2nd story fiberglass tub/shower leak

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  • This topic has 9 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 17 years ago by CincinnatiPlumbing.
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    • #277651

      I have purchased a home that has a fiberglass tub/shower on the 2nd floor, directly over the living room. The drain is obviously severely clogged, as it only drains after an ENTIRE bottle of the “plumber’s strength” Liquid Drano. This must be repeated on a weekly basis, at a minimum, so is obviously not solving that problem. Primary problem is that when the drain does effectively drain, there is a leak, (more like a stream of water), into the living room. I have cut a section of the wall out in the adjoining bedroom, stud to stud, to try to view the problem. No matter how much water I run through, I cannot see where the leak is (nor hear it) and all PVC joints and fittings that I am able to access appear to be tight. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions prior to me beginning to tear out my living room ceiling, as that is going to be a major chore due to the beams and molding in that area. The only thing I have not done is remove the drain itself because it’s one of those pop-up types that you manually push to open and close, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to remove the center metal section, nor the plastic housing around it.

    • #296811
      Robert Stephen Morton

      tlprice. You say that you have purchased a home. This you investment!!!
      You also say that you pour drain cleaner down the drain on a weekly basis, these drain cleaners are either Sulphuric acid based or Caustic based both will damage your pipes.
      Then you say that you have started demolishing the walls to find the problem.
      You are the problem.
      Call an expert to diagnose then explore for the problem. Make a claim against your home insurance policy & get your investment repaired.
      Your actions are going to cost you money & devaluate your investment.
      The cost of the drain cleaner over several weeks or months would have already paid for a Licensed Plumber & the damage done to your pipes could be terminal.
      Maybe the government should legislate to jail people for putting that stuff into a Public Sewerage System as well.

    • #296812


      If you don’t have something useful to say, or at least the common courtesy to reply in a cordial manner, via post, please keep your comments to yourself. I believe it’s obvious I’m not a plumber; hence my visit to this site, where I believed I might be able to obtain some suggestions from persons that are, or are at least knowledgeable in this area. I’m a new attorney, as well as a widow with 3 small children, so I try to do all home repairs myself when possible in order to save money. Therefore, I believe you would be well served to leave subjects such as legislation to me and I will leave plumbing to you. In short, it may be your opinion that I am the problem in my dilemma, but it’s my opinion that you’re a jerk. All I was doing was asking for suggestions, not looking to be verbally attacked.

    • #296813
      Retired plbg1

      First thing I say is that you put so much cleaner in the pipe that it got to hut and did some thing to a fitting ,sounds like you could have maybe split a fitting. Get a little twist cable and take over flow on tub out and run it down the pipe and get all the hair out it might only be in the trap. THERE WAS AN ARTICLE ON THIS SITE ABOUT SAME THING AND THE GUY PUT A LOT OF CLEANER IN AND IT GOT THE pvc TEE OUT OF ROUND WHER POPUP SEATS AND WOULD NOT WORK AND HAD TO REPLACE IT. wELL GETTING BACK TO YOU AFTER YOU GET IT OPEN GET A BUCKET OF WATER AND FILL IT UP AND PUT EGG DYE IN IT AND RUN IT DOWN DRAIN AND SEE IF IT LEAVES A MARK IN CEILUING AND THATA WHERE THE LEAK COUL BE, ARE JUST CUT A SLOT IN CEILING UNTIL YOU COME TO BAD FITTIG, ANY MORE HELP LET ME KNOW, AND TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS.

      Art retired plbg

    • #296814
      Robert Stephen Morton

      tlprice. I am extremely sorry that you have taken offence, the crux of my post was that if you had employed a licensed plumber to do this work you would have saved all of the money you have paid for the acid that you have wasted, The use of acid down the lines could have had the effect of damaging the existing pipes, the infrastructure & the environment. The work in investigation would have been covered by insurance & you would be enjoying your investment.
      The simple job of a licensed plumber inserting a professional snake or a jetter down the line in the first place should have been the my obvious choice.
      I am a old bloke & have seen many such instances such as yours, I unreservedly retract my suggestion that you do not demolish your investment & destroy a public utility in order to save a few dollars
      In short I apologise profusely for attempting to suggest to you that you were the problem & to leave the plumbing to a professional. I do hope that you do have luck finding the blockage by demolishing your investment.
      tlprice as I said before I am an old bloke and I am thick skinned as I have been insulted by many much more inteligent people than yourself so could you please excuse my previous post.
      Again I apologise for any disrespect.


    • #296815


      Thanks so much for the suggestion. I don’t have time to try this tonight, but will in the morning and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    • #296816

      In all likelihood the waste and overflow as well as the trap will need to be replaced. This can be a major undertaking for the average DIYer and even a PIA for an experienced plumber. Part of ceiling will probably have to be removed to expose the problem, but hey its damaged anyway right? The point where you see water leaking in your ceiling may or may not be where the problem is though as water is alot like electricity in that it seeks the path of least resistance. I’ve seen wet spots on ceilings that were caused by something leaking 10′ away. The water just traveled along a floor joist before it decided to soak through the drywall. If possible, you would be much better served to hire a professional (yes, we may get dirt under our fingernails on a daily basis, but we went through years of school too for our career and we are professionals) to do this job for you.

      I do wish you luck and bid you peace.

    • #296817
      Robert Stephen Morton

      tlprice. You may also consider testing the shower/bath combination ie after the taps but before the outlets to ascertain whether the combinations are leaking.
      Or the body washers to the taps may have been damaged when they were last serviced.
      The shower enclosure where the walls abut the tub may also be leaking. It may need a weight in the tub to promote the leak.
      Please keep us informed on the outcome.
      Plumbing is similar to law in that when one tries to do it themselves one may need a lawer or a plumber to fix the outcome. & thats where Plumbers or Lawers make a bundle.
      Again I apologise for being honest.
      Have a good day.

    • #296818

      Art & Cincinnati Plumbing:

      Sorry about the late post, but thanks a million to both of you for your help. I never would have thought about using dye, but if I hadn’t I never would have found the problems. I thank Art for his genius on this.

      It turned out to be a dual issue. #1 was the black seal/gasket on the back of the overflow. I don’t know whether it was put on too tightly to begin with or just old, but it was leaking. After repair of that problem (and still using the dye/water mixture), there was still an issue. Did have to cut away a portion of the ceiling, but it was completely ruined and was going to have to be repaired anyway. There are a total of 2 baths upstairs, one on each end of the house, so for the sake of argument I’ll call the leaking bath “Bathroom A” and the other one “Bathroom B”. I hope I can adequately explain this because we all know plumbing is not my thing so I don’t know the proper terms or words to use, but problem #2 was a leak at the joint where “Bathroom A’s” plumbing turns back to travel across the ceiling and join “Bathroom B’s” at the main junction and travel downstairs. The leak was about 3 ft. away from the location of the stain on the ceiling, so Cincinnati was correct in offering that advice as this leak was definitely traveling from a place other than directly above the stain. I ended up making all of the repairs, including replacing the ceiling, which was a booger. The space that I originally cut out in the sheetrock in the adjoining bedroom was only from stud to stud so while I was at it, I made that into an access panel for potential future problems. It’s not the prettiest thing, being my first access panel & all, but it gets the job done.

      Also managed to get the top of the toe drain off and get that drain clear. It did indeed require tweezers and a large amount of patience. I purchased a snake, but using it was difficult given the small amount of space in those toe drains, but can’t say it didn’t help to at least pull additional debris to the top. A good portion of the blockage turned out to be paper…don’t have a clue; I’m as mystified as the next person.

      But all is now well and I am more grateful to you for your time and advice than you will ever know. Thank you again!!!

    • #296819

      Hey, glad to hear you got the problem solved! yeah sometimes all this can be a “booger” as you said, but the feeling of accomplishment of a job well done often makes the difficulty pale. I do congratulate you on your success!

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