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shower/tub leak into floor below

recently bought a house and i have come up against my first conundrum. i am hoping to get some clarity via toh users' wisdom.

okay. here is the problem. i have no idea how the water is getting to the ground floor. the shower only leaks when there is someone taking a shower.

i have ran multiple tests, only running the bath faucet, filling up the tub (so i know that it is not the floor drain. running the shower into a bucket (so i am pretty sure it is not the supply line leading up to the shower head, by the way i have no access panel) pouring water onto the walls and floor to see if water was getting in through cracks in the grout/tile. no water appeared after this test. but my only idea is that it is leaking through the tile or grout somehow.

i ran a caulk line around the tub because before there was only a shoddy grout line with a few cracks. i bought a silicone grout to plug up any holes that were in the grout. and yet i am still getting water downstairs. the tile i have is indian slate with fairly thick grout lines (1/8" to 1/4" thick or so)

i am completely baffled. please offer me your advice/theories.

if i were to cave in and call a professional should i call a plumber or someone more general like a handyman or contractor. because i am pretty sure that the leak is not coming from the pipes. do plumbers deal with all things water/bathroom?

Re: shower/tub leak into floor below

The routine plumbers use to detect such a leak is to:

1) cut out a small damaged area of the water-soaked ceiling on the lower floor (it will have to be removed anyway) to pinpoint the leak.

2) Take a torpedo level & see if the pitch on the tub pitches toward or away from the shower door.

3) Close the shower door or put the shower curtain inside the tub/shower & run water with a hose around the perimeter of the tub to see if any escapes from the bottom of the shower door or glass door edge. If the shower head will reach the areas needed, or is detatchable, you can use the shower head for the test.

4) Check the lower level to see if any water is dripping from the leak site. If you have a helper, they can stand at the leak site while you play the running hose or shower head at different spots around the tub.

The leak can usually be detected using this method. You may have to seal the glass shower door, the metal flange where it attaches to the tub, or the closing door edge.

This method should also detect a leak in other parts of the tub, as asc has described and suggested.

5) Repair the ceiling leak area in the lower level.

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