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Leaky bathroom

Old 01-17-2005, 02:47 PM
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Default Leaky bathroom

I just went under my house and found wet subflooring under my guest bathroom. I'm pretty handy, but I think this may be over my head. Anyone here have any experience w/ a leaking bathroom. I'm pretty sure it's under the tub. What kind of money are we talking about for a repair like this. I know that's a broad question, but I was hoping someone may know a range. $5000??, $10000?? It's a pretty basic bathroom, sink, toilet and shower/bath.
Old 01-17-2005, 03:09 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

So I take it that you can see all the drains from the bathroom?
How often are these appliances use (tub / toilet / sink)?
Is the underside of the floor wet or just showing signs of previously wetness?
Does the ground beneath the wet area show signs of large volumes of water?

Wet floor boards is really nothing to get all up in knots over, unless the wood is rotted out - take a screwdriver and poke at the wood. If it's solid - no problems, wood is just wet and can dry out. If you can sink the screwdriver into the joists and floorboards then you're into replacement time.

This type of repair shouldn't cost you that type of money. On the other hand, IF you have to replace the floor boards you and your better half decide to upgraded the appliances/ vanity/ fixtures/ possible utilities/ flooring/ ceramic tile/ trim/ paint/ decor.
Old 01-17-2005, 04:43 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Not sure bout NC but up here in the NY we are looking at for a simple bathroom redo (toilet,sink, shower) in the neighborhood of about 20K. That is including full gut, new plumbing, fixtures, electric, tile etc. Of course that all depends on which direction (high end or simple and inexpensive) you go with the tile,electric and fixtures. You also might want to watch out for mold growth. Are you looking to redo the room or just fix the leak?

Old 01-17-2005, 04:54 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Is it possible it is coming from your commode? you may just have to repair/replace the wax ring for your commode....

Take some digital pics and post em.......I can stear you in the right direction most likely.......
Old 01-17-2005, 05:21 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Does the wetness occur after someone has taken a bath? If so I would look at the overflow fitting on the tub. I know when my kids take a bath and fill it too much most of the water goes into the overflow opening but some manages to run down the outside of the drain pipe and moisten the slab of my basement - worth a look.
GOod luck
Old 01-17-2005, 05:29 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

I'm pretty sure it's under the tub. There is no water puddling under the wet spot. The subflooring is noticebly wet, but the joist's are not wet. Let me get the dig camera and I'll try to post a pic in a few minutes. Thanks for your help. I sure hope that this does not call for a total redo of the bathroom. I plan on renting this darn house out in less than a year and buying another to live in. I would hate to put much money in something like this. I'd really just like to fix the leak and dry the subflooring out.

One other thing, what caused me to look under this particular bathroom was a creaking sound when someone uses the tub/shower. When I stand in it, it sounds like a metallic creak, like there is movement in the tub and it's translating into movement in the pipes.
Old 01-17-2005, 05:40 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Take a pic of the tub too....

I need to know if it is cast iron or a plastic tub...and if there is tile.....

you most likely have a loose drain flange/slip joint...but the cause may be from the movement of the tub...so that most likely will need to be addressed.....

Old 01-17-2005, 06:18 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Ok, here goes, I will try to upload the pics. When I went back under, I realized that the wetness is under the other shower, not the tub. This is a tiled stand up shower. There is no wetness under the tub, so I really don't know where the creaking is coming from.

Cracker,
The tub is a steel enameled tub. I can get a pic of that if you need it too.



Old 01-17-2005, 06:31 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Has it been used lately? Do there appear to be any cracks in the tile or separations?

does the drain work well?
Old 01-17-2005, 07:05 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

One suggestion, is turn the shower on and go back underneath to see if you can see the location of the leak. Also, take out the wet insulation...mold will most definatetly have started to grow on/in it and replace it. (That is replace it after the subfloor has dried out). From the looks of it, it appears to becoming from around the drain, which could be that the drain is not properly set into the pan. (Does this shower have a prefab fiberglass or plastic shower pan?) or it could be the tile around the drain and water is leaking out around the membrane. Need more info of the construction of the shower. Goodnews is from the looks of it you dont need a new bathroom.
Old 01-17-2005, 07:09 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Oh oh. I went through something similar a year ago. Apparently when our house was built, some sub stuck a nail through the membrane in the shower pan. Over the years, water seeped through the grout, and made its way out of the puncture, and started rotting the subfloor.

Maybe you've got a different problem, but you can see what can happen if ignored.

I got a few estimates, but what I wanted was a little specific, since I would do all the tiling work myself. One guy wanted $3600 to tear out the existing shower, replace all the rotted wood, and float a new concrete shower pan.

A handyman who's a friend of mine offered to do the same for $1500, plus materials, and I said I would help (I'm not sure if that hurt or helped the price, but I wanted to see how that part of the job was done! .

Anyway -- bash out the exiting tiles (in my case, 1/2 the floor of the master, too, since it was half-carpet and half-tile. Pry out the sheets of cultured marble that formed the shower enclosure, and faced the garden tub (could have been reused, but my wife hated). Cut out the rotted plywood subfloor with a circular saw, and sawz-all. Replace rotted floor. (Easy). Frame in new shower curb (not sure of right term), and knee-wall that seperates the shower from the garden tub. Install the drain, fit a new membrane, and float the cement pan (this part was a little tricky, and I'm not sure I could do myself).
Install cement board on floor and walls.

All that was about $1700.

Next, bought tile for the shower floor, the shower and tub area, and the bathroom floor. About $1000, but the floor was easily half that. Tiled everything. No cost. Had a glass company come in, and put in a custom, two-sided shower enclosure - $820, but we got the premium one. What's that -- about $3500? Maybe $4k with all the little stuff like tile saw rental costs, etc. I figure my labor saved $1500, or so, since it was a BIG tile job.

Anyway -- just another data point. The pros on this board can steer you more accurately.
PM me, if you like, and I can send you a lot more pictures -- don't want to clutter your thread.


Old 01-17-2005, 07:41 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

I'd like him to check to see if the drain flange has issues first...it could be a reletively easy fix....assuming the sub floor is not too far gone.....


If you are renting the house...be advised, that mold has become a serious issue in lawsuits.... I will expand on this later if you would like.....
Old 01-17-2005, 07:43 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Neckbone

The leak appears to be coming from the shower drain. If your shower is all tile including the floor, there should be a rubber membrane covering the floor and running up the walls at least 12". This membrane "folds" into the drain that you see from below. A "thinset" concrete floor is than formed in the shower floor that slopes toward the drain. You can do a visual inspection of the drain by removing the metal drain cover, look for obvious seperation of the drain pipes. Feel in the drain for anything that may have seperated. Most likely everything will look and feel correct.

Check the shower walls and floors for obvious cracks that water can run into. Check around all the fixtures/valves, I've seen water get in here as well. If you can find no problems looking at these items, unfortunately your next move is to remove the floor and the first 12"+ of tile from the walls and install a new rubber membrane.
Old 01-17-2005, 08:23 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Been looking at homes for my son from the 50s and early 60's - this is a common isue . I can't imagine its a 10,000 job - Unless the joists are severly rotten - even then....looks like you have a good view of the extent...
Old 01-17-2005, 08:57 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Been thu this before...did it myself, saved boo-coo bucks...what I remember doing:

1.) Cut off the water to the plumbing.
2.) Crawl back under, cut the piping to the drain & water supply. Cap water lines.
3.) Cut the sealant around the tub, you may have to cut some of the wall around the tub.
4.) Ease the tub up & out, and take it out of the bathroom.
5.) If there is a pan there, remove it.
6.) Check for where your water & drain lines, AND ANY ELECTRICAL lines run,
then use a jig saw or circular saw to cut out rotten flooring as close to the good wood as possible.
(Set blade depth to same as flooring thickness, Square up the cut as much as possible!)
7.) If the joists have rot in them, 'scab' past them on both sides with boards the same size,
at least a foot or so past the rotten part.
8.) Measure & cut flooring, nail in place. (make sure its the same thickness as flooring you cut out)
9.) Replace moisture pan with a new one.
10.) Replace tub, and any wallboard. Re-seal around joints.
11.) Re-connect piping.
Old 01-17-2005, 09:11 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

You guys are great helps. After looking at the shower, I have noticed several places where the grout is gone. Part of the wall corner, part of where the wall meets the floor and most importantly, where the tile meets the drain. I feel that this may be the culprit. How much grout do I need to remove before I regout those spots. Do I need to remove any?

What do I need to do to dry out the subflooring? Is a dehumidifier needed in the crawl space?
Old 01-17-2005, 09:39 PM
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What color is the grout?
Old 01-17-2005, 09:49 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Your joist look to be in good condition, but the sub floor looks like it's shot. I think your best option would be to tear out the shower and re place the bad section of sub floor. Do away with the tile shower and go with a 3 piece fiberglass unit. You should be able to get one for under $400.00. Change the divertor while your at it, $120.00 (ball park). It's really not that hard, do it yourself and a $1000.00 should cover all materials.
Old 01-17-2005, 10:48 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

-First thing I would do is clean the cracked area thoroughly....get all of the scum off the area..

- chip out any loose grout

- Buy some Caulk that is the same color of the grout. Make sure you get premium tub and shower grade....

- fill the cracked areas with caulk...if you have never worked with this stuff, let me know, there are tricks to making it neat and clean

Now, you will want to replace any wet insulation under the house as well

I am not sure how bad the ply wood is or how long the leak has occured, but I'd hate for you to immediately rip the hole thing out...

Your problem could still also be the drain flange...I can help you more if you post a pic of it.....
Old 01-17-2005, 10:49 PM
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Default RE: Leaky bathroom

Neckbone, how old is the house? I'm assuming the shower is the same age.

If it's an older home, say built in the 60's or 70's it could have a galvanized shower pan. If that's the case, there's a very good chance the pan could be leaking.

The missing tile grout could be the cause or it could just be cosmetic damage. Shower pans are there to channel a leak into the drain. So, a leak in the lower grout might not necessarily cause a leak onto the subflooring; although it would if the pan were leaking. But if there's missing grout higher up in a corner of the wall, that could possibly be the source of the leak too.

Just on the chance you could save some money, you might want to try regrouting the tile first, then test it to see if it's leaking. If that solves the problem you're a fortunate guy.

If the regrout doesn't stop the leak and if it's not the drain which is leaking, you'll have to do some demolition to find out where the leak is.

The subfloor is wet and discolored, but IF it's not actually rotted you may be able to fix the shower from above without tearing out the subfloor. If it's rotted you'll have to tear it out, but you may be able to save most of the shower surround.

If the tile in the surround is in good shape and if there's just some missing grout, you don't need to tear out all of the tile in the shower to make a repair of the drain or the pan. Instead you can cut out several of the lowest courses of tile so you can remove the pan and drain. The easiest way to do this is to use a grinder with a diamond blade to cut the courses at the grout line. T hen chip out the lower tiles and mud base with a cold chisel.

Then disassemble the drain and remove the pan. You can dry out the subflooring by placing a fan in the crawlspace and one in the bathroom and direct them onto the wet subfloor until it's dry. It's a good idea to use bleach or a mildewcide to wipe down the dry wood before finishing the next step. Install a new pan. I recommend using a rubberized membrane instead of metal. Or, if the shower pan just happens to be the size of a standard precast shower pan you could install one of them. (That's probably a slim chance).

After you repair/replace the drain and/or pan then reinstall the lower courses of tile and regrout the joints that need it. I would advise not trying to perfectly match the old tile because it's unlikely that you'll get a perfect match. Instead, choose a different color tile that will look like an accent tile instead of a patch.

You may have to replace some of the surrounding floor tiles, but that will be minor compared to what you've done with the shower base.

If the floor insulation got wet be sure to put new insulation in.

Now, having said all of that, if it's an older home and you're not certain of the condition of the water supply lines or the shower valve, you may want to replace them too. If you're lucky you may be able to access them from the back side of the wall.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Good luck with your project.

P.S. If you know a good repairman he may be able to do all of this for you at a reasonable price. It sounds like you've dodged the bullet of a major bath repair.

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