upstairs shower is leaking water


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Old 09-23-22, 07:01 PM
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upstairs shower is leaking water

Our upstairs shower is leaking water into the bathroom below it. It happens only after a long shower, shorter showers don't do it. I opened up the face plates behind the shower arm and behind the lever that turns on the water and controls the hot and cold water. There are no leaks behind either and no back spray. There is no tub/tub spout. I'm thinking it's either from the drain pipe or the shower pan is cracked. What makes it weird is that I couldn't get it to drip water when no one is inside the shower, only when my wife is in the shower. I suggested that she doesn't take anymore showers but that didn't fly well. I caulked the face plate around the shower arm and the face plate behind the lever is on pretty tight, so I don't see any water getting through there. Are there any ideas what else it could be? I'm about to call a plumber but hate the idea.
 
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Old 09-23-22, 08:14 PM
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Tape one long piece of painters plastic to the walls, let it drape over the tub like a 360 degree shower curtain. This will rule out water coming through the tile or around the tub edges. If it still leaks, it's a safe bet you need to open up the ceiling below to repair the spud and drain pipes. Good time to clean out or replace the trap.
 
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Old 09-24-22, 05:25 AM
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It happens only after a long shower
Its leaking all the time it just takes a longer time for the leak to put out enough water to make it all the way downstairs.

​​​​​​​What makes it weird is that I couldn't get it to drip water when no one is inside the shower
So that seems to indicate that something is going on with the drain, the weight of a person cold be flexing a joint just enough that it opens up and leaks.

Need to get on that before serious water damage occurs.
 
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Old 09-24-22, 05:49 AM
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Just from what you've said my first guess would be the drain is leaking, likely where it meets the shower pan. The upper part, what is visible within the shower, is screwed into the drain below so you can unscrew it and try applying some new plumbers putty. Sort of re-installing the drain.
 
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Old 10-05-22, 02:20 PM
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An update: I had a plumber come by to look for the leak and he couldn't find it. He thought it was the toilet because the leak is happening where the toilet it. He opened up the ceiling but we couldn't get it to recreate the leak. We tried running the shower and flushing the toilet but no leaking water. I left the ceiling open for a while. I showered, my kids showered, my wife showered two times since opening the ceiling an no water leaks. Last night my wife showered for the third time since opening the drywall, and there it was, water leaking from the toilet connection! How does this happen?

Also, the plumber was saying if it is a drain or shower pan problem that there is wood and concrete between the floors. So does that mean I would need to demo the tile in the shower, fix the drain and shower pan, and the re-do the tile?




 
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Old 10-06-22, 01:54 AM
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and there it was, water leaking from the toilet connection! How does this happen?
So to be clear, your saying the water leak is from the toilet drain when the shower is in use?

They cant be related, they are separate lines. Id suggest pulling the toilet and checking the flange and installing a new wax ring.
 
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Old 10-06-22, 02:27 AM
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So to be clear, your saying the water leak is from the toilet drain when the shower is in use?
Yep! leaks from the toilet drain when the shower is in use! Not when the shower is running and no one is inside. When the shower is in use for 30 minutes or more! Literally, that's the only time it happens! I've had the ceiling open for at least a week now and it doesn't happen when flushing the toilet. If it's an issue with the toilet why am I not getting water all the time or when I flush, only when the shower is in use? And it has one of the rubber gaskets that was installed a year or two ago, not a wax ring.

One more question, what is above the wood that the drain is going into? Could it be that water is leaking from the shower, pooling up on top of the wood, and coming down where the drain is. The plumber said there's concrete above the wood so would accessing the shower pan and drain be easier from the top?

I bet it's not concrete. The house is from 1972 and in Southern California.
 
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Old 10-06-22, 05:37 AM
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If the toilet is leaking when someone showers you have something odd going on. Either a partially clogged drain line causing water to back up or the shower is leaking and the water is traveling between layers of flooring to emerge at the hole drilled for the toilet drain. Your plumber might first replace the toilet wax ring to see if that solves the problem since it's cheap and easy. At least that can remove that as one possible source.
 
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Old 10-06-22, 06:08 AM
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Don't think it's that odd...

Any water on the floor leaking out of the shower curtain during these half hour long showers? Or leaking down the side of the tub? Because it sounds like water is getting under the tile at the tub edge (assuming there is a tub... we have no photos of the actual shower to go on. You mention the shower pan, so I'm guessing no tub?) then running under the tile toward the toilet, or on top of the tile and down the edges of the toilet flange.

You could take the trim off the shower valve and send a camera scope down the wall toward the floor and see if it's wet behind there. Water tends to follow the front edge of the tub down to the floor... where it would get behind layers.

The wood you see from below is your subfloor. When tile is laid there is usually a concrete mud bed that has been dry packed on top of that wood subfloor. Then your floor tile is laid on top of that. None of this is waterproof if water leaks past a shower curtain... shower door... shower valve trim... tub spout... or tub edge.

If there is no tub and you have a shower pan and curb, my guess would be maybe poor detailing at the curb... only because it's likely closest to the toilet. But definitely scope the wall behind the shower valve first since that would be easiest to fix.
 
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Old 10-06-22, 06:57 AM
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As noted we're not there to see, where is the shower drain in relation to the toilet drain you are seeing. Is the shower drain on that same line?

One thing from a prior comment that made me think, if the shower drain is down stream of the toilet, maybe a snake to clean the line is needed, years of soap and hair could be causing a partial block that takes time to back the water up all the way to the toilet which then leaks!

Do the easy things first!
 
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Old 10-07-22, 05:03 PM
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So here are some pictures. The first is of the pipes in the wall. The one closest to the camera is where the toilet drain goes to. The copper pipes in the back go to the shower. The black one between the copper pipes, I'm guessing, is the shower drain. Not really sure where the black one between the other 2 black ones goes to.

Second picture shows where the toilet is in relation to the shower. I tried to snake the drain and you can see in the 3rd picture how far the snake goes before I can't push it in anymore. The fourth picture shows an orange mineral that came out from snaking it but no hair or anything else. This before I did anything and then I used 2 treatments of a gel to clear the clog, followed by flushing with boiling water. Got the same results after both treatments.





 
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Old 10-07-22, 05:10 PM
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First thing I would be doing is get your grout cleaned and resealed. Then once its clean, recaulk the perimeter of the floor tile and corners of your walls, and edges of your curbs. And the inside corners of your shower door track.

If you can pop the cover up off your drain, (the square part held down with screws) ensure it is clean underneath. You "should have a membrane under there that needs to be able to weep into the drain) there are weep holes under that cover that may need to be cleaned out. It might require the services of a tile guy.
 
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Old 10-11-22, 12:26 PM
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I agree with what Pilot Dane mentioned:
the shower is leaking and the water is traveling between layers of flooring to emerge at the hole drilled for the toilet drain
The water is getting in somewhere under the tile, either through some corners that need caulk (hopefully) or a worse leak.
 
 

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