Impossible Bathtub Leak

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by justinhammond, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. justinhammond

    justinhammond New Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Out of no where my bathtub began to leak. I cut out the drywall behind the tub to see the copper fittings and they are not leaking. I noticed water leaking along the line of where the lip of the tub and the tile wall connect. I caulked alone that line inside the tub and the leak continues. I also bought tile and grout sealer and resealed all the tile and grout. The leak continues.

    Here is what I can't figure out. The leak only occurs when someone is in the tub. I can run water with or without the drain in with noone in the tub and there are no leaks.

    When someone gets in the shower the leak starts after about 1 minute.

    Please help!
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    Did you caulk around the handles and tub spout?

    Try taking a bucket and fill it with water and pour it all over the valve wall where the handles are. Do this slowly and do about 10 times and you are likely to find the leak. Have someone looking at the valve area behind the wall while you are doin it.
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  4. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Some tests to do:

    Water in the tub, drain closed, water OFF. Verify no leaks.

    Get in tub, standing as for shower, water still off, no splashing. Move to various places. Does it leak? If yes, probably a crack in the tub or around the drain seal that opens up with concentrated weight.

    Now stand in tub with shower on, drain closed, but make sure NO water hits ledge of tub or tile. If it leaks now, probably the pipe from valve to shower head.

    Now direct the shower to the tile area as it might splash while taking a shower. Standing in tub, drain closed. If it didn't leak before but leaks now, you need to fix the leak in the caulking or tile area.

    If still no leaks, now open the drain (you are still standing as though taking a shower). If it leaks now you have a drain problem, perhaps around the tub outlet that is affected by concentrated weight in the tub.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Turn on water to tub. Hold hand in the water stream and direct it against the overflow plate on the side of the tub. You should find your leak.
  6. justinhammond

    justinhammond New Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Still no luck.

    The tub is leaking above the overflow and only when someone is taking a "real" shower. I have tried the posted suggestions with no luck at finding the specific spot the water is coming from.
  7. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Aug 7, 2005

    How do you know that it's leaking above the overflow?

    What do you see?

    Have never seen a leak around the tub that you couldn't chase it back to the source. Some are just harder.

    Have you opened the new access door so you can see the whole floor in the immediate area?

    Dry that whole access area out with an extension light and start over.
  8. justinhammond

    justinhammond New Member

    Jan 21, 2006

    Looking through the drywall door I can see the top lip(1/2" angle lip) of the tub where the tile joins it. There is water seeping across about a 6" area from the far left (shower curtain side) towards the middle of the tub. I have taken the handles off the hot and cold so I can see all the way through the tile and see no leaks. I have shined a light up the copper pipe to the shower head and there are no leaks. I have re caulked the tub/tile joint and resealed the tile and grout. I can't figure it out, but I appreciate all the advice.

    I will try any advice I am given.

    Thnak you all.
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