Drain Pipe offset from shower pan drain

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Old 12-12-10, 03:37 PM
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Drain Pipe offset from shower pan drain

When installing a new shower pan and accompanying Oatey drain we noticed the main drain pipe was slightly offset from where the shower pan hole was. We were able to tug the drain pipe over and fit the drain over the pipe, secure the drain and we thought all was fine. Months after placing tile on the walls installing fixtures, etc i turned on water and had a leak in floor below. I have identified the leak as coming from the drain.
Does anyone believe the leak is directly due to the pipe sliding back to its original position and breaking the seal the gasket had made? If so, is are there any thoughts on how to fix this issue? I can live with accessing from floor below, but absolutely cannot tear this new shower out! Serious help needed as i am at wits end!

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-12-10, 04:30 PM
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Nope, it came about by your tugging on the pipe in the first place. PVC can only take just so much punisiment. Your alignment may not be perfect, now, either, since it tries to seek equilibrium to where it was. It would be best to go ahead and tear out the sheetrock on the lower ceiling and see how to rectify it.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 04:33 PM
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so do you think the pvc is cracked and leaking...say at the p-trap? If so, wouldn't all the water from the trap leak...I can still see water in the drain. If the pipe is found in good condition, would an offset drain system work?
 
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Old 12-12-10, 05:48 PM
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You may only have to extend a pipe to give you the slack you need once you get in there and find out what is wrong. It could be coming from the ptrap, or from an adjacent joint that got jarred loose. That would be my guess since you have water in the trap. As water travels down the drain pipe it leaks at the broken joint.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 05:55 PM
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To test that theory, I suppose could i pour water down the main drain pipe ONLY? That would tell me whether or not the leak was in the pipes or if the pipe was not sealed properly to the drain. Is that logical? Hate to send more water down a leaky drain, but i would rather know what i'm dealing with as much as possible before tearing out a ceiling. Thanks for you ideas.
 
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Old 12-13-10, 07:46 AM
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Logic would tell me to open the ceiling up. You're gonna have to do it eventually. Pour water down the drain and look for the leak. The leak in the ceiling will tell you where you have to open it up at. Cut between the joists (14 1/2" x 15" or so). That will give you a good inspection hole. You should be able to fix it using that size hole, so you aren't talking about a large repair job.
 
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Old 12-13-10, 09:15 AM
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Well what kind of strainer did you use??? The one with the rubber dounut? Did you use putty? It could just be the dounut. What trap did you use? I hard trapped my shower up stairs when I installed it. The LA traps are hard to tighten from top install. You need to use teflon paste on the traps. I use a big basin wrench to tighten these. Channel lock just cant get inbetween the floor joist and you can never get enough leverage.

Good luck and let us know.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-13-10, 02:57 PM
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Is this manufactured pan, or a site-built pan with a liner?

At either type, unless I can establish visually that the water is from the pan and not the drain plumbing below the drain base at the clamp assembly, (if a site built pan) or the drain assembly (if a manufactured pan) my first step in testing shower pans is to inject water into the plumbing just below the drain openings in the drain base or the drain assembly.

I use a special testing device which I made for this purpose, consisting of a weighted base with the correct length nipple to reach below the drain or drain base and a sponge rubber gasket to prevent water from splashing back up the drain,



but you can perform the same test by inserting a hose to the correct depth and turning on the water just enough so that it does not splash back upwards.

If you get a leak as a result of this test, it's in the plumbing below the drain assembly or base.

If not (assuming that you have determined that it's not somewhere in the supply plumbing), it's somewhere in the pan or drain assembly.

At this point if it's factory built, you inspect and adjust or replace the drain assembly.

If it's a site-built pan (see below) you can just demolish and rebuild the pan, or you can try to narrow down the leak's location.

For site-built pans if you want to attempt to narrow it down, the next step to make a dam about 1" high and about 8" in diameter around the drain on the surface of the tile floor (I use plumbers putty) and run water into it.

If this results in a leak, it's almost certainly somewhere in the drain base assembly, most likely at the liner clamp.

If not, you can then start wetting other areas of he pan to determine the approximate leak location.

Be aware however that if the leak is anywhere in the pan, you will likely have to demolish the entire pan at least down to the liner and a foot or so up the wall to perform a reliable repair.

For more information see How to locate land repair leaks in tiled shower pans Paragon Inspection Services Chicago/Northbrook/Glenview

Sometimes if it's a slow leak, you will need standing water in the pan for a considerable period of time to observe it. I such cases I use a pneumatic test ball plug:



but there are mechanical stoppers as well, though it's easiest to control the exact location of the stopper with the pneumatic type. (I've not had good results with improvised stoppers.)

If you are installing a new pan or repairing an existing installation you use the same stopper approach, be aware though that if the backer board has already been installed water wicking up and behind the backer can lower the water level in the pan and be mistaken for a leak.
 
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Old 12-14-10, 03:32 PM
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A quick update on this issue:
First I believe i have narrowed the problem down to the drain kit. To test, i ran the shower into a bucket so no water hit the floor or drain...no leak below. Second i ran water down to the floor and through the drain....leaked below. Lastly ran water directly via a funnel (roughly 2 gallons of water) into the main drain pipe...NO Leak below. So it appears the leak is happening where the gasket of the drain kit meets the drain pipe. The shower floor is an onyx base and it has epoxy grout, caulk and silicone around the base of the walls and corners, so i doubt it is leaking there.

I am hoping we can remove the drain kit and re-establish a proper seal between drain pipe and drain kit. It is an Oatey drain and it appears as though the gasket has slipped (remember the pipe had to be slightly moved to the side to match the hole in the floor.) away from between the drain pipe and drain kit.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 05:17 AM
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This is an amazing thread! How are you going to access the drain without opening up the ceiling below? Repairing the ceiling is too simple considering the access you will gain to perform your repairs. Have you decided to open it up, yet? The pressure you applied to the pipe to "make" it fit is causing an offset in the drain.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 07:08 AM
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I am not disputing the fact that i may need to open up the ceiling and look at it, but honestly if the drain pipes themselves are not leaking when water runs through them then woudln't that lead you to believe the pipes are sealed? The leak is coming from the shower drain itself and not the pipes past the p-trap. Oh well...eitherway it's not something i want to deal...time to call the professional i guess.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 07:47 AM
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Sorry you hit a deal end, but your diagnostic sequence is an excellent example of a step-by-step approach to locating this type of leak.

One additional suggestion if someone else wants to try this: often if the leak is in the supply plumbing, you need to use a garden hose attached to the shower head's arm and and drain it to someplace other than a bucket or the shower pan in order to run water long enough to reliably reproduce the leak. Its easy to make the adapter to do this, the next time I have one set up I'll take and post a picture.
 

Last edited by Michael Thomas; 12-15-10 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 12-15-10, 04:59 PM
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Hey a quick update!
Professional came and took a look at it. Turns out the gasket was not pressed far enough down the drain pipe to create a tight seal. He was able to use some device that, he said back in the old days was used to "yoke" cast iron pipes together, and slide the gasket down the pipe to the proper level. tightened it all up and ran water and voila, no leak! For $50, not a bad spend of money.
THanks to everyone for their assistance and advice, i will most certainly return in the future....hopefully to give some advice.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 07:04 PM
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Glad you got it fixed, and where do you live where a plumber only cost $50 for a house call???? That's what they charge normally for a "phone" call.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 05:40 AM
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Offset shower drain

BTW, for future readers of this thread Oatey and other made "offset" shower drains;



for such installations.

-----------------------

Was this an Oatey "no-caulk" drain?

You didn't happened by any chance to take a picture of the tool or the process?

I'd like to know exactly what the plumber did, and how.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 06:21 PM
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i swear i can't make this up! Okay...took a shower this morning and sure enough it leaked!!! I'm about at my wits end! Here's the latest in this "soap" opera ( i couldn't resist that one).
Called my brother (a nurse who put in the drain 3 months ago when i wasn't looking) and i asked him if he put any silicone between the shower floor and the drain flange...wanna guess his answer? That's right, he didn't use any!! So am i crazy, or do you think that is the reason for the leak? I am assuming it leaks when i stand on the drain and water slides under the flange and down the outside of the drain (rather than down through the inside).
IF i try to silicone around the drain flange do you suppose that would make it "water tight" for lack of a better term?
 
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Old 12-17-10, 05:24 AM
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Going back a step....

Was the old drain replaced because it was leaking?

If so (for example) the shower pan may not be correctly supported, and flexing excessively when used.
 
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Old 12-17-10, 06:07 AM
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no, the shower pan is brand new. Sits on subfloor. It's solid composite (Onyx brand) and weighs around 150lbs. I don't think that is moving around much. this is the first and only drain installed with the shower pan.

For the record, we tore out the old shower (old plastic and brass door upright shower).
 
 

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