Steel Bathtub With Strange Leak


Old 06-24-14, 11:27 PM
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Steel Bathtub With Strange Leak

We have a steel bathtub that has developed rust from the center of the tub forward to the drain. One spot (about midway between the drain and the back of the tub, about in the center both directions) has developed into a hole, maybe 1/2 mm in diameter. We got ready to try to patch the hole and realized that a small dribble of water is leaking UP through the hole. It is fairly steady, actually.

So, I called a plumber out to try to figure out where the leak was. After a while in the crawl space, he advised there was not moisture anywhere under the area where the tub is located.

So, we have water dribbling up through the bottom of the tub, the plumber claims there is no moister UNDER the tub, but it hardly seems sensible to patch a hole with even a little water escaping from it. We cannot find where this water is coming from.

(Under the tub are floor joists, not any kind of subfloor IIRC). Apparently we have a leak but if the plumber doesn't know where it is I sure don't. He just sort of looked at me and shook his head. I know it was apparently the wrong plumber.

Any suggestions? Where could this water be coming from? One question I have is whether there is any area in the lining of the tub (porcellan or whatever it is) where water could be pooling while bathtub has water in it? Or does this definitely have to be a plumbing leak somewhere? Sorry for the dumb question but it is just strange.
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Old 06-25-14, 05:18 AM
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Did the plumber check for leaks while the tub was filling with water and while the tub was full of water? Water can travel. I would check the faucet valve. I'm betting the water is coming from the faucet and traveling down the outside of tub to the bottom middle area. It must have been like this a long time for it to rust and come through. Look for possible water damage on the wall around the faucet area. Is the crawl space contained from outside element or is it open and accessible from the outside? Is the crawl space bone dry or is it humid? Send pics of both the tub and the crawl space area.

BTW...It sounds like you're due for a new bathtub.
Old 06-25-14, 05:58 AM
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Old 06-25-14, 03:00 PM
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Only thing I can think of is that the steel tub has a thick layer of acrylic or glazing sprayed on it that has delaminated from the tub due to the hole and rust. Water is therefore trapped in a small pocket created between the steel and the outer surface of the tub. Either way, a new tub is in your future. Left unchecked, a leak can cause lots of damage to areas not visible without crawling under the house.

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