Need advice- shower leaking outside of tub

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Candace

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Hello, need some advice on how to look for the source of a leak around our bathtub. We have a tub/shower with surround walls. There is a small section of drywall on either side of the bathtub and the drywall on the same side as the shower head and nozzles has water damage. We at first thought it was condensation causing it and replaced the drywall and caulk. Over time we have noticed water damage again. Today when we looked at the wall it appears that there is a slow trickle of water coming out of the area where the surround and bathtub meet. It only happens when we turn the shower on. It doesn’t happen if we are filling up the tub. Any thoughts or advice on wear to look for a leak or what could be causing this. The drywall is only damaged from the point where the water is coming out and below. Thank you!
 

Tuttles Revenge

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Its possible that a fitting in the wall is leaking. You could start by taking off the faceplate of the shower control and seeing if you find moisture at that level in the wall or on the valve. If it were coming from the shower head you should see moisture. If its coming from the tub filler spout that area should be dry unless the leak is a fine mist spraying upwards.. That is where I would start diagnosis.
 

Jadnashua

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Lots of possibilities. The surrounds are designed for square and plumb walls. Those are not particularly common! That can mean that they don't lock together properly. THen, not all installers actually take the care to ensure that the tub is installed level. That can cause water to pool, and then leak out. If it's off more than a little, the lip on the tub may not be tall enough to contain the water, and if it slopes out towards the room, flow out that way.

If you take the trim plate off of the valve and turn the water on, see if there's any leaking inside of the wall. It could also be from the elbow at the top for the showerhead, or, if the tub filler is not sealing well, leaking back into the wall.

That's not a complete list, but may give you a few things to check.
 

Terry

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For locating a leak on a tub/shower, there are several steps. We start low and work ourselves higher as we go.

Does the tub hold water? Pouring water in the tub, and then checking for a leak on the lower drain.
Is it the overflow leaking? Sometimes when kids fill the bathtub higher than the overflow, and the gasket there isn't sealing, that can leak below. I say kids because so often when I get that call, I ask if any kids recently took a bath. Oh yes, yep.
Okay, we're checking the overflow.

Some tub spouts are the cause. When the diverter is pulled up on the tub spout, does water leak into the wall? That's also a common one. A new tub spout is often my cure. I favor the Delta spouts with their weird adapter as that let's me use a pipe nipple or solder onto copper. A good slip spout on copper also works. Moen makes a good one.

Okay, maybe not the tub spout. Is it the caulking around the wall plate and tub spout. You shower with your back to the shower head and the water bounces off your body and onto the wall with the controls. Make sure that has some clear caulking. Yes you can use white too, kind of noticeable though. I can see white caulking from the kitchen it's so obvious.

Is it the shower head? Sometimes those crack over time? I had one condo where the tenant on the third floor was showering with a dangling shower head and arm. Replaced the shower arm and it was all good.

I had one where the shower head was spraying sidewise over the curtain. And they didn't even notice. Weird.

And then the was the one where I asked first if the husband was showering with the sliding doors open. Oh no, he wouldn't do that.
So I cut drywall, opened up ceilings and found nothing. I'm telling you "NOTHING".

A year later I go back, walls patched and painted, I'm there for something else. Did you figure out the shower leak?
Yes, my husband was showering with the slider door open. Dooh!!
 
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Reach4

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Candace, what is on the other side of the wall from the tub spout? If it is a closet, and if there is not an access panel already, you could get one.
 

Dj2

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To locate the source of the leak, you need to see it and where it's coming from.
Leak detector pros are now using tiny cameras with lights they insert into the wall cavity. However, if you need to do any work on the rough in valve, you need to open the wall from the other side.
My experience: once you cut the drywall, you might as well replace the rough in body.
 

Tuttles Revenge

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To locate the source of the leak, you need to see it and where it's coming from.
Leak detector pros are now using tiny cameras with lights they insert into the wall cavity. However, if you need to do any work on the rough in valve, you need to open the wall from the other side.
My experience: once you cut the drywall, you might as well replace the rough in body.

I purchased a mini camera on a 10ft flexible shaft that sends its signal to my phone via WiFi. Its diameter is small enough to insert into 1/2" PEX tubing so I can send that in first and slide the camera without it dropping or getting off course. Definately a good way to see inside of a shower wall.
 
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