Shower causing leaks down living room wall!

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Cath, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Cath

    Cath New Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Hi :)

    I'm new to these forums so I hope someone can provide some advice!

    I rent a house with my partner and lately whenever we shower in our upstairs bathroom (it's a bath/shower), we get streams of water running down our living room wall downstairs. The water stops when we stop showering - I've not tested yet to see if it still causes the leakage when we only use the bath or when the shower is running with noone in it.

    There is a bit of back story to this: we had the bath re-tiled and re-sealed a little over a year ago because water was leaking from the corner of the bath out onto the shelf behind the toilet. Since then I’ve been trying to ensure that the seal around the bath etc stays dry but with having no windows and what I fear is a rather ineffective extractor fan in the bathroom, mold has developed regardless, which obviously makes us look bad to our landlady who will be the one who has to sort this out again. We’ve also had a mass water runnage down the entire length of the living room wall in the past caused by a faulty ballcock in the toilet which made the toilet tank overflow – that problem reared its ugly head again when the shower started causing leaks this time, although I noticed the warning signs and turned the water off before any more water damage could occur this time. This has now been fixed, and our landlord was hoping this would prove to have been the cause of the current leaking, but alas it seems not. Incidentally, when we were only turning the water on when necessary and at the minimum pressure to shower quickly etc while waiting for the ballcock to be replaced, the water didn’t run down the wall when showering.

    So! Could the mold be causing the leaks? Could the fact that the new tiles/sealant was put over the old be to blame? Can just not having enough dry airflow in a room be enough to cause black mold to form? The really odd thing that may give some plumber out there an ‘eureka’ moment is that at first the water was only running down the wall starting at the dado-rail level (about half way down the wall). Now it’s running from the ceiling down the wall as well, and I’m wondering if this leak is separate from the leak at dado-rail level although it occupies the same half a metre wide section of the wall.

    Sorry for the really long post – just trying to be as informative as possible! Any help or advice appreciated! Just want to know what’s going on so at least one party has some idea of what actually needs to be done!
  2. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Nov 27, 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold
    the place is a mess. Not your fault!!!

    yoo hoo,,

    once the first big water damage (toilet tank overflow) happened, mold began to establish itself. It may not have been visible or significant.

    The second big water damage is NOW, and that enables the mold to grow like wildfire.

    Both are not your fault. You did not cause it.

    You now live in a poisoned house. Mold -- when there is too much of it -- will produce smells, odors, mycotoxins, that will make your immune system go into high gear and work extra hard to defend the body against these complex chemicals. Too much of it will make your immune system work extra hard, and that is the source of health problems. A weakened immune system, allergies, sores that take a long time to heal, and more.

    The shower plumbing now leaks. That much you already know. That is not your fault.

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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Your landlady needs to investigate this. Your job is to report that there is a problem.

    Try just running some water into the tub. See if while it is running or just sitting in the tub, there is a leak.

    If no leak, then run the shower. Point it so it doesn't hit any walls. Do you have water running in the walls then? If so, then there is a leak in the wall between the valve and the shower head.

    If still no leaks, then point the shower head around on the walls. See if you can tell when it starts to leak. If the shower is properly built, it shouldn't leak at all! It is not your job to fix it, it is the owner's. It is your responsibility to tell them if you notice something wrong.

    If the walls are soaked inside because of poor construction, then regardless of the ventilation you provide, it will likely still grow. The only extra thing that might help is if you wipe the walls of the shower down after each shower.

    Neither tile nor grout is totally waterproof...there is nothing you can do about that. The surface that the tile is installed on must be properly designed and installed to prevent water from getting into th ewalls and creating damage. If this is not done, you as a user can't fix it...the thing needs major work.

    Now, if water only leaks when the drains are running, there is likely a problem with the drains themselves. If the place is old, then the cast iron drains (or possibly lead or copper) could have holes in them. Then, any time water was run down the drain, it could leak out. It could be a loose connection between the tub drain and the drain line allowing water to run out.

    Lots of needs resolution quickly before more damage is done.
  5. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Jun 12, 2006
    Your Landlord needs to get a plumber or handyperson over there pronto to diagnose and fix the problem. Unless you have a big interest in learning how to do your own plumbing, you shouldn't even be involved other than making the phone call.
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