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  • Leaky shower drain pipe!

    Okay, heres the story. I have a stand up plastic shower in the downstairs bathroom. I noticed that a puddle of water was forming from it into the basement cement floor which is right on the other side of the wall. There is a gap of the wall at the bottom in the basement area where you can see the bottom of the shower. My first guess was that it needed to be recocked. I did that and put the rubber strip tape on it as well to ensure no water would leak out. It still is, and now I assume that the leak must be the shower drain pipe. Not sure where though. I looked down it with a flashlight but saw no cracks. Basically I would like to know what to do next? I am getting some minor mold on the wood in the basement where the leak is occuring, so I def. need to solve this problem very soon. Thanks

  • #2
    mustain, the most common location for a leak from a prefabricated shower is from the drain assembly. usually it is either the seal between the fiberglass and the drain, or the connection between the drain and the pipe.
    the easiest method for you would be to cut an access hole in the drywall to view that drain assy. and run the shower as normal. sometimes the drain can be repaired from the top, inside the shower. other times you need to replace the drain to make a proper connection.

    try this test and get back, let us know what you found.

    rick.

    Comment


    • #3
      Rick is correct. However one other source of this water could be from the shower water bouncing off the body and running behind the shower faucet trim and then down the backside of the shower and inside the wall. It would be wise to check this before cutting the wall. I could recount at least a hundred and one stories where this was the problem after a ton of mony was spent repairing drywall and replacing pipe.

      The drain is the culprit most of the time. But its worthwhile to be sure the faucet trim is sealed to the wall properly before cutting any holes.

      Did you put the rubber strip you mentioned under the shower body betwwen the bottom part of the drain assembly and shower or did you put it between the top side of the shower drain assembly and the shower?
      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

      Comment


      • #4
        plumber has a good point there. a simple test is to take a garden hose.don't turn on the shower valve when doing this test. run it into the drain only. test for leaks. then run water onto the shower floor. checking for leaks. then use a rubber expansion plug to seal off the 2'' drain riser and fill the shower to the top of the dam. i would then get into the shower to apply some weight to the plastic pan. (not typically necessary for a tile floor). last is to turn the hose onto the wall of the shower and the shower trim. make sure you leave enough time between test so as not to confuse the findings.
        last but not least is the packings of the shower stems are loose and leak when the valves are turned on. a simple tightening and adjusting will fix this issue. as always the trim should be properly caulked to the wall surface. both for sanitary and leak issues.

        this would be the same test for a shower pan, whether tile, plastic, stone.

        cutting an access hole will help to spot the location with very little guess work.

        p.s i've never had any luck to get the homeowner to shower while i check for leaks. maybe someday, hopefully not at the retirement house.

        rick.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a kit I use for testing showers and such which sounds like a lot of work but is not. First you need the kit; a ½”X6” nipple with an attached hose bibb, a 6’ washing machine hose with one end removed, a 2” dollar plug and a fine grease pen. Each of the following Steps should be done in the following order with at least 5-10 minutes between the stop and start of each Step.

          Step 1: Replace the shower arm with the ½”X6” nipple with an attached hose bibb and the 6’ washing machine hose.

          Step 2: Turn the valve on with the hose bibb off. If you leak it is in the riser or the non-pressure side of the valve.

          Step 3: Install the 2” dollar plug into the shower drain and fill the pan using the hose bibb and hose. After the pan is full mark the high water line with the grease pen and wait 15-minutes. If you shower drain leaks either your flange on the shower drain is leaking or the seal between the drain pipe and shower drain is leaking. If it is the seal between the drain pipe and shower drain which is leaking the repair will depend on the type of seal it is. The repair MUST match the original designed seal.

          You will most likely not know if the flange on the shower drain is leaking until after you’ve tried to repair the seal between the drain pipe and shower drain is repaired and the pan filling test fails again. If it is your flange on your shower drain we are really going to need to talk.

          Step 4: Run water down the drain through the hose. If this causes your leak you have a problem in your drainage system and the shower will need to be removed.

          Step 5: Turn the hose bibb on and spray the valve penetration with the hose. If it leaks your valve penetration is leaking and needs to be properly sealed.

          Step 6: Turn the hose bibb on and spray the shower door from the inside using the hose. This may require a step ladder depending on enclosure height versus tester’s height. Make sure to start at threshold and slowly work your way up. If the shower door leaks, repair the shower door including the sweep.


          -----------------------------

          My experience has been that most leaks are found in Step 3.

          Good luck - Mark

          [ 10-20-2005, 01:05 PM: Message edited by: ToUtahNow ]
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh Oh Rick, you're a married man now. Though the pretty gal with her toe stuck in the spout was one I always hoped for.

            Utah, a well written piece of advice. And always eliminate the easy problems first. Ones face is seldom red that way. Your little "kit" is a great idea. Though my service days are now past there are a few times when I must occasionally trouble shoot problems. Your kit is now going to be part of my program. Thanks.

            mustaine, Follow Utahs program and you will come to your proper determination with out a miss.
            Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

            Comment


            • #7
              utah, the steps you wrote out are very well detailed. the problem is that the order of steps might be off.
              the reason i use a garden hose is to eliminate the potential of a bad valve or shower arm. i limit the the areas to test and start at the bottom. i test the drain pipe,trap directly without spilling onto the pan or body of the drain. next is the dollar plug into the drain to test the pan. then the walls and concentrate on the corners. last is the wall trim plates. of course i have already looked at the valve packings and the shower arm prior to doing this detailed test. i hate to remove the shower arm if i don't have too. they are so easy to snap off in the wall. if i need to i cap the shower head or put a rubber washer with no hole in the shower head. a dime works good too and is a trick i use for aereators too.

              the reason i start from the bottom up is to eliminate too many variables and exposure. gravity works in our favor on this one. of course a small access hole to look into the wall or floor is nice. usually you can find a stain, water trail.

              both ways will work, i feel my steps will eliminate too much confusion?

              rick.

              Comment


              • #8
                Rick,

                You are absolutely correct and I realized my order was off when I read them this morning. I was going to redo it but had not gotten to it yet. That's what I get for a late night Vicoden post. [img]smile.gif[/img]

                The reason I don't use a garden hose is I have better control over the water if the shut off is where I am working.

                I eliminate the valve and riser when I first install the nipple and hose bibb and energize them. After 10-minutes of the non-pressure side being under pressure it should leak if it is going to leak. If it has not leaked I go on from there.

                Mark

                Okay my previous has now been edited. Thanks for your help.

                [ 10-20-2005, 01:09 PM: Message edited by: ToUtahNow ]
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  mark, glad we are on the same track.
                  by the way do you have a few extra vicodan?
                  last friday i burned the skin off the back of 2 fingers trying to solder the back of a 2'' fitting on a storage tank. the skin blistered and after talking to my brother inlaw, the dr. he advised me to peel off the chared skin. i emaild him a photo of it. thinks it might be 3rd. degree.

                  so why wasn't i wearing gloves? well i was just before i got tar on them. too lazy to go down 7 stories to get a new pair. havn't done this bad for 25 years. i guess it's time to pay the piper?


                  it doesn't hurt much until i bend the fingers. the fun is going to try to keep them clean and dry. next week is 2 days of jetting. and then off to costa rica for the week. hope to be healed somewhat by then.

                  i guess it could have been worse. look at your ladder ordeal.

                  by the way, i did use propress fittings on most of the job. too bad not on this section. it would have saved some pain and grief.

                  thanks mark.

                  rick.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Rick,

                    I think it's the flux that makes a solder burn so bad. I still have a bunch of small scares on my chest from overhead soldering while wearing a button shirt and no T-shirt. It seems the older I get the more protection I am now using. Funny when I was young I just assummed by body would last forever.

                    Mark
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      mark, i wish it was the flux or solder. it was the torch. the flame hit me for a split second. like i said it's been 25 years since i got it this bad.
                      of course it was an acelethyne? torch. not much hotter than that.

                      glad that your getting better too.

                      rick.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OUCH

                        You'd better stick with the Pro-Press and leave the dangerous stuff for us old-school guys
                        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          mark, wouldn't that be lead and oakum. or screw pipe? you have to watch the propress jaws too. once they start their cycle, they don't stop. i would take the burn over the crimp. double ouch!

                          rick

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Rick.

                            I don't want to hijack this thread anymore so i'll stop now. I am thinking about a new thread in a day or so about job site injuries.

                            Mark
                            "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                            I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              plumber, I ran into this problem just the other day. Apparently, the homeowner called a plumber 3 times and couldn't find the problem. The homeowner said the leak only occurred while standing on one side of the shower. I pointed the shower head at the valve trim and found the leak. I didn't charge him for it. He looked at me in disbelief. I think more so because I found the leak so quickly rather than not charging him.

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