Leaking bathtub

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by orion, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. orion

    orion New Member

    Feb 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    I just found this forum and joined today, hoping someone can help me with a leaking bathtub problem.

    About 18 months ago we moved into our home built in 1957. The master bath has a porcelain/cast iron tub in very good condition. It is a bath shower setup, with sliding glass doors mounted on the tub edge creating the enclosure. The tub surround and ceiling is all 4†ceramic tile in very good condition. Recently, when anyone showers, water leaks into the basement. The water is not coming from the drain, as I have run water directly into the drain from both the tub spigot and the shower spigot for extended periods of time and there was no leak. Rather, the leak appears to be coming from the area of the foot (opposite end from the drain) of the tub. When I start the shower, and direct water at the wall at the foot of the tub, water leaks excessively into the basement below (unfinished thankfully). I can see from the basement that the water is coming from the area directly under the foot of the tub. Now, I cleaned out the old caulk, and recaulked the tub completely this past week. I inspected the tile, and all the grout appears to be in good condition. There is no mold or mildew present at all, and never has been since we have lived here. I am baffled. Can the tile grout be so porous after 50+ years that it lets that much water through even though it looks very sound? There doesn’t appear to be leaks anywhere else in this bathtub surround, or in any other area of a similar bath in another part of the house.
    I am a reasonably good DIY guy, and have dealt with many plumbing problems in several different homes for over 40 years, but this has me stumped. I need to get this fixed before it causes permanent damage to the sub floor, floor joists, etc. Any help from the experts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Ed
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    It's not normally that porous. I like to use silicone between the tub and the first layer to tile. That's mainly because the tub can move a bit.
    Sometimes the door is the problem.
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  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple BATHROOM DESIGN & BUILD for both Canada & the US

    Jul 20, 2009
    Design Work World Wide: Bathrooms Vancouver Area
    North Vancouver, BC
    It might be worth opening up the back side of the wall outside the bathtub if possible to have a look see.

    To have that much water there could be some missing backer board. If your lucky a little silicone will do the job but if you want to know for sure for sure. Remove the bottom course of tile and inspect. Inspect from the hallway if possible.

    Your right that water will quickly harm many other things if left untreated...

    Good Luck.

  5. orion

    orion New Member

    Feb 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Terry, it was in fact the door. I caulked around where the aluminum frame meet the tub, both the base and sides, and no more leaks. I guess it was leaking at the attachment points for the door frame to the tub. Anyway, thanks so much for your help.
  6. eunicesmith

    eunicesmith New Member

    Feb 21, 2011
    MD, USA
    It great to be here. I have been lurking around and I have read lots of threads and I wanted to be involved as well with the great info you have been sharing. Congrats Orion, you made it. Thanks to terry. Sometimes what we thought the caused of a problem is actually not the real cause. We have to get through with the problem to know its root.

    interior decorating design
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Glad you got it fixed. You did exactly what is required when you have a leak...get on the Dick Tracy hat and EXPLORE all possibilities!

    Just curious....it sounded like a lot of water to be related to the door. What was the path that the water found into the basement? Was it out the door and then like under a baseboard on the bathroom floor??
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