The first thing you want to do if you have a bathtub leak is to locate the source of the leak. Some bathtub leaks can be fixed by the homeowner, other leaks require the expertise of a plumber. There are five places a bathtub leak is generally located.
- The Grout – Many times when a leak occurs the homeowner thinks it is coming from the pipes. Most often this is not the case and the leak is actually due to shrinking of grout around the tiles where the shower spray hits and splashes. This causes water to rundown behind the tiles and then onto the floor. The difficulty with this type of leak is in locating it. The water often flows down to places that are away from the origin of the leak. If you can correctly locate the leak source this is a repair most homeowners can fix this problem on their own by re-grouting the tile.
- The Bathtub Faucet –The faucet is the most common area for a bathtub leak. Most of the time simply replacing the washer and using plumbers tape to seal the valve threads fixes this type of leak. Remember to shut off the water prior to unscrewing the faucet.
- Leaking from Bathtub Body – If you discover that the bathtub leak is not coming from the faucet it could be coming from the actual body of the bathtub. To find the hole fill up the bathtub with water and then turn off the water. If the leak is in the bathtub body you should be able to find it fairly easily. Bathtub leaks from the actual tub body are not very common. If the enamel is cracked you will begin to see rust form along the crack.
- Overflow Pipe – Between the back of the bathtub and the overflow pipe is a beveled rubber washer. Fixing a leak from the overflow pipe and replacing this washer should usually be done by a plumber.
- The Bathtub Drain – It is also possible that the outlet pipe is clogged and is causing the leak. It is possible to use a mixture of a half-cup of baking soda followed by a half-cup of vinegar down the clogged drain to try and clear it. The drain may take as long as 3 hours to clear. If that does not work you will need to call your local plumber.
It is important to get any bathtub leaks fixed right away as mold can begin to form. Also leaks left unattended can also cause damage to other parts of your bathroom leading to more expensive repairs.