2nd Floor Bathtub leaking thru ceiling to kitchen; Emergency?

drybeanJanuary 20, 2010

We moved into our house on Halloween. It is 9 years old. The previous (original) owners did not have children and thus likely did not use the 2nd bathroom often. It is our kids' bathroom and we give them a bath every other night in there.

Last night, I was giving them a bath while DH cleaned up the kitchen from dinner. The kitchen is directly under the bathroom. He called upstairs that water was dripping through the recessed canned lights in the kitchen. Went down and looked, and now there is some lovely water damage on the ceiling.

Called a plumber and they told me it is not an emergency, and may not be able to come out until late next week. (This is partly due to our schedules..we are leaving town and no one will be here to let plumber in).

My question is how immediate is this problem? I would think could be a fire hazard to have water leaking through the wiring for the lights? And I'm concerned about mold, and not to mention the possibility of our ceiling caving in while we are gone.

We have a home warranty, but it does not cover "improper installations". So if the builder did a shoddy job, we are out of luck and have to pay for everything out of pocket. How extensive of a project would this be?

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1) Don't use the bathroom
2) You will have to remove the ceiling anyway, so it's unlikely to create a major mold problem. If you're worried, cut out a hole where it is leaking to allow air in.
3) Who knows--depending on the leak source it could be a five minute fix or require a redo of something more major. If it leaks only when in use it's probably the drain and that typically is easy to fix. You may spend as much repairing the ceiling as on the plumber.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 1:40PM
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I locked the bathroom door to keep the kids out, so it is officially "out of order".

If it is something simple like the drain, does the ceiling still have to be removed, or can it be patched/aired and then painted? I know nothing about this type of stuff, but I'm hoping it is not going to be a major undertaking.

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 2:33PM
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Cut the ceiling out right now. Start with a 2x2. Whoever you hire is going to do it anyway. Get a visual and make sure it is not a supply plumbing issue. Then go from there.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 2:08PM
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I didn't mean the whole ceiling. As Tim suggests, cut out 2x2, or probably 16 inches x 2 feet. Plumber will need enough to see what's going on and reach in. Anyway, once you do that keep cutting to where it's not longer wet. If the drywall is wet you'll need to replace it anyway.

This shouldn't be major if the leak is easily found and reached. The drywalling will cost a few bones, but not thousands. More like a couple hundred for a painter, depending on local pricing.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 3:42PM
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Bad caulking is the most common cause of tub leaks, especially with children who like to splash around.

Check for ANY gaps between the wall and tub.

You can do a quick repair of any gaps by just filling them with a suitable caulk, and go back later and remove all the caulk and put in a nicer repair.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 4:40PM
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If this leakage only occurs when you're bathing the kids, then yeah, it's probably a caulking issue, which is an easy fix. That is, if the kids splash around and water exits the tub, it might leak around the base of the tub and the floor. Or between the tub and the tile.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 5:13PM
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I would check the tightness of the drain trap couplings and also, the dope around the drain, where the drain rests inside the tub. It could be dried up or it's nut loose.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 5:59AM
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