Tub Leak causes problem with downstairs ceiling - What To Do?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by enserio, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. enserio

    enserio New Member

    My tub fiberglass tub cracked, and it was due to there being no support underneath it. I got a reputable company to come out and fix it, so prior to layering it with more fiberglass - they drilled holes and inserted expanding foam for support.

    Well, the foam expanded so much it broke through the downstairs neighbors ceiling. The company came and took pics, and said it was not completely their fault, since there is no "subfloor" present. When I looked for myself, there wasn't anything in between my floor and their ceiling, so it's no wonder that foam broke through.

    I called my HOA, and they said they'd call their lawyer and have someone come out and take a look. They said that sometimes there isn't a subfloor because subfloor is made out of cheap material that sometimes corrodes.

    Even though I know squat about building codes and just general home construction, I find it hard to believe that there is nothing between my floor and their ceiling. Of course I will get it fixed if I must, but I would like someone to point me in the right direction.

    Any thoughts?
  2. krow

    krow Plumber

    Ontario, Canada
    What kind of stupidity is this?:eek: Use what ever the rest of the country is using,........ Plywood
    And why would they send out a lawyer to have a look at this?

    I would defenitly ask for help if I were you. It will probably mean removing your bathtub and a few rows of tile in order to put your subfloor in.
  3. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    That company might be reputable, but not competent. That foam would have eventually crushed and allowed your tub to break again anyway.

    Nonsense. They installed it.

    Tell the company you want your tub properly supported, and in a way that will not again affect your neighbors after same company has repaired their ceiling.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    They said that sometimes there isn't a subfloor because subfloor is made out of cheap material that sometimes corrodes.

    That statement is trying to baffle you with B.S., because they cannot dazzle you with brilliance. I cannot imagine any builder thinking they are saving mony by spending for the labor to cut out the floor under the bathtub. Without a subfloor there is absolutely no way you, or anyone else, can support the tub. But I wonder how much foam they injected before they started to wonder where it was going.

    Sort of like a journeyman I worked with once. After he made is fourth trip to the lead pot for lead to make a 2" joint, I asked him what he was doing. He said he was pouring the joint. I told him that if it took more than a half ladle he had a leak and was just filling the pipe. I took a hammer and broke the pipe and showed him the 3' snake he had made inside the pipe.
  5. enserio

    enserio New Member

    Thanks for your post, it makes great sense. Just hard for me to figure out where the fault lies. I can't even say if it appears to fall on me or not fall on me, becuase I know zilch in this matter.
  6. Sincraft

    Sincraft Member

    First Fault: Person who installed tub with no subfloor, or person who authorized this to occur (the builder).
    How in god's name is the tub supported? And is your downstairs neighbor just a piece of drywall away ? there isn't a separation or sound barrier? This doesn't sound right unless it's an old funky house that they turned into two apartments.

    Second Fault: Company that came out to repair it, did not do it correctly. To fix a crack in a tub is a big deal. I have fixed boat cracks and there is a science to it. If you are going to be standing on it well you get the point. As far as injecting FOAM to create a support, I like the idea if it is the non expanding or low expanding kinda and there is a SUBFLOOR already present. If its just the support beams...how much foam did they use? Sure they probably have foamed it in real good until you STEP on it and it EXPANDS from the heat of the water lol!
    Doesn't take a genius to figure this out.

    MAIN FAULT: The company that injected foam was responsible for fixing your tub, and thus must incur the costs to do the job properly AND repair your neighbors ceiling. They should have noticed there was an issue after they had to inject 40 tons of foam into the ceiling to sure it up. Or, maybe they were new to using this method and thus - again are responsible for using you as a guinea pig. I'm sure they didn't mean to do it but it happened.

    Why there is a lawyer coming over is beyond me. That tells me #1 they know about the issues with the units and the tubs and #2 they want to minimize their liability.
    The second a lawyer would want to come over if I were you, I would lawyer up too because you are going to probably might get a check to fix the problem and you want to make sure it's the correct amount. I would INDEED ask why they are sending a LAWYER to investigate! He knows NOTHING about plumbing (or maybe he does, however it's not why he is visiting).
    It's like calling the police for a cat up a tree and them telling you they are sending their swat team!
  7. enserio

    enserio New Member

    Here's an update:

    I called two licensed contractors out to look at the sitiuation. They both concurred that the fault lied with the tub company and were baffled by the amount of foam that was used. They both also stated that in upstairs units, it is common that the subfloor stops at the tub, just in case there is a plumbing issue that needs to be resolved from underneath the tub.

    I emailed the tub company and in nice, but firm language explained this, and told them my next step would be to contact the Contractors State Licensing Board.

    The tub company agreed to pay for any and all damages. They have since paid in full.
  8. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Unless the tub company is essentially admitting it failed to provide sufficient instruction for a proper installation, I cannot imagine how it could be liable.
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