Home>Discussions>BATHROOMS>Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light
8 posts / 0 new
Last post
mikewrench
Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

We hired a contractor to completely gut our bathroom and install a tub/shower combo. When showering, if any water splashes outside the tub, water will drip from a light fixture in the floor below.

My contractor claims this is expected - the "wet" area of the tub is waterproofed (he used hardibacker), while everything outside of the tub is not waterproofed.

Does this sound right? We're not splashing a huge amount of water outside of the tub (less than a glassful). I would've thought the water would pool on the tile and eventually dry up, not leak into the light fixture below. My contractor siliconed around the outside of the tub/base moulding, but it hasn't helped.

Any recommendations? Should have my contractor waterproofed outside of the tub as well (i.e. the tile floor outside of the tub)? Or would more silicone/caulk around the tub/moulding help (he didn't silicone the bottom of the base moulding, only the sides).

We will of course try not to splash water outside of the tub, but we have guests and kids that will inevitably forget to put the shower liner on the inside of the tub and/or will splash water outside the tub.

dj1
Re: Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

You have a serious issue on your hand, because a leaky shower is not something "to be expected". Nor it's acceptable even if "you try not to splash".

While I don't know how your contractor built it - he obviously did something wrong. From what you wrote I can tell you that hardiebacker is not waterproof. Has the contractor tested the tub upon completion?

Have you paid this contractor in full for this job?

MLB Construction
Re: Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

to add to dj's response......my advice would be to cut a hole in the ceiling below, it's not a big deal and easy to patch. then do some tests to see where the water is leaking. it could be a few different things. a very popular place for a leak to occur is where the tub or shower dam meets the floor. many contractors will grout this seam which should be caulked. anywhere that there is a 90 degree angle is a place that should be caulked instead of grouted. the seam at the tub/floor or the shower/floor, if grouted, is not water tight. the tub expands and contracts as well as the 90 degree seam due to wood movement. grout has zero flexibility. my step father made this same mistake and every time any water drips down the outside of the tub, there is a small puddle in the basement.

A. Spruce
Re: Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

The others are right, this is NOT normal, no matter how much water you splash outside the tube, and further inspection is needed. I would suspect a drain leak. Follow MLB's suggestion and open the ceiling below so that you can see what's going on in there.

As for the installation contractor, my faith in him is non-existent, so if he's paid in full, find someone else to come help. Yes, this is going to cost you some money, but better to have it repaired correctly than to have the same idiot trying to tell you that something is normal when it is not. If the original contractor is NOT paid in full, withhold further payments until this issue is completely rectified to your satisfaction, whether by him or someone else.

mikewrench
Re: Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

I haven't paid in full yet. I don't think it's a drain leak - the plumber checked and didn't find any leaks. Also if I run the shower for a long time and point it to the side where the tiles are, no leak occurs. If I take a bath, there's no leak either. The leak only happens when we splash water outside the tub.

Is it just a matter of siliconing the joint between the wall and the floor properly?

MLB Construction
Re: Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

that very well might be the case. try it and test it.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

Since this was an entire room re-do, the contractor is responsible to make it right. I'd document the problem and withhold all further payments until the problem is resolved. Tile installations are not waterproof in and of themselves, my guess is that someone neglected to waterproof before tiling and now it's coming back to haunt them. Either that or it's the use of grout where caulking was needed.

Everything you ever want to know about tile and more can be learned at the John Bridge Tile Forum. If the work done isn't what they say it should be, then the work was not done correctly.

Phil

bill
Re: Splashed water from bathroom leaking into ceiling below, dripping from light

i had one like this many years ago. it turn out to be a lack of caulking outside the shower. when someone took a shower and got out of the shower dripping water the water went through cracks between the shower and tile and dropped into the bathroom below. we caulked with silicone caulking and the problem went away.

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.