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leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

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  • leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

    I have a slow leak in my basement shower stall which I cannot find. I know this is a long thread, but want to give as clear a picture as i can.

    I have a tiled shower stall that was built about twenty years ago.One of the shower stall walls shares a wall with the laundry room. The laundry room has an exposed concrete floor. About six months ago we noticed a small leak along the bottom perimiter of the laundry room wall (which adjoins the wall to the shower). The leak became bigger and bigger, so finally before christmas, we removed all of the tile from the shower floor and up the wall about half way up to the ceiling, removing all of the backing board until there was no evidence of water stains which had wicked up. We hired a contractor to replace all of the rotted wood and wet backing board (with new concrete wall board). He also put liner behind all of the concrete wall board. We did not break the existing concrete floor and did not replace the drain as the drain is surrounded by the concrete floor. There were no visible cracks in the concrete floor. He spread on a thin layer of contrete and then applied a red fluid which dried to a plastic finish. Once all was dry, I ran water down the drain to see if it leaked and it did not seem to (at least that I could notice). We then laid down,glued and grouted new tile along all of the walls and the floor. I then put a sealant on all of the grout and put a bead of silicone along all corners from floor to ceiling and along the floor seams. I also siliconed around the drain. THOUGHT IT WAS TIGHT AS A DRUM .

    OK, then took a couple of showers and everything seemed to be fine. Well, not anymore. Two days ago, a water line appeared again along the laundry wall about 1/2 hour after a shower. Waited until the water dried again, then today, meticulously grid by grid, ran water down the drain, where the wall meets the floor six inches by six inches (all around), and then down the wall (grid by grid). No water appeared along the wall, until about ONE HOUR later. Then the line of water appeared again. The amount of water leaking is nowhere the same as it was when this whole project started, but it runs the permiter of the same length as the shower wall.

    Sorry it took so long to explain, but I am now at a total loss as to what to do next? any ideas as to how to find out where the leak is? Could it be deeper in the drain and if so, how to find out?(the drain is white pvc). why does it take about an hour for the leak to appear?? If I hired a plumber, would he have a way of finding the source of the leak, or would he just tell me to break up the shower stall completely and start all over again!!!Please , please i need ideas! thanks for taking the time to read this through.

  • #2
    Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

    do a shower pan test.

    get an internal plug 2'' aka a dollar plug. plug the drain and fill the shower to the threshold with a garden hose from outside. do not turn on the shower valve.

    then let it sit in there like a bathtub.

    see if the shower leaks or the wall gets wet.

    if it leaks then you have a bad pan. period.

    try this and get back with us.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

      Someone with a small camera could poke a hole on the other side to see if they can chase the leak origin down.

      Could be a leak at the shower valve or head in the wall.

      Could also be the shower pan liner & connection to the drain.

      I've seen tile walls leak MANY times & it takes awhile for it to show when using the shower. Tile & grout is NOT waterproof.

      Do a pan test first like Plumber Rick says. That's the easiest thing to do and eliminate something quick.

      Then I'd find a plumber with a small camera to look in the walls & the base areas.

      Good luck.

      J.C.

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      • #4
        Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

        Take off the shower head, while doing this you may see the shower arm come off in your hands. If it does not come off good for you. Now go down to your local hardware store and pick up an inexpensive water pressure test guage along with a brass adapter that is female IP (iron pipe) by male hose bib thread. This adaptor will allow you to screw the water pressure test guage onto the shower arm. Use a little teflon tape. Now turn on the cold water and see what the pressure is. Now turn off the cold water and see if the guage holds the pressure or starts to drop off. If it drops off without showing any signs of dripping from the visable connections inside the shower, then you may have solved your problem as the leak is in the wall.

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        • #5
          Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

          THANKS all. I will try these suggestions and let you know how it works. Question - why do you need to use an outside hose and not the shower valve? Also, how does testing the pressure tell me where the leak is coming from?

          "I will hold off from jumping from the basement window" for now!

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          • #6
            Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

            What we are suggesting are two separate tests, the pressure test tells you what the integrity of the piping in the wall is without having to open it up. If the pressure drops off after you turn the valve off, you are closer to a solution. The garden hose trick isolates the drainage from a tile wall issue. Don't do these tests one after the other, wait a little while to make sure one does not affect the other.

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            • #7
              Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

              After you test your pan ,like rick said, and give it time to leak,
              I would test the faucet by putting a 1/2" cap on the shower arm and turn the faucet on and let it sit with the water presure on it

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

                Good morning! I am so grateful to all of your suggestions. I will go and get a plug today (measured the drain hole - it is 1 1/4 wide (is a rubber plug good enough?) and try the pan test.

                My shower stall does not have a faucet (when we "repaired" the wall at Christmas, we took out the faucet and just left the shower head arm (with a head of course). Declase, you suggested putting a 1/2 cap on the shower arm and then turning on the faucet - will that not lead the pipes to explode??? for how long?

                Thank you all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

                  Isn't it amazing how you can give someone some great advice and they just don't get it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

                    thank you for the great advice you offered, rookie plumber! I was just trying to clarify what Delcase was suggesting. Am definitely taking advice!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

                      IT wont Explode ....the water will just stop at the cap....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

                        Originally posted by DELCASE View Post
                        IT wont Explode ....the water will just stop at the cap....

                        Well if it does explode I guess you've found the leak.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: leaking basement shower stall-woman ready to jump out of basement window!

                          Does anything EXPLODE when You turn off Your shower valve?? Same deal
                          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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