Leaking 2nd Floor Bathtub Drain:Best Access?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by VelvetFoot, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. VelvetFoot

    VelvetFoot New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Discovered by dripping through ceiling, naturally.
    It is a one-piece shower/tub combo.
    It leaks when the tilt lever stopper is in the closed position.
    I've recaulked and tightened up the strainer; there is no leak when a old time rubber plug is put in the strainer.
    Therefore, I think it is leaking at the compression joint (which I think is a really crazy arrangement, since it is under pressure from the static head of a full bathtub, and those joints aren't that great, or am I wrong?).
    Anyway, what would be the best way to access that joint, ie, the joint on the tube from the drain shoe to the T (which contains the plug and also has lines from the overflow and goes to the trap)?
    Should I go in from the side, cutting an access hatch through the wood wall of the interior of a vanity and thence through the drywall, or go through the ceiling?
    I guess I'd prefer to go through the side. A look at new units at my local Home Depot seems to show that I might be able get at the joint that way.
    Is there generally a square opening under the whole assembly?
    If I can do it from the side, it might not be as tricky as repairing a ceiling, plus I could get there in the future as well.

    Thanks very much.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2007
  2. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    With compression fittings, access should have been provided at time of construction. You see why.

    Aren't you going to have to cut and patch the ceiling to repair the leak damage? If not, side access is preferred. Look at the large access panels (plumbing dept.) at the home centers (before you cut) to make it a lot easier .
  3. VelvetFoot

    VelvetFoot New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks for helping. I think the ceiling is salvagable without replacing sheets of sheetrock. I'm putting a granite top on the vanity, but the way the original is constructed, I'm not even certain how to take off the 'cultured' marble top (I think it's siliconed on, I'm using a razor blade in the joint to try to split it). To access the back of the tub, I'll need to cut a pretty big hole in the side of the vanity, but I think the side serves some kind of structural function, so I don't know. I just don't want to mess up the vanity. I'm sure I'll figure it out at some point.

    With the single piece tub shower unit, would it be more likely to have access to the compression (slip) joint on the drain from the top or bottom (ceiling) or both? Thanks again.
  4. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    You're right about the top, usually caulk or construction adhesive.

    Can you remove the vanity? Usually just a couple of screws through the back rail into the wall.

    "With the single piece tub shower unit, would it be more likely to have access to the compression (slip) joint on the drain from the top or bottom (ceiling) or both?"

    I don't understand what you're asking. Single piece makes no difference. As you can see, the drain is in the same place. Top??? Do you mean side??
  5. VelvetFoot

    VelvetFoot New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Yes, I meant side as opposed to cutting the ceiling from below.
    I'm thinking there probably is a square piece of subfloor removed from that whole general area, but I won't know 'til I make a hole: Catch 22!
    I did get the top off yesterday, as well as the entire vanity.
    The top came off after I ran a utility knife through the caulking and the vanity came out after taking out a few screws.
    What struck me was how flimsy the vanity was-and yet they seem to charge a lot of money for them.
    I guess I'll try to go in from the side. Looks won't be that important since it'll be covered by the vanity.
    Thanks again.
  6. VelvetFoot

    VelvetFoot New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Update:
    Well, I cut a small access hole in the side with a RotoZip-first time I used that tool for cutting a hole in sheetrock-quite awesome. The shop-vac with the 4" hose was also quite awesome-it inhaled pieces of sheetrock as well as a pencil and the dust. The compression joint I suspected has some white deposit on it which I thought might be water stains. I tightened the nut and no more leak. Now I am waiting for the granite top in pearl blue to arrive!
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