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Thread: Leaking Bathtub

  1. #1

    Default Leaking Bathtub

    My tub in the master bath is leaking into our kitchen. I cut a 6" square of the damaged ceiling out today to check it out. What I noticed is that the water is running down the trap off of the tub drain. It isn't a heavy flow, but rather a drip every few seconds. My initial thought that it is in the drain somehow or the flange for the drain. Any good tips for things I might try to eliminate or find what is really leaking?

    Another source might be a hole/crack in the tub floor. We had a hole in it years ago that I had patched. I checked it over though with a flash light after a good cleaning, but didn't find anything. I can't see anything looking up from the rear since there is a metal sheet stapled on the underside looking up. All I see is a PVC pipe coming down to a trap.

  2. #2


    I took a few pics to go along with my description.

    Here is the underside. I can see water leaking down the pipe, which collects on the U fitting and drips. This seems to only occur when the tub has at least some amount of water in it... like about half way up to the overflow. It also leaks sometimes when someone is taking a shower, but does not always happen.

    Here is the drain.

    I am thinking about trying to remove the drain and re-sealing it. Otherwise I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut out the section of wall behind the plumbing of the tub to see what is going on. Tips anyone?

  3. #3


    Your problem sounds similar to one I had a few months ago - slow leak, not much volume, appears related to the volume of water in the tub.

    My problem was related to an insufficient amount of plumbers putty from the original installation and a deteriorating rubber gasket on the bottom of the tub. The original install was 17 years earlier and it appeared that whomever did the finish plumbing work was using the absolute minimum of plumbers putty. The other problem was the large rubber O-ring (about .25 inches wider than the PVC trap) type gasket that fit between the bottom of the tub and the top of the PVC trap assembly.

    A quick stop at the Home Depot for the putty and the gasket did the trick. I removed the drain, cleaned it, fished out the rubber gasket, replaced the gasket, re-puttied the drain and installed it tight. No more leaks.


  4. #4


    Thank you for the reply first of all. I bought some putty and a new rubber washer. The drain came out with little fuss and I replaced the washer... even though it looked fine. I applied a generous amount of putty, put everything back together and it still drips. I even did the procedure twice for good measure. If anything it maybe leaks a little more. Maybe not, but it is still dripping with a certain amount of water in the tub.

    In looking at diagrams for the tub drain plumbing, it would seem there are joints that could have developed leaks. I'd like to find something to plug the drain and the ring around the drain to separate leaks there and potentially in the tub. All the plugs I have found so far only plug the hole in the drain. Any tricks of the trade tips for doing this?

  5. #5


    Well, as far as "joints that could have developed leaks", my guess is probably not. From your photos, it would appear that you PVC pipe and PVC pipe joints are solvent welded together - think a controlled melting of the two pieces of pipe before they fuse together. Maybe one of the more senior members can comment on the possibility of a PVC joint failing.

    I guess, at this point, I would be more concerned about the hole you mentioned having been previously repaired. If this is a fiberglass bath tub, they can be tricky to repair. Unfortunately, with the piece of sheet metal stapled to the floor underlayment, it is impossible to get a good view of what is really doing on around the bottom of the drain stem.

    Is there anyway to remove the sheet metal? If there is, I would start there next.



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