2nd Floor Bath Issues..Please Advise!

13 Replies

I have a 2nd floor bathroom at one of my rentals and I visited it yesterday. The tenant showed me that the drywall in the kitchen ceiling (right below 2nd floor bath) had some soft spot. When I went upstairs I noticed that the shower door does show some signs of water on the bottom outside. I also think it has something to do with the tenants getting out of the shower soaking wet and not drying the floor, but I cant prove it.

My question is if anyone has anything that they do to their rentals in order to combat the idea of the tenants getting out of the shower soaking wet? I plan on removing the shower door, cleaning it all up, re-siliconing and re-caulking all around it so it has a good fit. Im just concerned that the tenants will continue to get out of the shower soaking wet. Please advise if anyone has anything they do to fix this issue. Thanks

I recently started sealing the outside bottom of the tubs with silicone, in other words where the tub meets the floor and a little way down the adjacent walls. Fill the void with a whole tube of silicone if you have to. Then use PVC quarter round or similar moulding to cover. I started doing this after rebuilding subfloors in a lot of my flips for the same reason. At least if the water flows somewhere else, its easier to repair than under the tub or shower.

With the doors, make sure you don't seal the inside bottom edge, so water can get back into the tub.

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Yeah I have this same problem.

Make sure you spend an extra couple bucks per tube and get the good stuff.It will be waterproof tight and the good silicone stays pliable and flexes when expands.

This keeps the seal 100% tight.The cheap crap won't flex and then will start cracking and allow water behind it in certain spots.Will slow the leak down but not get rid of it completely.

I would take this time to make sure where the ceiling is soft that there is no leaks coming from the tub drain,shower diverter,or shower head pipe behind the wall.

Also it's not always the tub leaking.The toilet is usually close by to the shower.

The seal at the toilet to the floor for sewer or the bolts from the tank to bowl could be bad or the seal for the flush between the tank and the bowl.The water can slowly run down the outside of the back of the tank under the sub floor.

When you take the drywall off and look at the sub floor underneath you should see darker areas where the leak is more prominent.You can also use a moisture meter to determine the first point of entry for the leak.Make sure control valve and diverter are snug to the wall and sealed properly.Water can get behind there while taking a shower and cause a slow drip.

Thanks Everyone for the replies.

When I bought the house (forclosure) I had to replace the drywall and subfloor in this same spot. I left the ceiling open and let the shower run for a awhile and it didnt seem to be leaking. The biggest issue is that these tenants are college kids so Im sure they are not paying attention. I am going to warn them this time that they need to be more careful and if not they will be charged the next time.

Im debating about even putting tile in front of the shower instead of the sticky tiles that are there now.

The toilet is also not close enough to the shower to be part of the problem because that was one of my thoughts as well.

I will get in there and open up the drywall and replace the sub floor and hope that I can scare them enough to not do it anymore.

Thanks Again all.

You should also check the joints between the tub and shower enclosure. If there is caulking there, remove it and re-caulk using the silicone. Best to let the area dry out first, although there are some wet/dry brands you can use. Also make sure that the floor is not coming up next to the tub before caulking. If you have, work some adhesive under there to get it down before caulking.

Tile doesn't necessary solve the problem either. Grout cracks, and water will work its way down into the cracks. The most common areas where grout cracks is the joint at the tub/shower wall and next to the tub on the floor since those tend to be larger joints.

You potentially have a problem with the shower pan. You can't necessarily detect this just from running the shower. Put a stopper in the drain (one of those flat ones should work) and fill the shower enclosure a couple inches deep. Best if the drywall is off below the shower. If you see dripping in the shower area, you need to redo the shower pan. If not, then you've eliminated a defect as the source. Opening up the ceiling would also give you the chance to verify its not a leaking supply or drain line. If there really is a problem, you want to catch it and fix it before the damage gets serious.

None of the area around the shower is intended to be truly waterproof. If there's a lot of water around, there is potential for the water getting into cracks and seeping inside the walls. If there are just sticky tiles outside the shower, then there really is no seal at all. But even ceramic tile and sealed grout won't give a perfect seal.

I think your best bet is to open up the sheetrock in the ceiling and see where the water is coming from. Test the shower pan, check the pipes and faucet. Not sure why you would replace the subfloor, unless its soft, too.

Thanks Jon,

The subfloor is very wet and it did feel soft to me. I guess i assumed that it was coming from tenants or shower door because it was most wet right outside the shower.

I will open up the drywall on the first floor and have my plumber go out and inspect.

Thank You to everyone who responded

This situation is a lot like a roof leak. A roofer will tell you "I'm sure I can fix the leak. I'm not sure I can find it." Water will run to the lowest spot and then start leaking through the subfloor. It may look perfectly flat, but the water will find the low spot. Assuming the subfloor extends up below the show, the water could well be coming from the shower pan or the drain conection, then running along the subfloor.

From your description, this is a stand along shower, not a shower in a tub. What sort of enclosure is it? Make out of tile? A big one-piece fiberglass enclosure? A fiberglass pan with tile above? Outside the shower, is it just one layer of plywood subfloor with sticky tile stuck to it? Or plywood with hardibacker or some such below the sticky tile.

Jon - This is a stand alone shower with a fiberglass pan and a 2-piece fiberglass surround. As far as the floor it is just a single layer subfloor with sticky tiles on top of that. I bought it that way and just patched what needed to be patched.

Should I do something else for the subfloor / flooring?

Were the sticky tiles applied directly to the sub floor or do you have the plastic under layment??

The plastic under layment can protect the sub floor to a degree.I use sticky tiles in laundry room but for bath I like to use one sheet.

There was just a sub floor, not under layment at all. I definitely think that is part of the issue. Im going to open it up this weekend and see whats in there and probabaly put underlayment and then a vinyl sheet on the floor. I think thats the best bet based on what everyone has said.

Yes you are supposed to have the black mill underlayment.You staple it down with a staple gun.If you take the toilet off check to see how old the toilet is.Might be time to replace it.If not check the toilet bolts,all internal parts,new wax ring,etc. before putting back on after the floor goes down.

Thanks Joel, I am going to try and get over there this weekend and take care of it so it doesnt get any worse.

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