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Thread: Leak under side of old tub -

  1. #1

    Default Leak under side of old tub -

    Hi, I'm hoping someone here can help me. I don't know the correct terminology for what I'm trying to explain, but will do my best to describe it. We have an old tub (flesh colored, don't know the maker) that is surrounded by walls on three sides. The side that is open (would that be the front or the side?) has a ridge or lip - a small open intentional gap around it that you can't see unless you look at it from underneath. It's like two separate pieces. Anyway, I'm getting a small leak from THERE after a shower. It's not coming from above this point. How on earth does water get in there? We do have glass shower doors that were recently refitted - old tile was taken out and a new surround put in. Everything is caulked very well between the tub and the surround and all parts of the door - no water is getting past the caulk. Where the heck is it coming from?!? Please help. Glor

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Around the rest of the tub, there is probably what is called a tiling flange. Before the wallboard is put up, they should have installed a vapor barrier - roofing felt or plastic, that came down and lapped over that tiling flange. Neither the tile nor the backer are entirely waterproof.

    If the tub doesn't sit exactly level, any water that might get behind could be channeled around behind the wall and appear there. BTW, that lower skirt may in fact be a separate panel.

    Sometimes, when you add the weight of a person and a tub full of water, the floor deflects, and opens up a crack that may not be obvious when it is empty. This is also the best time to caulk things, since the crack is the biggest it is likely to get.

    You could also have a leak from the new plumbing, assuming that was changed before the new tile was done, or in the process, the old stuff was disturbed. It could be coming from the shower arm's connection in the wall. Sometimes, you can pull the eschution back enough and look in there with a flashlight.

    If you don't have an access panel where you can look at the back of the valve and plumbing, and it is where you could add one, you may want to cut an opening there and look to see if it is plumbing or a leak through/behind the wall.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

    Default Hmmm...

    Thanks Jim. So are you saying that the tub is designed to direct any leaks that get behind it out of that front area, so that it won't get between the walls? I'm pretty sure that it's not the plumbing, because we just did that, and checked it running both the bath and the shower before we closed up the wall behind it (it backs up to our utility room, so we had that open.) Everything seemed fine, so we closed it back up. I gave my son a bath last night, and didn't notice the leak, although I didn't look very closely, either, and may have missed it. So my thinking is that maybe water is getting out of the door rails somehow during showering, running back behind the tub, and being directed back out via the flange that you mentioned? It's not a whole lot of water, maybe a couple tablespoons that leak in very slow drips over about 15 minutes. Any ideas what I should do at this point? Thanks, Glor

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You will get the track draining for a bit after the shower, but if it is installed properly, any path to the outside should be blocked. Is there any caulk behind the panels at the ends of the tub? Some brands have a built-in gasket, but some need caulk there.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5

    Default yes

    Do you mean the metal frame of the shower doors? Yes, there is lots of caulk between them and the wall - the surround that was put in is thinner than the tiles that were removed, so we had to make up for the difference. As far as I can see, it looks very sound. I thought that maybe it was on the inside of the track where it meets the vertical pieces, but when I tried pouring water in there to see if it would leak out, nothing happened, so I'm really puzzled.

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