction: there was no damage prior (I had misunderstood my neighbor). Sunday night I took a bath and my neighbor noticed a small bubble that night. The next day it was very big. However, the day after that it had gotten smaller. So the water has already dried out and the problem is not getting worse. I have been taking showers everyday since then so I know it's not a slow leak. Probably not a cracked pipe because that would cause the problem to get worse. I looked for cracks in the tub but there are none. It's not the sealing around the tub. It has to do with how much water is going through the pipe/drain at once or the weight associated with filling the tub. Any plumbers out there that have encountered this situation?
 
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Old 04-04-13, 05:10 AM
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I'm sticking with my original thought.

You need to get some professionals in there as soon as possible. The situation will not get better on it's own and the longer you let it leak the more damage there will be to repair, greatly increasing the expense. I generally jump on leaks immediately when fixing the leak is often the only repair required. Knowingly let a leak go for a week or more is asking for additional sheetrock and painting work at the very minimum.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 05:38 AM
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Do either of you guys like mold? That will be your new neighbours very soon, if they haven't already moved in.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 07:55 AM
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Simple... You took a bath. Had the water high I suppose up to the overflow/trip lever????

Splashing around possibly?

Anyway the most likely culprit would be the tub gasket for the overflow. Could be the tail piece of the overflow too. You would need at a min remove that overflow plate and check the gasket. Worse case open the wall behind the tub and replace or repair the gasket and overflow tail piece...
 
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Old 04-04-13, 10:36 PM
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thank you lawrosa. that's the answered I found when I googled the problem (I don't know why I didn't think of that sooner). PS there is no point to having these forums if your first response to a problem is "call a professional".
 
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Old 04-05-13, 03:48 AM
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Not sure, but the referral to "professionals" was not so much to repair the problem, but for mold remediation. That sometimes does not fall under DIY, especially when it is not your property being affected. Redistributing mold spores in someone else's unit places you at liability. Let us know how the repair goes on the overflow.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 07:30 AM
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My Two Cents

I encountered a similar situation several years ago. Turned out there was a defective ABS glue joint in a 3" vertical line. You could replicate the leak only by filling the tub and letting it drain. With the shower running or just a toilet flush, there apparently was not a high enough nor sustained flow rate to cause it to wet things below. Agree with lawrosa that the overflow is a good candidate also.
 
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