Because they see so much use--and such high volumes of water--bathtubs are especially susceptible to water leaks. When left untreated, such leaks may cause costly damage to floors, sub-flooring, and walls. If you are concerned about the possibility of water damage in your bathroom, read on. This article will educate you on two common bathtub leaks to be aware of.
It's hard to believe that a little bit of water escaping from your bathtub could really lead to much damage. Yet recurring splash leaks are one of the most common sources of bathroom water damage. That's because, when such leaks occur often enough, the floor around your tub never has time to fully dry. Eventually that water will seep down into the sub-floor, leading to rot, mold, and other problems.
Any of the following are signs that you may have a splash leak on your hands:
- water puddles on the floor around the tub
- tiles that have come loose
- vinyl flooring that is curling upward
- signs of mildew or mold growth
- ceiling stains in the room or basement below
Splash leaks are an especial threat for those with shower curtains, as water may seep outward even when the curtain is fully closed. You can, however, reduce the amount of water that makes it past the edge of your tub by adding a splash guard. Installation is simple, and requires little more than the guard, a caulk gun, and a tube of caulk.
Shower doors offer somewhat more safety. Yet they can also lead to water leakage should the caulk around the door frame begin to crumble and deteriorate. If you've noticed water seeping beneath the frame, recaulk it as soon as possible.
Drain leaks are much more insidious than splash leaks because they can be virtually impossible to detect until the problem has advanced to a certain degree. You see, drain leaks happen on the underside of the tub, where the outflow pipe is connected to the bathtub drain. That means you may not notice any signs at all, until the ceiling below has begun to display a water stain. Likewise, as the water gradually spreads out beneath your tub, drain leaks may eventually cause loose or damaged flooring as well.
Luckily, it is possible to correct a drain leak without removing the tub. All you have to do is unscrew a component known as the drain flange, which is located just inside the drainage hole in your tub. Beneath the flange you will find a rubber gasket, which is most likely crumbling and cracked. Purchasing and installing an identical replacement at your hardware store should be enough to correct the problem.
To help catch leaks early, talk to your plumber about installing a water leak detection system.