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Thread: A wet wall - too often wet from leaks in highrise apartments above me.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Joe97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    New Jersey

    Default A wet wall - too often wet from leaks in highrise apartments above me.

    Periodically, a seal fails on one of the rear discharge toilets in one of the many apartments above me in my line. This causes water to damage the sheet rock on the backside (the face towards the waste stack) which leads to damage on the face side necessitating replacement. In the past I've used regular sheet rock only to have to replace it again when the next toilet seal fails.

    Since I'm growing older and am tired of replacing the sheet rock and repainting after every toilet seal failure in one of the many units above me are there any other materials or approaches I should use? (I thought of using greenboard for a paintable surface but I'm not sure if this is the answer.)

    Thanks so much,

    (Pardon my posting here but I thought this forum relevant since so much moisture is involved.)

  2. #2
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold


    Things to consider.

    Get the building mgmt / homeowners' assoc. to be part of the solution: start by sharing this discussion with them and making it a topic to deal with. In my high rise condo it also happens that people living on the higher floors leak water onto those living on the lower floors, and (seriously, folks) I'll bet golly gee that this happens in every other building on planet Earth where gravity works. In your case it seems to be worse than in any other case I've seen or heard of. In my high rise condo building, the person living in the unit where the leak started pays for the physical work to fix damages but not any more compensation than that.

    To make walls, I've used concrete-faced foam boards (e.g.Wedi) and I've used concrete boards of various kinds (some with styrofoam pellets in the concrete mix). Concrete surface can be finished with drywall compound, just like as if it were paper faced drywall. So far I am not making a recommendation ; this is just information for you to put in your pipe and mull it over.

    : - )

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    Use better seals for the replacements. IF you are using conventional wax rings, they are NOT meant for wall hung toilets. Even the wax with an impregnated membrane are only slightly better. I prefer the rubber ones which come with the wall hung mounting kits.

  4. #4
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Mention health and safety to the building code people; that gets everybody's attention. Saying the word "attorney" once in a while may also help.

    This link
    is not quite on the mark, but it's close.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 10-31-2010 at 10:32 AM.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Blog Entries


    Like hj mentioned, if you go with the rubber seals, you will be golden.
    If the seal holds, it doesn't matter much what the wall is made of.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    The biggest problem is probably identifying whose unit caused the problem...they should be responsible for any damage they cause. But, if you replaced that panel with cement board, that would prevent the board from being damaged when it got wet, but the paint could still easily be stained, necessitating repainting once things dried out again. If the wall is wooden studs, though, the moisture might end up a source of mold and rot.

    In most places, a multi-family dwelling is required to have all work done by a licensed plumber, and often, a permit pulled. Now, that doesn't happen very often. If there is a doorman, workers probably have to sign in. You might be able to tell from that.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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