Tub and Shower Drain Leaks

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Tub and Shower Drain leaks can be a very troubling problem, to test a drain, plug the drain with a test plug and add water... after an hour, check to see if the water level has dropped. Drain leaks allow water to sneak around the outside of the drain where it's connected to the tub or shower. This is especially common with plastic or fiberglass tubs and shower pans, since these materials flex slightly when you stand on them, often breaking the seal around the drain.These leaks can stain or destroy the ceiling below or rot floor joists. In the case of a tub set on a concrete slab, the leak will ruin flooring in the bathroom or adjoining rooms. Signs of trouble - Water stains on the ceiling or joists below, loose flooring near the tub or damp floors in adjoining rooms (if the tub is on a concrete slab). To find the source, try to see if you can see the underside of the drain through an access panel or open ceiling, partially fill the tub and then release the water. In a shower, plug the drain with a rag and then release the water. Check the drains and traps for leaks from below through the access panel.

  • Around tubs & showers is a common leak area
  • Bulging of the floor may mean a leak
  • Discoloring of areas near showers
  • Look for wet or stained areas

Tub And Shower Drain Leaks Happen

If you don't have access to the underside of the drain, plug the drain and add enough water to form a small puddle around the drain. Mark the edge of the puddle by setting a bottle of shampoo next to it, then wait an hour. If the puddle shrinks, the drain is leaking and don't rely on your tub stopper for this test, it may leak. Remove the stopper and insert a 1-1/2-in. test plug (find them at home centers). Remove the grate and use a 2-in. plug for a shower. How to fix it - To repair a tub drain, unscrew the drain flange from above, then clean the flange and apply silicone caulk. Also remove the rubber gasket that's under the tub's drain hole and take it to a home center to find a matching gasket. Slip the new gasket into place and screw in the drain flange. If you have access to a shower drain from below, tighten the ring nut that locks the drain to the shower pan. If that doesn't work, replace the drain assembly. If you don't have access beneath the drain, cut a hole in the ceiling below or replace the drain assembly with a Wing Tite drain.

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