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Common Household Remedies Request

Modified rapture!

Rapture because:

1. As it turns out, when I chisel off the drywall, I find not laths, but a good solid wooden ceiling that when the time comes I can repaint when I take off the wallboard I've always hated anyhow!

2. Also, I don't have to worry about water soaking into the drywall over the entire kitchen. It's running along the wooden ceiling until it finds an outlet where a nail has been driven through the drywall into the wood. I'm betting this minimizes the possibility of mold as well.

3. Even better, I eyeballed where the shower drain had to be, guessing that was the source of the leak, and when I removed the drywall, I found a hole had already been cut through the wood ceiling, and when I looked up, there were the shower pipes!

In other words, somebody forty years ago had the same problem. I, however, will install a panel over the hole to avoid future angst and suffering!

Modified rapture:

4. I know where the leak is and it won't be easy to fix. It's from the seam in the plastic circular drain in the shower stall -- which doesn't seem to be removable (though I could be wrong). So tonight I can caulk round the drain, which will at least buy me a little time to figure out how to go up from under the shower... Or, heck, put a big metal tray under the drip until the time comes when I can afford to call a real plumber.

* * *

Present fears are less / Than horrible imaginings

The moral of the story: Always open the ceiling first. I assumed, wrongly, that the first floor kitchen ceiling would be constructed like the second floor bathroom ceiling, and that to cut a hole in it I'd need a jigsaw, so I went and spent $40 I didn't need to. In addition, I didn't allow for the possibility that people before me had the same problem.

And here I was imagining sheets of black mold, the ceiling collapsing, a hole through a steel pipe when most of my pipes -- meth freaks and metal thieves stop reading now -- are solid copper.

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

... but the idea of using some sort of foam to stop the leak coming through on the underside is interesting. It is a hack, and not a substitute for a plumber but this month I would like to avoid a plumber...

Submitted by hipparchia on

when I take off the wallboard I've always hated anyhow!

you have good taste! i love my wood ceilings.

Present fears are less / Than horrible imaginings

glad to hear it. always a relief to find out these things aren't as bad as they could be.

mtngun's picture
Submitted by mtngun on

Glad you are making progress.

I can't tell where the leak originates, but the entire drain should be replaceable, though it may be a PITA. I'll have to take your word about the leaky seam, but I'd be tempted to tear the entire drain apart and redo it, just in case it was leaking somewhere besides the seam. The caulked area between the stall and the drain fitting is prone to leak.

If your code allows it, ABS or PVC pipe is much easier to work with than copper. I like to use ABS traps that screw together -- they can be unscrewed by hand to clean out the trap. The new parts will put a dent in your budget, though.

Make sure the trap and drain are not clogged. They tend to clog up with hair and soap, resulting in standing water inside the drain, which makes it leak more. If it drains freely, there shouldn't be any standing water inside the drain pipe, even while you are showering.

I have to clean my shower trap about once a year, or else it starts to leak. I really should take the whole thing apart and find the leak -- probably the drain/stall connection -- but as long as I keep the drain and trap clean so that water doesn't back up, it doesn't leak.

Good luck with the project.

Jay's picture
Submitted by Jay on

The flange nut is cocked so that the rubber seal under the shower isn't seating up against the bottom of the shower properly. You may be able to get away with just buying a new rubber seal and putting some new plumber's putty under the flange of the top (shower side) part of the drain. You may want to cut that excess plywood away from the pipes and wrap some paper towel or rag strips around possible leak candidates with some twine, then let the water flow and see where it's leaking from and where it isn't. If the drain pipe and the aperture in the bathtub are misaligned, you may benefit from a thick, spongy, compressible rubber seal and a washer, which you can reuse if it eventually turns out you have to re-plumb the drain pipe so it aligns properly. Cheap solutions first.