How to check for Bathroom Leaks
Usually the first sign of a plumbing leak in your bathroom will be water stains on the ceiling or the room directly below, this is a sign that the leak has caused some damage to hidden areas and you will need to call a plumber to take a close look and repair the leak. Most plumbing leaks originate near plumbing fixtures like bath tubs, shower enclosure, sinks and toilets. By taking the time out to investigate some of the tell-tale signs could save you the headache of further damage and expensive repair bills.
It is a good idea to check the seals around the shower from time to time as this is somewhere where an undetected leak can lead to a more serious plumbing problem.
If left major damage can be caused if water is constantly leaking and coming into contact with surrounding wall or floor. As wooden floorboards and joist are prone to swelling and eventually rot which can result in an expensive replacement project where your shower tray, or enclosure may have to be removed so that work can begin on the damaged area below.
Things to look out for include peeling paintwork ant rotting flooring. If you have Vinyl flooring this could be more of a problem as water puddles can cause the flooring to curl and deteriorate to such a level where it will allow water to come into contact with whatever is underneath – usually wood.
Shower curtains should be kept inside the bath tub when taking a shower to minimise the risk of puddles of water on your flooring. Mould spots on silicone and seals are another trouble sign. This can often indicate that there are gaps in any silicone that should be repaired.
Check shower doors, check the condition of the rubber seals, check for gaps where the shower tray meets the floor. Sometimes sealant is used. If it’s rotten and has gaps scrape it out and apply a new lot. Remember to make sure it’s completely dry before testing or using your shower.
The same applies to shower enclosure leaks. Check all areas and seals for gaps, it can be difficult to spot some leaks as water tends to disperse very slowly. Leaks from pipes can be difficult to detect because the pipe is often hidden behind bathroom panelling and walls. In such cases the first sign of leaks will be water stains on the ceiling of the room below.
Bathroom Floor Leaks
Vinyl flooring is prone to rot and will often curl at the edges from prolonged exposure to water. Tiled floors can leak through cracked tiles or problems with the grouting. Make sure you use a plumber with insurance for bathroom renovations and tiling work as problems in this area can cause major damage.
Bath Drain Leaks
Leaks around plugs and drains are one of the most common places where a leak can form in a bathroom.
More often than not the water will leak slowly so it can be difficult to detect. The easiest way to test for a leaking drain or bath plug the hole and fill the bath with a little water.
Check back after an hour to see if the water level has dropped, if it has it’s an obvious sign of a leak – although it could also be the seal of the plug stopper so be sure to check this too. It’s a lot cheaper than ripping a bath tub only to find that there isn’t any damage below.
Drain leaks are more common with plastic and fiberglass bathtubs. The same is true of shower enclosures and shower trays, the material is softer than a ceramic so can move slightly as you manoeuvre on top of them. This can sometimes break the seal around the drain or plug hole which can allow water to escape onto the area below.
Tiles can leak by allowing water to escape through damaged silicone or grouting. Escaped water can easily manifest behind walls or drip down onto the floor area and cause damage. Mouldy tiles are a warning sign that there may be gaps in your grouting and silicon. Often tiles will comes loose or fall off as a result.
Most leaks that originate from a toilet are caused by a leak between the toilet and the waste pipe. This means that every time your toilet is flushed water will leak and because your toilet is probably used more than the shower damage to floors can escalate quickly to become expensive plumbing repair jobs.
If your toilet moves when you sit on it it’s a sign that you could be in trouble as over time the rocking could potentially break the flange seal and lead to a leak. Check the seals round the bottom of the toilet where it meets the floor, to make sure that the toilet is secure.
Leaks around taps will often lead to an area that is hidden so detecting a leak can be difficult.
Damaged seals and deteriorating silicone areas around taps and faucets can allow water to seep through and damage the area below. On sinks and basins it is usually easier to get a clear view of exactly what’s going on underneath the sink so pouring excess water around the top of the tap area and checking the area below is the easiest way to detect a leak here.
Sink leaks can also occur at pipe joints and some cases the pipes themselves. It’s always a good idea to check thoroughly at regular intervals. Water running down a pipe and onto the floorboards below can cause them to become swollen and go rotten over time.
Sink Drain Leaks
Sink drains can leak in the same ways as bath drains so the same type of checks should be carried out. Puddles and excess water at the base of the basin on the floor are obvious signs that there is a leak.
Call Baker Smith if you have a hidden leak
If you have a hidden leak the best thing to do is turn off all the water in the house, go out for the day (or at least a couple of hours).
When you get back check the water metre, if it’s low then it is likely that you have a hidden leak in your plumbing system. Contact us, we will be happy to help with our leak detection services!